Streamside buffers will be planted, rain gardens established and seagrass beds restored as part of the $2.5 million in Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants that were announced in August.

Altogether, 68 projects will protect or manage approximately 2,600 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat. Grant recipients will plant more than 5 miles of forest buffers and restore an additional 21 miles of streams that drain into the Bay.

About 10,000 volunteers will participate in the projects, while 47,000 citizens will be educated through outreach materials.

“These small grants are making a big difference in promoting citizen-based stewardship and helping to repair degraded watersheds throughout the Chesapeake Bay basin,” said Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-MD, who sponsored the original legislation creating the Small Watershed Grants Program nearly a decade ago.

“Who better to do this work than local community groups … who have the local knowledge, energy and passion to care for their streams and natural resources—or the local governments which are responsible for local land use and other important decisions?” Sarbanes asked.

In the last nine years, the Small Watershed Grants Program has provided $17.7 million to support 544 projects throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The projects helped to leverage an additional $50.7 million from other funding sources.

This year’s grants will support projects of up to $50,000 in all the jurisdictions within the Bay’s 64,000-square-mile watershed.

The projects will help to control invasive plants along the Anacostia River in the District of Columbia; plant buffers at poultry farms in Delaware; support oyster restoration in St. Mary’s River in Maryland; promote an Internet-based education program in New York; help to remove dams in Pennsylvania; promote no-till farming and cover crops in Virginia’s Piedmont; and support a watershed forum in West Virginia.

In addition to the small grants, the grants program provided up to $100,000 each in support of five “legacy grants” that are intended to leave a “conservation legacy” in communities throughout the watershed. This year’s legacy grants include:

  • The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay will promote low-impact development design techniques for future commercial construction in central Virginia.
  • The Army Navy Country Club in Fairfax, VA, will restore more than 3,000 feet of Daniels Run on its property.
  • The Dauphin County Conservation District in Pennsylvania will implement a comprehensive strategy to restore water quality in the impaired Little Wiconisco Creek though outreach and controlling runoff.
  • The Stroud Water Research Center in Pennsylvania will explore links between acid mine drainage and nutrient pollution in the Bay.
  • The town of Myersville, MD, will restore Little Catoctin Stream within the town to a stable, self-maintaining state.

Primary funding for the program comes from the EPA’s Bay Program Office, with additional funding from other federal agencies and environmental foundations.

The program is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a nonprofit organization, with the Chesapeake Bay Program.

For information about the Small Watershed Grants Program and this year’s projects, visit