Public and private funds, including new Pennsylvania-specific program, will advance watershed conservation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program partnership today announced $2.5 million in new grants for 10 Pennsylvania-based projects that will protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its surrounding watershed. The $2.5 million grants announced today, when combined with the $8.5 million in grants announced earlier this year, will together generate $20 million in grantee match. When all combined, these funds will have a conservation impact of more than $31 million in Pennsylvania.
The awards mark the inaugural grants from the Pennsylvania Most Effective Basins (PA-MEB) Grants program and will support and enhance prior investments in Pennsylvania conservation efforts made throughout the calendar year. The PA-MEB Grants program funds projects that accelerate implementation of cost-effective agricultural best management practices in selected regions of the Chesapeake Bay watershed of Pennsylvania.
“EPA continues to provide substantial financial support to help Pennsylvania improve local waters and meet its Chesapeake Bay cleanup commitments,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “Projects funded through this most recent award will contribute to clean water and healthy farms in areas that will have the greatest benefit for the downstream Bay.”
These grants will support on-the-ground projects in Pennsylvania to improve waterways and strengthen habitat for iconic wildlife species. Collectively, the grants will implement water quality improvement practices on more than 45,000 acres, restore more than 45 miles of streamside forest habitat and prevent more than 6,300 tons of pollutants annually from entering the rivers and streams that feed the Chesapeake Bay.
The new PA-MEB grant program is one of the three core programs under NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund (CBSF). Additional grants were awarded earlier this year under the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction (INSR) Grants program and the Small Watershed Grants (SWG) program.
“The 31 projects funded this year are located across the watershed, and therefore range in scope, from implementing best management practices on farms to expanding Pennsylvania’s existing riparian forest buffer efforts to advancing the use of green infrastructure,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Collectively, the impact of these projects will improve water quality and strengthen the resilience of both communities and wildlife habitats across Pennsylvania.”
Examples of this year's grant recipients include:
- Lancaster County Conservation District ($223,000) will implement whole-farm conservation on a beef, poultry and crop farm in the headwaters of the Back Run in Pennsylvania to reduce nitrogen pollution. [Pennsylvania Most Effective Basins Grants]
- Pasa Sustainable Agriculture ($997,500) will work with partners in southeastern Pennsylvania to create a regenerative organic dairy industry by pioneering a model of 100 percent grass-fed dairy that restores soil health, improves water quality and sustains family farms. [Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants]
- Snyder County Conservation District ($20,700) will develop agricultural plans for farmers in the Middle Creek watershed of Snyder County, located in central Pennsylvania, and increase the number of cover crop acres planted through incentive payments. [Pennsylvania Most Effective Basins Grants]
- Western Pennsylvania Conservancy ($50,000) will complete a comprehensive assessment of the First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek watershed to develop prioritized restoration projects for collaborative implementation and improve eastern brook trout habitat. [Small Watershed Grants]
The CBSF is a partnership between NFWF and the EPA to provide grant funding, technical assistance and networking and information sharing in support of local, on-the-ground conservation efforts to restore the Bay and its tributary rivers and streams. Additional support for the program comes from the Altria Group, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.