EASTON — The Chesapeake Bay Trust has awarded $1 million in grants to 70 nonprofit organizations, municipalities and local schools throughout the Chesapeake Bay region.
The awards are supported through the Treasure the Chesapeake license plate program and through partnerships with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Anne Arundel County Forestry Board and Charles County.
“The Chesapeake Bay Trust works with hundreds of committed grantees who are out in the field every day working to improve their local communities and their local tributaries,” Jana Davis, executive director of CBT, said. “We are so pleased to award these funds and we look forward to the implementation of so many exceptional projects and programs that will benefit the public and our natural resources.”
Projects approved include small grants to fund community tree planting projects, outdoor education opportunities for students and rain garden creation.
The grants, which were announced on Wednesday, Nov. 20, also include large scale restoration and design funding that will restore streamside forest buffers, help manage stormwater runoff and create design plans for impervious surface removal and the creation of bioretention cells to improve water quality.
The Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy is one of the local organizations that was awarded grants.
MRC received two grants, a $34,000 grant under CBT’s restoration grant program and a $49,520 grant under CBT’s watershed assistance grant program.
The $34,000 grant will be used to create a wetland in Easton’s RTC park, Kristin Junkin, director of operations for MRC, said.
More than 1,000 trees were recently planted in RTC Park as part of a stream restoration project.
“There’s a good bit of the wetland that’s very low lying, and probably was a wetland at some prior time in history. It drains into the Tanyard Branch, a tributary of the Tred Avon, which runs right through Easton,” Junkin said. “This wetland will be designed to pick up nutrients before they end up going into the Tanyard Branch.”
Junkin said the project will also include signage to explain to people about the wetland.
The $49,520 grant will be put toward technical planning and design assistance for a project that Junkin said Maryland has never seen.
MRC just installed Maryland’s first de-nitrification wall and woodchip bioreactor on a farm in Caroline County about two weeks ago, Junkin said.
Each takes nitrogen out of water before it reaches Bay watershed streams — with the de-nitrification wall working with ground water and the woodchip bioreactor handling surface water.
“They are a very innovative practice more common in the Midwest, but not used out here too much,” Junkin said.
The grant funding will help MRC design more de-nitrification walls and woodchip bioreactors.
She said after an assessment of the entire Choptank River watershed, MRC identified some farms that would be key places to install the project, and MRC has already obtained landowner agreements on the farms identified.
The Town of Easton, Talbot County Public Schools and Phillips Wharf Environmental Center also received grants from CBT.
Easton was given a $20,877 grant, and PWEC was given a $16,897 grant, both to help with planning and designing projects.
Talbot County Public Schools was awarded $4,939 under CBT’s K-12 environmental education mini-grant program.