Thursday, October 20, 2022

East Lampeter Twp. First Municipality To Partner With Lancaster Revolving Water Fund On Pay-For-Performance Contract On Improving Water Quality, Soil Carbon Sequestration

The Lancaster Revolving Water Fund and East Lampeter Township partnered to achieve critical water quality objectives in Lancaster County, a priority conservation area in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  

Under the partnership, East Lampeter Township has executed a forward-looking and cost-effective contract that improves local water quality while addressing Federal and state mandates under the Clean Water Act. 

The Lancaster Revolving Water Fund, a partnership between the Lancaster Clean Water Partners and the Conservation Innovation Fund, expands the Revolving Water Fund's outcomes-based model into a critical agricultural landscape in Pennsylvania, where many local waterways remain impaired due to agricultural and urban runoff during storm events.

Pioneered by i2 Capital, Stroud Water Research Center and the Nature Conservancy, the Revolving Water Fund is an innovative conservation finance program that funds and implements natural infrastructure solutions to reduce sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus from flowing into local waterways. 

The model leverages a "blended capital" pool operating under the auspices of the Conservation Innovation Fund and provides full-service delivery of quantified units of pollution under pay-for-performance contracts in support of municipal stormwater management objectives.

"The team at East Lampeter worked with the Lancaster Revolving Water Fund to bring this model to life in a way that is beneficial to municipalities in Pennsylvania that face mounting pressure and costs to build out their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) plans," said Tara Hitchens, Assistant Township Manager. "We are very proud to be the first municipality in Lancaster County to pioneer this program, which is cost-effective for taxpayers of the township and supports our local agricultural community."

John Cox, Senior Advisor to the Lancaster Clean Water Partners, added, "This public/private partnership is a prime example of how we are expanding sustainable funding and market-based solutions for Lancaster County to clean its streams, in line with Lancaster Clean Water Partner's 'Clean and Clear Water by 2040 agenda.' We're thrilled to partner with leaders in East Lampeter and our local agricultural community to expand this solution across the county."

The Lancaster Revolving Water Fund provides the financial and technical capacity to develop and install agricultural best management practices that reduce pollutants that enter municipal waterways. 

Lancaster farmers have a proud heritage of farm stewardship. The program bolsters ongoing efforts to extend on-farm solutions that enhance the sustainability of Lancaster farms. 

Excess sediment and nutrient loads are reduced through the application of cover crops, no-till farming, the installation of farmland buffers, and nutrient management strategies such as manure injection, among other practices.  

Soil carbon levels are also enhanced under the program.

"The program leverages a blended capital pool to scale well-established agricultural sustainability practices that improve the quality of water across agricultural watersheds," said Ashley Allen Jones, Founder of i2 Capital and a principal architect of the Revolving Water Fund model. "We have worked in earnest to align finance, agriculture, policy, quantification, and public and corporate conservation interests into a 'conservation supply chain' that increases the pace and scale of urgent water quality and soil carbon sequestration solutions in the Mid-Atlantic."

East Lampeter's pay-for-performance contract with the Lancaster Revolving Water Fund will be part of the township's 2022 general budget expense, supported by its stormwater fee.  

The contract fulfills a substantial portion of the Township's remaining sediment reduction requirements under its current Municipal Separate Storm and Sewer (MS4) permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

For more information on this program, visit the Lancaster Revolving Water Fund website.


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[Posted: October 20, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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