Thursday, December 20, 2018

Earth Conservancy Awarded $500,000 DEP Grant For 1,900 Feet Of Riparian Buffer Along Espy Run In Luzerne County

On December 20, the Department of Environmental Protection announced the award of a $500,000 grant to the Earth Conservancy for the Espy Run stream restoration project in Hanover Township, Luzerne County.
This 2019 Growing Greener grant will be used to restore a 1,900-foot section of Espy Run, including the installation of riparian forested buffers to help shade and partially protect the stream from the impact of adjacent land use.
It also includes a stream bank stabilization to reestablish the channel and restore the flow that is currently being lost into the underground mines.
Once complete, the project will reduce the amount of acidic mining discharge that flows downstream into Espy Run and eventually Nanticoke Creek. Reconstruction of several sections of Espy Run is already underway and this project will help to continue the reestablishment of the Espy Run stream channel.
“We are continuously looking for ways to redevelop old mine land, particularly in Northeast Pennsylvania, and this Growing Greener grant provides much of the funding needed to continue that effort near Espy Run,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Any time a stream can be restored, the community gets more use of that land.”
“Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener program is vital to environmental organizations, like the Earth Conservancy, as they work to mitigate acid mine drainage into the Susquehanna River by improving tributaries, like Espy Run,” said Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
“Espy Run is one of the many streams in our region damaged by historic anthracite mining.  Earth Conservancy’s reconstruction of its channel will increase habitat, repair local hydrology, and reduce acid mine drainage entering the Nanticoke Creek,” said Mike Dziak, Earth Conservancy’s President and CEO.
“This will improve the water quality of the Nanticoke Creek watershed and ultimately the Susquehanna River.  The Growing Greener program is so important for projects – like Espy Run – which seek to improve and protect Pennsylvania’s waterways.  We greatly appreciate the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s and Sen. Yudichak’s support.” Dziak added.
Earth Conservancy has already undertaken large-scale surface mine remediation projects within the vicinity of this project. These projects have been financed through awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s Abandoned Mine Land Pilot Program.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events by the Conservancy, visit the Earth Conservancy website.
Growing Greener
The Growing Greener grant program is supported by the Environmental Stewardship Fund, which receives its funding from landfill tipping fees and a transfer from the Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund.
Click Here for more information on DEP’s Growing Greener Plus Grant Program.
For more information on buffers, financial and technical assistance available, visit DCNR’s Forest Buffers webpage.
New DCNR Grant Round
To learn more about grant opportunities to support riparian buffer, trail and recreation projects, visit DCNR’s Community Conservation Grant Program webpage. A new grant round is opening January 22 and will close April 10.
Forest Buffer Summit
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Western PA Conservancy will be hosting a Riparian Forest Buffer Summit on February 20-21 at the Best Western Premier Conference Center, 800 East Park Drive in Harrisburg.
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