Saturday, September 3, 2022

Bay Journal: 'Precision' Stream Conservation In 6 PA Counties Gets Federal Funding

An initiative to “rapidly delist” 18 polluted streams in six Pennsylvania counties that drain to the Chesapeake Bay can soon kick into high gear with nearly $10 million in federal funding.

The Chesapeake Conservancy and 13 partners have more than 30 farms lined up to put practices in place that will help address water quality issues and wildlife habitat concerns in Huntingdon, Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Union and Snyder counties in the central part of the state.

Pennsylvania classifies all 18 streams as “impaired” under the Clean Water Act. Project partners say they targeted these streams because of the likelihood that concentrated conservation measures to reduce soil and nutrient runoff can clean them up relatively swiftly and remove them from the impaired list.

The Chesapeake Conservancy and other partners hope to use “precision conservation” to restore at least 30 streams in Pennsylvania by 2030. They will use high-resolution lidar images taken from low-flying planes to pinpoint locations with runoff problems and erosion-prone streambanks.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the grant through its Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Other partners are contributing $11.5 million to the project.  Read more here.

The USDA announced the grant on Aug. 12. Three days later, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey toured one of the farms in Warriors Mark, Huntingdon County, where restoration of a streamside buffer is under way. He spoke of the need for increased federal assistance for such projects.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture also received $7.9 million from the program. That grant will support soil health practices on farms to help capture greenhouse gases and fight climate change. 

Another aim is to help farmers transition to less-polluting organic farming.

[How Clean Is Your Stream?

[Check DEP’s 2022 Water Quality Report to find out how clean streams are near you.

[Visit DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed webpage to learn more about cleaning up rivers and streams in Pennsylvania's portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates on Pennsylvania’s progress.]

(Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service workers net aquatic insects to show the water quality improvements in a restored segment of Elk Creek in Centre County)

(Reprinted from the Chesapeake Bay Journal.)

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Related Article:

-- USDA Awards Regional Conservation Partnership Program Grants To 2 Projects In PA Totaling $17.8 Million

Related Articles This Week:

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-- Lancaster Clean Water Partners Report On Progress, Local Projects To Improve Water Quality In Lancaster County

-- Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Program Offering Level 1 Certification Training Sept. 8-9 In State College  [PaEN]

-- Western PA Conservancy: Rain Garden System Expands Environmental Benefits, Offers Opportunities To Teach Green Infrastructure At Pittsburgh Schools  [PaEN]

-- 180+ Attended 2022 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference; MayFly Award Winners Recognized  [PaEN]

-- Brodhead Watershed Association Honors Volunteer Wendy Lichty, Dr. Matt Connell For Conservation Efforts At Sept. 23 Celebration  [PaEN]

-- Manada Conservancy Hosts Sept. 15 Program In Hershey On How Citizen Science, Place-Based Learning Are Helping To Address Environmental Challenges  [PaEN]

[Posted: September 3, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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