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News and Resources

Coastal Bays Stewardship Funding Available - May 13, 2011

 

Sometimes, just a little bit of funding can really make a difference.

Katherine Munson, an employee in Worcester County's Natural Resources Division, notes, "individualized connections with landowners are essential to improving water quality and habitat in the coastal bays watershed. Mini-grant funding has supported Worcester County's annual land stewardship education program, which has provided workshops, lectures and field trips to over 80 landowners owning, collectively, thousands of acres of land. The program has helped landowners identify strategies for meeting their land stewardship goals and connected them to expert guidance and funding for conservation and restoration practices."

Through its Mini-Grant Program, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust, has provided $630,000 since 2000 for local community groups to conduct environmental projects in the coastal bays watershed. The match -- in funding, staff and in-kind resources from these projects -- totals $21 million invested in the coastal bays watershed, in Worcester County.

Community-based construction and restoration projects funded include rain garden and rain barrel construction, wetland and tree buffer plantings, oyster and fish habitat creation, stream clean-ups, storm drain stenciling, and workshops promoting restoration or best management practices. Educational opportunities including teacher trainings, schoolyard habitat installations, water quality investigations, and outdoor field experiences have also been funded over the years.

This year, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and the Chesapeake Bay Trust will again work together to fund projects in the coastal bays watershed. The area target to receive funding support is Berlin. In recent years, MCBP has worked closely with the Town of Berlin and Grow Berlin Green partners to concentrate efforts and maximize impacts in Berlin.

Berlin residents have participated in workshops about green building, energy conservation, spray irrigation, compact development, and backyard wildlife. One hundred families received energy conservation kits at no cost. Trees, raingardens, and native plant gardens have been planted. Rain barrels have been installed. Cleanups have been conducted and 36,000 pounds of debris was removed from Hudson Branch. Youth and families in Berlin have attended educational programs, too, helping people better understand how to lessen their impact on the environment.

The goal of the Community Stewardship Mini-Grants Program is to increase public awareness and public involvement in restoring and protecting Maryland's Coastal Bays and its tributaries. This program is made possible through private contributions made to MCBP and CBT.

To guide its grant making, MCBP aligned its priorities with the goals set forth in the management plan for the Coastal Bays.

MCBP welcomes funding requests from private nonprofit organizations; faith-based organizations; community associations; service, youth and civic groups; municipal, county, regional, state and federal public agencies; public and independent higher educational institutions; MD Green Schools and schools seeking MD Green School status; and individuals. Priority will be given to projects in Berlin. Proposals should adhere to the management plan for Maryland's Coastal Bays, offer match monies or in-kind services, and show committed partnerships.

The deadline for submission is June 15. Applicants may request up to $5,000. The Maryland Coastal Bays Program and the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore will host a workshop in Berlin later this month. Interested applicants are invited to attend.

For more information and how you can apply to protect our coastal bays, please contact the Maryland Coastal Bays Program at mcbp@mdcoast albays.org or visit www.mdcoastalbays.org for more information.

Samis is the Education Coordinator for the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.


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