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Cindy Edson

Chesapeake Bay Trust Celebrates at 2020 Legislative Reception

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The evening’s speakers are pictured from left: Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio; Department of Natural Resources, Gary Jobson, Chairman of the Board of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., Jana Davis, Trust executive director, Senator Pam Beidle, Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo, and Superintendent of the Chesapeake Bay Office for National Parks Service, Wendy O’Sullivan.

The start of January marked the convening of the 441st session of the Maryland General Assembly and with that, the annual Chesapeake Bay Trust Legislative Reception. This year’s event was a special celebration honoring the 10th anniversary of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps program.

The evening brought together the 10th cohort of Conservation Corps members, Corps alumni, Maryland State Delegates and Senators, grant program partners, supporters, and friends to network, celebrate, and acknowledge the importance of the work both the Trust and the Corps do.

Guests were reminded by Senate President Bill Ferguson that “The Bay is not political. The Bay is the most important thing that we have in the state of Maryland. It is the commerce hub and is where we have the birth of our future experiences.”

10th cohort Corps members networked with alums, mentors, and host sites as well as Trust leadership and elected officials.

The Trust featured its newly released annual report for FY 2019 highlighting the over $11 million granted out to organizations throughout the watershed to fund almost 400 projects collaboratively supporting natural resource projects through education, restoration, community engagement, science and innovation, and capacity building. Board of Trustee member, Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo spoke about the Trust’s reputation for transparency and operational excellence noting “The Chesapeake Bay tag is the … piece that allows the Trust to leverage so much more. If you think about when you go to the MVA and pay that little extra money for that Bay tag and you encourage all of your friends and you encourage all of your family members to get that bay tag. That equates to about $3.5 million to the Trust. But the great thing about that is that the $3.5 million because the Trust is run so well, is leveraged to more like $12 million dollars. Which is absolutely incredible when it comes to the amount of work that needs to be done to restore the Bay.”

And speaker Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio reminisced about her involvement in protecting the Trust as a member of the Maryland General Assembly. “Before I was Secretary of Department of Natural Resources (DNR), I served in the Maryland House of Delegates and at that time I learned that the Bay plate program was a pilot program that was going to expire. Senator Astle and I got together and made a joint decision to co-sponsor legislation to make it a permanent program. And I’m still really proud of the fact that we were able to accomplish that and have the support of the entire Maryland General Assembly to make that happen because the Chesapeake Bay Trust is so important. At DNR, we firmly believe that cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay takes participation from a variety of stakeholders and it takes every citizen in Maryland to be a part of the process. And I think that is really one of the great and unique things about Chesapeake Bay Trust is that your programs and your grants are getting projects done on the ground in our local communities and really engaging citizens in the process. And we’re really proud to partner with the organization.”

Senate President, Bill Ferguson welcomes the crowd.

One way the Trust continues to engage is through the operation of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps program (CCC). Each year, the CCC places young adults (ages 18-25) with nonprofit or government agencies to work full-time in the environmental field for a one-year term of paid service in the Chesapeake Bay region. The Corps Members receive hands-on green job and leadership experience through on-the-ground experience leading and assisting with projects and programs for their host sites, extensive training hosted by the Trust and other service-learning opportunities including grant writing and project management.

Since its inception, the program has partnered with over 117 host sites and graduated 265 corps members, many who were in attendance representing the environmental agency they went on to work for after graduation.

Guests included Delegate Dana Stein, Corps Advisory Board member Delegate Anne Healey, and Maryland Secretary of the Environment, Ben Grumbles.

The Chesapeake Bay Trust partners with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, BGE, and the National Park Service to run each cohort of, on average, 35 members. Founding advocate, Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. Mike Miller told the crowd “it’s very easy for me to support this program… We want to protect the Chesapeake Bay; we want to protect Maryland… it takes young people like this with some enthusiasm to make things happen.”

National Park Service Superintendent of the Chesapeake Bay Office, Wendy O’Sullivan, added “I stumbled into the National Parks Service through a youth corps program, right out of grad school. So all of you that are here … you are on a path and you are part of a family now of the champions of the Chesapeake of Ambassadors for our environment and the Park Service couldn’t be more proud to add and be part of that leveraging of the bay plate money for the corps program.”

 

The Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program is open for application! Learn more about the program and how to apply to join the 11th cohort here!

The Chesapeake Bay Trust Announces Awardees

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The Chesapeake Bay Trust has a rigorous grant review process: every proposal submitted over $5,000 is sent to members of a Technical Review Committee (TRC) and is reviewed and scored quantitatively by at least three external peers who are experts in their fields. The Board of Trustees meets 4 times per year to review and approve all TRC recommended proposals. Proposals for $5,000 or less are reviewed by two or more technical experts on the Chesapeake Bay Trust program team.

Anne Arundel County Community Planting Mini Grant Program

November 2019

Tidewater Colony Open Space Association: for the removal of invasive plants and planting of native trees in the Tidewater Colony community in Annapolis. $2,500.
Whitehurst Residents Club Association, Inc.: for the removal of invasive species in the Whitehurst community in preparation for native planting. $500.

Community Engagement Mini-Grant Program

November 2019

Asbury Foundation: for the installation of conservation landscaping and two educational workshops regarding stormwater issues and solutions. $5,000.
Edgewater Beach Citizens Association, Inc.: for the removal of invasive species using goats and community engagement. $5,000.
Plastic Free QAC, Inc.: for a series of informational events regarding the effects of plastic pollution on waterways and reusable bags as a better alternative to plastic bags. $4,420.

