As reported in the Chestertown Spy (August 18, 2020) and excerpted:
Three years ago, six jurisdictions on the Eastern Shore teamed up with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to develop a system to increase their ability to conduct Bay restoration work – and make priority environmental projects more attractive for grant funding.
In July, the new effort paid off when the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced a $300,000 grant award for projects throughout five of the jurisdictions. Property in Talbot and Queen Anne’s counties, the towns of Easton and Oxford, and the city of Cambridge will benefit from the grant, which was awarded through DNR’s Trust Fund.
The award represents a major milestone for the “circuit rider” program supported by CBF Senior Regional Watershed Services Manager Tom Leigh, who worked closely with the Shore localities to identify environmental projects they needed funding to put in place. By working together, Leigh and the jurisdictions were able to use one application, one grant manager, and one contractor to apply for and plan the projects—a process that if done individually by each jurisdiction would have taken significantly more resources. This was the first time a circuit rider program like this one had been attempted anywhere in the state.
“Working directly with Tom Leigh through the circuit rider program, Queen Anne’s County was able to realize stormwater reduction goals identified in its Watershed Implementation Plan,” said Michael Wisnosky, Queen Anne’s County Director of Planning and Zoning. “Without this partnership, the funding and ability to implement these best practices on public and private lands would not have occurred within the foreseeable future. Tom’s ability to assist the County to identify specific environmental projects and to pool resources between jurisdictions has been extremely valuable, and we look forward to continued opportunities to join forces.”
Among other projects in the County, the turf grass areas in Whitemarsh Park will be transformed with trees, shrubs, and meadows. The contractor working on the projects funded by the DNR grant is Delmarva Resource Conservation & Development, a locally-owned nonprofit in Cambridge, MD.