ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland’s Howard County has been awarded a nearly $2 million grant to help protect a section of the Chesapeake Bay’s vast watershed.

County executive Calvin Ball says the $1.8 million will be dispersed over years through the state’s Clean Water Commerce Act grant.

“I remain committed to ensuring Howard County is a leader on environmental progress and our dedicated employees work hard every day to keep our watershed clean. I want to thank the Governor and the Maryland Department of the Environment for this grant, as well as the Howard County Department of Public Works for their efforts to guard our fragile ecosystem,” said Ball. “Our county makes up part of the 18 million people who live in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and we all depend on it for clean water and food. This grant helps ensure that we can all live healthier lives and better protect a treasured natural resource.”

The money will be used to develop strategies to slash nutrient pollutants from treated wastewater entering the watershed.

The county’s public works department has requested budget authority for $750,000 for the grant’s first year.

Ball says the funding can help “ensure that we can all live healthier lives and better protect a treasured natural resource.”

The Chesapeake Bay is the nation’s largest estuary and has a roughly 64,000-square-mile watershed.

“Along with stormwater, septics and agriculture, waste water treatment plants are a key source of nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay,” said Joshua Feldmark, Director of the Howard County Office of Community Sustainability. “This grant allows Howard County to continue our practice of using every available tool in every sector to maximize our commitment to preserving and restoring the Bay.”

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