Watershed Assistance Grant Program

November 2019

Arundel Rivers Federation: for design and permitting of the Quiet Waters Park Caffrey’s Run stream restoration project. $102,807.
Baltimore County Soil Conservation District: for design and permit submission of the Western Run and Deadman Run stream restoration project. $161,600.
Cecil County, Maryland: for design of a stream restoration and sand filter project at Cecil County Public Schools Administrative Services Center and design of a tree planting at Bayview Elementary School. $183,890.
Chesapeake Rivers Association: for design of the Anne Arundel SPCA ecological restoration project, including stream restoration, wetland, marsh, and living shoreline components. $120,000.
City Neighbors Foundation: for the design of stormwater management practices at City Neighbors Charter School. $38,850.
The Community Ecology Institute: for the development of an ecological master plan and design of stormwater management practices at the Community Ecology Institute’s farm. $65,000.
Eden Korean United Methodist Church: for design of stormwater management practices on the church’s grounds, including a bioretention, rain gardens, a rainwater harvesting system, and an infiltration berm. $22,203.
Harford Soil Conservation District: for design and permitting of the stream restoration and riparian buffer components of the Carey Branch headwater restoration project. $110,000.
Prince George’s County, Maryland: for design and permitting of the Carey Branch headwater restoration project. $75,000.
ShoreRivers: for the development of the Wye Mills Action Plan to identify prioritized stormwater management and green infrastructure opportunities within the Wye Mills Community. $30,818.
ShoreRivers: for design and permitting of a stream restoration project at Foster Farm in Church Hill, Maryland. $44,927.
ShoreRivers: for design and permitting of a stream restoration project at Hickman Farm in Kent County, Maryland. $95,000.
Southeast Community Development Corporation: for the design of stormwater management practices at Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School. $29,163.

Outreach and Restoration Grant Program

November 2019

Gunpowder Valley Conservancy: for the removal of asphalt, the installation of two micro-bioretention practices, the installation of an outdoor teaching area, and educational workshops. $75,000.
ShoreRivers: for a two-year program to engage and activate faith organizations of any denomination in environmental education to their congregations, and ultimately environmental stewardship action. $74,958.
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: to educate local Harford County residents, community groups and faith-based groups about the importance of trees and forested landscapes for water quality and quality of life. $74,901.
City Neighbors Foundation: for the implementation of four stormwater Best Management Practices, the removal of impervious surface, and the development of associated environmental education curricula. $74,741.
The Church of the Redeemer: for the removal of an asphalt parking lot to be replaced with bioretention, pervious paving, and native plants, trees, and shrubs. $74,043.
Lower Shore Land Trust
: to develop an invasive species management model program within Wicomico County that will be transferrable to other counties building a framework for mapping invasive species on County property and extending outreach to landowners and community groups. $72,069.
Urban Ecosystem Restoration, Inc.: to convert approximately 3,838 square feet of turf to conservation landscaping in the Lakelands HOA and provide multiple modes of educational outreach to 465 members of the Gaithersburg community. $66,629.
Baltimore Tree Trust: for the Fells Point Gateway Tree Project to plant a “gateway” of trees along Eastern Avenue and Fleet Street in Baltimore to create a green corridor running parallel to Patterson Park and the waterfront. $66,331.
Howard EcoWorks: for planting trees and shrubs and associated educational events to encourage homeowners to convert turf grass to more functional systems. $50,856.
Port Tobacco River Conservancy: for the construction of an outdoor classroom shelter and the enhancement of stormwater control best management practices. $51,000.
Gunpowder Valley Conservancy: to conduct formative social marketing research for motivating businesses to install rain gardens and microbioretention practices on their properties. $50,000.
The Ocean Foundation: expand our successfully pilot tested social marketing campaign in Chesapeake Bay tributaries throughout Maryland to improve recreational boating practices in the presence of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). $49,979.
Canton Canopy: for creating tree pits, planting trees, and maintaining trees in the sidewalks along Fait and Linwood Avenues, as well as community volunteer events in Baltimore City’s Canton neighborhood. $38,900.
Institute for Local Self-Reliance: for support of the Baltimore Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders Composter Training Program. $30,000.
Civic Works, Inc.: for support of a certification-based stormwater management training for 10 Baltimore City residents from historically marginalized communities. $30,000.
Patterson Park Audubon Center: for support of the Audubon’s Avian Ambassadors for Baltimore, Birds, and the Bay program. $30,000.
University System of Maryland Foundation- The Environmental Finance Center: for support of the Stormwater Management Residential Action Framework and Outreach project. $30,000.
Gunpowder Riverkeeper: for a countywide outreach campaign to curb stormwater pollution using online/print communications, social media, and events. $30,000.
Friends of Patapsco Valley Heritage Greenway, Inc.: to conduct at least 10 stream cleanups, 4 invasive plant removals, 2 native shrub and tree plantings, and storm drain labeling to reduce the amount of pollution and increase the native tree canopy in Elkridge. $29,998.
Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, Inc.: for support of the revival of the Harris Creek Connected group to utilize their collective actions to inspire a cultural shift of environmentalism as it relates to cleaner water and neighborhoods in Baltimore City. $29,995.
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake: to assist in restoring BMP projects as well as educate 6 to 8 congregations to maintain these BMPs. $29,943.
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake: to facilitate restoration projects at congregations in Salisbury through a multi-session workshop.  The course will foster greater understanding of local water-quality challenges. IPC will work with Lower Shore Land Trust on restoration projects. $28,347.
Anacostia Riverkeeper: for a microplastic monitoring and outreach program in the Anacostia watershed. $27,819.
Howard County Conservancy: The Howard County Conservancy will work with county partners to reduce pesticide use, encourage planting of native plants and become a certified Bee City. $27,816.
Nanticoke Watershed Alliance: for an outreach campaign with poultry farmers about alternatives to mowed grass for improved stormwater management. $26,695.
Alice Ferguson Foundation: to provide training for Charles County residents and organizations to monitor and provide detailed data on the waste entering the Charles County waterways. $22,784.
Lower Shore Land Trust: for support of the project “Engaging Faith-Based Communities in Stewardship and Restoration” for rain barrels, cisterns, native garden, and educational workshop supplies at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church of Salisbury. $20,207.
United Workers Association (United Workers): The core of this program will be developing and disseminating a citywide Zero Waste Plan in collaboration with Baltimore Office of Sustainability and Zero Waste Associates. $20,000.
Clean Water Fund: for support for the Testing Methods for Communicating Best Practices for Living on Septic project. $19,927.
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake: to train congregations within the City of Gaithersburg to educate 60-100 people about watershed restoration. $15,038.
Wicomico Environmental Trust: for a water quality testing program that engages the citizens, is led by trained scientists, and supports the City of Salisbury and Wicomico County watershed restoration goals. $15,000.
Columbia Association: for invasive species removal, native perennial plantings, 300 tree planting, and to install 500 live stakes along eroded stream banks. $15,000.
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake: for a leadership development program to increase the impact of the faith community on Chesapeake Bay Watershed improvements. $14,466.
Nanjemoy-Potomac Environmental Coalition, Inc.: school students will design a reusable bag to distribute throughout the community at grocery stores and community events and present their reusable bag program to government and non-governmental representatives. $13,510.
Department of Natural Resources: for native trees and shrubs planting, workshops, and signage at a publicly accessible location at Bloomfield Farm. $9,499.
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake: for support of the Green Team Leadership Development Program, educating 100 people about watershed restoration in Baltimore City. $9,298.
Wicomico Public Library: to create a StoryWalk along the Riverwalk in Salisbury to increase childhood physical and ecological literacy. $7,853.
Baltimore Community ToolBank: for the education of business owners and property managers in Baltimore City on sustainable stormwater practices. $4,500.
Stone Gate Town House Community Association: for workshops covering stormwater management and bay-wise Gardening in the Association. $4,255.

