The Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently announced this year’s recipients of the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants. This year, the program will provide about $3 million in funding, with the Forest Service contributing $300,000.
Since 2001, the U.S. Forest Service has partnered with National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, EPA, NOAA and others to provide funding for these grants which typically go to watershed organizations and local governments for on-the-ground restoration work. This money is well-leveraged by partners—on average the ratio of seed money to match is one to five. Some projects would not be possible without funding provided by our partners.
Projects include riparian forest restoration, urban tree planting and green infrastructure planning and implementation. For example, Trout Unlimited will receive funds to provide technical assistance to landowners eligible for brook trout habitat restoration on the upper Potomac River.
In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency began regulating the entire 43 million acre Chesapeake Bay watershed under the Clean Water Act to reduce non-point source pollutants. Forests are a front line defense to reduce non-point source pollutants, acting as filters removing pollutants from water.
Collaboration is key for the future health of the Chesapeake Bay — 90 percent of the forests impacting the bay are privately owned.