December 2022

Hello partners for water quality!

We have much news to share on progress by state, local, and sector partners to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution and improve water quality in Pennsylvania’s share of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
For more details on the Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan and Countywide Action Planning, visit the Phase 3 WIP website. For a broader educational look at nutrient and sediment pollution in local streams, rivers, and lakes in the watershed, including tips and success stories, visit Healthy Waters, Healthy Communities.
Please consider how you might join in or help support this work. Anyone interested in their county’s Phase 3 WIP County Wide Action plan can sign up to get involved. And help spread the word! Share this newsletter or the subscribe page.  
— DEP Bureau of Watershed Restoration and Nonpoint Source Management

DEP Bureau of Watershed Restoration and Nonpoint Source Management

BWRNSM Chesapeake Bay Watershed Restoration Division awards $12.2 million to support counties’ progress in restoring Chesapeake Bay watershed

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) awarded $12.2 million in 2023 Countywide Action Plan (CAP) Implementation Grants to county teams across Pennsylvania’s share of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed to support their progress in reducing nutrient and sediment pollution to restore the health of local streams, rivers, and lakes. The 2023 CAP Implementation Grants include $9.3 million from the state Environmental Stewardship Fund and $2.9 million from EPA. About $1.6 million of the EPA funding is the first installment of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funds coming to DEP for the watershed. As EPA announced in May, Pennsylvania is slated to receive $5.6 million annually over five years in IIJA funding for projects in the watershed, with a focus on the southern section, where nutrient and sediment pollution levels are higher. This first IIJA funding is targeted to Franklin, Lancaster, and York counties. 

Counties completed annual CAP Progress Reporting and two-year Milestone Reporting

On December 1, all 34 counties submitted their CAP Annual Progress Report or Two-Year Milestone Report on time to the BWRNSM. This year, the Tier 2 counties prepared their Two-Year Milestones which gave the counties the opportunity to adjust and revise their CAPs, taking advantage of the progress, knowledge and experience they have gained over the past two years of CAP implementation. The Pilot and Tier 3 & 4 counties provided their Annual Progress Reports which gave counties the opportunity to highlight their accomplishments over the past 12 months, and a chance to look forward while planning for the upcoming reporting year. The information provided by the counties in these reports is recorded and used to help inform future decision making. The county Programmatic Recommendations, which are provided as part of the Two-Year Milestone update, will be reviewed by both DEP and our state and federal partners and feedback will be provided in the new year. 

Programs and Projects by Local, State and Federal Partners

National Fish and Wildlife (NFWF) announces Chesapeake Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction (INSR) grants 

NFWF and EPA announced a 2022 round of funding for INSR projects. Overall, nine new conservation and restoration grants totaling more than $8.4 million were awarded. These nine awards announced generated $13.8 million in match from the grantees, providing a total conservation impact of $22.2 million. Out of the nine projects, four are Pennsylvania projects, with the grant award totaling more than $3.07 million. The INSR grants program is a core component of NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, dedicated to protecting and restoring the bay by helping local communities clean up and restore their polluted rivers and streams. Pennsylvania received the following grants:
  • Accelerating Water Quality Improvements and Supporting Conservation Collaboratives – Trout Unlimited
  • Coordinating Partnerships to Increase Watershed Forestry Best Management Practices – Watershed Alliance of York
  • Fueling Natural Filter Restoration in the Headwaters of the Upper Susquehanna Watershed – Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District of New York
  • Outcomes-Based Model for Accelerating Pollutant Reductions – Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay 

NFWF announces Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants (SWG) 

