Kaine and Warner announce $4 million in federal grants for conservation in Virginia

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 4:53 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2023 at 7:36 PM EST
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - This week Virginia U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced over $4 million in federal grant funding to go toward conservation efforts throughout Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The money is being allocated between conservation organizations across the state.

“Going back to my days as Governor, I had two Republican houses and I had very few items that I could always count on to be bi-partisan but one of them was protecting the Chesapeake Bay. It was always a very bi-partisan issue and it remains so,” said Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat who represents Virginia.

The money comes from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Chesapeake Watershed Investments in Landscape Defense (WILD) Program. Kaine said that protecting the watershed is a very important issue and this funding will help make a big difference.

“Senator Warner and I are thrilled to announce this $4 million of grants throughout Virginia to do things that will maintain the cleanliness of the Chesapeake Bay and the watershed. In the Valley, it’s largely protection of open space and wildlife corridors,” he said.

Just under $750,000 of the funding will go to the Valley Conservation Council in Staunton to permanently protect over 2,000 acres of land in the Valley. The goal is to protect wildlife corridors in the region.

“We need to do more and more and more every year but I think this is a really strong statement that the Chesapeake Bay is important and that we are battling to make sure the community organizations that are already doing a good job have more resources to do even better,” said Kaine.

The funding for the Valley Conservation Council will also be used to help prepare the region for future projects that will benefit plants and animals in high-elevation wetlands.

Senator Kaine noted that Virginia has done a lot of good to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed but said there are still areas to improve.

“We’ve done a pretty good job at investing in sewage treatment infrastructure all over the state to improve what they call point source pollution, something that’s coming out of a pipe into the water, we’ve done a pretty good job of improving that. But non-point source pollution, whether it’s agricultural runoff or runoff from urban streets or parking lots, that is a little bit harder to control we haven’t done such a good job,” said Kaine. “So the $4 million we were able to announce today will be heavily focused on partnering with other resources to tackle that non-point source pollution.”