Anne Arundel County Community Planting Mini Grant Program

September 2019

Annapolis Landing Homeowners Association: for native tree planting, invasive species removal, and increased tree canopy. $2,500.
Arundel Rivers Federation: for planting in West Shoreham community to aide runoff and water filtration. $1,465.
Magothy Meadows Homeowners Association: for removal of invasive species diseased trees and native tree planting. $2,500.
Olde Severna Park Improvement Association, Inc.: for spraying of invasive phragmites on community property. $800.

Community Engagement Mini-Grant Program

September 2019

Chestertown Garden Club: for a native pollinator garden and tree planting with community volunteers. $2,793.
Cross Keys Condominium #1: for Baltimore City waterways workshops and the value of native pollinator plants and engagement of volunteers in a conservation landscaping project. $4,908.
Riva Trace Council: for the installation of a native plant pollinator garden and education regarding the value and function of native plants and treating stormwater runoff. $4,910.
Town of Emmitsburg: for the distribution of 117 rain barrels and two educational workshops regarding the challenges and solutions associated with stormwater runoff. $5,000.
Town of New Market: for a rain barrel education workshop and distribution of 40 rain barrels to workshop participants. $2,400.
Volunteering Untapped Incorporated: for a community clean-up in Druid Hill Park and the Druid Heights neighborhood. $4,700.

Capacity Building Initiatives

September 2019

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: for the enhancement of communications systems in place and increasing management capacity. $15,778.
Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park: for technical capacity building to support upgrades at the Eastport and Back Creek campuses. $11,307.
Anne Arundel Watershed Stewards Academy: for consultant support to devise a strategic plan. $17,490.
EcoLatinos, Inc.: for the enhancement of adaptive and technical capacities to support diversity, equity and inclusion work. $12,000.
Gunpowder Valley Conservancy: to increase leadership capacity and develop a financial plan to diversity revenue sources. $15,293.
Harford Land Trust, Inc.: for developing communications and database upgrades to support the technical capacity. $17,180.
Havre de Grace Maritime Museum: for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Alliance to create an adaptive development plan. $13,000.
Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, Inc.: for work with a development consultant to create a sustainable and robust plan. $16,500.
National Wildlife Federation: for technical and leadership support for the Young Professionals of Color program through the Choose Clean Water Coalition. $29,960.
Northern Virginia Conservation Trust: for technical capacity support to upgrade multiple systems for donor relations and employee use. $14,541.
Potomac Conservancy: for diversity, equity, and inclusion capacity building through a local consultant. $25,000.
Rock Creek Conservancy: for technical capacity enhancements relating to volunteer outreach and engagement of a broader audience. $7,750.
West Virginia Rivers Coalition: for capacity building support to increase revenue and leadership capacities. $15,000.

