Monday, January 24, 2022

Master Watershed Steward Program Receives Healing The Planet Grant From The GIANT Company

By Erin Frederick, Master Watershed Steward Coordinator

The Penn State Master Watershed Steward Program received a $10,000 Healing the Planet Grant from The GIANT Company and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.

This grant funding will provide for the installation of 30 demonstration downspout planters across the state, 2 stormwater basin naturalization projects and 1 live stake nursery installation.

Downspout planters are decorative landscaped planters specially designed to absorb and filter stormwater before it enters stormwater management or sewer systems. 

Downspout planters are filled with a base layer of gravel to allow for drainage, a stormwater-friendly soil mix, and native perennial vegetation that comes back every spring. 

During storm events, water from the roof flows into the planter and is captured. If the volume of water is greater than the capacity of the planter it exits the planter through an overflow outlet. 

The native plants in the planters provide pollinator habitat and beautification for homeowners. 

This project will provide materials for downspout planters to be installed in the counties of Luzerne, Lacakawanna, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Northampton, Philadelphia, Cumberland, Monroe, Berks and York at locations such as municipal offices, park pavilions, conservation district offices, and schools. 

Stormwater basins will be naturalized on municipal property in New Britain Township, Bucks County and at Chichester High School in Delaware County. 

The existing basins are currently in turf. Lawn grass has very short roots, absorbs little stormwater, and does not filter out pollutants. 

When turf grass is converted to a natural state – meadows, shrub lands, and forest - the ability of the land to soak up rainwater and clean pollutants increases many-fold. 

Planting trees, shrubs and wildflowers in these basins will improve stormwater quality directly, reduce the length of time water is standing in the stormwater basin and also create habitat for native birds, insects, and mammals.

Lastly, a native plant, live stake nursery will be planted at the Lehman Sanctuary in Luzerne County. 

Some species of shrubs and trees support cuttings of branches to be planted directly into the ground and when planted along stream banks, grow into new trees or shrubs. 

They are an effective, low-cost way to establish a root network along stream banks to help prevent soil loss and to rebuild eroded banks. 

Planting this nursery will create a sustainable, low cost supply of material for local conservation organizations and streamside landowners.  

These shrubs will provide future material for riparian buffers, rain gardens and other plantings regionally, that will aid in water quality protection and improvement.

[Visit the Penn State Master Watershed Steward Program webpage to learn more about Master Watershed Steward opportunities in your county.]

(Reprinted from the latest Penn State Extension Watershed Winds newsletterClick Here to sign  up for your own copy.)

Related Articles:

-- The GIANT Company, Keep PA Beautiful Announce Award Of 42 Healing The Planet Grants In PA, MD, VA, WV

-- Penn State Master Watershed Steward Program – A Look Back On 2021’s Accomplishments
-- PA Chapter Of Natural Resources Extension Professionals Names Ross Snook Of Montgomery County Natural Resources Education Champion
[Posted: January 24, 2022] 
PA Environment Digest

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