Eastern Shore Land Conservancy Awarded $500,000 in Chesapeake WILD funding for habitat restoration.
Support from the new program will assist ESLC in permanently protecting critical wildlife habitat in Dorchester County.
Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is proud to be among the first organizations to receive grant funding through the Chesapeake Watershed Investments for Landscape Defense (Chesapeake WILD) program, which was created by bipartisan legislation authored by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), co-sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), and enacted in the America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act in 2020. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation administer this program.
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Fishing Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and other protected areas in Dorchester County sit squarely in the path of a changing climate; these areas will continue to experience significant loss of habitat over the next half century. These federal- and state-held lands support large populations of wildlife, particularly waterfowl and shorebirds, which are iconic to the Eastern Shore landscape and whose existence will be threatened by this land loss.
ESLC will utilize Chesapeake WILD funds specifically to preserve wildlife habitat between the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and the Nanticoke River. The Chesapeake WILD funding complements existing efforts in the watershed by focusing on enhancing habitat for fish and wildlife, in addition to recreational opportunities for people.
“The Bay’s native wildlife is a core part of what makes it a national treasure and a place that attracts visitors from around the country and the world. I worked to establish the Chesapeake WILD Program so we can keep the Bay healthy and preserve this wildlife for generations to come. The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy has been a key partner in this mission, and I’m proud to have helped secure this federal investment to bolster their efforts to protect the Blackwater-Nanticoke Habitat Migration Corridor. I look forward to continuing our work together to safeguard the Bay’s natural habitats and strengthen our regional economy,” said U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)
“Fish and wildlife need functional, connected landscapes to thrive, and Dorchester County provides some of the finest expanses of intact habitat you can find anywhere in this country. Unfortunately, our changing climate means that these fragile lands may be lost quickly, unless we prioritize investments in conservation,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “This new Chesapeake WILD award to the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is exactly the type of strategic pushback to emerging threats that we in Congress envisioned when creating the program.”