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Grants awarded to protect and restore Virginia’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program announced Oct. 12 they’ve received $2.4 million+ in grants for projects to protect and restore Virginia’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The 14 grants announced today will generate $2,115,402 in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $4.5 million.

“EPA is pleased to support projects that improve the quality of local waters and habitat and help restore the Chesapeake Bay,” said Diana Esher, EPA Mid-Atlantic acting regional administrator. “It is a priority for EPA to support local actions that move us closer to our restoration goals.  We applaud the grantees for their commitment to cleaner water and healthier watersheds.”

These grants, along with the other 35 awarded today, will support on-the-ground projects to improve waterways, restore habitat and strengthen iconic wildlife species. Collectively, the grants will implement water quality improve-ment practices on more than 45,000 acres, restore more than 45 miles of streamside forest habitat and prevent more than 6,300 tons of pollutants annually from entering the rivers and streams that feed the Chesapeake Bay.

“By focusing our resources on projects that provide multiple benefits, NFWF and its partners are demonstrating how watershed restoration projects strengthen the resilience of both communities and wildlife habitats, and how targeted investments can achieve multiple conservation goals,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF.

Some of the 2021 Chesapeake Stewardship Fund grant recipients in Virginia include:
• Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay ($500,000): An accessible, park-like corridor in the Fulton Hill Business District of Richmond will be created through this award. It will prioritize the use of green infrastructure to reduce urban heat islands, capture stormwater runoff and implement the Launch Fulton Green Jobs Initiative.

• Center for Natural Capital ($49,627): This grant award will fund the planning and assessment work that is necessary to remove the Rapidan Mill dam, which is currently obstructing fish passage for critical Chesapeake species, such as shad.

• Greene County ($23,500): Funding will develop a green infrastructure plan for the Greene County Visitor Center. The plan is intended to address existing impervious surfaces at the Center, as well as provide a high-quality stormwater demonstration site.

• Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe ($50,000): Creation of a comprehensive regional report on watershed management that will synthesize local water quality, flooding, land use, habitat vulnerability, social vulnerability, cultural resources and community science monitoring data to inform future projects.

The grants were awarded through the Small Watershed Grants (SWG) program, a core program under NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund (CBSF). CBSF is a partnership between NFWF and the EPA to provide grant funding, technical assistance and networking and information sharing in support of local, on-the-ground conservation efforts to restore the bay and its tributary rivers and streams.
Additional support for the program comes from the Altria Group, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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