Reporting Alex DeMetrick
HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. (WJZ) — Finding money to clean the bay continues to be an uphill struggle.
Alex DeMetrick reports the federal government is shaking some cash loose, which is setting off a scramble by local governments.
Beneath the lighthouse at Havre de Grace, representatives of local governments signed in for a piece of $4 million.
“We have plenty of projects on the shelf in need of funding,” said Harford County Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti.
The catch is those projects must also help improve the bay. The EPA is providing the $4 million in grants to be distributed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
“Greening each of their community infrastructure projects so that they’re meeting the needs in their community but also helping local creeks and streams and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay,” said David O’Neill, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Some of that infrastructure is obvious and big, like improving wastewater treatment plants. Other projects are smaller, like tying in a new hard surface like a road or school with trees and green spaces to absorb runoff from cement and asphalt, and extending those buffer zones right down to the waterline to slow erosion with new plant growth.
There’s only one catch. The $4 million will be spread out over the entire watershed. That’s five states and 1,800 government agencies.
“I think the competition will be fierce. Municipalities and counties, we all need money to do these kinds of infrastructure projects,” Lisanti said.
And $4 million will not be enough to go all around the bay.
The federal grants will range from a low of $20,000 to a cap of $750,000.