July 1, 2011 -- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is accepting grant applications for watershed protection and restoration and Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) projects under the Growing Greener Plus program. The Growing Greener Plus program allows applicants to seek funding for a variety of projects through a single application process.
"We are glad to provide whatever support we can to local communities and watershed groups to fund projects that enhance and protect Pennsylvania's water quality," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "That includes projects that address mining land reclamation and acid mine drainage treatment systems, stream bank improvements and agricultural best-management practices."
In this round of grants, DEP will invest in projects that protect watersheds from impairment due to nonpoint source pollution or that will restore damaged waterways. Examples of priority areas include restoration activities to reduce pollutant load in impaired watersheds for which Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) have been developed, projects located in "priority" watersheds to reduce the source of impairment and "priority" activities that lead to water quality restoration and protection.
Eligible projects should be aimed at reducing nonpoint source pollution in watersheds where streams are impaired, implementing agricultural and stormwater best management practices, developing a hydrologic unit plan or qualified hydrologic unit for mining-related projects in watersheds and supporting the establishment of riparian buffers, among other goals.
Through the same process, applicants can also apply for funding through the department's SMCRA grant program and Section 319 nonpoint source grant program. Section 319 grants focus on funding projects similar to Growing Greener but with special emphasis on targeted watersheds.
Eligible applicants for watershed protection and 319 grants are counties, authorities and other municipalities; county conservation districts; councils of governments; DEP-recognized watershed organizations that promote local watershed conservation efforts; and other authorized organizations involved in restoring and protecting the environment.
Municipalities, municipal authorities and incorporated non-profit organizations are eligible for SMCRA grants.
Applications must be postmarked no later than Aug. 26. If hand-delivered, DEP's Grants Center must receive application packages by 4 p.m. that day. Late submissions will not be considered.
The Environmental Stewardship Fund, which supports the Growing Greener Watershed Protection Grant Program, is funded through municipal waste disposal fees.
For more information on Growing Greener or to request an application package, email GrowingGreener@state.pa.us, call 717-705-4500 or visit DEP's website at www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Growing Greener.