Friday, December 20, 2019

Deadline Extended To Apply For DEP Growing Greener Plus Watershed Restoration Grants - Jan. 3

On December 20, the Department of Environmental Protection extended the deadline to apply for Growing Greener Plus Watershed Restoration Grants to January 3.
$30 million in grant funding is available to help communities restore and protect water quality.
Growing Greener Plus grants include state and federal funding from several sources to to improve or protect watersheds from nonpoint source pollution associated with agricultural activities, abandoned mine drainage, stormwater runoff, energy resource extraction, and streambank and shoreline degradation, while Bond Forfeiture and AMD Set-Aside grants are designed to address legacy mining impacts.
Eligible applicants include counties, municipalities, municipal authorities, county conservation districts, watershed organizations, councils of governments, educational institutions and other authorized organizations involved in water resource restoration and protection.
Priority areas for Growing Greener grants include projects that reduce nonpoint source pollution-- especially nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution from agricultural and stormwater runoff-- as well as abandoned mine drainage-related iron, aluminum, acidity and sediment pollution. 
The Department is particularly interested in design and construction projects that implement effective best management practices (BMPs) that reduce or eliminate pollutant loadings and lead to local water quality improvements. 
Additional priority areas include: implementation of countywide action plan projects as part of the Commonwealth's Phase 3 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan; restoration of floodplains; implementation of BMPs in municipal separate storm sewer system municipalities as identified in an approved pollutant reduction plan; implementation of projects in watersheds identified as restoration priorities in the Department's 2018 Integrated Water Quality Report; and development of plans to address agricultural erosion and sedimentation or nutrient and manure management.
Through the same application process, applicants can also apply for funding through the Department's federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act Grant Programs to address legacy mining impacts. 
SMCRA grants are available to various entities including municipalities, municipal authorities and nonprofit organizations for projects meeting AMD Set-Aside or Bond Forfeiture grant requirements.
Grant applications and all attachments must be submitted through the Commonwealth's Electronic Single Application website, eGrants
Visit DEP’s Growing Greener Plus webpage for more information [when posted].
The Need
There is a tremendous need for additional state funding to address critical drinking water, wastewater and nutrient and sediment reduction issues all across Pennsylvania.
For the 43-county Chesapeake Bay Watershed alone, the need is $324 million each year for the next 6 years to implement the ground-up, stakeholder-driven plan submitted to EPA to meet Pennsylvania’s clean water obligations.
Funding needs to start in FY 2019-20, if Pennsylvania has any chance of meeting our  2025 cleanup milestones.  
If the funding is not provided, Pennsylvania will be subject to sanctions from EPA and additional legal actions by other states in the Bay Watershed.
And worst of all, Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams will not get cleaned up. Limping along with existing resources means meeting the 2025 milestones will be pushed back to 2044-- 19 years.
The General Assembly did provide $6 million in additional funding through the PA Farm Bill in July, but that still leaves the farm community tens of millions of dollars short-- $171 million to put a number on it-- to support putting cost-effective conservation practices on the ground just this year.
However, the General Assembly also cut $16 million from the Environmental Stewardship Fund which funded local, on-the-ground conservation practices.
Click Here for more background on water quality funding needs in Pennsylvania.
Other Watershed Funding
These other watershed restoration funding programs are now accepting applications--
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[Posted: December 20, 2019]

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