Friday, October 20, 2017

DCNR Awarded $750K Grant For Stream Buffers In Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Friday announced it was awarded a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Grant for $750,000 to help plant forested buffers along streams to improve water quality.
DCNR will match that funding with $2,144,550 for a total project value of $2,894,550.
DCNR’s Stream ReLeaf project will focus on bringing partners together and providing additional momentum to the work the department is leading to plant stream buffers along waterways,” DCNR Policy Director Sara Nicholas said at an event today at Future View Farm in Lancaster County. “The overall goal is to streamline the entire riparian forest buffer process from start to finish to improve local water quality and wildlife habitat, and to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution flowing from Pennsylvania into the Chesapeake Bay.”
Pennsylvania has a goal of planting 95,000 acres of riparian forest buffers by 2025.
Elements of the work funded by the NFWF grant include:
-- Formalization of a partnership of leaders in riparian forest buffer implementation through the Riparian Forest Buffer Advisory Committee.
-- Developing new community-focused and producer-led marketing and outreach materials to recruit new landowners
-- Increasing technical assistance capacity and training opportunities
-- Funding riparian buffer plantings over 3 years on lands that do not qualify for other funding sources in a seven county pilot area
-- Creating a formalized mechanism for tracking new Riparian Forest Buffers planted across Pennsylvania to help with planning, prioritizing, and appropriately crediting riparian buffer implementation
This project initially will include, Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Lancaster, and York counties.
Materials developed will initially be used in the seven-county pilot area to test effectiveness, adjusted as needed, and made available to all riparian forest buffer outreach and implementation partners in Pennsylvania.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will serve as a key administrative partner with DCNR on this project, helping conservation districts and conservation organizations working within the seven-county pilot area to contract private landowners willing to plant riparian forest buffers on their properties.  
The Department of Environmental Protection, Agriculture, and DCNR are leading a partnership of stakeholders in developing Phase 3 of the state plan to clean up local waters in the 43 Pennsylvania counties in the bay watershed.
"The foundation's generous support for projects that reflect deep local knowledge will restore the health of dozens more stream and river locations in our part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed," said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. "This is tremendous, and underscores the great bottom-up momentum that DEP, DCNR, the Department of Agriculture, and our many committed partners are bringing to Phase 3 of Pennsylvania's plan for the watershed. Partner by partner, project by project, we aim to clean up our local waters."
“NFWF’s funding for the Stream Releaf project reinforces the importance of riparian buffers and other best management practices that farmers are employing to protect water quality,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “There is still a long road ahead. But thanks to the effective partnerships between local, state and federal agencies – as well as organizations like Stroud Water Research Center, the Lancaster Farm Trust, and the broader agriculture community – our collective efforts are making a difference in the watershed.”
For more information on stream buffers, visit DCNR’s Forest Buffers Along Waterways webpage.
For background on Chesapeake Bay Watershed cleanup in Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s PA’s Chesapeake Bay Plan webpage.
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