We are excited to announce that the One Water Partnership™ program has been awarded a 3-year grant by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)! Through this program, we will mobilize 100 congregations, of which 36 will commit to deep engagement and high-impact stormwater management or restoration projects. Collectively, they will treat the equivalent of 20 acres of impervious surface through a combination of stormwater practices and tree plantings. This work will be carried out in Baltimore, Anne Arundel County, Harford County, Wicomico County on the lower Eastern Shore, and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
In these five regions, there are over 2,600 congregations with thousands of worshipers and vast land and parking lot acreage.The five regional hubs will advance congregational action such as educating their members about the environmental challenges of our time and how to respond as moral leaders. Other actions could include installing rain gardens or bioretention practices, planting trees or conservation landscaping, or performing an energy audit of their facilities and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Educational and training programs will help congregations plan out actions and apply for grant funding. Want to join a hub near you? Scroll to the bottom and complete the form.
Impact of Our First Hub in Baltimore
The One Water Partnership was piloted 2016-2018 in the Jones Falls watershed of Baltimore, and results were substantial:
- 39 congregations mobilized of which 15 were deeply engaged
- 225 trees planted
- 4,000 sq. ft. of native plantings
- 1,850 lbs. of trash removed
- 2,675 gallons of rainwater harvested
- 105,959 sq. ft. of impervious surfaces treated
- One Example: St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church just received a $256,000 grant to install stormwater practices on their grounds to control stormwater pollution. This is the first time the National Fish and Wildlife Federation has ever issued a grant directly to a church in the Chesapeake region.
- Click HERE to watch a short video about the program
On November 14th, the Jones Falls One Water Partnership held an Interfaith Youth Service and tree planting. We started the day with a service at The Shrine of the Sacred Heart, led by Fr. Bill Au, Rev. Michele Ward of Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, Rabbi Daniel Burg of Beth Am Congregation, and Associate Pastor John Parker from Mount Lebanon Baptist Church. Following the service about 35 people loaded on a bus and headed to a site in Cherry Hill where others met us to plant 75+ trees. But the story does not end there. Janell Belcher, a youth member from Mount Lebanon Baptist Church had previously attended one of our "Inspirational Bus Tours" and on this day worked with her grandparents and other church members to plant trees. Inspired by these experiences she decided to focus her pursuit of a Girl Scout Gold Award on the upcoming rain garden, tree planting and cistern installation that will be happening at MLBC as part of the One Water Partnership program. She says, "I have learned how important clean water, trees and other native plants are and want to share this with others in the neighborhood." Once the projects are complete next Spring she plans to do outreach to other churches and the surrounding neighborhood associations to share her newfound knowledge. This is how we grow our future green leaders!
Innovative funding strategies will be tested through this grant to enable financially sustainable partnerships with faith-based institutions for substantially improving water quality and raising public awareness. IPC brought together a team of nonprofit and academic institutions, which will split the $1 million grant over three years: Blue Water Baltimore, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Watershed Stewards Academies in Anne Arundel County and Harford County, Interfaith Power & Light-DMV, Lower Shore Land Trust, Wicomico Environmental Trust, READY of Anne Arundel County, and the University of Maryland Extension Office Sea Grant. Baltimore City and County, Harford County, Anne Arundel County, City of Annapolis, and City of Salisbury on the lower Eastern Shore have all expressed strong support for the collaboration.