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Grant Announcement -- Chesapeake Bay Riparian Forest Initiative

Carol M. Browner
Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Grant Announcement -- Chesapeake Bay Riparian Forest Initiative

Remarks Prepared for Delivery
March 19, 1997
Annapolis, Maryland

Thank you, John Griffin.  I salute you for all of the great work you’re doing here in Maryland to protect public health and the environment.

Governor Glendening, it is a great pleasure to be here on the banks of the beautiful Severn River to take another step toward restoration and protection of this national treasure we know as the Chesapeake Bay.

Today, I am delighted to announce EPA funding for three projects aimed at planting trees and restoring vegetation as a means of reducing pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The largest of these grants -- $150,000 -- will go to the State of Maryland for a reforestation project in the Anacostia River watershed.  This project is among the first to fulfill something called the Riparian Forest Buffer Initiative, which was adopted last fall by the Chesapeake Executive Council, on which the Governor and I serve.

Through this initiative, 2,010 miles of waterside vegetation -- trees and other plants -- will be restored by the year 2010.  By doing that, we will be expanding the shoreline buffers that are so critical to reducing water pollution and restoring the health of the Chesapeake.  Research has shown that trees can reduce pollutants in surface water and groundwater by up to 98 percent before it enters the Bay.  In addition, trees hold the soil in place, thereby stabilizing stream-banks and reducing erosion.  They add to the beauty of shoreline areas.  And they provide a habitat for many species of plant and wildlife.

Unfortunately, nearly half of the streamside and bayside forests that once existed are now gone.  Bringing them back is going to be a considerable challenge.  But we believe that planting trees and other vegetation along the Bay and its tributaries is one of the most effective things we can do to improve water quality in the Chesapeake -- as well as a common sense and cost-effective way to address the Bay’s pollution problems.

In addition to the Anacostia watershed grant to the State of Maryland, EPA will be providing two smaller grants to restore trees and other vegetation along a tributary to the Little Paint Branch -- also in the Anacostia watershed -- and in an area adjacent to Longwell Run in Carroll County.

The money comes from a $4.5 million dollar fund that EPA received from the Exxon Valdez oil spill settlement -- money that we are authorized by Congress to use for environmental restoration projects of this kind.

We believe that -- with the help of the State of Maryland, other federal agencies and community organizations -- this money can go a long way toward restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

Governor Glendening, I salute you for your commitment to preserving the Chesapeake Bay for future generations.  Working together, I know that we can continue our progress toward reducing pollution and restoring water quality in the Bay to what it once was.

I want you and everyone else to know that our administration is committed to doing our part to plant trees and other vegetation in streamside and bayside areas.  The fact we are here on federal property today is no accident.  The federal government owns and manages some 1.6 million acres of land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  And the trees that you and I plant here today will represent a new start in federal land management -- and particularly a new commitment toward restoring waterside forests on federal land.

Thank you.  Governor, the floor is yours.