NFWF and EPA announced a 2022 round of funding for SWG projects. Overall, ninety-eight new conservation and restoration grants totaling more than $27.8 million were awarded. These 98 awards announced generated $25.1 million in matching contributions from the grantees, providing a total conservation impact of $52.9 million. 34 of these projects are located in Pennsylvania, with a grant award totaling more than $11.01 million. The SWG program funds projects within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that promote community-based efforts to protect and restore the diverse natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers and streams. This year’s awards address four key categories of strategies for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: 1) habitat restoration, including oyster reef and stream restoration; 2) habitat management, both agriculture and stormwater best management practices; 3) capacity, outreach and incentives; and 4) planning, research and monitoring. Pennsylvania received the following grants:
  • Accelerating Agricultural Pollution Reduction in the Mahantango Watershed – Snyder County Conservation District
  • Advancing Conservation Practice Implementation Through Planning – Lebanon County Conservation District
  • Agricultural Conservation Planning for Impact with Dairy Farmers of America – Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
  • Building Organizational Capacity for Clean Water in Franklin County, Pennsylvania – University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center
  • Catalyzing Action for Clean Water in the Capital Region – Capital Resource Conservation and Development Area Council
  • Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning for Lancaster County Farms – Stroud Water Research Center
  • Developing Agricultural Conservation Partnerships to Improve Water Quality and Stream Health – The Nature Conservancy
  • Enhanced Capacity for Delivering Technical Assistance for Watershed Stewardship – Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers
  • Enhancing Resilience of the Cowanesque Watershed through Collaboration – Potter County Conservation District
  • Floodplain Restoration on Indian Run – Little Conestoga Watershed Alliance
  • Floodplain Restoration on Oil Creek – York County Rail Trail Authority
  • Helping Farmers Accomplish Conservation Goals in the West Branch Susquehanna River Watershed – Union County Conservation District
  • Implementating Agricultural Conservation Practices on Preserved Farms in Pequea Creek – Lancaster Farmland Trust
  • Improvement Stormwater Management at Harveys Lake – Harveys Lake Borough
  • Increasing Resilience of Priority Eastern Brook Trout Stronghold Patches in the Chesapeake Bay – Trout Unlimited
  • Kennedy Elementary Green Schoolyard Design – The Trust for Public Land
  • Meeting Lancaster County’s Clean Water Goals through Riparian Forest Buffers – Stroud Water Research Center
  • Middle Creek Strategic Watershed Restoration Plan – Schuylkill Conservation District
  • Protecting Drinking Water in East Cocalico Township through Farm Collaboration – East Cocalico Township Authority
  • Protecting Drinking Water in West Cocalico Township through Farm Collaboration – West Cocalico Township Authority
  • Restoring Conewago Creek – Londonderry Township
  • Restoring Gross Run Stream – Ephrata Borough
  • Restoring the Little Conestoga Creek Blue-Green Corridor – The Little Conestoga Creek Blue-Green Corridor
  • Restoring the Little Conestoga River – East Hempfield Township
  • Restoring Urban Streams to Connect Blair County Communities and Improve Water Quality – Intergovernmental Stormwater Committee
  • Wizard Ranch Floodplain Restoration and Habitat Enhancement – Lancaster Conservancy
  • Accelerating Riparian Forest Buffer Implementation in the Mason Dixon Region – Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
  • Building and Advancing Capacity of Chesapeake Nonprofits to Accelerate Water Quality Improvements – National Wildlife Federation
  • Embracing and Promoting Afforestation in the Riparian Corridor and Beyond – Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District of New York
  • Establishing a Chesapeake Capacity Builders Institute to Expand Capacity for Clean Water – Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
  • Expanding Rotational Grazing through the Mountains to Bay Grazing Alliance – Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • Improving Nutrient Management Programs through Collaboration – Sustainable Chesapeake
  • Jumpstarting Organic Valley’s Dairy Sustainability Strategy in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed – Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
  • Riparian Rangers Volunteer Program – Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay 

NFWF announces Chesapeake Bay Most Effective Basins (MEB) projects in Pennsylvania

NFWF and EPA announced a 2022 round of funding for Pennsylvania’s MEB projects. Eight new or continuing grants supporting the implementation of nitrogen-reducing best management practices (BMP) totaling $6.3 million were awarded. The eight awards announced generated nearly $5.9 million in match from the grantees, providing a total conservation impact of more than $12.2 million. The intent of the Pennsylvania MEB program is to assist Pennsylvania in achieving its 2025 water quality goals for the agricultural sector under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Pennsylvania’s Phase 3 WIP. Projects include:
  • Accelerating Conservation BMP Implementation Through the Corporate Partnership Model – Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
  • Creating Enrollment Incentives to Establish Grass Buffers – Pheasants Forever
  • Implementation of Nitrogen Reduction Best Management Practices in Chesapeake Bay Headwaters – Berks County Conservation District
  • Implementing Agricultural Best Management Practices in the Lower Conestoga River Watershed – Lancaster Farmland Trust
  • Implementing Comprehensive Agricultural Conservation Practices in Lancaster County – TeamAg
  • Improving Manure and Nutrient Management in Pennsylvania’s Most-Effective Basins – Sustainable Chesapeake
  • Increasing Nitrogen Reductions with Riparian Buffers and Agricultural Best Management Practices – Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
  • Using Data to Advance the Lancaster Countywide Action Plan – Lancaster County Conservation District

