January 13 is the deadline for applying to the Department of Environmental Protection for the next round of Growing Greener Plus Grants for watershed restoration, mine reclamation set aside and EPA Section 319 water quality restoration projects. (formal notice)
A total of $18 million will be available for Growing Greener Plus Grants.
“Protecting and restoring Pennsylvania’s waters and watersheds is one of the most important things we can do for the environment,” said Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Growing Greener is a program with a long history of success in restoring Pennsylvania’s waters, and we are looking forward to continuing that success with this next round of grants.”
Eligible applicants include: counties, authorities and other municipalities; county conservation districts; watershed organizations recognized by the Department who promote local watershed conservation efforts; councils of governments; and other authorized organizations involved in the restoration and protection of the environment in this Commonwealth.
For the upcoming grant round, the Department is placing a particular focus upon reducing nonpoint source pollution within the 43 Pennsylvania counties in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Commonwealth is committed to reducing nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment pollution from agriculture and stormwater runoff.
The Department is also interested in projects that implement effective best management practices (BMP) that reduce or eliminate stream impairments, leading to local water quality improvements that contribute to the Chesapeake Bay restoration goals.
“Focusing Growing Greener projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will lead to better water quality here in Pennsylvania for hundreds of communities and millions of people,” said McDonnell. “Every drop of water that is cleaner through these projects is a benefit to local communities and helps us reach our goals for the watershed.”
Beyond the Chesapeake Bay restoration goals, the Department has identified a number of other priorities, including: projects located in regional ''priority'' watersheds that reduce the source of impairment; ''priority'' type activities that lead to water quality restoration or protection; and projects that support the installation of priority BMPs to address priority nonpoint source pollution sources.
Examples of eligible projects include high priority BMPs such as riparian forest buffers, streambank fencing, erosion/sedimentation and nutrient control practices on cropland, and animal waste storage systems.
In addition, projects that will reduce nonpoint source pollution in watersheds where streams are impaired, projects that will help reduce Total Maximum Daily Load pollutants, and integrating stormwater management into watershed management and water conservation strategies are eligible.
Through the same application process, applicants can also apply for funding through the Department's Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) Grant Programs and Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant Program.
SMCRA grants are available to various entities including municipalities, municipal authorities and nonprofit organizations for projects meeting SMCRA Set Aside or Bond Forfeiture grant requirements.
Section 319 grants focus on funding similar projects to Growing Greener but with special emphasis within targeted watersheds.More information is available on DEP’s Growing Greener webpage or send email to: GrowingGreener@pa.gov or call the Center at 717-705-5400. Written requests should be addressed to the Department of Environmental Protection Grants Center, 15th Floor, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market Street, P.O. Box 8776, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8776.