The Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program is accepting applications for up to $50,000 from organizations working on a local level to protect and improve watersheds in the Chesapeake basin, while building citizen-based resource stewardship.

The purpose of the program is to address the water quality and living resource needs of the Chesapeake ecosystem. It has been designed to encourage the development and sharing of innovative ideas among the many organizations involved in watershed protection activities.

The program is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, in cooperation with the Bay Program and others. Congress earmarked $750,000 for the program in this year’s budget.

Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations and local governments within the Bay watershed. To be eligible, a project must support the development or implementation of local watershed management plans that address the water quality and living resource needs in the Bay ecosystem, or promote locally based protection and restoration efforts that complement watershed management strategies.

In addition, projects must also address at least one of the priority goals of the Bay Program:

  • restoring and protecting fish, shellfish, and other living resources and their habitats;
  • protecting and restoring habitats and natural areas vital to the survival and diversity of the living resources of the Bay and its rivers;
  • achieving and maintaining the water quality needed to support aquatic living resources of the Bay and its tributaries and to protect public health;
  • developing, promoting and achieving sound land use practices that protect and restore watershed resources and water quality, maintain reduced pollutant loadings for the Bay and its tributaries, and restore and preserve aquatic living resources; and
  • promoting individual stewardship and assisting individuals, community-based organizations, businesses, local governments and schools to undertake initiatives to achieve the goals and commitments of the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement.

Matching funds are not required for this program, but contributions of funds, goods or services from project partners that match the grant award are strongly encouraged.

Applications must be postmarked no later than April 6, and should be sent t National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Attn: Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program, 1120 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20036.

The announcement of grant awards is expected around June 15.

Information is available on the organization’s web site, www.nfwf.org, or by contact Malia Somerville at 202-857-0166, or somerville@nfwf.org