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December 14, 2012

Governor O’Malley Announces Stream Challenge Winners

by Martha

Grant program to seek second round of applicants

Student tree plantings, such as this one, are one of the many projects to be funded through the Stream Challenge.

Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the winners of the Stream Restoration Challenge, a new grant program through which the State and its partners plan to establish 1,000 acres of forested stream buffers in Maryland by 2015. The program will provide up to $6 million to help local governments, school systems, and non-governmental organizations carryout projects to improve Chesapeake Bay water quality and create service learning and environmental literacy activities for students.

“I would like to thank the groups that submitted Stream Restoration Challenge proposals to help restore our streams, rivers and our prized Bay through on-the-ground projects and educational programs,” said Governor O’Malley. “This initiative also raises awareness on the importance of protecting our water quality by teaching all of us that making smarter, greener, more sustainable choices is vital to a better future.”

The State selected 29 of 34 proposals submitted from across Maryland to receive funding, not only to establish critical streamside forests, but to engage and educate nearly 13,000 students in every phase of the restoration process. The proposals were chosen based on how effective, efficient and economical they would be ─ and which would support the most student participation. DNR plans to release a second request for proposals in early 2013 to continue to help interested organizations carryout projects that will meet Bay restoration and Maryland Environmental Literacy goals. The grant recipients have been notified and have expressed their excitement and enthusiasm in getting the projects underway.

“In addition to the enhancement of the Sassafras River Watershed, the proposed restoration offers a wealth of environmental, science and service learning opportunities to both the students and communities of Kent County,” said Former Representative Wayne T. Gilchrest, program director of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, a grant recipient.

“This grant will help us to continue to be pioneers in the State of Maryland in terms of the environmental education we provide to the 78,000 children we educate every day,” said Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, superintendent of Anne Arundel County Public Schools, a grant recipient. “We will be addressing the most critical ecological need in the Chesapeake Bay watershed ─ healthy riparian stream buffers.”

“We look forward to engaging more than 60 students in choosing appropriate native trees and shrubs for this project, measuring and marking the planting location, planting the buffer, and monitoring the health of the trees,” Christina Abrams, a Frederick County middle school teacher, said of the County’s proposal being chosen.

The grant program has been established under Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green and Growing Initiative (SGG), launched in 2008, to engage every Marylander in the State’s efforts to create a more sustainable future ─ one that recognizes the inherent connection between our quality of life, our economy and our environment.

SGG brings together state agencies, local governments, businesses and citizens to create more livable communities, improve transportation options, reduce the state’s carbon footprint, support resource based industry, invest in green technologies, preserve valuable resource lands and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

The funding for the grants is made available through the Chesapeake & Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund. More information on Governor O’Malley’s Stream Restoration Challenge, is available at dnr.maryland.gov/trustfund/streamchallenge.

A list of grant recipients is located here.

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