Estuary eco-projects total $1.44 million

Big money went out Tuesday to a number of regional organizations, universities and governments working to improve the environment of the Delaware Estuary — the tidal portion of the Delaware River.

The grants, administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, totaled $650,503. But add in matching funds raised by the recipients, and the amount going toward estuary projects is $1.44 million.

The awards for the 17 projects were announced at the annual Delaware estuary science and environmental summit, led by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

The recipients are:

Partnership for the Delaware Estuary: $25,00, plus $45,000 in matching funds  to work with others to devise a plan to identify restoration, enhancement and protection priorities.

American Littoral Society: $49,872 plus $60,790  matching for restoration work.

Rutgers University’s Haskin Shellfish Lab: $50,000 plus $25,000 matching to plant 130,000 shells to create oyster habitat.

University of Delaware’s Water Resources Agency: $39,978 plus $18,000 matching to assess the feasibility of restoring fish passage and habitat to the White Clay Creek Watershed.

St. Joseph's Center for Community Service: $50,000 plus $11,450 matching to develop land stewardship plan for a 222-acre former school campus in Clayton, DE.

New Jersey Audubon Society: $10,000 plus $15,000 matching to publish a guide identifying important bird areas in the state.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, Inc.: $21,730 plus $18,298 matching  to train and deploy 25 stewards on nine Delaware Bayshore beaches to educate the public about shorebirds, assist with beach closings and census birds during spring migration.

Rutgers Foundation/Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Water Resources Program: $50,000 plus $24,600 matching to stabilize 100 ft of eroded shoreline and restore 1.3 acres of tidal wetland and forest along Rancocas Creek.

Mount Holly Township: $50,000 plus $100,000 matching to Install a fishway on the Rancocas Creek.

D&R Greenway Land Trust: $30,000 plus $828,000 matching to implement a model urban waterfront plan in Burlington County involving riparian restoration, invasives removal, and linking with Delaware River Heritage Trail system.

South Jersey Resource Conservation District: $50,000 award plus $124,000 matching to restore 100 acres of warm season grasses and wetland habitat in Columbus.

Camden County Soil Conservation District: $49,999 plus $15,375 matching to prepare a watershed plan addressing water flow, sediment loading and watershed protection and restoration along Upper Big Timber Creek.

Partnership for the Delaware Estuary: $44,971 plus  $30,194 matching to enhance and stabilize 3,500 ft of tidal marsh along the Maurice River using living shellfish reefs.

Ocean County Dept. of Parks and Recreation: $30,336 plus $26,870 matching to restore 40 acres at six parks by removing mowed fields and replanting them with native warm-season grasses and wildflowers.

American Rivers, Inc.: $29,700 plus $32,950 matching  to remove of an unused and unsafe dam in the west branch of Chester Creek and plant a riparian buffer for multiple fisheries.

Heritage Conservancy: $24,011 plus $57,000 matching to prepare a master plan for the 66-acre Bellwood Preserve in Northampton Township to maximize biodiversity.

Fairmount Park Commission: $49,905 plus $14,740 matching to convert two lawns near Cobbs Creek into 11-acres of meadow to benefit migrating neotropical and native birds.