- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

ASHLAND, Va. (AP) — Federal officials announced nearly $10 million in grants Tuesday to help the Chesapeake Bay states keep pollution from flowing into the battered estuary.

The money, through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, is targeted at 45 projects and will leverage more than $19.6 million in matching funds, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

EPA regional administrator Shawn M. Garvin said the projects “will return lasting benefits to communities throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, helping them become healthier, stronger and more resilient, especially to the impacts of a changing climate.”

The Chesapeake Bay is amid a federally directed, multibillion-dollar restoration effort. Runoff from urban centers, farms and other sources has created an oxygen-depleted “dead zone” in the bay where little life exists and has harmed other marine life.

The $9.8 million in grants is targeted at reducing the flow of pollutants into the bay, through the management of stormwater, the creation of reefs supporting water-filtering oysters and other measures.

Of the 45 projects announced, one-third of the programs are in Virginia and West Virginia. Some of the recipients, the grant totals and projects are:

- Eastern Mennonite University, $200,000, to assess local streams and establish priorities for restoration.

- The Virginia Department of Transportation, $200,000, for buffering along stream channels and other water protection efforts.

- Lynnhaven River, $200,000, to support oyster reef restoration in this Virginia Beach waterway.

- The Piedmont Environmental Council, $200,000, to work with home owner associations on stormwater improvements.

- James Madison University, $200,000 to restore more than 1,000 feet of headwaters tributary to Blacks Run in Harrisonburg.

- Trout Unlimited, $140,608, to expand an existing brook trout habitat in the upper James River watershed.

- Town of Ashland, $200,000, to replace a parking lot with permeable paving material.

In West Virginia:

- Trout Unlimited, $300,000, to recruit landowner participation in programs to reduce sediment and nutrient runoff.

- The Potomac Conservancy, $50,000, to protect the 1,715-acre White Horse Mountain.

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