Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin announced on June 5 the awarding of the 2019 Community Environmental Project Fund grant awards to nine Delaware nonprofit organizations totaling $158,728 in funding.

The CEPF, administered through the state’s Community Involvement Advisory Council under DNREC supervision, supports community environmental projects that mitigate pollution, enhance the environment or create outdoor recreational opportunities.

The CEPF was established under House Bill 192 in February 2004. The legislation authorizes DNREC to withhold 25% of all civil or administrative penalties collected by the Department for violations of environmental regulations. It requires the Department to return that portion of penalties collected as grants to nonprofit organizations in communities where the violations occurred. In 2011, the legislature tightened the CEPF’s geographic focus by mandating that its funds be returned to the communities within the same drainage basin where the violations occurred.

The 2019 grant recipients and the projects associated with them are:

— Calvary Christian Academy is the recipient of a $20,000 CEPF grant for the Pollinating Rain Garden Project. Calvary students will create a functional rain garden area to reduce the amount of impervious surface, improve water quality and reduce the amount of stormwater runoff leaving the CCA property. In addition to the educational signs and benches to be constructed, the school will develop a curriculum to support this area as a living laboratory to increase learning opportunities for students.

— Delaware Wild Lands seeks to protect and improve the waterways and water resources within and around the organization’s Roberts Farm with its $9,636 CEPF grant. The project’s environmental enhancement components include restoration of an agricultural field and removal of a hazardous scrap tire pile. The organization creates environmental educational and community engagement components by purchasing equipment for use by local schools and community groups in a water quality-monitoring project.

— The HELP Initiative’s “Milford Strong” campaign is a $20,000 pollution mitigation and energy efficiency project. HELP stands for “Healthy Home, Energy Efficient, Lead Safe, and People Centric.” Staff and volunteers will conduct 100 healthy home and energy assessments. They will install energy-saving light bulbs and home safety measures, including lead paint test kits, smoke and carbon dioxide detectors.

— The Delaware Museum of Natural History will receive $19,062 for the Environmental Enhancement and Recreational Opportunity, Evolution Trail Project. The museum will install a handicapped-accessible and environmentally responsible 959-by-6-foot, porous asphalt surface. The museum receives more than 80,000 visitors each year whose visits include environmental education.

— The Central Baptist Community Development Corporation will receive a $20,000 CEPF grant for a low-income community solar-powered, pollution mitigation and community education pilot program. A local bank has donated a house to the CDC at 716 N. Pine S., in Wilmington. The house will be equipped with a 4KW solar power system. This project will serve as a model for energy savings for the 140-150 homes the CDC will acquire in the East Side Rising Initiative. Central Baptist will also use the project as a training vehicle for 5-10 solar installation trainees.

— The Delaware Center for Horticulture will receive a $20,000 CEPF grant to plant native and urban-tolerant plants along a stretch of Delaware Avenue in Wilmington. The environmental enhancement project will mitigate stormwater runoff and improve natural resources at the site.

— Rehoboth Beach Grove Access Project — recipient of a $20,000 CEPF grant — will support construction of a floating dock and canoe/kayak launch. The construction of the launch landing area will provide recreational access for fishing, kayaking and tour boats, and help to stabilize the banks of the Lewes/Rehoboth Canal.

— Newark Redevelopment of the Rodney Complex Stormwater Management Project is an Environmental Enhancement and Recreational Opportunity Project that will receive a $20,000 CEPF grant to install to five to seven interpretive signs at the Rodney Complex Stormwater Management site. The signage will explain the environmental enhancement features of stormwater wet pond management including flood mitigation, nutrient management and protection of native species for the thousands of projected visitors to the site each year.

— The Delaware Community Foundation will receive a $10,000 pollution mitigation grant on behalf of the Plastic Free Delaware, Plastic Pollution Action Committee. The foundation will receive the funds and administer the funds for the Coalition to support to hire a part-time project manager to oversee and coordinate the outreach and educational efforts of the coalition. The Plastic Pollution Action campaign will educate the public and elected officials about pollution generated by single-use plastic bags. The campaign is aimed at securing the participation of the public, restaurants and retail food outlets in “Plastic-straws-by-request approaches to pollution mitigation.

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