The state Board of Public Works awarded Annapolis $275,000 yesterdayto combat erosion and nutrient pollution along the banks of five small creeks feeding the Severn River.

The money will be used to plant beach grasses, willows and other vegetation that absorb nutrients, as well as to construct rock and gravel barriers designed to limit erosion, said John Goheen, a spokesman with the state Department of theEnvironment.

Grates will be installed at the ends of storm water pipes to catch trash and other debris before it reaches the stream, he said.

The city Department of Public Works requested state financial aid to "assist Mother Nature in combating non-point source pollution," Goheen said. "The end result should be some cleaner and some prettier streams."

Non-point source pollution refers to the nutrients, chemicals and harmful metals carried into streams by water from lawns, roads and farms. Nutrients, which promote excessive algae growth, and erodingsediments can choke the life from a stream.

Part of Annapolis' Watershed Restoration Plan, work on the five creeks will cost $550,000.In addition to the state money, the city is paying $151,000 and the federal government $124,000, Goheen said.

The state environmental agency will help the city plan the restoration work, which is not expected to begin until next spring, Goheen said.

Two of the five streams empty into Weems Creek, two into Spa Creek, near Truxton Park, and one directly into the Severn. Weems Creek, which environmentalistsfear was badly damaged by state highway construction, also is being studied by a gubernatorial task force.

The city grant was one of two awarded by the Board of Public Works -- which consists of Gov. William Donald Schaefer, Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein and Treasurer Lucille Mauer -- yesterday. The board reviews and approves major state expenditures.

The board also gave $150,000 to Howard County to help finance a $300,000 restoration project on the Little Patuxent River.

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