The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced two major grants designed to help Virginia protect and restore its wetlands.
One grant is a $356,000 award to William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and its Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM).
The other provides $750,000 to Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to support wetlands protection planning.
Both grants will support three years of effort to advance and refine the Commonwealth’s latest State Wetlands Program Plan; a blueprint for not only preventing any net loss of wetlands, as specified by the U.S. Clean Water Act, but for increasing Virginia’s wetland acreage and ecological function.
The VIMS team will also inform decision-making by mapping historic changes in the geography and plant life of Virginia’s wetlands.
They’ll do so by comparing wetland conditions as recorded in a tidal-marsh inventory conducted by CCRM in the early 1970s with similar measures recorded recently and planned for the next few years.
The research will target two distinct wetland settings: along the York River on Chesapeake Bay’s western shore, and at coastal sites along Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
The grant to Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality will fund development of strategies to help planners better identify and protect wetlands of high ecological value.
High-value wetlands include the forested headwater swamps that capture pollutants and sediments before they can enter the tributaries that feed Chesapeake Bay.
source: Virginia Institute of Marine Science