Pennsylvania DEP awards 106 grants to protect, improve watersheds in 40 counties

The Department of Environmental Protection will invest more than $18.7 million in watershed protection projects.

HARRISBURG, PA, Feb. 19, 2013 -- The Department of Environmental Protection announced that it will invest more than $18.7 million in watershed protection projects intended to improve watersheds, stormwater runoff, acid mine drainage and educational programs, among other environmental efforts.

"Protecting the waters of the commonwealth is key to DEP's mission," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "Providing these grants is a major component of continued excellence in water quality."

This year, the Growing Greener program, which is funded by the Environmental Stewardship Fund, will award $13,225,594 for 78 projects around the state. Five additional projects, funded by the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Grant, will receive $1,185,588. Two additional grants, totaling $252,400, are funded by the Acid Mine Drainage Set-aside program.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program, which was created through the federal Clean Water Act to help reduce water pollution from nonpoint sources, is funding 21 additional projects, which total $4,062,368.

These projects will reduce nonpoint source pollution in watersheds where streams are impaired by implementing agricultural and stormwater best-management practices; developing, repairing or installing passive systems to treat abandoned mine drainage; and supporting the establishment of riparian buffers, among other objectives.

One of the Growing Greener program's goals to invest in projects that protect watersheds from impairment due to nonpoint source pollution or those that will restore damaged waterways. Some examples of priority areas are restoration activities to reduce pollutant load in impaired watersheds for which total maximum daily loads have been developed; projects in priority watersheds that would reduce the source of impairment; and priority activities that lead to water quality restoration and protection.

In this latest grant round, 169 eligible applicants requested about $38.8 million. Applications came from counties, authorities and other municipalities; county conservation districts; councils of governments; watershed organizations that promote local watershed conservation efforts; and other authorized organizations involved in restoring and protecting the environment.

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