The EPA will spend about the same amount of money on the Bay cleanup in 2000 as it did this year, but National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service spending on the Bay will get a boost under appropriations bills approved by Congress.
In addition, Congress will support for a third year the popular Small Watershed Grants Program, which makes small grants to local governments and organizations to demonstrate various water improvement techniques.
The largest chunk of money, $18.9 million, goes to the EPA’s Bay Program Office — the same amount as last year. The EPA serves as the lead federal agency in the Chesapeake restoration effort.
About half of the Bay Program money goes to the states to support Chesapeake-related projects, while a third is awarded on a competitive basis to universities, local governments and nonprofit organizations for research, pollution prevention programs, citizen outreach efforts and other activities. The remainder maintains core activities such as water quality monitoring, modeling and the operation of its Annapolis office.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will get $1.89 million, the same as last year, to operate its Chesapeake Bay Office. The NOAA office supports research on fisheries, toxicants and algae blooms, and has been a leader in habitat restoration, the study of atmospheric deposition of pollution and basinwide data analysis and management.
In addition, NOAA will get $500,000 to start a long-term study of multispecies interactions in the Bay. That reflects increased concern about the need for managers to take into account how actions that affect one species may ripple through the food web. The first year’s money will be used to begin a tag-and-release program for blue crabs to learn more about their life history.
The National Park Service will get $600,000 to support its new gateways and watertrails program.
Also, Congress appropriated $500,000 to the U.S. Forest Service — twice as much as last year — to support Chesapeake Bay activities. The increase will be used to expand a grants program for Bay-related forestry efforts.
Other Bay-related projects being funded this year, according to a compilation by the staff of Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-MD, include:
- $950,000 to install nutrient removal technology on wastewater treatment plants in New York and Pennsylvania portions of the Susquehanna watershed.
- $14 million for the Poplar Island project, which is using material dredged from Baltimore shipping channels to rebuild an island nearly lost to erosion in the Bay. The completed effort will restore both uplands and wetlands habitat.
- $340,000 to support the Army Corps of Engineers Chesapeake Bay Restoration Program. In past years, that money has supported such projects as protecting the shores of Smith Island from erosion.
- $4 million for restoration efforts in the Anacostia River watershed.
- $559,000 for a Corps-sponsored oyster reef restoration program.
- $750,000 for the Corps’ Federal Anacostia River Assessment Program which is examining the potential for erosion control and restoration programs at federal facilities along the Anacostia River.
- $150,000 to complete a Corps’ study of potential erosion control and restoration programs at federal facilities in the North Branch of the Potomac.
- $150,000 to complete a Corps’ study of potential erosion control and restoration programs at federal facilities in the Lower Potomac.
- $500,000 to control nutria at the Blackwater National Refuge where the nonnative species is responsible for destroying tens of thousands of acres of wetlands.
- $450,000 for an oyster recovery project which pays watermen to plant oysters to help build new reefs.
- $1.5 million to support oyster disease research in the Bay and elsewhere.
- $8.125 million for research on pfiesteria and harmful algae blooms in the Bay and elsewhere.
- $5 million to upgrade wastewater treatment plants at Salisbury and Cambridge, the largest plants on the Eastern Shore, with nitrogen removal technology.
- $300,000 to support projects related to the Potomac’s American Heritage River designation.
- $5 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s efforts related to the Bay.