From the top: Chicamacomico River, bald eagle, Delmarva Fox squirrel, American black duck
Coastal Grants Conserve Wildlife and Habitat in Maryland
Through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program almost 1,400 of coastal lands will be conserved or restored on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The grants are funded by an excise tax on fishing equipment and motorboat and small engine fuels. Non federal partners provide matching funds
One grant will be used by Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Audubon Maryland-DC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect 450 acres of saltmarsh, wetlands, forests and agricultural fields on the Chicamacomico River in Dorchester County. Planting trees, enhancing wetlands and restoring former farmlands will benefit a variety of wildlife like black rails, bald eagles, American black ducks, saltmarsh sparrows, American eels, striped bass and Delmarva fox squirrels.
Restoration work will improve water quality in neighboring the Chicamacomico River, nestled in the heart of one of the most pristine and ecological significant watersheds in the mid-Atlantic region, the 725,000-acre Nanticoke-Blackwater River watershed.
Another grant will be used by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited and a landowner to protect and restore the 930-acre Point Pleasant Farm in Talbot County at the mouth of the 68-mile Choptank River. The farm peninsula symbolizes the diverse Chesapeake Bay landscape, including forested wetlands, upland hardwood and pine forests, grasslands, ponds and pristine shorelines.
Work to reduce runoff along the peninsula will improve water quality in Broad Creek and the Choptank River. Many wildlife and plants will benefit, including the bald eagles, American black ducks, wood thrushes, spotted turtles, box turtles, diamondback terrapins and blue crabs.
Not only is the peninsula popular for local birding organizations, but a portion of the property is being converted by the landowner for a retreat for wounded veterans Through a conservation easement and a variety of activities, such as tree planting, the project will help enhance the Chesapeake Bay, North America’s largest and most biologically diverse estuary.
Coastal areas comprise less than 10 percent of the nation’s land area, yet they support a significant number of wildlife species, including 75 percent of migratory birds, nearly 80 percent of fish and shellfish and about half of all threatened and endangered species.