Alliance Receives Over $2 Million in Grants from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Funding will be used to build partnerships for cleaner water across the Chesapeake watershed

Annapolis, MD (December 4, 2018) The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has awarded over $2 million of funding to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (the Alliance) to build partnerships for cleaner water and healthier ecosystems across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Alliance was awarded $1 million for a project in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, $1 million for a project in Richmond, Virginia, and was written into another $1 million grant with Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake.

The $1 million grant award for the Alliance’s Lancaster, PA office will support dairy farmers in meeting their sediment and nutrient reduction goals through a collaborative public-private partnership between the Alliance, Turkey Hill Dairy, and the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (Maryland & Virginia). The funding will build on an existing partnership with Turkey Hill and Maryland & Virginia to support farmers who are providing milk to Turkey Hill in meeting their conservation goals, thereby improving local stream health. Beginning in January of 2018, Turkey Hill instated a premium payment for all farmers providing dairy products to obtain conservation plans and implement all necessary practices on their farm. The project will provide farmers with the technical and financial assistance necessary to meet Turkey Hill’s commitments for sustainable milk production. The clean water partnership will provide 75% cost share assistance to farmers implementing conservation practices.

The Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership is focused in Lancaster County and surrounding central Pennsylvania counties within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This project is the first of its kind in bringing together the private and public sectors, with the private sector (Turkey Hill Dairy) asking the public sector (local dairy farmers) to obtain a conservation plan and implement best management practices for the health of Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams.

In Virginia, the Alliance will use the $1 million grant to accelerate the reduction of stormwater pollution entering Richmond’s waters by developing a Green Infrastructure Master Plan that will focus on identifying green infrastructure projects on public lands in the City of Richmond for future implementation. The green infrastructure projects will focus on reducing impervious surfaces, reducing stormwater volume to the combined sewer system, and reducing stormwater pollutants entering the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The Alliance will partner with the City of Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities (RDPU) to expand and accelerate the goals and mission of the RVA H2O regional partnership. This project will implement green stormwater management practices to capture and treat polluted stormwater runoff on public lands including Richmond Public Schools, in three watersheds within the city of Richmond. The focus of this project will be on developing a comprehensive green infrastructure master plan that promotes converting impervious surfaces to pervious surfaces, planting trees and native plants, installing bioretention, permeable pavement systems, and various other innovative green stormwater practices that will reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, and stormwater volume entering streams flowing to the James River. The plan will cover all public lands in the three most heavily polluted watersheds identified in RVA-H2O’s Clean Water Plan, Cannon’s Branch/Shockoe Creek, Gillie’s Creek, and Manchester Canal/Goose Creek.

Through our partnership with RVA H2O, the Alliance will work with Richmond city departments to institutionalize green infrastructure as a priority consideration during planning and management of projects on city-owned land. The Alliance will work with RDPU and RVA H2O to develop a green infrastructure master plan that will prioritize the reduction of impervious surfaces and implementation of green stormwater management practices in the three target watersheds. The interdepartmental coordination and collaboration among RVA H2O will aim to develop long-term policy changes that prioritize cleaner water faster.

The Alliance’s Pennsylvania State Director, Jenna Mitchell, says, “We are so inspired by the Clean Water Partnership, and Turkey Hill Dairy and Maryland & Virginia’s leadership within the dairy industry. The Alliance is excited to further support producers in achieving their conservation goals, and we ultimately hope this project will inspire a culture of conservation within the industry.”

“The Alliance is excited about this opportunity to continue to advance our partnership and work with the City of Richmond. We fully support the mission of RVA H2O, and look forward to advancing our goals through the continued collaboration made possible with this grant.” The Alliance’s Virginia State Director, Nissa Dean, says, “We are grateful to National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for their support of this project. Their funding will help us bring to fruition a project that we have envisioned with the City for some time.”

DPU Deputy Director Jennifer Hatchett says, The City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities is proud to partner with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to achieve the goals of the RVAH2O Clean Water Plan. The Alliance was a true partner of the collaboratively developed Plan and has a long history of implementation of stormwater practices that reduce runoff and educating the public about ways they can help localities improve local waterways. This Green Infrastructure Master Plan will help inform Richmond as we seek to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff in our most urban areas. We are excited for the opportunity to work together to achieve Cleaner Water Faster!”

Download full press release here.