The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency December 8 announced it has awarded $900,000 to the Department of Environmental Protection for protecting wetlands and aquatic resources under its Wetland Program Development Grants Program.
The Department of Environmental Protection is partnering with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on this project which will include developing an online predictive planning tool to guide wetland management, restoration, and mitigation activities at specific sites in Pennsylvania.
They will also establish a headwater aquatic resource reference system to investigate and characterize the physical, chemical and biological attributes of the wetlands.
“Wetlands play a significant role in protecting our nation’s water supply,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “By taking action to protect and restore these valuable resources, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are protecting sources of drinking water, preventing flooding, and making us more resilient to climate change.”
“Wetlands are vital parts of Pennsylvania’s ecosystem and play an important role in our state economy – they clean our water, provide habitat for wildlife, support the Commonwealth’s hunters and anglers, and protect our homes and businesses against the worst impacts of flooding,” said Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “With this grant DEP will develop a restoration planning toolkit for wetland and floodplains, among other activities.”
The Clean Water Act recognizes the dangers of upstream pollution sources. As water flows downstream, it can carry pollutants with it.
Wetlands are instrumental in eliminating or treating pollution, and can have a huge impact on receiving waters located downstream.
In 2016, EPA’s mid-Atlantic region awarded approximately $2.8 million in Wetland Program Development Grants. Grant recipients also included the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Maryland Department of Environment.
Wetland Program Development Grants are used to build and refine comprehensive wetland programs, with priority given to funding projects that address: developing a comprehensive monitoring and assessment program; improving the effectiveness of compensatory mitigation; and refining the protection of vulnerable wetlands and aquatic resources.
For more information on the grant program, visit EPA’s Wetland Program Development Grants webpage.
More information on Pennsylvania’s regulatory program is available at DEP’s Water Obstruction webpage.(Photo: Wetlands at the NPS September 11 Memorial in Somerset County.)