FROSTBURG, MD -- U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today announced a $300,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and American Rivers to Frostburg State University (FSU), the Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council (WMRCD) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to reduce flooding, restore forests, and promote local food production in the Potomac Highlands region. In the past, many of the region’s streams have been damaged by harmful logging, mining, dams, and other development.
The $300,000 grant is part of a comprehensive initiative to help protect and restore rivers in the Potomac Highlands region. WMRCD is partnering with FSU, the DNR and others to convert unused mined land into a five-acre greenhouse complex designed to train community members for high quality jobs while producing local food and tree seedlings to be used in restoration projects throughout the region.
“This grant is a win-win for everyone involved because it represents a true partnership in which Frostburg State, the WMRCD and the DNR have joined with EPA and American Rivers to initiate a comprehensive environmental restoration effort that will create jobs and help restore the Potomac watershed,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and chair of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee. “Contamination from mining activities and other development can have a devastating effect and this grant will help restore the area’s rivers, streams and forests.”
The environmental, social and economic benefits include reducing runoff that contributes to Potomac basin flooding and acid mine drainage, reestablishing natural forest habitat on strip-mined lands, creating two permanent, sustainable jobs and a training facility that will help create additional job opportunities, and providing local healthy food to the residents of western Maryland.
American Rivers is implementing the EPA grant program that awards local, innovative solutions to benefit clean water and local economies. A total of $1.3 million is being awarded to seven projects to protect rivers and clean water in the Potomac Highlands region of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The Highlands region is the headwaters of the Potomac River, which flows through the nation’s capital. The region’s forests and streams provide rich habitat for fish, wildlife, and plants, as well as an increasingly popular recreation and tourism destination.