Chesapeake Bay Trust
The Chesapeake Bay Trust is seeking AmeriCorps funding to expand its existing Chesapeake Conservation Corps program, established in 2010 to increase citizen stewardship of the lands and waters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Forty-five AmeriCorps members per year will leverage 9000 volunteers per year to improve water quality in local rivers and streams and engage local citizens in actions private residents can take to improve the health of their watersheds and communities in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. The Bay, its rivers, and its local streams suffer from impaired water quality, which creates local community health problems and negative economic impacts ranging from declining revenue from fisheries and tourism to depressed real estate values. The Chesapeake Bay system is one of the best studied environmental issues in the world: We know what the problems are and how to solve them. The major challenge is that the land area serving as the water pollution source is 95% privately owned. As a result, governments alone cannot solve the problems. Individual private citizens must become engaged, including and especially members of communities that have previously not been engaged or have been underrepresented. The actions citizens can take to solve water pollution problems can create many other local benefits, including increased green space and quality of life, improved air quality, greater recreational opportunities, and the creation of green jobs. As a result, increased citizen stewardship is a tactic called upon in every major bay restoration strategy. President Obama, in his 2010 Chesapeake Executive Order, calls for an increase in citizen stewardship and establishment of a regional Chesapeake Conservation Corps. At the end of the 3-year period, 405 individual restoration projects to improve water quality led by AmeriCorps members will have been completed (an average of 3 per year per member), and 108,000 local citizens (27,000 volunteers, 54,000 students, and 27,000 event attendees) will have been educated about practices they can incorporate into their lives to reduce their nutrient footprint on the watershed. This project will focus on the CNCS focus area of Environmental Stewardship. The CNCS investment of $596,576 will be matched with $540,158 in match already in hand from the State of Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, and Constellation Energy.