DEP Awards Watershed Restoration Grants, Only Half The Amount Awarded In 2002

February 19, 2013

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced it will invest more than $18.7 million in watershed protection projects intended to improve watersheds, stormwater runoff, acid mine drainage and educational programs, among other environmental efforts.
In this latest grant round, 169 eligible applicants requested about $38.8 million far out-stripping available funding.This year, the Growing Greener program, which is funded by the Environmental Stewardship Fund, will award $13,225,594 for 78 projects around the state. Five additional projects, funded by the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Grant, will receive $1,185,588. Two additional grants, totaling $252,400, are funded by the Acid Mine Drainage Set-aside program.The $18.7 million in grants this year is about half of what was awarded through the Growing Greener Program alone in 2002.If you missed-out on this round of Growing Greener funding for your watershed restoration project, the Commonwealth Financing Authority is now accepting applications for grants under the Act 13 Marcellus Legacy Fund Programs covering abandoned mine drainage abatement and treatment, watershed restoration and protection, water quality data, greenways, trails and recreation and orphan and abandoned well plugging programs.Applications are due July 31 and will be considered at the CFA’s November 13 meeting.  Click Here for details.“Protecting the waters of the Commonwealth is key to DEP’s mission,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “Providing these grants is a major component of continued excellence in water quality.”The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program, which was created through the federal Clean Water Act to help reduce water pollution from nonpoint sources, is funding 21 additional projects, which total $4,062,368.These projects will reduce nonpoint source pollution in watersheds where streams are impaired by implementing agricultural and stormwater best-management practices; developing, repairing or installing passive systems to treat abandoned mine drainage; and supporting the establishment of riparian buffers, among other objectives.One of the Growing Greener program’s goals to invest in projects that protect watersheds from impairment due to nonpoint source pollution or those that will restore damaged waterways. Some examples of priority areas are restoration activities to reduce pollutant load in impaired watersheds for which total maximum daily loads have been developed; projects in priority watersheds that would reduce the source of impairment; and priority activities that lead to water quality restoration and protection. A list of grants awarded is available online.  For more information, visit DEP’s Growing Greener webpage, email GrowingGreener@pa.gov; or call 717-705-4500.