WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Chesapeake Bay Trust and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $400,000 in funding to seven municipalities and nonprofit organizations through the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns Initiative (G3). Jointly funded by the Trust and EPA, G3 supports green infrastructure projects that improve water quality, community livability, and economic vitality throughout the region.
“Local governments around the country are seeing the benefits of utilizing green infrastructure for controlling stormwater,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “G3 grantees are leading the way — providing valuable examples to others on the road to creating sustainable communities and healthy watersheds.”
G3 was created in 2011 to support projects that reduce stormwater runoff through the creation of “green streets.” A green street is one that minimizes the environmental impact of a roadway by practices such as reducing the amount of water that is piped directly into streams and rivers; creating rain gardens; installing street tree canopy; using energy efficient lighting; and encouraging pedestrian and bicycle access. Green streets also provide aesthetic and economic benefits.
“The Chesapeake Bay Trust is pleased to partner with EPA to promote green infrastructure practices that not only improve water quality but also positively benefit local communities.” said Jana Davis, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “Our goal is to leverage gray infrastructure projects that a community already plans to undertake, such as roadway reengineering. By adding the green component during the construction process, it minimizes costs while improving results.”
The G3 effort was developed under the President’s Chesapeake Bay Executive Order to provide assistance to communities in urbanized watersheds for reducing stormwater runoff; improving energy conservation; promoting livable communities; and, creating green jobs.
The seven grants announced total $400,000 in funding to municipalities and nonprofit organizations in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. One of the grants will go to the District of Columbia to support stormwater management and green street development along a new section of O Street, NW at the reconstruction site of Dunbar High School. Washington D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, both graduates of Dunbar, attended the announcement to discuss the project that will include the installation of 6,125 square feet of bioretention cells that will collect stormwater from the school and surrounding area.
“The District Department of General Services is excited to be a part of the G3 Initiative, because it will not only help us to reopen O Street as a “Green Street” and enhance the modernization of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, but it will also help to protect our environment by reducing the amount of rain/precipitation that goes into the District’s sewer and stormwater treatment system,” said Brian J. Hanlon, DGS Director.
The O Street project will also involve newly planted trees in large treeboxes, built on a neighborhood street, where the stormwater will be collected and help to avoid sewer backups. Other “green” elements of the new Dunbar High School include the use of a geothermal heat pump, a 500,000-kW photovoltaic array, two 20,000-gallon cisterns for reusing rainwater, enhanced acoustics, and materials with low concentrations of volatile organic compounds and plentiful daylight and views.
In addition to the O Street project, other grantees are:
• City of Cambridge, Md.: $75,000 for the transformation of an impervious surface area into a landscaped park incorporating native trees and vegetation to reduce stormwater runoff.
• Borough of Northumberland, Pa.: $30,000 to implement new green infrastructure that will address flooding issues in residential areas.
• The Low Impact Development Center, Inc. (two grants): $35,000 for a plan to convert Arapahoe Street in the town of Forest Heights, Md. as part of the town’s goal to be a zero-runoff community; and a $35,000 grant to develop a green street in Bladensburg, Md.
• Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: a $95,000 grant that includes funding for the installation of a green corridor in the city of Richmond, Va.
• Prince George’s County, Md.: $35,000 to develop cost-effective financial partnerships that will construct and maintain the County’s new water quality infrastructure.
The Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant program is open to local governments and nonprofit organizations interested in pursuing urban green stormwater infrastructure and green jobs as part of an overall integrated community or watershed plan. The initiative, administered by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, supports President Obama’s Executive Order for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay through the creation of “green streets.”
For more information on the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns Grant Program, visit www.cbtrust.org.