National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Announced $33.8 Million In Chesapeake Bay Nutrient, Small Watershed Grants; 31 Projects Will Benefit PA

On December 2, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced $33.8 million in grant awards to support the restoration and conservation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The grants were awarded through the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grant Program (INSR) and the Small Watershed Grants (SWG) Programs, core grant programs of the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program partnership that are administered under NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund.

Thirty-one of the projects funded will benefit Pennsylvania.

The awards include $15 million provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds, which is a first set of awards from the infrastructure funding, with more to be announced soon.

Additional federal agency funding for CBSF is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Private funding is provided by Altria Group, Zoetis, and Astra Zeneca, with additional funding this year from the Bezos Earth Fund.

“This funding not only helps kickstart critical water quality programs within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, it represents an investment in public health and the communities who call the Bay home,” said Janet McCabe, EPA’s Deputy Administrator.  “Our partnerships and collaborative approaches bring farmers, homeowners, communities, businesses and local leaders together as a team, working in partnership to reduce pollution, improve water quality, and revitalize their communities.

“The grants announced today represent the single largest annual investment in on-the-ground restoration projects in the more than 20-year history of NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These grants demonstrate the power of and the conservation impact of supporting local communities in implementing conservation projects that support broader restoration goals for the Chesapeake Bay while at the same time addressing critical local priorities for environmental improvements.”

PA Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants

-- Watershed Alliance of York - $1,000,000, Match $1,096,000: Coordinating Partnerships to Increase Watershed Forestry Best Management Practices. Bring together private and public partners to accelerate  implementation, maintenance, and financial incentives of riparian forest buffers and lawn conversion projects in York County. Project will use partner-funded outreach, large contract plantings, investment in partners’ professional development and a marketing campaign to accelerate the pace of riparian forest buffer and lawn conversion implementation.

PA, Multi-State

-- Trout Unlimited: Accelerating Water Quality Improvements and Supporting Conservation Collaboratives - $979,700, Match $1,236,100: Support restoration efforts and the assessment and further development of conservation collaboratives, programs, and services within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed region. Project will result in improved water quality in focal watersheds, increased capacity to deliver watershed scale conservation services in the region, engagement of future environmental stewards and the long-term monitoring and maintenance of conservation projects.

-- Tioga County Conservation District of NY: Fueling Natural Filter Restoration in the Headwaters of the Upper Susquehanna Watershed - $1,000,000 Match $1,000,000  Provide flexible funding and technical assistance opportunities for natural filter restoration and protection in the Upper Susquehanna Watershed of New York and Pennsylvania. Project will identify and implement high priority projects that provide ecosystem benefits such as improving habitat and addressing water quality and quantity.

-- Alliance for Chesapeake Bay: Outcomes-Based Model for Accelerating Pollutant

Reductions - $1,000,000 Match 1,000,000 - Pilot an outcomes-based model for accelerating pollution reductions in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Project will engage partners and landowners to implement at least 115 acres of riparian forest buffer and upland reforestation projects and work with at least 12 dairy farmers to implement agricultural best management practices including field soil health practices, barnyard stabilization, heavy use areas, grassed waterways, manure storage facilities and other practices.

-- Center for Watershed Protection - Scaling Up Biochar Applications for Accelerated Stormwater Runoff Reduction in the Chesapeake Bay - $699,500 Match 1,039,800 - Accelerate the rate and scale at which biochar amendments are applied in the urban landscape to support runoff reduction and improved water quality across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Project will 1) mature the partnership structure to ensure effectiveness and longevity, 2) deliver unified education and outreach around the benefits of biochar, 3) secure new partners who are committed to formalizing the infrastructure for widespread use of biochar amendments, and 4) provide technical assistance to partners on sourcing and using certified biochar in a variety of urban applications.

Click Here for a full list of projects.

Small Watershed Grants

-- Snyder County Conservation District - Accelerating Agricultural Pollution Reduction in the Mahantango Watershed - $414,000 Match $5,500: Reduce agricultural runoff in the West and North Branches of Mahantango Creek through farmer outreach, development of agricultural conservation plans, and implementation of conservation practices on beef and poultry operations. Project will result in development of 30 agricultural conservation plans to guide future farm management for improved water quality

-- Lebanon County Conservation District - Advancing Conservation Practice Implementation Through Planning - $61,200 Match $3,500: Provide additional technical assistance support to assist with the significant amount of requests for conservation plans within the Little Swatara and Swatara Creek watersheds in Lebanon County. Project result in development of more than 50 agricultural conservation plans that will allow the advancement of future implementation of pollutant reduction best management practices on farms in these watersheds.

-- Potter County Conservation District - Enhancing Resilience of the Cowanesque Watershed through Collaboration - $500,000 Match $363,600:  Implement more than 11,000 acres of soil health practices across the headwaters of the Cowanesque River in Potter and Tioga counties, including cover crops, no-till, prescribed grazing, and nutrient management. Project will enhance eastern brook trout populations in a high priority patch by restoring connectivity to upstream cold-water habitat through replacement of an existing stream culvert.

