The West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Inc., received two grants totaling $173,120 to fund living shoreline projects protecting more than 600 linear feet along the West and Rhode Rivers. The projects were funded by the Living Shoreline Grant Program, a partnership of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Maryland Department of the Environment, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The Trust and funding partners received more than $1,000,000 in requests which are competitively reviewed and evaluated by an independent technical review committee. Of the total amount requested, $516,000 was available in funding during this round of the program.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity that the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the State of Maryland and NOAA have given us to manage these projects,” said Jeff Holland, who started serving as Riverkeeper and Executive Director of the West/Rhode Riverkeeper on January 1. “That we received a full third of this grant round’s funding says a lot about what a great job our Restoration Coordinator, Joe Ports, has been doing on projects just like this all around the two watersheds, along with former Riverkeeper Chris Trumbauer. Joe is a former volunteer with the Trust’s Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program and has been a vital asset to our restoration work.”
One of the new projects will protect more than 550 feet of shoreline along the Rhode River at YMCA Camp Letts, the other will protect more than 50 feet along the West River at the Chesapeake Yacht Club, Holland explained. “That one, in particular, will replace an existing bulkhead and will serve as a showcase for best management practices that can be adopted by waterfront property owners anywhere,” he said. Living shorelines use native plants, sand and stone to replicate a natural marsh that both prevents erosion and provides habitat for turtles, crabs and other creatures.
“The Chesapeake Bay Trust works with hundreds of committed grantees like West/Rhode Riverkeeper who are out in the field every day working to improve their communities and local rivers and streams,” said Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “We are so pleased to award these funds and we look forward to the implementation of these projects that will benefit the public and our natural resources.”
The Riverkeeper serves as the eyes, ears and voice for the West and Rhode Rivers. West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Inc., is a non-profit organization based in Shady Side and dedicated to working with local communities to promote restoration, advocate for better environmental policy and enforce environmental law. Founded in 2005, the organization is governed by a Board of Directors that comprises 10 community leaders, just some of the many volunteers who contribute energy and expertise to projects like monitoring water quality, planting trees and aquatic vegetation, and cleaning up trash. The organization works closely with the 18 other independent Waterkeeper groups in the Chesapeake area, and it’s a licensed member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international movement with nearly 200 membership organizations worldwide.