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More money targeted for Elizabeth River cleanup

Release Date: 08/22/2007
Contact Information: Roy Seneca seneca.roy@epa.gov, (215) 814-5567

PHILADELPHIA (August 22, 2007) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to award more than $900,000 to the Elizabeth River Project to help clean up 25 acres of sediment contamination in the Money Point section of Chesapeake, Va. along the southern branch of the Elizabeth River.

The Elizabeth River Project is a community-based watershed group instrumental in restoring the Elizabeth River at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in southeast Virginia

“The cooperation and progressive results of the Elizabeth River Project are encouraging to other communities that value and want to do more to protect their watersheds,” said Donald S. Welsh, administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “EPA’s funding can help accelerate the group’s restoration efforts, ultimately benefiting the Chesapeake Bay.”

A national panel reviewed 100 projects from around the country that were nominated for a share of $13.36 million in funding to restore and protect watersheds. The Elizabeth River Project is one of 16 organizations whose projects have been selected for funding. The group can apply for a $902,500 grant, expected to be awarded later this year.

“This promises to be a tremendous help for the restoration of one of the great urban rivers of the world,” said Marjorie Mayfield Jackson, executive director, of the Elizabeth River Project. “This funding would be a major boost to the most critical projects for our watershed.

The funding will support removal of contaminated sediment, create 10 miles of restored habitat, and help reduce toxics and nutrients in storm water runoff. Funds will also be used to support environmental projects at 10 Money Point industrial facilities.

The Elizabeth River is one of the world’s largest natural harbors for military and commercial shipping and a vital part of the ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay. It is an important tidal estuarine habitat for blue crabs, striped bass, and other keystone species. The proposed projects will concentrate on reducing toxics and restoring water quality.

During President Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address, he asked the nation’s governors and tribal leaders to nominate proposals to support community-based approaches to clean up the nation’s watersheds. Congress appropriated $13.36 million for this Targeted Watershed Grant Program, which was conceived to encourage community-based approaches to restore, preserve and protect the nation’s watersheds and to promote strong public/private partnerships that lead to measurable environmental results.

A complete list of awardees is available on line at http://epa.gov/twg/implementation.html . The nominations were reviewed by regional and national experts. Each of the selectees exhibited strong partnerships, showed innovation, and demonstrated compatibility with existing governmental programs.

The grants will be awarded later this year after the applicants complete the necessary paperwork and agree to a work plan.
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