On Friday, December 2nd, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced over $33 million in grant awards to support restoration and conservation work in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Representatives from NFWF and the EPA shared news of the 104 total grants to a group of local leaders and community members at Truxtun Park, Annapolis, MD.

Of the $33.8 million, the Alliance was awarded $4,049,092 million across nine individual awards. The funding will allow for innovative clean water solutions through the Alliance’s Forests, Agriculture, Green Infrastructure, and Stewardship and Engagement programs in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington DC, Deleware, West Virginia, and New York.

In addition to the $4 million received through the awards, the Alliance brings $4,729,901 million in matching funds from state, corporate, and foundations, plus community-sourced cost-share and in-kind services. That’s over $8.7 million for clean water in our Chesapeake Bay watershed communities!

Thank you to our partners and generous funders for making this work possible!


Learn more about the awards

Jump Starting Organic Valley’s Dairy Sustainability Strategy in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The Alliance has partnered with Organic Valley, the largest dairy cooperative in the United States, to provide cost-effective practices to manage agricultural runoff, improve water quality and wildlife habitat, and fight climate change on organic dairy farms in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and New York.

Data to Concept: Envisioning the Chesapeake Capacity Builders Institute

Building off of the Chesapeake NGO capacity assessment and framework conducted by the Alliance and the Choose Clean Water Coalition, the Alliance and the Coalition will take this framework from data to concept for a Chesapeake Capacity Builders Institute (the Institute). This Institute will efficiently leverage the skills and capabilities of known capacity builders to address gaps and scale up restoration outcomes through enhanced partnership and coordination.

Healthy Parks, Healthy Streams, Healthy People: Green Infrastructure Improvements to Blackwell Playground

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and its partners seek to implement green infrastructure practices to enhance athletic and recreational improvements at Blackwell Playground in the Blackwell neighborhood in Richmond, VA. This project will improve water quality in this highly urbanized, impervious area by creating a community asset featuring urban stormwater BMPs that capture and treat stormwater runoff, create wildlife habitat, and reduce heat island impacts while improving Blackwell’s climate resiliency. As an often overlooked community, engagement by trusted community partner Southside ReLeaf will be integral to this project. They will facilitate the incorporation of community members throughout each project phase to ensure long-term success. This will be the first project of its kind in the Richmond area and showcase how green infrastructure can improve athletic amenities like ball fields, sports courts, and trails.

Accelerating Riparian Forest Buffer Implementation in the Mason Dixon Region

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, in partnership with the local Maryland Soil Conservation Districts and Pennsylvania Conservation Districts, Maryland Forest Service, Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry, NRCS, and other federal, state, and local partners, will develop and pilot a conservation incentive program that accelerates the adoption and establishment of riparian forest buffers by agricultural producers in Carroll, Frederick, Washington Counties in Maryland and Adams, Franklin and Cumberland Counties in Pennsylvania by addressing the specific conservation needs of their whole farm operation.

Expanding, Streamlining, and Diversifying Forest Buffer Stewardship through the Riparian Rangers Volunteer Program

Riparian forest buffer plantings are a crucial component of the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort and a high priority for every jurisdiction in the watershed. Planting trees is only the beginning of successful riparian forest buffer establishment; to become a forest, these plantings need regular tending and monitoring, which are tasks that many agencies responsible for planting buffers do not have the capacity to complete. To help fill this gap and engage communities more deeply with this work, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (Alliance) created the Riparian Rangers volunteer stewardship program in 2019. The Alliance proposes to expand this program in Maryland and Pennsylvania by training 100 new volunteers, growing three new regional Branches, and engaging three new DEIJ-focused organizations in this work. This proposal aims to grow the volunteer base while diversifying it by involving a wider variety of environmental, volunteer-focused organizations.

Opening Barn Doors for Clean Water and Healthy Cows

This project primarily addresses Priority 1: Managing Agricultural Runoff and Priority 2: Improving Water Quality & Stream Health Through Riparian Restoration & Conservation. Specifically, this project will “manage upland agricultural runoff through farm-scale conservation systems and solutions” and “restore riparian and freshwater habitats through the installation of forested buffers and livestock exclusion.” The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay will work with project partners to assist farmers with developing conservation plans that prioritize installing agricultural best management practices on dairy farms. 

The Alliance will leverage existing partnerships with the Maryland Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA), Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (VA DCR), and Virginia’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VA SWCDs) to engage the corporate community to implement these practices and promote sustainably sourced dairy products.

Accelerating Conservation in Maryland Through Corporate Sustainability Initiatives

The Alliance will partner with the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) and the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to leverage state, federal and private funding to support MDVA dairy producers in implementing conservation practices on their operations.

Through their partnership with Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA), the Alliance has learned that dairy producers willing to accept state cost-share dollars have been limited by remaining costs expected to be paid by the farmer. The Alliance seeks to secure additional funding to support MDVA dairy producers in maximizing the Maryland Agricultural Cost Share Program (MACS) to install BMPs in their operations. This proposal will complement the MACS program so that farmers have the opportunity to install BMPs that they would otherwise not be able to afford, thus reducing sediment and erosion from leaving their operations and ultimately improving water quality in the tributaries that lead to the Chesapeake Bay.

Planning for Impact with Dairy Farmers of America

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (Alliance), in collaboration with TeamAg, Inc (TeamAg) and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), will complete six preliminary concept plans for agricultural best management practices (BMPs) for DFA producers located in south-central Pennsylvania. These plans include engineering cost estimates and designs for BMPs that improve water quality and will be utilized to apply for grant funding for BMP implementation.

Outcomes-Based Model for Accelerating Pollutant Reductions

The Alliance and partners will pilot the project in three Maryland Phase I MS4 jurisdictions (Anne Arundel County, Harford County, and Charles County) and four Pennsylvania jurisdictions (Lancaster County, Lebanon County, York County, and Franklin County). The Alliance will work with partners and landowners to implement at least 115 acres of riparian forest buffer and upland reforestation projects, and agricultural BMPs with at least 12 dairy farmers, including field soil health practices, barnyard stabilization, heavy use areas, grassed waterways, manure storage facilities, and other practices.

Click here for more information and to read the full press release!