Shannon Gority, Executive Director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) in Pennsylvania, issued this statement applauding National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grants totaling roughly $3.88 million to clean and restore polluted rivers and streams in the Commonwealth. About $5.2 million in matching contributions could produce a total of nearly $9 million of on-the-ground improvements and protections for Keystone State waters.
The Commonwealth will share an additional $1.4 million in NFWF grants and matching contributions with the State of New York for projects in the headwaters to the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
These NFWF investments are made through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, funded primarily by the Environmental Protection Agency and through the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program.
For 2021, the Stewardship Fund will make 49 grants totaling $10.03 million for projects in the Bay region. An anticipated matching amount of about $12 million would lead to a total on-the-ground impact of over $22 million.
Of the NFWF grants to Pennsylvania projects, Ms. Gority said:
“These investments through the Chesapeake Bay Program will improve water quality in Lancaster County with floodplain restoration, new corporate clean water partnerships, and stormwater treatment projects. Creekside trees will be planted, and a stream stabilized in Lebanon County, projects in upstate Pennsylvania and New York will improve headwaters to the Bay, and more.
“With the 2025 deadline looming, achieving the Clean Water Blueprint depends on a greater commitment from Congress and increased funding through the Chesapeake Bay Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other sources.
“Increased investments in regenerative agriculture strategies in Pennsylvania are good for farm productivity and keeping soil and nitrogen on the land instead of running into local waters.
“Congress is currently negotiating a multi-trillion dollar budget package that would boost funding for USDA conservation programs by as much as $28 billion over the next decade. A significant portion of that increase would go to providing farmers the financial and technical support to adopt and maintain beneficial practices.
“The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act making its way through Congress is another opportunity to bolster federal funding and calls for the Chesapeake Bay Program to get an additional $238 million over the next five years. Pennsylvania would see a portion of the extra $47.6 million a year to fund important conservation work.
“It’s long past time for federal and state leaders to step up and make things right for Pennsylvanians and all 18 million people who live, work and play in the Bay watershed.”
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The NFWF press release and specific grant details can be found here.