The Chesapeake Bay Trust announced a $65,000 Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant to the City of Annapolis for the design and construction of much-needed improvements to Hawkins Cove in Eastport.
Hawkins Cove is a small body of water off of Spa Creek located just below the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis (HACA) headquarters on Madison Street. The degraded state of the cove – an eroded bulkhead, broken dock, vine-covered trees, and unnavigable mud flats due to sedimentation – makes it an ideal candidate for restoration for use as a community gathering site, water access point, and trailhead to Truxtun Park.
Early this year (in preparation for writing the grant proposal), the City of Annapolis conducted a series of listening sessions with residents, HACA officials, and environmental leaders to better understand what the community wanted to see. At the top of the list were a usable community space, water access, and a resilient shoreline to improve water quality and provide habitat for wildlife.
The City produced a concept design to replace the bulkhead with a living shoreline that includes a launch area for kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. The design removes invasive ivy and other non-native plants on the shore and replaces them with native trees and plants to improve water quality by capturing sediment borne by stormwater and filtering pollutants. The community also expressed an interest in including picnic tables and benches for passive enjoyment of the cove. The grant will provide for expanded outreach to engage surrounding communities, particularly low-income residents, to inform the final design.
The City will partner with volunteer-led Mid Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE) to improve trail conditions. MORE made trail improvements at Waterworks Park, including more than 11 miles of hiker-biker trails, and at Bacon Ridge Natural Area in Anne Arundel County. Other funds will be sought to build structural improvements to the trails in steep and muddy areas to make them safe for users of all ages and protect wetlands.
“In its current state, Hawkins Cove is a diamond in the rough,” said Mayor Gavin Buckley. “It is awaiting environmental improvements to make it come alive again. I am thankful the Trust understands the importance of funding a project designed around community wants and needs.”
“This grant will allow the City to tie into the stormwater control project installed upstream in 2018 by the Spa Creek Conservancy,” said Deputy City Manager for Resilience and Sustainability Jackie Guild. “This project will draw residents to the water to recreate or just sit and enjoy the scenery. Connections to the water have been shown to build an understanding of the importance of the environment to our quality of life.”
The Chesapeake Bay Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) Grant Program is funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region III (EPA), and the Chesapeake Bay Trust with support from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. In this funding cycle, 32 projects were approved for a total of $1.2 million. The G3 supports design projects, financing strategies, and/or implementation of green street projects. The goal of this grant program is to help communities develop and implement plans that reduce stormwater runoff, increase the number and amount of green spaces in urban areas, improve the health of local streams and the Chesapeake Bay, and enhance the quality of life and community livability.