Penn State Extension revamps the ‘Ag 101’ online course

A newly relaunched Penn State Extension online course, titled “Ag 101,” covers the basics of agriculture, including crops, livestock and natural resources, common to Pennsylvania and other mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. “Each field has a different language, and in agriculture, there are expectations for how to conduct yourself on the farm,” said Nicole Santangelo Thompson, field and forage crops team leader and agronomy extension educator, who helped create the course. “Increasingly, people are hired to support agriculture who may not have much experience in it.”
This course will introduce conservation professionals and other professionals who interact with farms to the basics of farming. These specialists often help farmers with soil and water conservation practices, such as planting a riparian buffer or writing a manure management plan. Thompson noted that the course succinctly brings together different pieces of agriculture to prepare someone for a first visit to a farm.

Pennsylvania protects 30 farms in 18 counties from development, forever protecting 170 farms, 13,069 new acres in 2022

PA Department of Agriculture (PDA) Secretary Russell Redding announced that Pennsylvania protected 2,478 acres on 30 farms in 18 counties from future residential or commercial development, investing more than $8.9 million in state, county, local and nonprofit dollars in protecting prime farmland for the future. Pennsylvania ends 2022 continuing to lead the nation, having protected 170 farms and 13,069 acres this year. Governor Wolf increased funding for preserving farms by $5 million in his 2016-17 budget, and since January 2015, the Wolf Administration has invested $273,065,874 in preserving 116,527 acres on 1,416 farms across the state. Since 1988, Pennsylvania has protected 6,148 farms and 619,191 acres in 58 counties from future development, investing more than $1.6 billion in our agriculture industry's ability to feed our families and our economy. The newly preserved farms are in Adams, Beaver, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Cambria, Chester, Cumberland, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Tioga, Union, Westmoreland and York counties.

Watershed Forestry Summit returning in 2023: DCNR and WPC release date and session presentation RFP

The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) are pleased to announce that Watershed Forestry Summit will be returning, in-person, June 13-15, 2023. The summit will include an optional field trip day and two conference days. Location has not yet been announced.
The Watershed Forestry Summit brings together over 300 restoration and conservation professionals, decision makers and volunteers to share the latest information on forest buffers and lawn conversion practices, from implementation to outreach and more. While not exclusive to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the Summit will feature many presentations and projects relevant to Chesapeake Bay watershed forestry work.
DCNR and WPC are seeking proposals for 45-minute breakout session presentations for the summit until 5:00pm on February 17. Information and submittal instructions can be found in the above link. 

    USGS Chesapeake highlights for 2022

    The USGS Chesapeake accomplishments for 2022 cover a wide range of topics under the four USGS Chesapeake science themes: 
    • Theme 1: Develop an integrated understanding of the factors affecting stream health, fish habitat, and aquatic conditions.
    • Theme 2: Assess the risks to coastal habitat and migratory waterbirds.
    • Theme 3: Characterize land use to assess the vulnerability and resiliency of habitats and healthy watersheds. 
    • Theme 4: Integrate science and inform decision making.
    USGS had a productive year, working with multiple federal and state partners coordinated under STAR, producing science for many of the outcomes in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. The USGS Chesapeake studies invests in translating and communicating the findings to be more effectively used by stakeholders to inform critical management decisions. Most of the highlights and accomplishments link directly to science summaries and press releases used to translate the USGS Chesapeake publications. 

    Alliance for the Bay completes 2022 Treelay

    The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay planted over 3,000 trees in 24 hours in their 2022 Treelay. Every year, the Alliance engages communities, companies and conservationists to plant thousands of trees in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. They’ve been looking for a big and bold way to celebrate the fantastic tree-planting efforts of their volunteers; hence, the 24-Hour Volunteer Tree Planting Relay, also known as Treelay for short. Treelay is a series of volunteer tree plantings scheduled back-to-back over a 24-Hour period.

