NORFOLK, Va. — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is giving a $40 million boost towards efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay.
The agency made the announcement Monday, saying it is the first part of $238 million targeted for the region over five years under the bipartisan infrastructure law passed last year.
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the country and third-largest in the world, stretching from Havre de Grace, Maryland, to Virginia Beach.
With more than 18 million people living within the Bay's watershed, the funding will help tackle issues, such as water pollution and climate change, that affect people and wildlife alike.
In a statement, EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe said the money will go towards projects aimed at protecting people's health, improving the water quality and restoring lands, rivers and streams impacting the Bay.
How will the funding be allocated?
$25 million will be managed through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Chesapeake Stewardship Fund, which helps local communities clean up and restore their polluted rivers and streams.
This part of the funding will be awarded competitively to communities, non-profit groups, conservation districts and others for projects and plans. Specific projects are expected to be announced in September.
The other $15 million will go to the six states within the watershed (Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia) and the District of Columbia under a program called the Most Effective Basins (MEB).
This part of the funding will largely support farm-based actions to improve rivers and streams in places most beneficial to the downstream Bay.
Lastly, another $7.8 million will be used mostly for competitive grants for on-the-ground restoration projects.