Chester River Association Awarded an Innovative Conservation Project Grant
Today, Rep. Frank Kratovil, a member of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committees, announced the release of $5.5 million in grants for innovative agricultural conservation projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Kratovil was joined by officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the announcement, which took place at Shellman Farm in Millington, MD.
The grants are part of the “Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed” and serve to highlight the importance of having both thriving farms and clean water in and around the Chesapeake Bay region. The grants will help to accelerate the development of new conservation technologies for the agricultural sector and target resources to better protect the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways.
“Today we celebrate yet another example of how it is possible to support both agriculture and the environment,” said Rep. Kratovil. “I look forward to working with the partners here today to help protect the Bay, create jobs, and build a stable foundation for our economy through agriculture and farming.”
Today’s award ceremony dedicated $500,000 of the $5.5 million in grant money to The Chester River Association, who in cooperation with federal, state and local partners, will use the funds to launch a comprehensive strategy to reduce pollution to the Upper Chester River. Partners will work directly with landowners to implement priority agricultural practices (including enhanced nutrient management and perennial cropping systems), reduce pollution from developed land areas (though septic upgrades, rain gardens and expansion of urban tree canopy) and restore natural filters (such as wetlands). This project will bring key partners, key financial assistance, and the critical technical assistance necessary to significantly reduce the nutrient and sediment loadings coming from both agricultural and urban lands.
“These funds allow us to continue to enhance our efforts to restore the beauty and the health of the Chesapeake Bay, associated waterways and the greater watershed, while also supporting Maryland farmers,” said Kratovil.
Both the USDA and the EPA granted awards to the Chester River Association to support its work in USDA’s showcase watershed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Executive Order Strategy directed USDA to establish showcase projects to test and monitor the benefits of focused, intensive, voluntary approaches to agricultural conservation.