The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced that $17.9 million in Growing Greener Plus and Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management grant funds is available to organizations and governments to reduce nonpoint source pollution in their local streams, rivers and lakes.
“Nonpoint source water pollution is a challenge virtually as big as Pennsylvania, but we make progress by supporting local projects by many organizations and municipalities,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Bringing together substantial community knowledge, expertise, partners and leg work, local projects are the front line in restoring the health of our waters statewide.”
According to the draft 2022 Pennsylvania Integrated Water Quality Report, 27,873 miles of streams and rivers statewide are impaired for one or more of four uses: drinking water, aquatic life, fish consumption and recreation. Approximately 97 percent of the impairment is from nonpoint source pollution, that is, water pollution that comes from multiple sources rather than a single specific discharge point.
Nonpoint source pollutants include nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment from agricultural and urban and suburban land use, as well as iron, aluminum and acidity from energy resource extraction and acid mine drainage. DEP Growing Greener Plus and Section 319 grants fund projects that reduce these pollutants or address emerging challenges, such as climate change, harmful algal blooms and PFAS.
Nonprofits, incorporated watershed associations, local governments, municipal authorities, county planning commissions, county conservation districts, councils of government, and educational institutions may apply for funding.
“Growing Greener is Pennsylvania’s best known grant program for environmental improvement projects. It’s relied on by many communities that value the quality of life, economic and resiliency benefits that come from a strong natural ecosystem, and are working to sustain this amid growing pressures from human land use and climate change,” said McDonnell.