EPA Announces $4 Million in New Funding to Assist Local Governments with Bay Cleanup
Release Date: 03/13/2012
Contact Information: David Sternberg, 215-814-5548 firstname.lastname@example.org
(PHILADELPHIA – March13, 2012)The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced a new $4 million EPA-funded initiative providing financial and technical assistance to local governments needing to reduce water pollution to help restore the Chesapeake Bay.
“Now more than ever, the Chesapeake Bay needs the creativity, innovation and ingenuity of local governments,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “This new EPA funding will enable local governments to implement the best solutions to on-the-ground challenges they face in helping to restore the Bay, and share those approaches with other towns throughout the entire watershed.”
As local governments work to implement the Chesapeake Bay TMDL or ‘pollution diet,’ the Local Government Green Infrastructure Initiative will support them by making grants of up to $750,000 available. The grants will be administered by NFWF through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, and competitively awarded to local governments to design and implement projects demonstrating the integration of green infrastructure into existing programs to meet community needs and improve local waterways and the Bay.
“A growing number of local governments are viewing community improvement projects—from street and park enhancements to public facility renovations—as an opportunity to green their community and help the Bay,” said David J. O’Neill, Director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Eastern Partnership Office. “This initiative will help more local governments meet their jobs, mobility, and recreation needs, while simultaneously helping them restore local creeks and streams and the Chesapeake Bay.”
With a combination of grants and technical assistance, the initiative aims to help local governments overcome obstacles to meeting pollution reduction goals for local waters and the Bay. The Bay TMDL provides states and local governments with considerable flexibility in how they achieve these objectives.
Grants will be awarded for green infrastructure initiatives such as capital improvements, road maintenance programs, flood plain management, and other projects that produce measurable water quality improvements in local rivers and streams, and ultimately the Bay. The Bay TMDL requires approximately 25 percent reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution, with all of the of the pollution reduction measures needed for restoring the Bay in place by 2025.
“This critical program will enable local governments to design and implement projects that will achieve measurable goals in restoring the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “It offers localities an opportunity to integrate innovative practices into already existing programs to improve efforts to clean up the Bay.”
“Protecting the Chesapeake Bay means protecting jobs,” said Congressman Ruppersberger. “The Bay generates $1 trillion for its watershed each year through fishing, tourism, higher property values and shipping. This new grant program will help local governments clean up local rivers and streams that feed into the Bay, helping to preserve this environmental and economical treasure for generations to come.”
In addition to grant awards, local governments are eligible to receive technical assistance for specific challenges they identify as barriers to improving water quality, including financing assistance, project design and implementation, and stormwater and land use management. Selected localities will represent the diverse characteristics of local governments throughout the 64,000 square-mile watershed – including rural counties, predominantly agricultural communities, rapidly growing suburban localities, smaller cities, and urban municipalities.
In partnership with the Local Government Advisory Committee, resources will also be made available for local governments to share information and experiences. Through forums and workshops, local governments will gain access to information about best practices and evolving strategies for achieving water quality goals for local waters and the Bay.
Since 2000, the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund has offered $68.9 million in grants for over 700 projects across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The goal of the fund is to accelerate local implementation of the most innovative, sustainable and cost-effective strategies for restoring and protecting water quality and vital habitats within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
For more information about the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund programs and grant opportunities, visit www.nfwf.org/chesapeake.