Wednesday, January 29, 2020

DEP Provides Funding To 8 Southcentral Counties To Support Implementation Of Local Nonpoint Water Pollution Reduction Measures

On January 29, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it’s helping counties hit the ground running on water quality improvement in Pennsylvania’s part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by supplying $789,400 in funding for local coordinators to head up county action plans and $690,000 in grant funds to get planned projects underway.
Adams, Bedford, Centre, Cumberland, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York are the first counties to be provided full-time local coordinators. The coordinator will lead community development of each county’s plan and, once it’s completed, coordinate project implementation and report the pollutant reduction impacts. 
In addition, DEP has awarded grants to three counties that have already completed their Countywide Action Plans and applied for funding to break ground on planned projects. Lancaster County is receiving $453,488; York County, $137,000; and Franklin County, $99,512. Funding comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The results-oriented grants come with a brisk timeframe, requiring projects to be completed by September 30, 2020.
“We’re responding directly to feedback that county leaders provided during development of Pennsylvania’s Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan last year,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “They told us they need more staff resources to dedicate to local water quality improvement planning and funding to get going on planned projects. DEP is doing everything it can to meet these needs.” 
The Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan is the state plan to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment runoff pollution in local waters in Pennsylvania’s part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and in the bay. 
All or part of 43 counties are in the watershed, and teams in each county are or will be working to develop and implement a Countywide Action Plan to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution.
“County leaders identified the need to complete multiple applications for state or federal grants as a significant hurdle in getting projects underway,” said Secretary McDonnell. “The goal is to award these grants annually, as counties make progress. Still, much more funding is needed for local water quality projects in the watershed and across the state and Restore Pennsylvania is the answer.”
For more information on how Pennsylvania plans to meet its Chesapeake Bay cleanup obligations, visit DEP’s PA’s Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan webpage.
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[Posted: January 29, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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