The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and American Rivers have awarded $1.373m in grants to six projects to benefit communities, and protect rivers and clean water in the Potomac Highlands region of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

As part of the project, unused mine land will be converted into a five-acre greenhouse complex designed to produce local food and tree seedlings.

Under a cooperative agreement with EPA, American Rivers is implementing the environmental grant program which supports local economies and quality of life improvements in the Potomac Highlands, as well as protecting the Highlands’ valuable ecosystems.

EPA regional administrator Shawn Garvin said the communities that comprise the Potomac Highlands will significantly benefit from this grant.

"The projects receiving grants today undertake a variety of approaches to achieve tangible economic and environmental benefits for this unique area," Garvin said.

"These grants will provide jobs and job training as well as a significant boost to recreational activities."

American Rivers also announced the availability of a second round of funding through the Potomac Highlands Implementation Grant Program.