For Potomac Conservancy members, the annual Conservancy barbecue at Carderock is always a special event. It may be the only chance all year to catch up with fellow members, talk with the Conservancy’s staff, and enjoy the scenic setting the Conservancy works to protect — all while having cheeseburgers and barbecued chicken.
But this year’s event was particularly special. U.S. Rep Chris Van Hollen and Maryland Sen. Brian Frosh were on hand to help present a $150,000 grant to the Conservancy, which it will use for targeted watershed restoration along Bennett Creek in lower Frederick County.
The grant came from the Chesapeake Bay Trust — a private nonprofit created by the Maryland General Assembly in 1985 to make grants to aid public awareness and restoration activities surrounding the Chesapeake Bay and its Maryland tributaries.
The grant was the largest in the Trust’s 20-year history. It receives contributions from the public and private sectors and profits from the state’s “Save the Bay” license plates program.
Van Hollen said that the state money was important at a time when federal funding for Chesapeake Bay projects is leveling off.
“We haven’t seen the federal government support grow to the extent of the need that’s out there,” he said.
Rusty Wilson, chairman of the Conservancy’s board of directors, thanked Conservancy members for their work. “We never have an opportunity to say it enough. We appreciate the support we get from all of you,” he said.
Members took part a Potomac River trivia contest, country circle dancing and a water balloon toss while drinking Potomac Ale and Shenandoah Lager — from a brewery that supports the Conservancy.
Potomac Conservancy President Matthew Logan summed things up: “We have 150 friends, a $150,000 check. It’s a great day.”