WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (all D-Md.) announced $1,937,953 in federal funding to enhance shoreline restoration and coastal resiliency at the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park. This funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Emergency Coastal Resilience Fund (ECRF) will be directed to the St. Mary’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation to combat ongoing shoreline erosion and flooding issues and habitat deficiencies associated with the park to better protect this coastal community treasure.
“As climate change contributes to the acceleration of the erosion of our shorelines and harm of our ecosystems, we must invest in the preservation of our local treasures,” said Senator Van Hollen. “The Piney Point Lighthouse is a historic beacon on the Chesapeake and its surrounding wetlands are equally important to environmental and cultural conservation. These funds will help preserve the Lighthouse and Historic Park to ensure their viability for years to come. We will keep working to protect and invest in the Bay as a key driver of regional recreation and economic growth and a critical priority for the environment.”
“I led the successful effort to reauthorize the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in part because the organization is a key partner in helping Maryland build resiliency in the face of intensifying climate change, and this investment is a prime example of its value,” said Senator Cardin. “This grant will help stem the erosion that increasingly threatens one of Southern Maryland’s most recognizable sites and important cultural hubs, ensuring that future generations of local residents and visitors have the opportunity to experience the unique Piney Point Lighthouse and Museum.”
“The funds announced today represent a victory for St. Mary’s County coastal communities as we work to make our state and nation more resilient in the face of a changing climate,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Maryland has been impacted by an increasing trend of extreme weather patterns, causing severe storms, flooding, and putting our local ecosystem at risk. With this funding, we can make our communities more durable to the impacts of a warming climate, recover faster from damages brought by climate change, and protect our precious wildlife. I was glad to work with my colleagues to grant this funding through the Fiscal Year 2021 disaster supplemental appropriations package and will continue to work alongside them to address the existential threat posed by climate change to our communities and economy in Maryland’s Fifth District.”
Piney Point Lighthouse and Museum is a six-acre passive marine park situated on a peninsula adjacent to the main stem of the Lower Potomac River where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Potomac River. Along with its attraction as a cultural monument, it draws considerable resident and tourist traffic in the summer months. The banks and shoreline area of the Piney Point Museum have been eroding significantly, resulting in 20 feet of the beach having been lost. While the park does flood during large storms, both the lagoon side and the historic lighthouse side experience active erosion that threatens the nature of the park and the structures presiding on it. With these federal funds, along with a local match of $132,730, St. Mary’s County will provide a resilient and functional shoreline to the community and construct approximately 1,100 feet of living shoreline and enhance 0.63 acres of tidal wetland to combat ongoing shoreline erosion issues and habitat deficiencies associated with the park.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Emergency Coastal Resilience Fund was established to increase the resilience of coastal communities located within federally declared disaster areas impacted by hurricanes and wildfires. The fund supports conservation projects that strengthen natural systems at a scale that will protect coastal communities from the future impacts of storms, wildfires, and associated natural hazards while improving habitats for fish and wildlife species.