Environmental Education Mini Grant Program

September 2019

Anacostia Watershed Society: to remove invasive plants and plant native wildflowers to restore 1 acre of meadow habitat along the river. $5,000.
Baltimore Polytechnic Institute: “Canoe and scoop” water quality field experience. $2,500.
Baltimore Urban Debate League: for native plant and tree installment and pollution outreach for 8th graders in 2 schools. $5,000.
Bethesda Green: for student participation in the Bethesda Green Environmental Leaders Program. $5,000.
Broadway High School: for investigation of water quality and user issues by doing a bottom grab invertebrate investigation and a qualitative measurement study. $290.
Catonsville Elementary School: for field trips on the Patapsco River. $2,375.
Cecil County Public Schools: for a Cecil Manor Elementary School outdoor experience at North Bay. $5,000.
Diakon Child, Family & Community Ministries: for field trips including the Kings Gap Environmental Education Center, Wildwood Park Nature Center, the Susquehanna River and the PA State Legislature. $3,260.
Dunloggin Middle School: to establish a better riparian buffer with tree plantings. $4,020.
Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s Sassafras Environmental Education Center: for elementary grades to participate in stream cleanups and create artwork. $4,537
Easton High School: for AP Environmental Science students to research and implement capstone projects with industry mentors. $3,700.
Edward M. Felegy Elementary School: for a comprehensive program engaging students about meadow restoration along the Anacostia Watershed. $2,653.
Elk Neck Elementary School: for an outdoor experience at North Bay. $4,154.
Friends of Deckers Creek: to hold a four-part education event for the Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club and kayaking field trip. $4,921.
Green Muslims: for the “Our Deen (Faith) is Green” youth outdoor education program, taking place at Hard Bargain Farm in Accokink, MD, and Whitehall Farm in Clifton, VA. $5,000.
The GreenMount School: for garden and wildlife habitat study with trash clean-up in area stream buffers and streets. $5,000.
Henrico Education Foundation: to provide field trips with the James River Association for 150 students. $5,000.
Immaculate Conception School: for watershed research and field experience with Prigel Family Creamery and Conowingo Dam. $5,000.
James River Association: for participants of the Tuckahoe YMCA and Quioccasin Middle School’s STAR program to explore and understand their local watershed through field trips. $5,000.
James River Association: Elizabeth Redd Elementary School’s 5th grade will participate in an in-class lesson, field trip to Presquile National Wildlife Refuge, and a Paint Out Pollution stewardship project. $5,000.
Kent Island High School: for implementation of an outdoor classroom. $5,000.
Key School: for the creation of an environmental sculpture on plastic pollution. $5,000.
Lacey Spring Elementary School: for professional development training for up to 25 teachers about the Chesapeake Bay and restoration. $3,750.
Live It Learn It: for Audubon Naturalist Society field trips by right 5th grade classes with a garbology-focused action project. $5,000.
Loch Raven Technical Academy: 6th grade biosystems field investigation at Camp Puh Tok. $5,000.
MacArthur Middle School: for 330 8th graders to visit Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and install a rain garden. $2,250.
Mary Moss @ J. Albert Adams: for construction of a green house, grow native plants, and expand a rain garden on campus. $4,750.
Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education: to develop teacher training program for Project Learning Tree. $5,000.
Montpelier Elementary School: for student participation in a field experience at Patuxent Research Refuge and install a rain garden on their school grounds. $3,975.
Mountainside Education and Enrichment, Inc.:  for stormwater mitigation education activities for Friends Meeting School. $3,530.
One Montgomery Green: for student participation in the Clean Headwaters Program. $5,000.
Park School of Baltimore: for students to study poultry farming and soil ecology. $4,996.
Park School of Baltimore: for student study of plankton, false-dark mussel filtration rate and efficiency and comparison to oysters in varying Inner Harbor conditions. $4,968.
Rivanna Conservation Alliance: for 200 students to investigate local water pollution issues, monitor water quality, and implement an action project. $4,985.
Skyline High School: for water quality field trips and monitoring by 150 9th-12th graders. $5,000.
Spring Grove Area School District: for a wetland and watershed field trip by 8th grade science students. $2,864.
The Summit School: for sixth through eighth grade students to participate in a Roedown Farm field experience. $4,240.
University of Mary Washington: for professional development training of 20 4th-6th grade teachers on watershed curriculum development and integrating science and literacy. $5,000.
Viers Mills Elementary School: 4th grade field experience and action project on school grounds. $5,000.
Village School: to take student pollinator gardens from concept to fruition, by designing, and installing pollinator gardens for the dual purpose of improving water quality and providing a diverse habitat. $1,178.
Wicomico County Board of Education / Public Schools: for 130 middle schools to engage in outdoor experiences leading to on-campus projects. $2,085.

Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns Program

September 2019

Lancaster Farmland Trust: to catalyze the adoption of farm conservation practices, document the current state of conservation plans on farms, and assess any barriers to the implementation of those plans. $100,000.

EPA Conowingo

September 2019

University of Maryland College Park: for the establishment of a Watershed Implementation Plan innovative financing system. $309,814.

Goatscaping: Clearing Invasive Species Never Looked So Cute

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Invasive kudzu engulfs the left side of this picture while the goat cleared area on the right shows the improvement made.

By Kristina Arreza
Chesapeake Bay Trust Communications Intern

Maintaining and enhancing its community areas is one of the primary responsibilities of the Edgewater Beach Citizens Association for the Edgewater Beach Shaded section community. The community is a small neighborhood of 53 homes. In the communal area of several acres a park, picnic area, and an active pier with boat slips are the backdrop for 36 goats from Browsing Green Goats. Why you may ask? In the little nook located on South River from Park Avenue to Edgewater Beach Drive lies tangles of invasive Kudzu vines engulfing and suffocating the existing native trees and plants. Kudzu has destroyed natural riparian vegetation along the banks of Beards Creek and South Park River, causing instability and erosion of sediment which fills the South River. Known as an overpowering vine, Kudzu can suffocate trees at the crown when engulfed which, result in rotting roots.

Mary Bowen, invasive species control specialist and founder of Browsing Green Goats, has mastered the innovative technique of tackling weeds in a sustainable matter. “Goats can graze in hard to reach places that machines usually miss; such as slopes, wetlands, and rough terrain areas.” Goats also eat poisonous plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, and knotweed to name a few. Additional benefits of goat browsing include the natural fertilizer source of their excrement and their ability to till the soil with their hooves which break down clumps and large mounds of soil for a better surface to plant new trees. They have made significant progress. According to John Greene, project leader for the Edgewater Beach Citizens Association (EBCA), “the goats cleared almost an acre in the first 24 hours!”

This project was funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s (Trust) through the Community Engagement Mini-Grant Program. This grant program is designed to connect residents throughout Maryland in activities that enhance communities, engage residents, and improve natural resources. A few of these activities include tree plantings, rain gardens, stream cleanups, storm drain stenciling, and yep, removal of invasive species. The Trust seeks to reach groups that have traditionally been under-served in tackling environmental issues and new applicants and organizations from a diverse array of communities.

Before the Trust’s approval of the Edgewater Beach Shady Side Community project, Mr. Greene said that the plants were “too powerful for the toxic and environmentally unfriendly herbicides or from removing the vines by hand.” Completion of the invasive removal was slated for Summer 2020, however, the goats have made a significant impact in their short period spent in the area. After this phase of the project, maintenance will include identifying crowns (root systems) and treating those crowns with approved chemicals for removal. Further maintenance of the entire park area is conducted by residents throughout the year. The EBCA was able to accumulate $2,500 towards this project alongside an additional $2,500 in donations to complete the eradication of kudzu.

The Arundel Rivers Federation (ARF) aided in raising awareness and publicity for the rest of the Edgewater Beach Shaded community to be educated and involved in this portion of the project. In the second phase, ARF intends on hosting a kayak trip with area neighbors and the South Riverkeeper – to inform them about native riparian plants and their importance to the river. Additional opportunities for outreach include anticipated services from Annapolis area high schools – including the Annapolis High Key Club. The project intends to educate students about the issue of invasive plants and river health.

