By NICOLE DAO
Capital News Service
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced the first annual Action Plan, a restoration strategy that will call for $491 million in funding and activities to help restore the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.
The Action Plan is required under President Obama’s Executive Order calling for bay restoration and protection. Participants will include multiple federal agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The agencies will be putting together programs and projects in four areas -- water quality, habitat, fish and wildlife, and land and public access.
Some of the $491 million has already been assigned to different restoration projects and programs. According to the EPA, $72 million has been allotted to farmers who use conservation practices in high-priority areas, over $20 million will go directly to watershed states and Washington to implement programs to control runoff, and $30 million will be used for land protection.
The plan was announced after six watershed states and the district announced their individual plans earlier this month.