Baltimore, MD -- Today the Chesapeake Bay Trust, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Department of the Environment announced the recipients of $376,000 in grant funding through EPA’s Green Streets-Green Jobs-Green Towns initiative. This program was created to advance watershed protection, community livability, and economic vitality throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed through the development of stormwater management techniques, green jobs creation and enhanced resident livability. The 10 selected recipients comprise a diverse group of municipalities and organizations that are committed to investing in green infrastructure to improve the environmental quality of life in their communities as well as create green jobs to benefit their local economy.
“We're working with towns and communities to advance environmental best practices, while also providing new opportunities for green jobs that benefit local economies,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “This program was created to benefit the overall health of communities through greening efforts that can be replicated by towns throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.'
The Green Streets-Green Jobs-Green Towns grant program was open to local governments and non-profit organizations in urban and suburban watersheds in the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia that were interested in pursuing green streets, green infrastructure, and green jobs as part of their community or watershed planning. Grant assistance up to $35,000 was available for infrastructure project planning and design, and up to $100,000 for implementation and construction.
“We have seen the demand for green infrastructure funding accelerate in recent years as more and more cities and towns are looking for ways to incorporate green techniques into their infrastructure plans,” said Dr. Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “Through this incredible partnership with the EPA and the Maryland Departments of Natural Resources and the Environment, we are able to help communities find the resources they need to advance these ever-important ‘green streets’ techniques.”
During today’s event, each grant recipient unveiled individualized plans to develop green infrastructure practices, promote green educational efforts, and advance green employment. In addition, the ability of these projects to serve as a source of green jobs was showcased. Because green infrastructure projects rely on new techniques, workers engaged in project construction gain valuable on-the-job training that enhances their skills. The green infrastructure project at the John Eager Howard Elementary School in the City of Baltimore, previously supported under this initiative, has served as a hands-on learning experience as part of a green jobs training program supported through a partnership with the Department of Labor for 30 unemployed or underemployed individuals from the region.
“The City of Baltimore greatly supports urban greening efforts that not only enhance the beauty of a local community, but also improve livability and create jobs,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “We are honored to have two of these grants awarded today to organizations right here in Baltimore that are accomplishing great ‘green’ things for our city.”
The Green Streets-Green Jobs-Green Towns Initiative supports President Obama’s Executive Order for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay through the creation of “green streets.” A “green street” is defined as a street that integrates a stormwater management system to reduce the amount of water that is piped directly into streams. Green streets also increase street tree canopy and encourage pedestrian and/or bicycle access; while providing an aesthetic advantage to a community.
“Providing educational opportunities and hands-on learning experiences are crucial to sustaining green development efforts,” said Senator Ben Cardin, a long-time supporter of the Chesapeake Bay Trust and green infrastructure development. “Projects like these will not only enhance sustainable watershed protection and stormwater management techniques, but will also provide Marylanders with the skills necessary to gain employment in the ever-expanding green jobs sector.”
For more information on the Green Streets grant program, visit www.cbtrust.org.