Recently, the community and their project was featured in the Edgewater Patch. Read the full story here.

Blogging About Plogging

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We’re showcasing the unique experience of participating in the Chesapeake Conservation Corps by sharing profiles of Corps members of the 2019-2020 cohort along with information on their host site and descriptions of the work they have been doing.

Karlis Grauze (right in picture) is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in Philosophy. He has previous experience working with Howard EcoWorks, Anacostia Watershed Society, and the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Karlis joins the 10th-anniversary Chesapeake Conservation Corps cohort position with Patapsco Heritage Greenway (PHG). PHG aims to preserve, protect, and restore the environment history, and culture of the Patapsco River Valley. Karlis will lead GIS work about the Patapsco River Valley to help engage the Spanish-speaking community who use Patapsco Valley State Park, help with environmental stewardship events, and educational outreach to local schools.

In support of his host site’s outreach mission, Karlis helped introduce plogging to the popular Patapsco Trail Fest which took place mid-September.  The concept of plogging is still relatively new to the United States. It evolved from the European #plogga or #plogging and derives from the Swedish “Plocka upp” and jogging. Plogging combines the recreational act of jogging/running (or even hiking) with environmental stewardship (i.e. picking up trash) along the way. The weekend combines many different events including mountain biking, climbing, paddling, hiking, and trail runs, as well as many other recreational and stewardship activities for adults and families alike, making it the perfect test “plog” for the concept.

PHG is the ideal organizing partner focusing on the overall participation and enjoyment of all partakers representing all the user groups of Patapsco Valley State Park. Advanced planning for the event included mapping a wooded trail route with signage to enable participants to go at their own pace while still completing a full loop around the park. The Fest awarded prizes for the (1) fastest time, (2) greatest amount of trash, and the (3) weirdest item found.

Expectations were guarded as this was the first time plogging was introduced at the Fest. However, plogging drew a dedicated crowd who set the standard for future growth and has inspired planning and marketing for more plogging events in the spring. “We hope that combining recreation and environmental stewardship in different ways will help us reach a larger audience and give participants new and fun experiences,” stated Karlis. Participants collected several full bags of trash around the river along with 3 tires. The weirdest item found ended up being what is thought to be a large piece of an old motorcycle of some sort. One of the participants hauled this heavy piece back to the finish line, dog in hand!

For future events, organizers will increase marketing efforts to engage a wider audience and increase the number of participants. Trail Fest was a pilot for the planned X-Treme Cleanup series which will feature kayak and bar crawl clean-ups. Thank you to Karlis Grauze for an innovative addition to a popular event keeping it fresh and fun for all who attended!

Interested in finding out more about plogging? Check out this great video from the PBS News Hour here.

ShoreRivers + REALTORS = Water Wise and River Friendly Homeowners

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The Chesapeake Bay watershed offers a lifestyle unmatched elsewhere, however, waterfront property ownership comes with special responsibilities. ShoreRivers recently held a half-day workshop to educate area REALTORS on resources to help them take the lead with residential buyers and sellers and their waterfront homes. “One of the intents of this workshop as to educate Chesapeake Bay REALTORS on how they can be part of the solution to prevent nutrient pollution and it’s resulting algae blooms and fish kills….something that is becoming way to common in other waterways,” said Matt Pluta, director of riverkeeper programs for ShoreRivers.

From yard fertilization to living shorelines, members of Bay Area Association of REALTORS and Mid-Shore Board of REALTORS packed the Chesapeake College classroom to learn about safe, effective, and sustainable methods for improving landscapes and water quality. ShoreRivers’ Riverkeepers updated the group on the conditions and threats posed to the Choptank, Sassafras, Chester, and Miles rivers. Environmental planners from Talbot, Queen Anne’s, and Dorchester counties discussed the laws surrounding protection of all land within 1,000 feet of Mean High-Water Lines of tidal waters, landward edge of tidal wetlands, and all waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Attendees learned about the causes and impacts of algal blooms, water quality threats, bacteria monitoring, the economic value of river friendly yards, laws relating to buffers and critical area protection, and homeowner resources.

What can residents do to keep our local streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay clean and healthy? Slow down surface water runoff. Homeowners can do their part by planting a conservation landscape, rain garden, or trees on their property. They can install rain barrels or cisterns to capture runoff from their roof. They can also replace traditional pavement with permeable pavers that allow the runoff to soak into the ground. These practices not only help improve water quality, they also beautify the property and can save homeowners money on water and heating/cooling bills.

And of course, lawns. The University of Maryland Extension suggests “fertilizer-free and pesticide free lawns are the best choice for the environment. Both time and money can be saved by reducing the frequency of fertilizing and applying pesticides. Slow release and low or no phosphorous fertilizers are optimal to promote a healthy environment.” Over-application of fertilizer and pesticides on lawns contributes to large amounts of excess nutrients in our rivers.

Everyone’s ability and responsibility to minimize adverse impacts on water quality, reduce pollutants and runoff, protect fish and wildlife habitat, and bring our treasured resource and lifestyle amenity back to its best health was the resounding message throughout the day. And while the information-packed focus of this professional development workshop was the Eastern Shore, much of the training is replicable in other areas of Maryland. The University of Maryland Extension reminds us that “most Maryland residents live within a half-mile of a storm drain, stream or river. Most of those waterways eventually drain into the Chesapeake Bay. What we do to maintain our own landscapes can affect the health of our local waterways, the Chesapeake Bay and our environment.”

This workshop was funded by a grant through the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Outreach and Restoration Grant Program. The Trust’s mission to promote public awareness and participation of all local residents in the restoration and protection of our region’s natural resources includes engaging new audiences and partnering with organizations, like ShoreRivers, who recognize the importance of sharing best practices that increase the inclusion of all local residents in the ongoing effort to educate, engage, and restore our natural resources and communities. Thank you ShoreRivers for your innovative idea, logistical planning, and hard work in not only making this event a success but also providing a grass roots outline for others to use!

