The Chesapeake Bay Trust, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, announced in June that $1,058,720 has been awarded to support 13 “green infrastructure” projects in the Chesapeake Bay region.

The money will help communities in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia reduce polluted stormwater runoff, increase green spaces in urban areas, reduce energy use and improve water quality in streams and rivers that flow toward the Bay. The projects also aim to create jobs and support environmental conditions that protect human health.

Green infrastructure, including a healing garden and bioretention basins landscaped with over 5,000 native plants and shrubs, treats stormwater pollution from five acres of impervious surface on the campus of MedStar Harbor Hospital in Baltimore in May 2019. Credit: Will Parson / Chesapeake Bay Program

The funds are derived from the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns Initiative, which was started by the EPA in 2011 and expanded into a partnership program. To date, the program has supported 245 projects and invested $14.4 million into greening communities.

“Green infrastructure projects are one of those rare win-win-win scenarios: They improve communities in various ways, they improve human health, and they also benefit our waterways,” said Jana Davis, president of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “This program lets us take advantage of projects communities want to do for themselves that also benefit the larger natural system way downstream.”

One of the projects in Chambersburg, PA, uses $150,000 to help reduce stormwater runoff flowing into Conococheague Creek and associated flooding and stabilize stream banks. The stream corridor’s habits will improve with pollinator gardens, vegetated streamside buffers, and invasive species removal.

In Romney, WV, a grant of $118,555 will filter stormwater by retrofitting a large parking lot and adjoining streets with bioswales. The goal is to reduce the impacts of runoff on a stream that flows into the South Branch of the Potomac River.

The Druid Heights Community Development Corp. will use a $29,998 grant to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff going into the Jones Falls in Baltimore. A community-envisioned greening plan will incorporate trees, bioswales, and other stormwater management facilities.

In Petersburg, VA, the James River Association received $118,146 to manage stormwater and improve water quality in the Lakemont community through the Nash Street grassy swale project.

Other projects will take place in York and Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania and the Maryland communities of Columbia, Emmitsburg, Galena, Glen Echo, Millington, Mount Rainier, and Preston.

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