HARRISBURG, PA, Feb. 20, 2009 -- Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell announced the investment of more than $21.5 million in 144 Growing Greener projects to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff and farms, treat acid mine drainage, reduce flooding and improve water quality across the commonwealth.
The funds are being distributed to non-profit organizations, watershed groups and county and municipal governments to address local and regional water quality issues.
"The vast majority of the work to improve water quality and treat Pennsylvania's mine drainage and pollution problems is done by community volunteers and local governments, and the role of the Growing Greener program is to provide support to these organizations so that this work can continue," Governor Rendell said. "Many of these projects are modest in size but they make significant contributions to the health of our waterways, which improves our quality of life and creates opportunities for economic development in communities affected by historic pollution or flooding problems."
Funded projects include educational programs, scientific studies and youth volunteer opportunities such as an ongoing program that enlists local high school students to perform riparian buffer planting on local farms and streams in Crawford County. Dam removal projects that will improve streamflow and aquatic habitat will be funded in Chester, Lycoming and Montgomery counties, and funding is provided for repairs, upgrades and improvements to urban stormwater control infrastructure.
"The Growing Greener program has been a tremendous success for Pennsylvania, investing millions of dollars to help communities and local residents fix historic problems and take on new challenges in all 67 counties," Rendell said.
Growing Greener grants are used to create or restore wetlands, restore stream buffer zones, eliminate causes of nonpoint source pollution, plug oil and gas wells, reclaim abandoned mine lands and restore aquatic life to streams that were lifeless due to acid mine drainage.
Voters overwhelmingly approved the $625 million Growing Greener II initiative in May 2005 to clean up rivers and streams; protect natural areas, open spaces and working farms; and shore up key programs to improve quality of life and revitalize communities across the commonwealth.