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Wye River Watershed Assessment Begins - The Star Democrat - Easton, Maryland: Life

Wye River Watershed Assessment Begins

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Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013 2:53 pm

EASTON - Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy has begun the first-ever assessment of the Wye River watershed for the purpose of identifying opportunities to reduce pollution loads. The Center for Watershed Protection will provide technical assistance to help identify retrofit opportunities and priority conservation measures, and to train MRC staff and local stakeholders in its Rural Retrofit Assessment protocol.

MRC was successful in securing both National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Chesapeake Bay Trust grants, both in highly competitive fields, to bring much needed resources and expertise to the Wye River watershed. These grants and further funding by private donors has resulted inover $72,000 in funds to MRC to complete this important assessment. Sites to assess will be selected based on community and county staff recommendations and Riverkeeper observations. The project will identify pollution sources and key potential pollution reducing projects, and will facilitate watershed-wide communication that will support the larger regulatory drivers in the area. This is a grass-roots effort and offers Talbot and Queen Anne's counties projects to fulfill their EPA Watershed Implementation Plan requirements.

Tom Leigh, Miles-Wye Riverkeeper said: "At a time when local governments are overwhelmed with cost estimates for clean water, we see this as an opportunity to enhance local efforts aimed at improving water quality with significant funding to design projects that would otherwise be a financial burden to a county." This effort will translate directly into future improvements to Wye River health as the deliverables will: 1) define specific projects for future implementation with associated pollutant load reductions and cost estimates and potential funding sources; 2) facilitate enhanced communication among stakeholders and provide local government officials with a plan for rural water quality improvements that are ready for implementation.

Up to ten construction projects will be designed during this assessment to implement best management practices on private and public properties in the Wye River Watershed. One particular property that we are very interested in is the Queen Anne's County-owned land (formerly known as the Kudner Farm) located in the Wye River Watershed, with a portion in critical area. We thank our funding partners: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

For any further information please contact the Miles-Wye Riverkeeper Tom Leigh at 443-385-0511 or tom@midshoreriverkeeper.org.

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