The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and its project partners have been awarded with a $1.5 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to support phase one of the Middle Chesapeake Sentinel Landscape project, which will focus on protecting land within highly resilient marsh migration areas in Dorchester County, Maryland.
ESLC’s project partners include The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, Ducks Unlimited, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Middle Chesapeake Sentinel Landscape's phase one will ultimately protect more than 2,250 acres of land in the region, including more than 850 acres of declining wetland habitat. Protection of these habitats is key for the movement of wildlife species in the region, including waterfowl, Delmarva fox squirrels and endangered species such as the saltmarsh sparrow.
Match funding for all transactions under this grant will be provided through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Challenge Program. This initiative is designed to promote land-conservation or -management activities that limit incompatible development in the vicinity of DoD installations and ranges, maintain or improve military installation resilience, or relieve current or anticipated environmental restrictions in support of key capabilities identified in the National Defense Strategy.
In 2020, TNC partnered with the U.S. Navy to secure a $3 million grant from the REPI Challenge program. TNC’s project focused on increasing coastal resilience within the Middle Chesapeake Sentinel Landscape through protection of 4,000-plus acres of marsh migration zones on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. ESLC, TCF and TNC have teamed up to leverage these two awards to maximize the impact for the region.
NAWCA was established in 1989 to increase bird populations and wetland habitat, while supporting local economies and American traditions, such as hunting, fishing, bird-watching, family farming and cattle-ranching. Wetlands protected by NAWCA provide valuable benefits, such as flood control, reduction of coastal erosion, improvement of water and air quality and recharging of groundwater.
For more information, contact David Satterfield, land program manager with ESLC, at email@example.com or visit the website.