-- Schuylkill County Conservation District - Middle Creek Strategic Watershed Restoration Plan - $50,000 Match $12,000: Conduct an assessment of the Middle Creek watershed and develop a restoration plan that addresses sources of stormwater, flooding, sediment, and habitat fragmentation to build environmental and community resiliency. Project will rank pollution sources and watershed stressors and identify specific restoration solutions with highest impact and lowest cost and risk.

-- Union County Conservation District - Helping Farmers Accomplish Conservation Goals in the West Branch Susquehanna River Watershed - $500,000 Match $427,800: Implement agricultural conservation practices on four farms in the Turtle Creek watershed within the broader West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Project will complete whole farm conservation plans by strategically leveraging federal conservation program funding to fulfill farm-level funding needs.

-- Alliance for Chesapeake Bay - Agricultural Conservation Planning for Impact with Dairy Farmers of America  - $75,000 Match $75,000: Complete six preliminary concept plans for agricultural conservation practices for producer members of the Dairy Farmers for America cooperative in order to improve water quality in south-central Pennsylvania.

-- University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center - Building Organizational Capacity for Clean Water in Franklin County, PA - $62,000: Establish a new countywide water quality organization that will build local capacity to advance the implementation of water quality improvements identified as priorities in the Franklin County’s clean water plans. Project will address critical gaps in restoration capacity within existing agencies and environmental and conservation organizations in the county.

-- Capital Resource Conservation and Development Area Council - Catalyzing Action for Clean Water in the Capital Region - $499,700 Match $118,300:  Implement new, cost-effective agricultural conservation practices and improve reporting of existing practices across Pennsylvania’s capital region through the use of innovative technology and increased staff capacity. Project will utilize trusted conservation partners to improve understanding of the region’s current conservation efforts while driving additional water quality improvements consistent with locally led clean water plans.

-- Stroud Water Research Center - Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning for Lancaster County Farms - $499,700 Match $654,700: Accelerate implementation of agricultural water quality improvements in Lancaster County through development and implementation of comprehensive nutrient management plans. Project will result in more than 1,100 acres under improved nutrient management and more than four miles of riparian forest buffers and livestock exclusion fencing implemented to protect sensitive stream ecosystems.

-- Stroud Water Research Center - Meeting Lancaster County’s Clean Water Goals through Riparian Forest Buffers - $499,300 Match $977,400: Increase capacity and accelerate the rate of installing state-of-the-art riparian forest buffers towards locally led clean water plans for Lancaster and Chester counties. Project will result in more than 40 acres and nearly 10 miles of riparian forest buffer implemented to intercept polluted runoff and protect sensitive stream ecosystems.

-- The Nature Conservancy-PA - Developing Agricultural Conservation Partnerships to Improve Water Quality and Stream Health - $75,00 Match $75,000: Accelerate wetland and stream restoration across agricultural lands in the upper Cocalico Creek watershed of Pennsylvania through the development of a regional-scale partnership that builds capacity for planning and implementation. Project will create a pipeline of landowners interested in restoring wetlands and streams and a strengthening of partnerships across the watershed that will identify, secure, and implement future projects.

-- PA Organizations For Watersheds & Rivers - Enhanced Capacity for Delivering Technical Assistance for Watershed Stewardship - $39,900 Match $26,500: Establish a formal regional-scale partnership between the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers and Penn State Extension’s Master Watershed Steward program to improve delivery of technical assistance and enhanced local capacity for watershed and habitat restoration efforts. Project will employ virtual and in-person convenings, field site visits, and other approaches to deliver targeted outreach strategies and specific restoration education, training and technical assistance.

-- Little Conestoga Watershed Alliance - Floodplain Restoration on Indian Run - $455,600 Match $72,000: Restore approximately 860 linear feet along Indian Run in the Little Conestoga River watershed. Project will create more than a half acres of floodplain wetland habitat.

-- York County Rail Trail Authority - Floodplain Restoration on Oil Creek- $500,000 Match $1,975,000:  Restore more than a mile of Oil Creek to improve water quality and protect a planned trail corridor to improve local public access. Project will restore up to 8 acres of historic wetlands.

-- Lancaster Farmland Trust - Implementation Of Agricultural Conservation Practices on Preserved Farms in Pequea Creek - $479,000 Match $415,700: Advance water quality improvements in Strasburg Township and the Pequea Creek watershed by coupling farmland protection and landowner outreach. Project will result in 30 new conservation plans for farms in the area and full-scale implementation on two permanently preserved farms.

