DEP Accepting Applications for Watershed Protection Funding

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) announced on July 1st, 2011 that they will be accepting applications for grant funding.  More specifically, funding is available for watershed protection and restoration and Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) projects.  Applications are being accepted under the Growing Greener Plus program, which consolidates funding applications for multiple projects into one application process.

The PADEP is seeking to invest in projects that will protect watersheds from issues cause by nonpoint source pollution.  They are also looking for projects that will restore damaged waterways.  The PADEP press release states that projects “should be aimed at reducing nonpoint source pollution in watersheds where streams are impaired, implementing agricultural and stormwater best management practices, developing a hydrologic unit plan or qualified hydrologic unit for mining-related projects in watersheds and supporting the establishment of riparian buffers, among other goals.”

Some examples of these types of projects include activities to reduce pollutant loads in impaired watersheds, reducing impairments in “priority” watersheds, and projects that allow for water quality restoration and protection.

“We are glad to provide whatever support we can to local communities and watershed groups to fund projects that enhance and protect Pennsylvania’s water quality,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said.  “That includes projects that address mining land reclamation and acid mine drainage treatment systems, stream bank improvements and agricultural best-management practices.”

Applicants can also apply for funding from the SMCRA grant program and the Section 319 nonpoint source grant program through the same process.  Applicants eligible for this funding include counties, authorities and other municipalities; county conservation districts; councils of governments; DEP-recognized watershed organizations that promote local watershed conservation efforts; and other authorized organizations involved in restoring and protecting the environment.  Municipalities, municipal authorities and incorporated non-profit organizations are eligible for SMCRA grants.

The applications are due by August 26th. The application package can be found here.

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