Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Gov. Wolf Awards $25.1 Million In Grants To Protect, Improve PA’s Water Resources

Gov. Tom Wolf Wednesday announced the selection of 114 projects to receive $25,143,294 in funding from Department of Environmental Protection, for the protection of Pennsylvania’s water resources.
The selected projects enhance watersheds, mitigate acid mine drainage, and support water pollution cleanup programs.
“The Growing Greener Program, and this year’s funding, is an investment in our future and proof that when state government works collaboratively, we achieve long-lasting results,” said Gov. Wolf. “The Environmental Stewardship Fund has helped spark innovation and coordinate partnerships to tackle some of the most challenging environmental issues in our state.”
The 114 selected projects range from a wetland basin restoration in Chester County to sustainable outreach programs in Erie County.
Projects focus on both statewide initiatives, like improving the health of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay, and local projects, such as riparian buffer enhancement and erosion prevention in Four Mile Run, Westmoreland County.
Every project supports DEP’s mission of protecting Pennsylvania’s waters.
“DEP is proud to support local and regional water quality projects throughout the state,” said Secretary John Quigley. “These investments are essential to protecting and conserving the rivers, streams, and watersheds of Pennsylvania.”
The grant awards are made possible by the Growing Greener Grant Program, the largest single investment of state funds that address Pennsylvania’s environmental concerns.
Growing Greener encourages partnerships between counties, municipalities, county conservation districts, watershed organizations, and other organizations to restore and protect the environment.
The Growing Greener program is supported by the Environmental Stewardship Fund, which receives $8.2 million in funds from the Act 13 drilling impact fee.
[Note: The Governor's FY 2016-17 Executive Budget (page H23) says almost all of the landfill fees that were used to support the Environmental Stewardship Fund originally now go to pay the debt service on the 2003 Growing Greener II bond issue; about $40 million a year.]
Twelve projects this year received their funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 319 Nonpoint Source Grant Program, created by the Clean Water Act to reduce water pollution.
Four projects received funding from the Acid Mine Drainage Set Aside Program, funded by the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act and designed to abate AMD pollution.
Of the 208 grant applications received for consideration this year, more than half of the proposed projects were awarded grant funding.
A list of grants awarded is available online.
While any state environmental funding these days is much appreciated, this level of funding needs to be put in perspective.
In 2002, the last year of the original, bipartisan Growing Greener Watershed Restoration Program under the Ridge and Schweiker Administrations and created with the leadership of Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango) and Sen. Ray Musto (D-Luzerne), DEP awarded more than $50 million in watershed restoration and mine reclamation grants, matched by $66.5 million in funds from local governments and watershed groups.
That one year of funding resulted in--
-- 810 acres of wetlands being restored;
-- 299 miles of riparian buffer being planted;
-- 82 miles of streams impacted by acid mine drainage being cleaned up;
-- 257 acres of abandoned mine lands being reclaimed; and
-- 19.5 miles of stream improvement structures being built.
For more information, visit DEP’s Growing Greener Grant Program webpage or send email to:
Related Stories:
Rock Lititz Project Reduces Sediment, Nutrient Runoff Without Taxpayer Money

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