American Rivers and EPA award $300,000 grant to reduce flooding, restore forests, and promote local food production in Frostburg

April 12th, 2012

<p><a href="">Serena McClain</a>, American Rivers, 571-405-4506<br /><a href="">Amy Kober</a>, American Rivers, 503-708-1145</p>
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Washington, DC – American Rivers and the Environmental Protection Agency today announced that a multi-faced sustainability project in Frostburg, MD will receive a $300,000 grant, as part of a comprehensive initiative to protect and restore rivers in the Potomac Highlands region. The grant will help the Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council implement the “Frostburg Grows: Grow it Local Greenhouse Project”.

The project will 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. 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.

“This grant allows American Rivers to not only have a tremendous impact on the health of the region’s rivers and clean water, but also on economic prosperity and quality of life,” said Chris Williams, Senior Vice President for Conservation at American Rivers. “We congratulate the Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council on their hard work and innovative ideas, and we look forward to seeing the many benefits to clean water and people. We hope this project inspires other communities and can be replicated across the region and the nation.”

“I am pleased that Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council is able to bring this project to Allegany County,” said Craig Hartsock, WMRC&D Council President.  “Producing tree seedlings locally will compliment Allegany County government’s efforts to reforest mine lands and plant riparian buffers as part of their Watershed Implementation Plan to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay.”

“This project fits in nicely with Frostburg State University’s campus-wide sustainability mission and will highlight our community as a center of outreach, education, and professional development in areas of local food production and habitat restoration,” says Mimi Hernandez, Coordinator of the Appalachian Center for Ethnobotanical Studies, an FSU organization that promotes native plant conservation, cultural preservation, and sustainable economic development in the area. 

American Rivers is implementing the EPA grant program that awards local, innovative solutions to benefit clean water and local economies. A total of $1,373,119 is being awarded to six 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 increasingly popular recreation and tourism destinations. Many of the region’s streams have been damaged by harmful logging, mining, dams, and other development, but opportunities abound for river restoration and revitalization.

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About American Rivers

About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

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