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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Grants totaling $108,000 are available to local governments, groups and educational institutions under a tree-planting program aimed at improving the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Virginia Department of Forestry says the U.S. Forest Service has approved the funding under a program called "Virginia Trees for Clean Water." The grants are intended to spur the planting of trees in neighborhoods and communities to serve as buffers to slow the flow runoff into the bay.

A tree's canopy shelters the ground from a pelting rain and the roots absorb water.

The grant program covers projects that begin and are completed next spring and early fall. The funding is on a 50-50 matching basis.

The grant application deadline is Feb. 13.

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Online:

Virginia Department of Forestry: http://dof.virginia.gov/business/bids.htm

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