National Aquarium, Baltimore received a RBC Blue Water Project Leadership Grant to fund its Chesapeake Bay Initiative (CBI). The $130,000 USD grant represents the largest grant ever received from a corporation that is specifically designated to support the Aquarium’s conservation efforts. National Aquarium’s Chesapeake Bay Initiative (CBI) is a nationally recognized program that fosters partnerships with local communities to protect and restore habitats in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Each year, CBI recruits hundreds of citizen volunteers and local students to engage in restoring tidal habitats through planting events.
“The majority of our visitors live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and support from the Blue Water Project enhances our ability to educate and involve our communities in restoring and protecting the Bay, which is the largest and one of the most diverse estuaries in the U.S.,” said Bob Ramin, National Aquarium VP/Chief Development Officer/Executive Director NADC Washington. “Wetlands are an important element of all watershed ecosystems as they provide critical habitat for wildlife, protect coasts from storms and flooding, and act as natural sponges that filter pollutants and improve water quality.”
Wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay are being lost at an alarming rate as a result of coastal development, rising sea levels, and damage from non-native species. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an estimated 10,500 acres have been lost in the last 150 years along the middle-eastern portion alone. CBI helps restore and protect wetland habitats, increasing public awareness of watershed issues and providing watershed stewardship actions for citizen volunteers, youth, and community groups.
Grant funding will be focused in three areas – urban restoration and stewardship programs to improve water quality in tributaries to the Patapsco River and Chesapeake Bay; forest restoration and student education projects at Nassawango Creek Nature Preserve; and the Terrapin in the Classroom project, which takes place in 30 Maryland schools and at an Aquarium restoration site on Poplar Island.
National Aquarium is one of 30 organizations from five countries that are being awarded grants for programs that help protect watersheds and improve access to clean drinking water. RBC’s 2012 grant recipients work on a wide range of projects involving water restoration, conservation, management and education.
"RBC and the National Aquarium share a commitment to protecting local watersheds," said John Taft, CEO, RBC Wealth Management-U.S. "We are happy to continue our partnership with the Aquarium and fund the important work of the Chesapeake Bay Initiative."
National Aquarium has worked in partnership with RBC Wealth Management and the RBC Blue Water Project since 2009. It was the recipient of three Community Action Grants that helped to support conservation projects at Poplar Island, Fort McHenry, and Westport Academy.
The Leadership Grant will be formally presented by RBC Wealth Management CEO John Taft at a private event hosted by RBC Wealth Management at the National Aquarium on September 20, 2012. Taft is the author of Stewardship: Lessons Learned from the Lost Culture of Wall Street, which explores the importance of stewardship as a core principle.