Eight projects designed to prevent 1.5 million pounds of nutrients and 1.1 million pounds of sediment from reaching the Bay recently received a total of more than $5 million.
Projects being supported by the Chesapeake Bay Targeted Watershed Grants Program, which is funded by the EPA, will help to curb runoff from Maryland horse farms, compost manure in Pennsylvania and market environmentally sensitive dairy products in Virginia, among other projects. Grants range from $400,000 to $800,000.
The program, which made its first grant awards last year, helps regional organizations implement innovative programs designed to reduce the amount of nutrients within targeted areas with the aim of being able to show tangible results.
“These grass-roots, blue water projects will reduce local runoff pollution and increase Baywide health, while showing the nation the power of innovation and cooperative conservation to keep America’s watersheds clean,” said Ben Grumbles, EPA assistant administrator for water.
Applications for the program were reviewed by a steering committee convened by the nonprofit National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which administers the program. The foundation and steering committee jointly established the criteria, which include innovation, sustainability and cost-effectiveness, on which award recipients are selected.
This year’s grant projects include:
- Conestoga Watershed Manure Composting (Chesapeake Bay Foundation Inc., $800,000). This grant will keep 40,000 pounds of nitrogen and 35,000 pounds of phosphorus from entering the Conestoga River by implementing a diversified manure composting system in the watershed.
- Market-based Approach to Nutrient Reduction (Protected Harvest, $800,000). This grant will establish a third-party dairy certification program that provides premium pricing to dairy farmers in Lancaster County, PA, and Shenandoah Valley, VA, who adopt conservation practices that minimize nutrient runoff to the Bay and its tributaries.
- Stream Fencing Pilot for Reducing Nutrient Loads (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, $800,000). This grant will reduce nutrient loads in the Shenandoah River basin, including 540,000 pounds of sediment and 120,000 pounds of nitrogen, through an adaptive stream fencing pilot project.
- Reducing Nutrient Loads from Equine Operations (Maryland Department of Agriculture, $700,000). This grant will reduce nutrient runoff from small horse farms by an estimated 105,701 pounds of nitrogen and 13,978 pounds of phosphorous.
- Extreme BMP Makeover (Center for Watershed Protection, $605,000). This grant will implement 150 proven, most-effective stormwater management practices to reduce nutrient runoff to the James River by an estimated 1,890 pounds of nitrogen and 575 pounds of phosphorus.
- Watts Branch Watershed Restoration Project (District of Columbia Department of the Environment, $500,000). This grant will restore 1.75 miles of urban stream and 28 acres of riparian buffer through stream corridor restoration and three Low Impact Development stormwater control retrofits, to reduce nutrient and sediment loads to the Anacostia River.
- Innovative Cropping Practices in the Shenandoah River Watershed (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, $400,000). This grant will demonstrate the potential for continuous no-till practices to be integrated with other innovative cropping practices to maximize reductions in nutrient runoff to the Shenandoah River.
- Meeting Regional Goals through Local Benefits (The Conservation Fund, $400,000). This grant will reduce an estimated 300 tons of sediment, 15,000 pounds of nitrogen and 1,900 pounds of phosphorous entering Rockymarsh Run—a tributary of the Potomac River—by working with private land owners to restore and protect riparian buffers, implement Low Impact Development practices on newly developed land, and pump out and maintain failing septic systems.
For information about the program and this year’s projects, visit the Bay Program’s website, www.chesapeakebay.net.