The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $600,000 to the Maryland Coastal Bays Program to preserve the economic and ecological vitality of this vast coastal watershed.
The EPA award provides funding to implement the EPA-approved Coastal Bays Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan, a consensus of the best means for restoring and maintaining the water quality and ecological integrity of the Maryland Coastal Bays.
Through education and outreach programs, restoration projects and involvement with the business community, builders, residents, visitors and government leaders, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, works to improve water quality, protect habitat and enhance forests and wetlands.
With help from local, state and federal planners and scientists, strategies in the Coastal Bays Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan include reachable scientific goals and the most effective means for implementing them, EPA said.
The Maryland Coastal Bays Program, one of the nation’s 28 National Estuary Programs, is a non-profit partnership among the towns of Ocean City and Berlin, the National Park Service, Worcester County, Maryland, EPA, and the Maryland Departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Planning.
The program’s partners, along with local farmers, anglers, business owners and scientists, will implement the Coastal Bays Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan.
The Maryland Coastal Bays Program is designed to protect and enhance the watershed, which includes Ocean City, Ocean Pines and Berlin, and Assateague Island National Seashore.
The 175-square mile watershed is home to the ecological resources of the St. Martin River, Newport Bay, Assawoman Bay, Isle of Wight Bay, Sinepuxent Bay and Chincoteague Bay. The watershed includes more than 189,000 acres of land, 71,000 acres of water, 248 miles of shoreline, and nearly 35,000 acres of wetlands.