Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) awarded over $4.1 million to 13 projects statewide that will help communities restore impaired local watersheds.
“Healthy watersheds are like the circulatory system of our environment, providing drinking water, sustaining fish and other aquatic life, supporting habitats, and enabling the recreation opportunities that add to our quality of life and help sustain our economy in Pennsylvania,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Yet around the state, streams and rivers are degraded by increasing nonpoint source pollution. The Section 319 Grants program supports public and private partners working with the goal of reducing this pollution across their local watersheds.”
Nonpoint source pollution is water pollution that doesn’t come from a single specific discharge point, such as a pipe, but rather from diffuse sources. About 95 percent of water-quality-impaired watersheds in Pennsylvania are affected by nonpoint source pollution. Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Grants focus on reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution from agricultural activities, urban stormwater runoff, and streambank and shoreline erosion; and iron, aluminum, and acidity pollution associated with energy resource extraction and acid mine drainage (AMD).
The Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Grants program supports projects that carry out best management practices (BMPs) specified in Watershed Implementation Plans for 36 watersheds around the state, with special consideration for projects in Pennsylvania’s share of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The program also supports development of new Watershed Implementation Plans for additional impaired watersheds.
Grouped by location, the following projects received Section 319 Grants:
• Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts: $362,565 to support nonpoint source pollution education by county conservation district offices. This includes training for watershed specialists across the state and educational outreach to citizens on actions they can take to reduce pollution, as well as a small grants program that funds projects to reduce nonpoint source pollution prevention from various sources, including agriculture and stormwater.
• Broadtop Township: $209,000 and $299,000 for treatment improvements to existing AMD passive treatment systems in two locations in Six Mile Run. The improvements will further remediate AMD discharges and achieve acidity, iron, aluminum, and manganese reduction goals for the creek. Twenty-one AMD sources have been remediated upstream, starting in the headwaters, in the past 20 years. This is the next to last major AMD remediation project before the mouth of Six Mile Run.
• Clearfield County Conservation District: $722,661 for design, permitting, and construction of a passive treatment system to remediate Korb 4 AMD discharge in Little Anderson Creek in Bloom Township. This high-priority project will reduce acidity, iron, aluminum, and manganese in the creek and, along with other projects to be completed, will restore this cold-water fishery.
Dauphin and Lebanon Counties
• Doc Fritchey Trout Unlimited Chapter: $132,759 to develop a Watershed Implementation Plan for Spring Creek Watershed in Palmyra Borough and Derry, South Londonderry, North Londonderry, and Conewago townships. The watershed is 91 percent impaired, primarily by siltation, but also by organic enrichment, habitat alteration, and flow modification. The plan will prioritize sites that contribute high pollutant loads to streams in the watershed; prioritize best management projects and quantify how much pollution they’ll remove; and identify project cooperators, approximate financial costs, and an implementation schedule.
• Headwaters Charitable Trust: $64,352 for design and permitting of a passive treatment system to remediate three AMD discharges in Pine Run on State Gamelands Number 320 in Porter Township. Acidity removal and alkalinity generation are the primary goals, but iron and aluminum removal will also be considered in the passive treatment design.
• Donegal Chapter of Trout Unlimited: $832,440 for agricultural and stream restoration projects in three locations in the Little Conowingo subwatershed in East Drumore and Fulton townships. Barnyard runoff controls, rotational grazing, livestock crossings, and streambank restoration with fencing and vegetative buffers will be implemented.
• Lancaster County Conservation District: $121,000 to identify and implement projects to install streambank buffers, streambank fencing, and livestock crossings on various tributaries in Mill Creek Watershed to get streams off impaired lists quickly in Lancaster City; New Holland Borough; and East Lampeter, West Lampeter, Earl, East Earl, Leacock, and Upper Leacock townships.
• Doc Fritchey Trout Unlimited: $161,081 to restore 2,781 linear feet of stream and plant a 35-foot-wide streambank buffer along Bachman Run on two properties in South Annville Township. In addition, the project will convert heavily impacted pasture into a half-acre of emergent wetland in the adjacent floodplain.
• Schuylkill Conservation District: $240,000 to design a streambank restoration project for the Swatara Creek floodplain in Ravine, Tremont Township. A section of the creek is severely eroded on both sides, with banks over eight feet high. Flooding in summer 2018 exacerbated the problem. Erosion has resulted in over 1,500 tons of sediment entering the creek since 2006 and is shifting the creek close to Interstate 81. Project design will likely incorporate bank sloping, hard armoring, floodplain restoration, wetland creation, and vegetation to stabilize the streambank and create up to 2.5 acres of floodplain and wetlands.
• Center for Watershed Protection: $168,057 to design and permit a project to restore sections of South Branch Codorus and Centerville creeks in the Codorus Creek watershed, Codorus and Springfield townships.
• York County Conservation District: $508,581 to design, permit and construct a stream restoration project, including streambed and bank stabilization, on Willis Run, a tributary to Codorus Creek, and in the west branch of Codorus Creek, in the City of York. The project also will install 1.5 acres of new streambank vegetation buffers at Lincoln Park. The project has an educational component, primarily funded with partner contributions, including an unveiling event, public education signage, and an education day with several local schools.
• York County Conservation District: $280,898 for Codorus Creek Watershed stream restorations. The project will complete the design, permitting and construction for three stream restoration project sites on the South Branch Codorus Creek, Mill Creek, and Inners Creek in Springfield and York townships.
The projects in Pennsylvania’s share of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed also advance Countywide Action Plan priority initiatives and the state Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan to improve the health of the watershed.
Grant funding is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and authorized through Section 319(h) of the federal Water Pollution Control Act.