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Chesapeake, Coastal Bay restoration projects funded

Restoration of tidal marsh at Deal Island is one of numerous projects funded by the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund.

Posted on August 2, 2023

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Thursday announced the award of $22.9 million from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund to 24 ecological restoration projects encompassing 95 sites throughout the state. The projects were selected to improve water quality and habitat in the Chesapeake Bay watershed while building local resilience to climate impacts.

“This valuable funding stream plays an important role in Maryland’s effort to improve the health of the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays,” said Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources Josh Kurtz. “The projects funded with these grants will help reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, improve wildlife habitat, provide recreational opportunities, and make Maryland’s communities more resilient to climate change.”

The projects deploy best management practices including streamside tree buffer plantings, reforestation, stream restoration, stormwater management, and wetland creation. Grants are made possible through the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, which targets the most cost-efficient and effective non-point source pollution reduction projects.

The projects awarded this funding round will benefit local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay by removing more than 33,756 pounds of nitrogen, 4,288 pounds of phosphorus and nearly 5,765 tons of sediment. In the water, these nutrient pollutants fuel algal blooms that discolor the water and remove dissolved oxygen that’s necessary for species such as fish and crabs.

Through improved connections across similar grant programs, the department is working to support more comprehensive projects that also achieve at least one of the following outcomes–fostering healthy ecosystems, building resiliency, or providing outdoor learning experiences.

Projects receiving grants on the Mid- and Upper Shore include:

Through the Healthy Forests, Healthy Waters Initiative, the Maryland Forestry Foundation, will plant approximately 232 acres of trees and 7.5 acres of native meadow on 40 sites across the state, including in Queen Anne’s and Cecil counties.

Through ShoreRivers, two projects will address Kent and Talbot counties. The Sears Farm project will restore 1,846 ft. of perennial stream to create a more natural flow across the project area and reconnect it to the floodplain. Then Jones Farm Phase IV is a continuation of a successful effort to install natural filters in the landscape of the largest dairy farm in Maryland, retiring 7.9 additional acres of existing marginal farm ground and restoring 20.4 acres of shallow freshwater wetland habitat downstream of the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation and field-applied lagoon effluent.

A third ShoreRivers project involves Eastern Shore implementation of wetlands and trees in Talbot,, Kent and Cecil counties. This proposal will install a total of 50 acres, specifically 25 acres of wetlands and 25 acres of trees, across Maryland’s Eastern Shore over a three-year period.

In Dorchester County, Ferry Cove Shellfish will use shellfish aquaculture as an innovative structural Best Management Practice to maximize restoration opportunities on harvestable oyster reefs and improve water quality while concurrently providing an economic development opportunity and promoting sustainable oyster management.

The project details for Fiscal Year 2024 grants are listed on the Department of Natural Resources website, along with other programs that are accessible through the Grants Gateway application process. The department is currently soliciting applications for Fiscal Year 2025.

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