Friday, January 11, 2019

DEP Awards 14 New Grants In 12 Counties For Water Quality Improvement This Week; Over $11.6 Million In Growing Greener Grants Announced So Far

Since December 21, the Department of Environmental Protection has announced a total of $11,652,697 in Growing Greener grants for watershed restoration, mine drainage treatment, flood damage reduction and water quality improvement projects in Beaver, Bradford, Cambria, Centre, Clarion, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Lancaster, Lehigh, Lycoming, Luzerne, McKean, Montgomery, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Venango, Washington, Wyoming and York counties.
On January 8, 9, 10, and 11, the Department of Environmental Protection announced the award of 12 grants totaling $5,179,945 to organizations and local governments in Cambria, Clarion, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Lancaster, Lehigh, Lycoming, Montgomery, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Venango, Washington and York counties to reduce pollution from stormwater and agricultural runoff, install forested stream buffers, do streambank restoration and reduce the potential for flood damage.
DEP last week also announced the award of 2 grants to Penn State University totaling $181,038 to help train volunteer Master Watershed Stewards and support internships for students on farm conservation practices.
The local projects announced last week to reduce pollution include--
Cambria County
DEP awarded 2 Growing Greener grants totaling $41,200 in Cambria County--
-- Chest Creek Flood Control Restoration, $21,260 to stabilize 300 linear feet of streambank on Chest Creek in Patton Borough.
-- Nanty-Glo Flood Control Restoration: $19,940 to install numerous features in the South Branch of Blacklick Creek to improve flood protection and fish habitat in Nanty-Glo Borough.
Clarion County
DEP awarded a $93,000 Growing Greener grant to the Clarion County Conservation District to rehabilitate an acid mine drainage treatment system.
The grant will be used to rehabilitate an abandoned passive mine discharge treatment system. The improved system will treat up to 40 gallons per minute of mine water, which has low pH levels and high levels of heavy metal pollution.
The water flows into the Clarion River, a popular destination for boaters and anglers, and the project will be adjacent to the Clarion County Park.
“This project will not only improve the quality of the water going into the Clarion River, it will also improve the overall aesthetics of the neighboring park, which is a win-win,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
Dauphin County
DEP awarded 2 Growing Greener grants totaling $858,752 in Dauphin County--
-- Spring Creek Restoration and Best Management Practice Implementation: $120,000 to design and permit streambank and floodplain restoration at two sites along Spring Creek in Swatara Township.
-- Conewago Creek Stream Restoration:  $738,752 to restore 3,000 linear feet of floodplain along Conewago Creek and tributary in Dauphin and Lancaster Counties.
Delaware County
The Department of Environmental Protection awarded 3 Growing Greener grants totaling $332,328 to study, manage and reduce pollution from stormwater runoff in Delaware County.
The $157,575 awarded to the nonprofit Pennsylvania Resources Council, Inc. will expand on a previously funded Grower Greener project designed to empower residents to do their part in reducing the impacts of uncontrolled runoff by deploying simple, low-cost techniques on their properties.
Newtown Township was awarded a $11,857 grant to design and construct two rain gardens on Township-owned properties to treat stormwater runoff from existing impervious surfaces.
Villanova University was awarded a $162,896 grant to utilize existing stormwater facilities on its campus to quantitatively research and evaluate stormwater collection and reuse techniques.
“Whether it’s a rain barrel, a garden designed by an engineer, or state of the art research, every effort makes a difference when it comes to stormwater”, said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “There is no effort too small or ambition too high in addressing one of the biggest challenges facing our urban environments.”
Erie County
Two of the Growing Greener grants will go to the Erie County Conservation District.
A $244,522 grant will continue the successful PA VinES program to reduce runoff pollution from Erie County’s vineyards. The second grant, for $200,000, is for projects to reduce sediment runoff from Erie County farms and other agricultural operations.
These projects will include streambank fencing, riparian buffers, and other practices that reduce soil erosion.
Environment Erie will receive a $37,500 grant to prevent urban stormwater pollution runoff from entering multiple tributaries to Lake Erie through wetlands and other natural features.
“Lake Erie is one of Pennsylvania’s natural wonders, and everything we can do to reduce pollution helps maintain it,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “These grants will go to projects that protect this important area and help the communities along the lake.”
Lancaster County
The Department of Environmental Protection awarded 2 Growing Greener grants totaling $499,000--
-- A $400,000 grant was awarded to the nonprofit Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Inc. to incentive the installation of riparian stream buffers in Lancaster County.
The grant will improve water quality by accelerating the implementation of riparian buffers in priority watersheds in Lancaster County through the creation of a multi-faceted incentive program.
The incentives will encourage farmers to stabilize streambanks, install or restore riparian buffers, and install stormwater structures which will result in estimated annual reductions of 425 tons of sediment, more than 3,500 pounds of phosphorus, and nearly 4,000 pounds of nitrogen to streams, creeks, and rivers.
“Riparian buffers serve as a transition from land to water and act as filters that reduce the amount of sediment and other pollutants entering our waterways,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Limiting such runoff improves local water quality, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.”
-- The Chiques Creek Pollutant Reduction Project was awarded a $99,000 to design and permit 3,040 linear feet of floodplain restoration and establish 8 acres of riparian buffer along Chiques Creek in Manheim Borough.
Lehigh County
A $78,659 Growing Greener grant was awarded to the Lehigh County Conservation District to stabilize nine-hundred and eighty feet of streambank along Leibert Creek, which flows into the primary water supply for the city of Allentown.
