The following first appeared in, PA Environment Digest Blog.
In York County, the idea to create a stormwater authority is going from the feasibility stage to development of an actual business plan.
The authority would produce cost-effective regional stormwater solutions to address problems like nuisance flooding and local stream pollution. Sources of drinking water would be cleaner and there would be more fishing opportunities.
Elsewhere, in a watershed that drains much of the greater Harrisburg metropolitan area, more than 600 feet of eroded stream channel was stabilized and restored on a tributary of Paxton Creek.
In Lancaster County, American Rivers will remove Krady Mill Dam. It is a deteriorating safety hazard and the first barrier on Chiques Creek, a tributary of the Susquehanna River. Removal will also benefit migratory and resident fish.
Financial and technical assistance from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) supports cost-effective and creative solutions that clean and restore polluted rivers and streams in Pennsylvania and the Bay states.
Investments like these come through NFWF's Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund.
It was recently announced that NFWF will award 44 grants from the Stewardship Fund for 2017, to Bay states totaling $12.6 million. The investments will be matched by almost $18 million in contributions, bringing the total on-the-ground impact to about $30 million.
In 2016, 39 NFWF grants totaled $10 million, to leverage $13 million in contributions, bringing the total on-the-ground impact to about $23 million.
Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction grants from the Stewardship Fund support projects that reduce polluted runoff. The Fund's Small Watershed Grants support projects that promote community-based efforts to protect and restore the natural resources of the Bay and its rivers and streams.
Projects in Pennsylvania that benefit from NFWF grants in recent years are too numerous to list. Here are a few more--
- When the former International Automotive Components factory site in Carlisle is redeveloped into commercial and residential properties, a hotel, and a restaurant, the borough's Urban Stormwater Park will collect and filter runoff in order to protect the vulnerable LeTort Spring Run from pollution.
- In Potter County, Trout Unlimited will reduce sediment and open 1.6 miles of coldwater habitat on Kettle Creek to eastern brook trout.
- The Adams County Conservation District received NFWF funding in the past to monitor various watersheds and develop 75 plans for reducing runoff.
- Three grants will support wetlands, buffers, streambank stabilization, and grazing practices in Tioga County.
- In the Juniata River Basin, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will work with 10-15 farmers to install measures that reduce the risk of polluted runoff to three streams and add incentives for habitat improvements like forested buffers.
- In Franklin County, the Conococheague Creek Riparian Buffer Campaign increased tree plantings along streams and rivers in rural and urban areas and encouraged conversion of turf to trees on residential and commercial properties.
As Pennsylvania's budget continues a trend of inadequately funding pollution reduction efforts, federal partnerships like those with NFWF and the Chesapeake Bay Program are as important as ever.
The spending bill approved by federal House Appropriations Committee cuts support for the Bay Program from $73 million to $60 million. Hopefully that funding will be restored. Pennsylvania cannot afford to fall further behind in meeting its clean water commitments.
Roughly 19,000 miles of Commonwealth rivers and streams are harmed by pollution. NFWF investments help clean them up, improve farm economies, and protect human health and welfare.
For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA webpage.