Chesapeake Conservancy Applauds $5 million in Federal Funding for Delmarva Conservation

Funding Part of the New USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)

Annapolis, MD – Today, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced millions in Federal funding as part of the new USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  The Chesapeake Bay is one of eight Critical Conservation Areas designated by the Secretary and will receive a total of approximately $19 million under this provision of the RCPP.

Included is $5 million for a public-private conservation partnership in the Delmarva region.  The federal funding will be leveraged with millions of dollars worth of contributions from partners.

The Delmarva Whole System Conservation Partnership—From Field to Stream will use a science-based approach to improve water quality through advanced nutrient management practices and restoring, enhancing, and protecting natural filters and expand wildlife habitat by enhancing, restoring, and protecting high quality wetlands and buffers.

The Chesapeake Conservancy will contribute meaningful resources and expertise to the RCCP Partnership, including precision analysis and high-resolution data needed to implement the project. This data will help ensure that best management practices are done at the right place at the right time and will be used to identify key wildlife and wetland areas.

“The Delmarva RCPP funding is an important investment for the Bay restoration and conservation movement,” Joel Dunn, executive director, Chesapeake Conservancy said.  “This program will leverage new technology to support water quality and wildlife objectives on a landscape scale.  We are overdue for this type of collaboration and innovation.”

The Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay is a core focus area for the Chesapeake Conservancy.  In 2014, working with federal, state and philanthropic partners, the Chesapeake Conservancy protected a series of high priority properties for conservation and public access along the Nanticoke River corridor, a vital area of the Delmarva peninsula.  The Chesapeake Conservancy was subsequently given a $1 million REPI Challenge award from the Department of Defense to protect additional properties in 2015.

The Chesapeake Conservancy has been pursuing large landscape conservation goals for the 64,000 square mile watershed and recently hosted The National Workshop on Large Landscape Conservation (NWLLC) in Washington, DC in an effort to bring greater attention to the Chesapeake.  Additionally, they co-created the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership and is a lead advocate for state, federal and private conservation funding.

A complete list of the RCCP projects is available here.

The Delmarva Whole System Conservation Partnership is led by The Nature Conservancy and the Delaware-Maryland Agribusiness Association. It is made up of over 30 agricultural, conservation, higher education, federal, state, and local partners working across the Delmarva.