-- Harveys Lake Borough, Luzerne County - Improvement Stormwater Management at Harveys Lake - $89,200 Match $13,200:  Increase efficiency of existing stormwater management facilities by utilizing new filter techniques to improve nitrogen and phosphorus removal. Project will incorporate stormwater monitoring to better understand nutrient removal capacity from practice enhancements.

-- Trout Unlimited - Increasing Resilience of Priority Eastern Brook Trout Stronghold Patches in the Chesapeake Bay - $254,000 Match $78,000: Enhance and increase eastern brook trout populations in habitat strongholds in Pennsylvania’s Pine and Kettle creeks. Project will develop a long-term plan for aquatic connectivity and cold-water habitat enhancements and restore more than a mile of riparian forest habitat.

-- The Trust For Public Land - Kennedy Elementary Green Schoolyard Design - $75,000 Match $50,000: Design a schoolyard at Kennedy Elementary School in Scranton that meets community needs for a healthy, equitable and climate-resilient community park. Project will provide new opportunities to explore stormwater management in Scranton schoolyards, engage dozens of students and residents in a process of hands-on education about their schoolyard and its place in the watershed, and incorporate a low-income community of color in planning and design of public community green spaces.

-- East Cocalico Township Authority, Lancaster County - Protecting Drinking Water in East Cocalico Township through Farm Collaboration - $282,700 Match $500,000: Improve local drinking water quality in East Cocalico Township by partnering with farmers to implement agricultural conservation practices that reduce nitrogen pollution to local groundwater supplies. Project will implement 900 acres of conservation practices, including cover crops, no-till and adaptive nutrient management.

-- West Cocalico Township Authority, Lancaster County - Protecting Drinking Water in West Cocalico Township through Farm Collaboration - $213,000 Match $500,000: Improve local drinking water quality in West Cocalico Township by partnering with farmers to implement agricultural conservation practices that reduce nitrogen pollution to local groundwater supplies. Project will implement 630 acres of conservation practices, including cover crops, no-till and adaptive nutrient management.

-- Londonderry Township, Dauphin County - Restoring Conewago Creek - $500,000 Match $836,900: Restore and create more than 2,600 linear feet of stream habitat as part of a broader initiative to restore Conewago Creek. Project will restore and reconnect an additional five and a half acres of floodplain.

-- Ephrata Borough, Lancaster County - Restoring Gross Run Stream - $500,000 Match $1,843,800 - . Restore approximately 4,500 linear feet along Gross Run and tributaries within the Indian and Cocalico Creek watersheds. Project will create five acres off riparian habitat and nearly an acres of floodplain wetland habitat.

-- The Little Conestoga Creek Foundation, Lancaster County - Restoring the Little Conestoga Creek Blue-Green Corridor - $500,000 Match $1,250,000: Advance efforts to establish the Little Conestoga Blue-Green corridor through stream restoration, floodplain reconnection and riparian buffer restoration. Project will restore one acre of floodplain and engage 30 volunteers in restoration activities.

-- East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County - Restoring the Little Conestoga River - $499,600 Match $499,600: Restore the Little Conestoga River through a combination of stream restoration, invasive species removal, wetland restoration and creation, installation and retrofit of green infrastructure for stormwater management, and planting of native trees and shrubs. Project will directly restore nearly 1 mile of stream and enhance more than 10 acres of riparian habitat, while enhancing public access to the restored Little Conestoga.

-- Intergovernmental Stormwater Committee, Blair County - Restoring Urban Streams to Connect Blair County Communities and Improve Water Quality - $500,000 Match $330,000: Restore 1,800 linear feet of Brush Run Steam Corridor in the priority subwatershed Mill Run Beaverdam Branch, reducing 192,200 pounds annually of sediment and improving water quality and stream health. Project will restore 1 acre of riparian forest buffers and will revitalize and enhance ecosystems for the eastern brook trout, pollinators, aquatic organisms and Pennsylvania native plant species.

-- Lancaster Conservancy - Wizard Ranch Floodplain Restoration and Habitat Enhancement - $75,000 Match $75,000: Create a reach-wide stream restoration plan at Wizard Ranch

Nature Preserve. Project will address the overall health of the stream corridor and include recommendations for areas of streambank stabilization, streambed elevation, grade-control structures, invasive species management and installing native plants.

Click Here for the complete list of projects.

Click Here for the full press announcement.

Related Articles:

-- Bay Journal: EPA Says PA’s Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan Falls Short, Again - By Karl Blankenship, Chesapeake Bay Journal  [PaEN]

-- Presentation Proposals Wanted For 2023 Watershed Forestry Summit June 13-15  [PaEN]

-- Bay Journal - Karl Blankenship: Chesapeake Bay Loses A Champion, Nick DiPasquale

Latest From The Chesapeake Bay Journal

-- Vote Now! For Pennsylvania’s 2023 River Of The Year  [PaEN]

-- WeConservePA Blog: Lancaster Conservancy Adds 85 Acres To Two Current Preserves

[Posted: December 2, 2022]


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