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Chesapeake Bay grant awarded to Morgan Co.

September 19, 2006

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The Morgan County Commission recently was awarded a $30,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Chesapeake Bay Program to assist in efforts for updating the county's comprehensive plan.

The grant to Morgan County was one of only a handful among the 68 Small Watershed Grants awarded that was for planning rather than implementation of restoration efforts, according to a news release.

"We're pleased that the Foundation and Bay program recognize how important good planning is to the effort of preserving and restoring the quality of this significant body of water," said Planning Commission President Jack Soronen.

"Simply being awarded this grant helps people in Morgan County realize that what we do this far upstream in the watershed affects countless other bodies of water all the way to the Bay," he said in a news release.

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Soronen said the funds would be used for various costs associated with revision of the Comprehensive Plan, including identifying and mapping sensitive watershed areas in the county.

"Arro Engineering is analyzing and integrating all the information provided by Morgan County citizens and organizations from meetings or written documents submitted in 2005," Soronen said in the release.

"We're proud to support this program, which gives local organizations and local governments the opportunity and resources to help improve their part of the Chesapeake Bay," said National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Director of Conservation Programs Tom Kelsch. "These projects have a direct impact on improving water quality in our streams and rivers and conserving critical habitat for our region's diverse fish and wildlife species."

Projects funded through the program include creating rain gardens that reduce polluted runoff to planting streamside forest buffers that prevent erosion to restoring underwater grasses that provide critical habitat for the Bay's fish and animals. Programs will take place across all six states in the Bay's 64,000 square-mile watershed Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia and in the District of Columbia.

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