News Release, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Honor the Past by Investing in the Future
This past month marked the passing of a friend and mentor — former Governor Harry Hughes.
I feel privileged to have known Governor Hughes, a fellow Eastern Shore resident, who was a man of integrity. He was also a leader who greatly influenced the mission of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, especially with regard to restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.
One of Governor Hughes’ lasting legacies is the Chesapeake Bay Program, a partnership in which we still participate today alongside the other states and jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The significance of this program is that it encourages coordination on restoration activities under an important federal framework and ensures that all stakeholders are doing their part. The success of this program is evidenced by key environmental indicators such as record growth of underwater grasses, rebounds of iconic aquatic species, and an increase in overall water quality.
Unfortunately, the future of the Chesapeake Bay Program is threatened, as funding is nearly zeroed out in the president’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget. These proposed cuts are potentially devastating to our restoration efforts at a time when we are making good progress. I applaud and support Governor Hogan’s leadership in trying to get that funding restored.
Maryland has certainly led by example. During his time in office, Governor Hogan has invested an historic $5 billion in funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration. This includes fully funding the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, which supports locally driven innovation for watershed protection, and Program Open Space, which helps protect and conserve our lands and our landscapes. To honor the foresight of leaders like Governor Hughes and Governor Hogan, we must assure that environmental restoration efforts at the local, state and federal level continue long into the future.
With that in mind, we recently announced that $24.75 million in funding is available for local governments and nonprofit organizations seeking to restore local waterways and develop the next generation of environmental stewards. To streamline the grant application and management process, the department has created a new “Grants Gateway” that provides a single entry point for prospective grantees and assures access to funding for innovative, local projects.
Governor Hughes once wrote, “Over the years, a lot of people have suggested to me that my leadership in starting the regional effort to restore the Bay and forging and gaining adoption of the Chesapeake Bay initiative … represent my greatest legacy as governor. That may be true, but I didn’t consciously think about that at the time. I just felt strongly that we had to do something about the condition of the Bay.” As our department — now in its 50th year — continues to fulfill its mission, we are still influenced by those words and by the same strong sense of urgency.
Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio is Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
The Southern Maryland Chronicle is a local, small business entrusted to provide factual, unbiased reporting to the Southern Maryland Community. While we look to local businesses for advertising, we hope to keep that cost as low as possible in order to attract even the smallest of local businesses and help them get out to the public. We must also be able to pay employees(part-time and full-time), along with equipment, and website related things. We never want to make the Chronicle a “pay-wall” style news site.
To that end, we are looking to the community to offer donations. Whether it’s a one-time donation or you set up a reoccurring monthly donation. It is all appreciated. All donations at this time will be going to furthering the Chronicle through hiring individuals that have the same goals of providing fair, and unbiased news to the community. For now, donations will be going to a business PayPal account I have set-up for the Southern Maryland Chronicle, KDC Designs. All business transactions currently occur within this PayPal account. If you have any questions regarding this you can email me at email@example.com
Thank you for all of your support and I hope to continue bringing Southern Maryland the best news possible for a very long time. — David M. Higgins II