Green infrastructure program to help protect, restore Chesapeake Bay

Green Streets, Green Towns, Green Jobs Initiative expansion was announced with $3.4M by Maryland, EPA and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

BALTIMORE, MD, Sept. 9, 2013 -- The expansion of the Green Streets, Green Towns, Green Jobs Initiative (G3) was announced on Wednesday, Sept. 4, by the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley due to a joint investment of $3.4 million by the state of Maryland, EPA and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

The G3 grant program, administered by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, helps support President Obama's Executive Order for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay. Its purpose is to help municipalities and nonprofit organizations support projects that add green space and reduce stormwater runoff by using green infrastructure practices that increase tree canopy, capture and filter rainwater, and improve watershed protection, community livability and economic vitality.

EPA and the Chesapeake Bay Trust created G3 in 2011 to support projects that reduce stormwater runoff through the creation of "green streets." A green street is one that minimizes the environmental impact of a roadway by practices such as reducing the amount of water that is piped directly into streams and rivers; creating rain gardens; installing urban tree canopy; using energy efficient lighting; and encouraging pedestrian and bicycle access. Green streets also provide aesthetic and economic benefits.

"Supporting investments in green jobs and green infrastructure is critical in our effort to help our economy, protect the environment, and reduce carbon pollution," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "EPA's expanded partnership with the state of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay Trust will support projects to improve water quality and economic vitality in the region through the G3 program. This funding provides another example of Governor O'Malley's innovative leadership when it comes to meeting the state's commitments to restoring local waters and the Bay."

Maryland's $3 million investment comes from the urban tree canopy allocation in the State's FY '14 Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund which is administered by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. EPA is providing $300,000, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust is providing $100,000 for G3 projects bringing the total of available funding to $3.4 million over the next two years. By creating a one-stop shop, this collaboration will more effectively maximize resources and target funds, while reducing the administrative burden on local governments.

"We are very pleased to partner with the EPA and the Chesapeake Bay Trust in the G3 Initiative, which supports local greening efforts that improve our neighborhoods and our environment, and create green jobs," said Governor O'Malley. "Through this partnership we are making a significant investment in Maryland communities that will further our progress toward three critical goals: restoring our Bay, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and expanding our forest cover."

G3 projects increase stormwater management and treatment, empowering communities and states to better meet water quality goals, improving livability and walkability of communities, increasing tree canopy and air quality, and contributing to the economic well-being of communities through adding green elements to business districts and creating green jobs. The G3 grant program is open to local governments and nonprofit organizations interested in pursuing urban green stormwater infrastructure and green jobs as part of an integrated community or watershed plan.

"Through the G3 initiative, the Chesapeake Bay Trust has been able to work with cities and towns throughout the region to implement meaningful stormwater management and greening projects that improve water quality and better local communities," said Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

"Stormwater is the fastest-growing water quality problem, for the Chesapeake Bay and across the country. We know that there are some useful approaches to the problem," said Senator Cardin, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Water Subcommittee. "Instead of relying only on the old, gray infrastructure, we can build our roads and cities to include permeable materials, non-structural alternatives, and other green infrastructure solutions. The grants being announced today support exactly these kinds of proactive solutions that can only be accomplished through strong federal-state and local partnerships."

See also "EPA, Chesapeake Bay Trust to provide green infrastructure initiative grants" here.

See also "Green infrastructure grants available to improve Chesapeake Bay water quality" here.


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