Saturday, May 1, 2021

DEP: 16 Counties Begin Countywide Clean Water Action Plans To Improve Water Quality In PA Part Of Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Last week, the Department of Environmental Protection announced 16 counties have agreed to begin the development of
countywide Clean Water Action Plans to improve water quality in the Pennsylvania part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The counties include-- Bradford, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lycoming, Luzerne, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, and Union. 

 Many of the counties have partnered together in groups of two and three to share resources, including Environmental Stewardship Fund grants from DEP, which were made available to support county staff and/or consultant assistance to develop the plans.

The groups include these and other counties--

-- Chester, Berks and Schuylkill counties

-- Lackawanna, Luzerne and Susquehanna counties

-- Lycoming and Northumberland counties

-- Tioga, Potter and Bradford counties

-- Snyder and Union counties

-- Montour, Columbia and Sullivan counties

-- Clinton, Clearfield and Cambria counties

-- Dauphin and Perry counties

-- Juniata and Mifflin counties

Community engagement is an important aspect in implementing effective CAPs, so each county is in the process of engaging stakeholders in the effort to improve local waterways. 

Click Here to find out how you can get involved in the Clean Water Action Plan effort in your county.

The counties are planning to begin carrying out their CAPs in September. 

Eight other counties have already completed their plans and have begun implementing projects, including Adams, Bedford, Centre, Cumberland, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York. 

Countywide Action Plans

Countywide Action Plans (CAPs) identify projects that will reduce nutrient and sediment pollution in the Susquehanna River and its tributaries and are looking for local groups to get involved.

The effort is part of the state-coordinated Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan to improve water quality to benefit local communities, economy, and quality of life in Pennsylvania’s share of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, while meeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pollution reduction requirements for the bay.  

“The CAPs provide counties with the data and planning resources they need to identify projects that will help advance local community and economic development goals, while reducing pollution in the Susquehanna and other local waters,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. 

The CAPs are designed to, among many things, identify best management practice (BMP) projects in each county that can decrease the levels of nitrogen and phosphorous, two leading sources of pollution, in local waterways. 

Some of those projects could include stream bank and floodplain restoration, streamside tree plantings, culvert replacement, streambank fencing, and many others. 

They also provide farmers with tools to implement BMPs on their properties, in particular, effective management of manure, another source of pollution in waterways. 

Cover crops, soil and water conservation planning, and agriculture erosion and sediment control are among many others. 

County participation in the CAPs is voluntary and the plans will be administered by county conservation districts. 

Pennsylvania made record progress in 2019-2020 in the watershed, achieving its sixth largest annual phosphorus reduction. Wastewater treatment plants contributed 61 percent, their second largest annual phosphorus reduction in 35 years. 

Farms contributed 25 percent of the nitrogen reduction and 32 percent of the phosphorus reduction, which is their largest annual phosphorus reduction since 2010. 

Better accounting of implementation of nutrient and sediment reducing practices, such as the state-required agricultural erosion and sediment control and nutrient and manure management plans, was one contributing factor.

PA Chesapeake Bay Plan

For more information on Pennsylvania’s plan, visit DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Office webpage.

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.

For more information on environmental programs in Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s website, Click Here to sign up for DEP’s newsletter, sign up for DEP Connects events, sign up for DEP’s eNotice, visit DEP’s BlogLike DEP on Facebook, Follow DEP on Twitter and visit DEP’s YouTube Channel.

Related Articles This Week:

-- PA Farm Bureau Calls On Senate, House To Pass And Fund Legislation To Support On-Farm Conservation Efforts To Improve Water Quality

-- NRCS-PA Awards Lancaster Clean Water Partners $7.4 Million To Restore Streams On Agricultural Lands In Lancaster County

-- NRCS-PA Awards $4 Million For Turkey Hill Dairy Clean Water Partnership In South Central PA

-- Capital RC&D Hosts Pasture Walks May 20, July 13 In Adams, Franklin Counties To Showcase Spring Cover Crop Grazing 

-- Girl Scouts Kick-Off 5 Million Trees Campaign, Fun Patch Unveiled At Tree Planting In Dauphin County

[May 1, 2021] PA Environment Digest

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