 

Chesapeake Conservation Corps Perspective: Olivia Wisner

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On August 20th, the Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC) will graduate 31 members from 28 host sites and welcome the programs 10th class, with 37 new members assigned to 32 host sites. Created by the Maryland General Assembly in 2010, the CCC provides career and leadership training for young people interested in environmental careers. The insights gained from graduating corps members can shape the potential for environmental science and industry in the future. We are pleased to share Olivia’s (pictured left teaching a 5th grade class) experience here:

As a native Marylander, the Chesapeake Bay has always been an iconic natural resource. Growing up I was taught by outstanding environmental educators, and was fortunate enough to spend every summer with my family crabbing, canoeing, and camping at Janes Island State Park. My early experiences in nature shaped my subsequent education and career interests. I graduated from University of Maryland Baltimore County with a B.S. in Environmental Science, where I learned about the natural processes that take place within the watershed. But it’s been my time with the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland (CBNERR-MD) that’s taught me the most about the Chesapeake Bay.

I came to CBNERR-MD in August 2019 as a Chesapeake Conservation Corps Member. The Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC) is a professional development program managed by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, providing budding environmental professionals with a year of hands-on full-time experience working with non-profits or organizations that aim to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. I’m glad to have been stationed with CBNERR-MD because of their three unique component sites: Jug Bay, Monie Bay, and Otter Point Creek. I’ve had unforgettable experiences at all three sites, growing my perspective of the Bay as a whole.

Within my first month with CBNERR-MD, I had the opportunity to expand my horizons at Jug Bay. Straddling Prince Georges and Anne Arundel Counties, Jug Bay is a freshwater tidal marsh located along the Patuxent River. I was invited to help Melinda Fegler of the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary with Snakehead monitoring; the infamous invasive fish from Asia. In the early morning we boarded an electrofishing boat and spent hours scanning the edge of the water looking for Snakeheads. We removed five that day, and I scooped the largest one.

My involvement with the Shoring Up Resiliency through Education (SURE) program, allowed me to further explore the realm of environmental education. SURE serves teachers and students surrounding the Monie Bay component of CBNERR-MD. I’ve visited parks, marinas, and schools to help support Somerset County Public School system as they develop an environmental literacy curriculum. This has been an exciting project because I’ve been exposed to the behind the scenes efforts of environmental education.

As my Corps experience is winding down, I’ve had the opportunity to give back to CBNERR-MD through my CCC capstone project at the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center at Otter Point Creek in Harford County. I worked closely with Park Manager Kriste Garman and Park Naturalist Lauren Greoski to design a space, called the Nature Discovery Area, where young visitors can learn about nature through play. It was installed in late June with the help of my fellow Corps Members.

My time as a Corps Member with CBNERR-MD has truly exceeded my expectations. I feel lucky to have worked with an amazing organization, in beautiful locations, doing important work for the Chesapeake Bay all over Maryland.

 

 

Many Hands – Working Together – Transform a Neighborhood

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Community leaders, partners and supporters came together recently to celebrate the completion of a vacant lot restoration in the neighborhood of Druid Heights, Baltimore.

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) was awarded $66,451 in May 2018 to revitalize a vacant lot in a priority area of the Baltimore City Office of Sustainability’s (BCOS) Green Network Plan, which identifies significant locations for recreation, greening, and other community amenities. Revitalizing vacant properties with green space not only provides environmental and social benefits, but also signals that the community is reclaiming their neighborhood by creating spaces to exercise, convene, play, and learn.

For the past 6 years, the Druid Heights Community Development Corporation (DHCDC) has attempted to address the lack of open space and connection to nature in this area. The McCulloh Street lot was one of the priority locations identified because of its central location within a highly populated area as well as its large size, both of which will maximize the potential for positive communal gathering, and outdoor appreciation and activity. “You took a lot where people were throwing garbage and dumping and you turned it into a place where children and others can come and feel a little bit of life,” said Congressman Elijah Cummings who spoke at the event.

The NWF partnered with the DHCDC and their “Green Thumb Club” on this project and received an award through the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Green Streets, Green Towns, Green jobs (G3) program. The goal of the Chesapeake Bay G3 Grant Program is to help communities develop and implement plans that reduce stormwater runoff, increase the number and amount of green spaces in urban areas, improve the health of local streams and the Chesapeake Bay, and enhance quality of life and community livability. With funding from the Trust and the BCOS, the work began in Spring 2019.

“85% of Americans live in cities and towns across the country. But so do two-thirds of our wildlife. So, it’s incredibly important that we create green spaces like this; that clean our air and water, that provide habitat for birds and butterflies, and also create spaces for our community to gather and our kids to play,” said Jen Mihill, regional executive director, National Wildlife Federation.

The families on McCulloh Street did not have easy access to green spaces or recreational areas, and the high density of occupied housing units on this street provides a captive audience for engagement around environmental stewardship, with the nature space as a venue and inspiration for environmental action. This project directly engaged over 50 community members, with over 200 residents benefiting from their work. “Creative play outside is the biggest single factor determining whether kids grow up to care about the environment and natural resources,” stated Ms. Mihill.

And as community leaders and supporters repeated during tours of the newly installed gardens and play space, “it’s a positive space. A positive place for positive people doing positive things. You can’t get any better than that.”

Elementary School Leads the Way in Stormwater Management

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By Shannon Taylor
Chesapeake Bay Trust Summer Intern

With large campuses full of green fields for kids to play in, elementary schools such as James Craik Elementary School (JCES), are great places to implement stormwater management. The students there are proud to call themselves a certified Maryland Green School. Along with incorporating environmental subjects into their curriculum, the staff of JCES, with assistance from the Port Tobacco River Conservancy, implemented stormwater management programs on their grounds in order to limit their school’s rainwater, sediment, and nutrient runoff into the downstream Port Tobacco Creek: one of ten major tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay in Charles County.