The project, which is a combined effort between the conservation district, Wildlands Conservancy, and the Fish and Boat Commission includes planting buffers along a portion of the stream to decrease erosion and constructing 25 habitat structures in an unnamed tributary to the creek which will improve aquatic life and help with the stabilization of the streambank.
Once complete the project will allow for educational opportunities along the creek for the public.
“This is an opportunity to improve a creek that contributes to a major city’s water supply,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “The benefits of this grant will help with water for consumptive and recreational use.”
Lycoming County
The Department of Environmental Protection awarded a $327,284 grant to the Lycoming County Commissions to implement the Muncy Creek Streambank Restoration and Protection Project located in Hughesville Borough and Wolf Township, Lycoming County.
The project will stabilize 500 feet of streambank that has been eroded by numerous flood events, sending an estimated 4,000 tons of sediment downstream over the past seven years.  The stream has migrated close to a well pump house that provides public drinking water to 2,900 area residents. The site is vulnerable to additional damage and the public water supply well is at risk of total loss if action is not taken.
“This project to correct severe streambank erosion will also protect critical public drinking water infrastructure and reduce sediment pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “Lycoming County has experienced flooding events with significant impacts over several consecutive years. Restoring this section of Muncy Creek and stopping this erosion will provide a substantial benefit to the community.”
During the grant application review process, subsequent flooding carved Muncy Creek more than six feet closer to the water supply well, increasing the project cost over initial estimates and making the danger to public infrastructure more acute. A portion of the access road to the well house has already been washed away.
“This award is an opportunity for multiple levels of government to work together efficiently, as conditions and project costs have changed on the ground,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
Streambank restoration has been shown to improve the biological integrity of a stream by reducing pollution runoff. Muncy Creek is a trout-stocked fishery.
Montgomery County
The Hatboro Memorial Park Streambank Restoration was awarded a $212,101 to restore and stabilize a 900-foot section of a tributary stream in the Hatboro Memorial Park in Hatboro Borough.
Northumberland & Schuylkill Counties
The Department of Environmental Protection awarded a $154,970 grant to the Schuylkill County Conservation District to implement the Mahantango Brown to Green Watershed Restoration Project in Northumberland and Schuylkill counties.
The grant will fund various projects to restore the agriculturally impaired Mahantango Watershed, improving water quality and helping achieve compliance with Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay goals.
Those projects will establish 12 best management practices (BMPs) on the Miller Farm, a 24-acre farm in the watershed.
The primary goal is to reduce agricultural runoff of silt and nutrients from 100 cows on the farm into nearby Mahantango Creek. The BMPs will address ways to handle manure storage and provide guidance on constructing a roofed animal waste facility.
The project also includes construction of streamside fencing, off stream watering of farm animals, designation of an area of prescribed grazing on the farm and the installation of more than two acres of riparian buffers along the creek.
Those buffers will help reduce runoff of nitrogen and phosphorous into the creek, which is a priority for the Wolf Administration’s Chesapeake Bay Clean-up Plan.
“Farmers play an important role in the administration’s goal of reducing waste into waterways that feed into the Chesapeake Bay, especially in the Northeast,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Best management practices start on the farms and the result is a stronger, healthier Bay, this grant helps move that process along.”
Schuylkill County
The Mill Creek Floodplain Restoration was awarded a $325,000 grant to restore floodplain and reduce flood impacts along Mill Creek in the Borough of Port Carbon.
Venango County
A $66,887 Growing Greener Grant was awarded to Trout Unlimited to restore approximately 1,000 feet of streambank along Bullion Run in Venango County.
The grant will improve fish and other aquatic life habitat and reduce sediment pollution by more than 15,000 pounds per year.
“Cutting down on sediment in coldwater streams helps bring back fish and other aquatic life,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “When fish habitat improves, so does fishing.”
Washington County
The Washington Catfish Creek Upper Watershed Restoration Project was awarded a $145,000 grant to reduce sediment runoff and control stormwater, as well as stabilize 1,580 feet of Catfish Creek to prevent flooding in the city of Washington.
Westmoreland County
A $70,000 Growing Greener grant to the Penn Township Commissioners in Westmorland County to reduction pollution from stormwater runoff.
The grant will be used to help manage stormwater in the Brush Creek watershed. Funding will go toward the design, permitting, survey, and project management of the Harrison Park Stormwater System conversion of two existing stormwater detention basins to dry detention basins which will reduce sediment from stormwater runoff from entering Brush Creek.
This project was proposed by Penn Township as part of the township’s pollution reduction plan to meet their municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) requirements.
“Through partnerships like this between state and local governments, we’re helping communities become more resilient to weather future storm events,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
York County
The Fox Run Floodplain Restoration was awarded a grant of $1,493,742 to restore 4,062 linear feet of floodplain along Fox Run, which runs through several York County municipalities.
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 and DEP’s Stormwater Management webpages.
CFA Accepting Applications
The Commonwealth Financing Authority will accept applications from February 1 to May 31 for its Act 13 Watershed Restoration Grants which includes funding control nonpoint source pollution runoff, which includes agricultural operations.  Click Here for more.
New DCNR Grant Round
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.  Click Here for more.
Forest Buffer Summit
Registration is now open for the DCNR and Western PA Conservancy Pennsylvania Riparian Forest Buffer Summit on February 20-21 at the Best Western Premier Conference Center, 800 East Park Drive in Harrisburg.  Click Here for more.
Related Stories:
DCNR, PennVEST Award Nearly $1 Million In Grants To Support Multi-Functional Stream Buffers
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