The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection celebrated Earth Day and the 50th anniversary of the state Environmental Rights Amendment by announcing the availability of $22.5 million to schools, local governments and nonprofit organizations for projects to improve water quality in their communities or watersheds. Funding comes from the state Growing Greener Plus and federal fiscal year 2022 Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management grant programs.
“The state constitution identifies our natural resources as the common property of all Pennsylvanians,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Thousands of organizations and residents value this responsibility, dedicating expertise, local knowledge and time to projects that restore and protect our waters. The positive impact on their communities is immeasurable. DEP is committed to supporting this stewardship and encourages applications for funding.”
These grant programs support projects to reduce water pollution that comes not from one specific discharge point, such as a pipe, but from more than one source. This includes:
– Nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution from agricultural and urban activities
– Iron, aluminum and acidity pollution from energy resource extraction and acid mine drainage
Approximately, $18 million is available in Growing Greener Plus grant funding. Approximately $4.5 million is available in Section 319 grants.
The Growing Greener program funds projects that are local, watershed or statewide in a scale, for example, a single streambank fencing project on a farm or a large-scale floodplain restoration.
The Section 319 program funds projects specified in watershed implementation plans for 37 impaired watersheds around the state. They also support development of new watershed implementation plans for other impaired watersheds.
Both grant programs give preference to projects in Environmental Justice areas; in municipalities that are in compliance with Pa Code Title 12, Chapter 113, and the Floodplain Management Act; or in counties with a DEP-approved Stormwater Management Act (Act 167) plan.