(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA)—The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced a $199,665 Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund grant to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and a separate $200,000 grant to the Elizabeth River Project (ERP) for construction of oyster reefs in the Lafayette River in Norfolk. NFWF investments made through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund are funded primarily by the Environmental Protection Agency and require matching funds. Partners on both projects have also committed to providing an additional $428,630 in matching contributions, ensuring even greater local benefit. CBF Hampton Roads Director Christy Everett released the following statement:
"Federal investment is keeping the Lafayette River on track to becoming the first river in Virginia to meet Bay-wide goals for restoration of the native oyster population. These grants allow CBF and ERP to build 5.5 acres of new oyster reef in the Lafayette, another step towards creating a healthy urban waterway. New reefs provide structure for oysters to settle on and vital habitat for fish, crabs, shrimp, and a host of other life.
"Thank you to NFWF, NOAA, and the many other partners who have long supported the revitalization of the Lafayette. This is just one example of how the EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program is making a real difference locally. That's why it is so important that members of Congress fully fund the EPA's Bay Program.
"The state has also played a key role in bringing back the Virginia oyster. Governor McAuliffe thankfully recognizes that Virginia's oysters are an important part of our environment, economy, and culture. Strong state investment and support from Virginia's next governor for oyster restoration will be needed to build on the progress in the Lafayette River."