OCEAN CITY, MD – The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency presented Maryland with a $272,860 grant today to help protect health at Maryland beaches.
“The nation’s coastal waters provide recreation and enjoyment to millions of people each year, and EPA is proud to partner with Maryland to help bring awareness to public health issues at Maryland’s beautiful seashore,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.
The grant comes under the BEACH (Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health) Act of 2000. To date, EPA has awarded $10 million to help 35 states and territories improve water testing and public notification of health risks during the summer.
Maryland’s grant will be used to enhance beach monitoring and public notification of potential health risks at beaches, including support of online programs that provide updated information on beach conditions. Some funding will also be given to county governments and health agencies to focus on local beach projects.
“I thank the EPA for their generous grant and for acknowledging and supporting Maryland’s efforts. Enhanced beach monitoring will help us continue Gov. Ehrlich’s efforts to improve Maryland water quality and ensure that people can continue to enjoy Maryland’s beautiful beaches,” said Kendl P. Philbrick, Maryland’s secretary of the environment. “We encourage Maryland citizens and visitors to visit MDE’s new beach program website for additional sources of beach water quality information.”
The beauty of Maryland’s coastline and beach recreation areas attract local citizens and out-of-state visitors. The Maryland Department of Environment works with local health departments to enhance beach water quality monitoring and improve public notification process regarding beach water quality. For more information about Maryland’s beaches program, visit mde.maryland.gov/programs/water/Beaches/Pages/index.aspx.
Nationally, beach grants range from $150,000 to more than $530,000. Amounts are based on the length of beach season, miles of beaches and the number of people using the beaches. EPA estimates that Americans make 910 million trips to coastal areas each year, spending about $44 billion. For more information, check out the beach grants website at www.epa.gov/waterscience/beaches/grants