Annapolis, MD – Today, the Chesapeake Conservancy applauded the Obama Administration for including $37.8 million in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget to fund land conservation across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, which could conserve over 7,500 acres. It will be up to the Congress to ensure that the funds for all of these projects are appropriated.
A significant driver for the Chesapeake’s listing in the President’s budget was the Rivers of the Chesapeake Collaborative Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) proposal. Of the $37.8 million in the budget, $33.3 million is directly tied to the Rivers of the Chesapeake proposal, which was one of eight collaborative landscapes included in the budget. The Chesapeake Conservancy served as a lead nonprofit partner in this proposal, which focuses on the great rivers of the Chesapeake Bay; the Potomac, Rappahannock, James, Nanticoke, and Susquehanna Rivers and their watersheds.
In recent years, state and federal funding for land conservation have been on a downward trend. For example, until December 2014, the Chesapeake had not received significant federal-side funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund since 2011. Over the past six years the vast majority of funding has gone to projects in the west, such as the Crown of the Continent in Montana, which received approximately $100 million during that time. Rivers of the Chesapeake is one of two eastern landscapes chosen for funding this year.
Rivers of the Chesapeake Collaborative Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was a bipartisan proposal with resounding support from four governors, including Governors Terry McAuliffe (VA), Martin O’Malley (MD), Tom Corbett (PA) and Jack Markell (DE), nine U.S. Senators, 17 U.S. Representatives, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., Virginia House Speaker William Howell, and more than 30 nonprofits and American Indian Tribes and Nations. Critical to the proposal is the concept that all partners will work together and contribute resources to achieve a larger collective impact, which will protect more land.
Source: Chesapeake Conservancy