Local governments and grassroots citizen organizations that want to undertake activities to protect their local waterways can seek funding support through the 1999 Small Watershed Grants Program.

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the Center for Chesapeake Communities, which administer the initiative for the Bay Program, have jointly issued a “request for proposals.” The RFP lays out the guidelines for eligibility for this year’s program. Proposals are due May 15; announcement of grant awards is expected to be made around July 1.

This year’s grant program will fund projects that meet the program criteria in one of three categories: education and outreach; pollution prevention; and organizational development. The funding this year is targeted at projects that meet one or more of the following objectives:

  • Support communities in demonstrating watershed protection activities that are reflective of Bay Program goals;
  • Develop capacity at the small watershed level to effectively address local land use, protection and public education issues;
  • Demonstrate effective approaches for integrating the variety of Bay Program objectives and activities at the local level;
  • Promote the exchange of lessons learned by recipient communities with other communities across the Bay watershed;

Strengthen the link between communities and the regional Bay Program, consistent with the strategic direction of the Bay Program to move upstream and engage more people in stemming the flow of pollution to the Bay; and

Teach the Bay Program how best to support and inspire communities in their efforts to protect the environment.

The $750,000 was earmarked by Congress for this program. Sen. Paul Sarbanes of Maryland initiated the congressional effort to create the program in 1997 and shepherded the funding through the budget process again in 1998. The funds are in addition to the annual appropriation for the Bay Program.

Copies of the RFP can be downloaded from the Bay Program’s web site:

www.chesapeakebay.net/bayprogram. They can also be obtained by calling the Alliance at 410-377-6270 or the Center at 800-826-5359.