The project addresses stormwater flowing from the school grounds, including runoff from roofs and parking lots, that ultimately enters Port Tobacco Creek. This project installed a 16,000 square foot bioretention best management practice (BMP) to capture stormwater from these impervious surfaces. It also features 1,000 native plants, including plants that are attractive to pollinators.

During storm events, rainwater flowing off the elementary school’s parking lot once emptied directly into the school playing fields and ultimately into the nearby Port Tobacco Creek. The bio retention BMP, however, diverts water through a descending path of river stones, and native vegetation to create a natural filter for rainwater runoff, allowing the majority of the stormwater to infiltrate at the bioretention feature and to allow clean, filtered water to make its way into the Port Tobacco Creek.

James Craik’s principle Michelle Beckwith is excited for the students to “have the opportunity to learn about and study, hands on, the ecosystem.” This project, she says, “will also help them learn about the importance of water conservation, and the beauty of nature”, as well as “provide a change of scenery” and “fresh air” to the students.. The Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT), Charles County, Michelle Beckwith, and Julie Simpson recently met at the project onsite during the annual kickball game at the school in May.  “This project is an excellent example of how stormwater management can be artistically designed while providing important function and treatment in a highly visible location, perfect for educating young students,” says Sarah T. Koser, Senior Program Officer at CBT.

Thanks to both the Port Tobacco River Conservancy and James Craik Elementary school for their commitment to cleaning up the Chesapeake’s tributaries.

The Asbury-Broadneck United Methodist Church Restoration Project Keeps Historic Cemetery Safe from Stormwater Runoff

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By Chante Goodger,
Chesapeake Bay Trust Spring Semester Intern

Headstones would float as the stormwater runoff flowed from an uphill park into the historic African American church’s cemetery, where civil war soldiers as well as Harriet Tubman’s descendants are buried.

This has come to an end at the Asbury-Broadneck United Methodist Church (ABUMC) cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland. The Chesapeake Bay Trust, through the Anne Arundel County Watershed Restoration Grant program, awarded ABUMC and project partner the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay funding so that they would be able to finally fix the issue. “The historical and cultural context of this project make it that much more unique and important as it reflects a direct-action response to embracing environmental restoration and diversity and inclusion in natural resource management,” said Randy Rowel, Jr., Asbury Broadneck United Methodist Church Stormwater Disciple.

According to Abbi Huntzinger, Maryland Restoration Program Manager for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, “This project was truly transdisciplinary project approach with engineers, landscape architects, and also archeologists in case there were remains found during construction.”

Restorative work began in November 2018 and has been completed; with a unique step pool conveyance system, an imbricated channel, and one more step pool that drains out into a mowed wetland which was originally a grass wetland. “The church members did the planting,” said Ms. Huntzinger. And to do so, church members sought certification through the Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy. Additionally, the church funded and built the bridge entrance to the cemetery grounds.

In fact, before the current church was built there was another church which burned down during a fire in the 1900’s. “All of the burial records of who was buried here were lost in the fire,” says Ms. Huntzinger.  Consequently, that made it difficult to pinpoint where the restorative team would site the project without disturbing the “forever residents of the cemetery.”

As a  further preventative, the restoration team upgraded existing stormwater management practices at the Broadneck Park so that the stormwater would filter through the larger stones and the smaller stones, in the swale. The rocks in the swale prevented the water from running off into a nearby house’s backyard which led into the cemetery.

The area is now thriving with thousands of tadpoles, dragon flies, wetland plants and the grave sites are secure as you walk around the historic African American church grounds. “This project is about planting seeds in our community to show them the great positive aspects of connecting with nature, restoring nature, and preserving our communities of colors legacy,” remarked Mr. Rowel.

In 2017, the Capital Gazette newspaper covered the origination of the project and interviewed church members on their incredible efforts to solve the problem. Read the full story here.

Chesapeake Bay Trust Announces $3,941,976 in Grant Awards from May 2019 Board of Trustees Meeting

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Annapolis, MD
–  The Chesapeake Bay Trust approved 129 grants totaling $3,941,976 to enable a wide range of organizations to implement on-the-ground restoration and education projects and programs. Four times each year, the Trust’s board of trustees announce their grant approvals helping local non-profit organizations, schools, community groups, local governments and municipalities through a variety of outreach and restoration techniques. In the fiscal year 2018, the Chesapeake Bay Trust awarded more than $13 million in grants.

“More and more first-time applicants are entering into the environmental grant arena, along with groundbreaking projects and forward-thinking partnerships, that will not only benefit communities of the watershed but catapult environmental mindfulness to new audiences and new locations,” said Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “We take our role as fiscal manager very seriously and work hands-on with our grantees to get as many valuable projects as possible in the ground and moving forward.”

ABOUT THE AWARDS:

The Community Engagement and Restoration Small Grant program is designed to engage new applicants and organizations from a diverse array of communities in small-scale projects that enhance communities, engage residents, and, ultimately, improve natural resources. This program provides funding to groups that have traditionally been under-engaged with environmental issues and to provide to applicants who may not be experienced in applying for grants.

Nine awards totaling $37,729 were made to:

Church of the Guardian Angel, Town of Emmitsburg, Alleghany County Commissioners, Baltimore Museum of Art, NeighborSpace of Baltimore County, Inc., National Aquarium, Annapolis Maritime Museum and Park, Holy Communion Lutheran Church, and No One Left Unhelped, Inc.

The Pre-k-12 Environmental Education Award Program provides accessible funds of up to $5,000 to schools, organizations, and agencies to support educating students about their local environment and how they can have a positive impact in their community, making them stewards for the environment. Projects involve students investigating a local environment issue, problem, or phenomenon through indoors and outdoor research culminating in developing solutions and taking action in their school or community.

