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Friends of the Rappahannock

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awards $1.57 million to river groups

by | Jul 5, 2024 | ALLFFP, Environmental, Non-Profits

Friends of the Rappahannock announced that the Rappahannock River Roundtable and York River Steward have been awarded $1,573,102 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

The Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction grant funding comes from the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, which is a partnership of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Chesapeake Bay Program.

The funding will be used to scale up climate-smart conservation Best Management Practices (BMPs) to protect and restore water quality by expanding the capacity of the partners and programs of the Rappahannock River Roundtable and York River Steward. The Rappahannock River Roundtable was established to accelerate the pace and scale of land and water conservation across the watershed.

Working with regional conservation partners, this project will build and deliver a suite of financial incentives to landowners and agricultural producers to complement existing cost-share programs in the region. This will include the development of a pilot program to incentivize a “Trees for Shade” silvopasture program, accelerate the adoption of riparian buffer and afforestation practices, and adoption of additional conservation BMPs on working farmland and rural landscapes.

“This grant is a testament to the incredible partnerships here in the Rappahannock River watershed.” said Daria Christian, executive director of Friends of the Rappahannock. “Advancing climate-smart conservation opportunities is essential to achieving our water quality goals and ensuring our watershed has healthy and sustainable farms, forests, and fisheries.”

Working with land conservation partners, the project will pilot a revolving incentives fund to support high-priority land conservation in the Rappahannock River watershed. These projects will focus on the protection of properties with riparian corridors and wetlands to maximize conservation values. This project aims to prioritize and protect over 1,300 acres of conservation easements.

“We are excited to advance the collaborative approach of the Rappahannock River Roundtable,” said Chris Miller, president of The Piedmont Environmental Council. “As an organization with decades of experience working with landowners and managing complex conservation projects, we will leverage our expertise to support the riparian conservation incentives provided by this grant and accelerate land conservation in the upper Rappahannock watershed.”

The project will kick off following the 2024 Rappahannock River Symposium on Oct. 16, in Fredericksburg.

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