Friday, November 20, 2020

DEP Provides $6 Million+ To 8 Counties To Support Local Water Quality Improvement In Chesapeake Bay Watershed

On November 20, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it is providing just over $6 million in grant funding to eight counties to continue support for their accelerated progress in improving local water quality in Pennsylvania’s share of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Adams, Bedford, Centre, Cumberland, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties will receive 2020 Environmental Stewardship Fund grants to build local engagement in best-practice projects to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution in local streams and rivers.

“Teams in these counties are forging through the challenges of the pandemic to make unprecedented progress in increasing communities’ awareness that we can’t allow nutrient and sediment runoff pollution to continue to degrade our waters without significant long-term impacts,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

“They’re reaching out and enlisting local farmers, municipalities, businesses, community organizations, colleges, and other partners to develop strategies and determine project sites and types that will benefit the landowner and community as well as water quality. They’re using local data and water quality monitoring to maximize their impact and track their progress on specific pollution reduction goals. They’re brainstorming all options for much needed funding support. DEP is committed to providing as much support as it can to sustain these teams and the strong momentum they’ve developed.”

Adams, Franklin, Lancaster, and York counties completed Countywide Action Plans in 2019 and this year began to enlist partners, source funding, and break ground on projects.

Bedford, Centre, Cumberland, and Lebanon counties submitted draft plans to DEP in October. After their plans are finalized in December, they’ll begin getting projects underway.

The counties may begin using these DEP grants in January 2021 to accelerate implementation of the priority initiatives specified in their Countywide Action Plans. They’ll receive funding as follows for full-time plan coordinators and a range of projects that represent scientific best practices to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution.

The grants awarded include--

-- Adams County: $373,199 for a coordinator and projects in several priority areas: enhanced nutrient management to improve soil health on farms, stream restorations, streambank tree plantings, rain gardens, and livestock exclusion fencing.

-- Bedford County: $428,992 for a coordinator and projects in these priority areas: conservation landscaping, stream restoration, bioretention and rain gardens, wetland creation and restoration, pervious pavement, urban tree canopy, livestock exclusion fencing, and streambank tree plantings.

-- Centre County: $424,856 for a coordinator and projects to identify and prioritize small watersheds with agricultural impairments and carry out stream restoration, streambank buffer planting, habitat restoration projects, and agricultural best practices at up to six sites, to rapidly get streams off impaired lists.

-- Cumberland County: $490,816 for a coordinator and projects related to conservation landscaping and agricultural conservation practices to minimize nutrient and sediment runoff on multiple farms. 

-- Franklin County: $756,792 for a coordinator and implementation of agricultural best practices, including animal waste management systems, barnyard runoff control, grassed and forested streambanks, prescribed grazing, and tillage management to improve soil health. 

-- Lancaster County: $2,204,821 for a coordinator and projects in agricultural barnyard runoff reduction, soil health improvement, streambank tree plantings, stream restoration, floodplain reconnection, and green infrastructure in key urban areas.

-- Lebanon County: $499,061 for a coordinator and projects in several priority areas: stream restoration, streambank tree plantings, and stormwater retrofits.

-- York County: $866,193 for a coordinator and projects in these priority areas: stream restoration, floodplain reconnection, and streambank native tree and shrub plantings.

The 2020 grants follow 2019 Environmental Stewardship Fund grants to these counties as part of multiyear agreements to support their participation in Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan to meet federal obligations to improve the health of the bay.

PA Chesapeake Bay Plan

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. 

Click Here for a summary of the steps the Plan recommends.

How Clean Is Your Stream?

DEP’s Interactive Report Viewer allows you to zoom in on your own stream or watershed to find out how clean your stream is or if it has impaired water quality using the latest information in the draft 2020 Water Quality Report.

Related Article:

DEP November Newsletter Updates Chesapeake Bay Program Implementation

[Posted: November 20, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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