The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), together with the Chesapeake Bay Trust, has announced that more than $640,000 in grant funding has been awarded to 15 projects throughout Montgomery County. The projects are part of the Montgomery County Watershed Restoration and Outreach Grant Program that funds public outreach and stewardship projects, community-based restoration water quality implementation projects and litter reduction projects in the Anacostia River Watershed.
Announcement of the awards was made at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg. Among the speakers at the event were Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich; Maryland State Delegates Kumar Barve, Jim Gilchrist and David Fraser-Hidalgo; and Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Local neighborhood groups, faith-based organizations and nonprofit organizations received support ranging from $9,571 to $90,000.
“These awards provide funds directly to Montgomery County organizations and communities for projects that will help clean our air and water,” said DEP Director Adam Ortiz. “These projects as we pivot to a “new normal” during the pandemic in which focusing on our environment and working safely are priorities.”
Established in 2014, the initiative supports projects and programs that improve communities and water quality in Montgomery County through public engagement, education, and on-the-ground restoration projects.
The announcement of grant winners was made at a site showcasing the power of the grant program. The site was the permeable paver parking lot at the Christ the Servant Lutheran Church. The recently completed project was funded in 2020 is an example of the win-win nature of the work for community and environment. At the site, 4,000 square feet of impervious surface was replaced with permeable pavers, which will prevent thousands of gallons of runoff into watersheds and help the church with its infrastructure needs.
Since inception, $2.8 million has been awarded through the grant program, allowing 1,059 trees to be planted; 5,634 students, teachers and volunteers to be engaged in environmental stewardship; and 36,268 square feet of impervious surface to be removed. Projects included public outreach; stewardship and community-based restoration efforts such as planting native plants and trees, promoting green infrastructure practices, training programs, removing impervious surfaces and trash trap maintenance and monitoring.
Funding for the projects was made possible through Montgomery County’s Water Quality Protection Charge. The Chesapeake Bay Trust, a regional grant-maker specializing in engagement of not-for-profit entities in restoration and outreach work, is supported through sales of the Chesapeake Bay vehicle license plates. It administers the grants for Montgomery County, similar to programs it manages for 11 other jurisdictions.
The 2021 Montgomery County Watershed Restoration and Outreach Grant Program awardees:
- Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: $90,000. For green infrastructure practices and a watershed outreach project.
- Anacostia Riverkeeper: $30,242. For Sligo Creek water quality monitoring.
- Anacostia Riverkeeper: $50,000. For trash trap maintenance and monitoring.
- Anacostia Riverkeeper: $62,000. For green infrastructure practices at two sites in the Anacostia Watershed.
- Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, Inc.: $20,836. For a watershed stewardship engagement project for Latino/Latina/Latinx communities.
- Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, Inc.: $29,983. For a conservation landscape training program for Latino, Latina and Latinx residents.
- Bannockburn Community Club. $50,000. For an impervious surface removal and green infrastructure project in Bethesda.
- Casey Trees: $75,000. For a street tree project that will plant 240 trees.
- Friends of Sligo Creek: $60,061. For green infrastructure practices at the Carolyn Condominium in Silver Spring.
- Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (IPC). $9,571. For a virtual watershed restoration training program.
- Little Falls Watershed Alliance: $30,000. For an innovative water quality monitoring project using autonomous environmental robots.
- Little Falls Watershed Alliance: $32,635. For a permeable paver project in the Overlook Community in Bethesda.
- National Wildlife Federation: $49,953. For a native plant outreach project for the faith-based community.
- Potomac Riverkeeper Network: $29,998. For delivery of a watershed stewardship and pollution awareness campaign.
- University of Maryland System Foundation: $20,000. For a green infrastructure design plan for the Glenwood Recreation Club in Silver Spring.
For more information about Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection, go to https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dep/.