Barren Island has for years has been slowly eroding into the Chesapeake, but a cadre of volunteers this summer went to work to hold back the tides.

After dredged material was placed on the eroding shore, teams of volunteers, organized by the National Aquarium in Baltimore, planted salt marsh vegetation to help hold the newly placed sediment in place.

The end result not only helped to save the island, but restored 11 acres of valuable wetland habitat where the wildlife is largely protected from predator and human impacts.

¦hat was just one example of the many restoration, planning and education projects funded in recent years through the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program.

The program, funded by the EPA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies as well as private corporations and foundations, provides funding that ranges from a few thousand dollars to $50,000 to support community-based projects ranging from habitat restoration to water quality monitoring to community outreach.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which administers the program, expects to begin seeking proposals for next year’s grants later this fall, with an anticipated application deadline of Feb. 1.

Information about the grant guidelines will be posted soon on the web sites of the Bay Program and the foundation, along with application forms and further information.

In addition, the foundation, in partnership with the Bay Program, will be hosting a series of regional workshops on the 2002 Small Watershed Grants Program in early and mid-December.

The workshops are intended to provide an overview of the program, clarify changes to the guidelines, offer recommendations on what makes for a strong proposal, and answer any questions potential applicants may have about this year’s program.

In addition, select grant recipients from last year’s program will present information about their projects and offer insights on partnership building, soliciting project contributions and obtaining technical assistance.

Organizations that would like to be included on a mailing list for information regarding the program, including notices of the Request for Proposals and workshop dates and locations, should send an e-mail to chesapeake@nfwf.org and include contact information.

Other inquiries can be directed to Malia Somerville by phone at 202-857-0166 or via e-mail at somerville@nfwf.org org

For information about the Small Watershed Grants Program and upcoming workshops, visit the Bay Program’s web site, www.chesapeakebay.net, or the foundation’s web site, www.nfwf.org .