Taking Action to Improve Pennsylvania Streams
By Dana Aunkst
EPA provides significant funding to help Chesapeake Bay states do their part in cleaning up their local waters, thereby helping to improve Bay health. It’s important to us that the funds are used in the most timely and efficient ways.
That’s why EPA recently redirected funds within Pennsylvania that weren’t being spent quickly enough.
As a result, communities and organizations are now sharing $2.4 million for 14 stream restoration projects, and new state employees will be hired to assist with stream improvements in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The $2.4 million that EPA redirected to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) for the restoration projects is being leveraged with $3.4 million in local matching funds for a total impact of nearly $6 million.
Three of the larger projects involve stabilizing streambanks and planting vegetation alongside streams to prevent sediment and excess nutrient pollution from entering the waterways during storms. And each of these projects involves a substantial local match to a $200,000 EPA grant through NFWF. Here are the Big 3:
- The Conservation Foundation of Lancaster County will establish native vegetation and stabilize streambanks in the Little Cocalico Creek and Cocalico Creek watershed. ($1.02 million)
- West Lampeter Township will create 4.4 acres of riparian habitat on a streambank of Big Spring Run on Groff Farm. ($922,649)
- Manheim Borough will plant riparian buffers and stabilize streambank on a 3,000 linear foot section of Chiques Creek. ($1.14 million)
A full list of the funded projects is available here.
At the same time, EPA redirected $464,200 in grant funds to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to hire eight employees to assist with stream improvement projects, largely in the Susquehanna River Basin.
The grant funds will be used to employ eight staff in the Commission’s Stream Habitat Section. The full-time, part-time and seasonal employees will provide technical assistance to conservation districts and landowners to plan, design and install stream protection features on their properties.
For EPA, it’s a priority to help Pennsylvania advance its plans to improve Pennsylvania streams and, at the same time, meet its commitment to Bay restoration.
About the author: Dana Aunkst is the Director of the Chesapeake Bay Program Office.
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