Thursday, May 27, 2021

DEP Highlights Local Water Quality Improvement Projects Cleaning Up Chesapeake Bay Watershed; Updates On Other County, Partner Accomplishments

The latest Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan newsletter from the Department of Environmental Protection as well as regular updates from county and other partners and recent accomplishments of the Chesapeake Bay Program in Pennsylvania.

Local Clean Water Projects

Among the local clean water projects highlighted are--

-- 1,500 Native Trees Planted To Help Juniata River: Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director Tim Schaeffer joined partners in April to plant a streamside forest buffer at Walker Access on the Juniata River in Mifflintown. (Photo - Read more here.)

Partners included the Juniata County Conservation District, Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and Juniata Watershed Alliance

Over several days the team planted about 1,500 native trees and shrubs to form 7.5 acres of buffer at this and two other FBC access areas on the Juniata. Swamp white oak, river birch, American sycamore, silky dogwood, and winterberry will help improve the health of the river and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

-- 39 Dairy Farmers Reducing Water Pollution Through Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership: The national ice cream brand Turkey Hill has helped 39 of its Pennsylvania dairy suppliers significantly reduce pollution through the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership.

Animal waste, over fertilizing, and poor irrigation practices can cause excess nitrogen to run off into local waterways, causing algal blooms downstream that lead to dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay that impact aquatic life. 

Plowing, cows wandering into waterways and vegetation removal all lead to stream bank erosion, which adds sediment pollution.

All of this is being reduced through best management practice implementation, which is happening at breakneck speed by the partnership. 

Since it launched in 2017, the partnership has now worked with 39 farms to plant 645 trees that filter runoff; create or update 29 conservation, nutrient and manure plans; and install 66 agricultural BMPs, such as cover crops, stream fencing, and improved manure storage facilities.

A joint effort between Turkey Hill, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, the partnership fundraises and acquires grants, using them to install BMPs on the farms of Turkey Hill producers, reducing the amount of nutrients and sediment flowing into local streams and the bay.

For dairy producers who choose to participate, the partnership funds 75 percent of the costs of installing conservation and nutrient management plans and 100 percent of the costs to develop plans. 

The partnership has raised $2 million, with a total of $3 million leveraged on farm improvements.

Click Here to watch a video about the program.

-- Girl Scouts: Smart Cookies About Improving Water Quality:  Cumberland Valley High School senior Lauren Braught, who is a Girl Scout and also the Pennsylvania student leader at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, guided fellow Girl Scouts in planting 100 trees at Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County on April 24. (Read more here.)

The event kicked off Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s portion of the Girl Scouts USA Tree Promise—a nationwide five-year initiative for Girl Scouts to plant five million trees. 

A new tree-focused fun patch was also unveiled and available for all Girl Scouts in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. GSHPA and the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership are collaborating on Tree Promise efforts in Pennsylvania, as well as on the new “Clean Water Grows on Trees” fun patch.

The day also marked the third anniversary of the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, coordinated by CBF. The partnership provided the trees and supplies for the planting. Girl Scouts planted 50 more trees at another event on May 16 in Lancaster County.  

-- Tioga County Sugar Maples For Healthy Waters Now, Sap For Future Generations: Farmer and maple syrup producer Corrie Bacon has a small river running through his property that connects to the Cowanesque River, a tributary of the Susquehanna River.  (Read more here.)

Because of this, Bacon qualified to receive 850 sugar maple trees from the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership.

Bacon sells a variety of maple products, including syrups, maple sugar, maple cream, and seasoning. It takes 40 years for sugar maples to start producing sap for syrup, and at the age of 54, Bacon doesn’t plan on reaping any financial benefits from his new trees. Instead, he sees the trees as an opportunity to give back to the Pennsylvania region he’s benefited from.

Sugar maples can function as stream bank buffers that filter runoff before it enters waterways, and also reduce air pollution by storing carbon dioxide. Tree roots and leaves also help improve soil health. 

And when trees are planted alongside streams, they help to cool the water and make conditions more suitable for marine life.

Bacon heard of the tree planting program through the Pennsylvania Veteran Farming Project, a grassroots network of veterans, military members and spouses who farm and operate agribusinesses. 

The project is working to connect farmers in their network to the 10 Million Trees Partnership, making it easy for them to implement the best management practice on their property.

Click Here to read the original blog post.

-- Bradford, Potter, and Tioga Counties: Countywide Clean Water Action Plan website launched: Bradford, Potter, and Tioga counties have launched a new website with information on Clean Water Action Plan development and other features, including a survey for landowners in the counties. Please share and help us gather feedback that will guide what programs, projects, and initiatives will go into each county's CAP. 

More county clean water initiatives are included in the newsletter.

Other Accomplishments

Among the other accomplishments highlighted are--

-- Stream Restoration Crediting Now Available To MS4 Stormwater Municipalities: DEP has enhanced its guidance for MS4 stormwater municipalities on calculating credit for stream restoration projects. 

Easy-to-use checklists clarify the minimum criteria a stream restoration project must meet to earn MS4 credit and specify the documentation DEP expects when stream restoration projects are submitted for crediting review. 

Log in to the Clean Water Academy website to see this information in Stream Restoration for MS4 Pollutant Load Reduction Credit

-- Over 850 Farm Conservation Plans Supported By Reimbursement Program:  Farmers registered 860 agricultural plans for $643,489 in reimbursements through the DEP Agriculture Plan Reimbursement Program as of the April 1 deadline for the final year of this four-year program. 

The plans cover 106,254 acres in in Pennsylvania’s share of the watershed. Contractors TeamAg and Larson Design are currently reviewing and approving reimbursement packages. 

APRP helps farmers with the cost of getting Ag Erosion and Sediment, Conservation, Nutrient Management, and Manure Management Plans developed. 

Over the previous three years, this successful program reimbursed farmers over $1.8 million to support development of 2,397 plans covering 418,450 acres. 

-- Environmental Education Grants Fund Watershed Projects In Bay Region: Fifty-one projects in Pennsylvania were recently awarded almost $460,000 in 2021 Environment Education Grants from DEP. 

Addressing water quality, environmental justice, and climate change, the projects will be led by schools, conservation districts, and environmental and community organizations. Grants went to several projects in counties working on Phase 3 WIP Countywide Action Plans:

-- Cambria County Conservation District was funded for urban rain barrel workshops;

-- Northumberland County Conservation District received funding for a community project to plant native trees/shrubs to mitigate the impacts of acid mine drainage; and

-- York County Conservation District was funded for multimedia presentations, brochures, and infographics highlighting stream restoration projects and riparian buffer plantings.

Click Here to read the entire newsletterClick Here to sign up for your own copy.

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.


MONGABAY: In Pennsylvania, Agroforestry Holds Key To Cleaning Up Waterways, Chesapeake Bay

Growing Greener Coalition: Funding Needed To Combat Flash Flooding From Fishing Creek In Columbia County

CitizensV Editorial: ‘Billion For [Chesapeake] Bay’ Proposal Timely Effort

Related Articles:

-- PA Receives $3.9 Million EPA Grant For Water Quality Improvement Projects In Chesapeake Bay Watershed 

-- National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Accepting Applications For Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program Grants

-- Lancaster County Clean Water Partners Hold June 1 Growing Greener, 319, Clean Water Fund Grant Applicant Workshop 

-- DCNR Highlights Many Benefits Of Streamside Buffers In Visit To Geisinger Health System In Montour County

-- Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Program Offers 1-Day Stormwater BMP Training June 29 In Lancaster County; Scholarships Available 

[Posted: May 27, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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