Forty-six awards totaling $177,622 were made to:

Colonial Virginia Council, BSA, The William J. Watkins, Sr. Educational Institute, Inc., Village School, Anacostia Watershed Society, Viers Mills Elementary School, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, John Poole Middle School, Mountainside Education and Enrichment, Inc., Stemmers Run Middle School, Key School, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, The Summit School, YMCA of the Chesapeake, Lacawac Sanctuary, Friends of the Rappahannock, One Montgomery Green, Graham Road E.S. Fairfax County Public School System, Dance Exchange, Boxerwood Education Association, Hollifield Station Elementary School, Susquehanna Heritage, Grasonville Elementary School, Endangered Species Coalition, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Wind Dance Farm & Earth Education Center, St. Joan of Arc School, Wilderness Leadership & Learning, Inc., Northern Garrett High School, Richmond Waldorf School, Prince George’s County Public Schools / William S. Schmidt Outdoor Education Center, Dunloggin Middle School, St. Martin of Tours, James River Association, Sparrows Point Middle School, Church Hill Elementary School, Potter County Conservation District, Sandusky Middle School, Chesterfield County Public Schools, Capital City Public Charter School, Saint Ignatius Loyola Academy, Penns Valley Area School District, Lacey Spring Elementary School, Baltimore Lab School, Thomas Johnson Elementary School, and Hamilton Elementary Middle School #236.

The Anne Arundel County Community Tree Planting Award Program is designed to increase the number of trees planted in Anne Arundel County, and to engage Anne Arundel County residents in tree planting activities that raise public awareness and participation in the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers.

2 awards totaling $5,000 were made to:

Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church and Magothy River Middle School.

The Chesapeake Conservation Corps Mini Award Program provides resources to young adults in the Chesapeake Conservation Corps program so that they may learn about how to apply for, and manage grants as they begin their environmental careers.

Twenty-eight awards totaling $33,535 were made to:

Arundel Rivers Federation, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Susquehanna Heritage, ShoreRivers, Howard County Recreation & Parks, Natural & Historic Resources Division, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, Inc., Town of Edmonston, National Wildlife Federation, C&O Canal Trust, Inc., Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, Inc., The Nature conservancy, Living Classrooms Foundation, Adkins Arboretum, Western Maryland Resource Conservation & Development Council, Patapsco Heritage Greenway, Inc., Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Environmental Concern, Uptown Metro Ministry Group / Presbytery of Baltimore, Audubon Maryland – DC, University System of Maryland Foundation – The Environmental Finance Center, Friends of Otter Point Creek Alliance, and the Central Baltimore Partnership.

The Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Award Program improves communities, water quality in County waterways, and engages County residents in stormwater issues with funding to support on-the-ground restoration activities specific to Prince George’s County.

One award totaling $12,700 was made to:

Center for Watershed Protection.

The Restoration Research Award program’s goal is for scientific teams to answer several key restoration questions that serve as a barrier to watershed restoration  project implementation.

Six awards totaling $903,848 were made to:

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc., University of Maryland College Park, Exponent, Tetra Tech, Inc., and Center for Watershed Protection, Inc.

The Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns Award program helps communities develop and implement plans that reduce stormwater runoff, increase the number and amount of green spaces in urban areas, improve the health of local streams and the Chesapeake Bay, and enhance the quality of life and community livability. This program supports design projects, financing strategies, and/or implementation of green street projects.

Twenty awards totaling $1,015,972 were made to:

James River Association, City of Portsmouth, Cambridge Main Street, City of Hyattsville, Wrightsville Borough, Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, Inc., Town of Laurel, Baltimore Tree Trust, The 6th Branch, Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, City of Martinsburg, WV, City of Ranson, Borough of Marietta, Bon Secours Unity Properties, Rock Creek Conservancy, Center for Watershed Protection, Inc., City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Neighborhood Design Center, Mount Clare Community Council, Sandtown South Neighborhood Alliance, and Conservation Foundation of Lancaster County.

The Outdoor Learning Network Initiative Award pilot program is a capacity building and funding opportunity for high-need school districts within the Chesapeake Bay region to build the partnerships and skills necessary to effectively advance local environmental literacy goals.

Two awards totaling $120,000, over a two-year period, were made to:

Conestoga Valley School District and Cacapon Institute.

The Watershed Assistance Award program was established to support the panning, design, and programmatic development associated with protection and restoration projects that lead to improved water quality in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Maryland portion of the Youghiogheny watershed, and the Maryland Coastal Bays.

Five awards totaling $300,000 were made to:

Prince George’s County, Maryland, Howard County Recreation & Parks, Natural & Historic Resources Division, Town of Betterton, and Center for Watershed Protection, Inc.

The Anne Arundel County Forestry and Forested Land Protection Award program’s goal is to implement cost-effective reforestation and greening projects and increase the number of acres of protected forested land in Anne Arundel County. By increasing tree cover and expanding green areas, erosion can be reduced =, water and soil quality can be improved, airborne pollutants can be filtered, and summer temperatures and resulting ozone pollution and energy can be reduced.

Two awards totaling $218,042 were made to:

Arundel Rivers Federation and Fishing Creek Farm HOA.

The Anne Arundel County Watershed Protection and Restoration Award program was established to support watershed restoration projects and programs that reduce pollutants through the implementation of watershed restoration practices. Projects in this program accomplish on-the-ground restoration that treat rainwater runoff from impervious surfaces and/ or demonstrate the accomplishment of another metric that aids Anne Arundel County in meeting local water quality and runoff reduction improvement goals.

Six awards totaling $1,117,528 were made to:

Arundel Rivers Federation, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake Rivers Association, and Annapolis Roads Property Owners Association.

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About the Chesapeake Bay Trust: The Chesapeake Bay Trust (www.cbtrust.org) is a nonprofit grant-making organization established by the Maryland General Assembly dedicated to improving the natural resources of Maryland and the Chesapeake region through environmental education, community engagement, and local watershed restoration. The Trust’s grantees engage hundreds of thousands of individuals annually in projects that have a measurable impact on the waterways and other natural resources of the region. The Trust is supported by the sale of the Chesapeake license plate, donations to the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund on the Maryland State income tax form, donations from Maryland’s online boating, fishing, and hunting license system, contributions from individuals and corporations, and partnerships with private foundations and federal, state, and local governments. The Trust has received the highest rating from Charity Navigator for fourteen years: 92 percent of the Trust’s expenditures are directed to its restoration and education programs.