    Conservation Districts receive funding for CREP Education Projects

    Pennsylvania’s conservation districts were awarded over $16,500 to implement educational and outreach activities that support and extend the work of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Projects include field days, workshops and one-on-one visits.
    Counties awarded funding include Adams, Clarion, Jefferson, Potter, Snyder, Tioga, Union and Washington.

    EPA announces selection of members to Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee

    EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the appointment of 20 members, including the new Committee Chair and Committee Vice-Chair, to the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee (FRRCC), which provides independent policy advice, information and recommendations to the EPA Administrator on a range of environmental issues that are of importance to agriculture and rural communities. David Graybill, PA farmer and Phase 3 WIP Ag Workgroup member, will remain on this committee. 

    Manada Conservancy acquires 40-acre preserve in Manada Gap through coordinated partnership efforts

    The Manada Conservancy’s preserve was recently acquired through the work of many partners. The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation (WBWF) first obtained the preserve through the Fort Indiantown Gap Army Compatible Use Buffer program (ACUB). WBWF was able to donate it to Manada Conservancy because of the property’s high value to the community. It is traversed by the historic Horse-Shoe Trail, a 140-mile hiking and equestrian trail that begins at Valley Forge and terminates at its intersection with the Appalachian trail in northern East Hanover Township, Dauphin County. During the transaction, Manada Conservancy granted the Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy a permanent trail easement across the property. The 40-acre preserve is also right along the Kittatinny Ridge (which some call First or Blue Mountain), a globally Important Bird Area, because it is a major migration route for raptors and songbirds. This property helps to protect the unbroken forested mountain ridge so wildlife can move safely and feed and rest on their long journeys. It is also important for its contribution to clean water, carbon sequestration and climate resiliency.

    Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professionals (CBLP) opens registration for 2023 Spring Level 2 session

    CBLP has announced that registration is open for the 2023 Spring Level 2 session - an advanced credential for professionals experienced in design or installation of conservation landscapes. Register and pay before January 20 and take $100 off with code NewYearL2. The Spring session will be held virtually in March, with an in-person field day in the Washington, DC area. Candidates who plan to take Level 2 in March 2023 must pass the Level 1 exam by March 10.
    CBLP is focused on creating a connected community of like-minded professionals, and this fast-paced and dynamic class allows dedicated time for networking and socializing with participants and instructors. Topics Included:
    • Detailed site analysis
    • Soil and vegetation protection during construction
    • Natural plant communities as reference landscapes to inspire design
    • In-depth focus on stormwater BMP design and installation

    Funding Available Now

    PDA Secretary announces $300,000 available to support success of Pennsylvania farms

    On a preserved dairy farm in Lebanon County, PDA Secretary Russell Redding discussed the importance of the PA Farm Bill Farm Vitality Planning Grant Program, and announced $300,000 of currently available program funding. The Farm Vitality Planning Grant Program aims to support the future success of Pennsylvania's farms and helps fund professional services for those planning for the future of a farm. It aims to enhance the long-term health and vitality of Pennsylvania's farms through sound business planning, efficient transitions of farm ownership, strategic farm expansion, diversification of agricultural production, and financial and technical expertise. Farmers and prospective farmers are eligible for up to $7,500, which can cover no more than 75% of the project cost, through this program. Applications to the program are currently being accepted. The program will remain open until all funds are exhausted.
    Other programs available to help young and/or new farmers include the:
    • Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program, which provides tax credits to owners of agricultural assets who sell or rent agricultural assets to beginning farmers
    • Next Generation Farmer Loan Program, which uses federal tax-exempt financing to reduce a farmer's interest rate for capital purchases, such as the purchase of farmland or agricultural machinery and equipment

    DCNR releases updated “Rack Card” about the Community and Watershed Forestry Grant Program

    DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation has created an updated “rack card” about the newly expanded Community and Watershed Forestry (CWF) Grant Program (formerly the Riparian Forest Buffer Grant Program). The CWF grant program is an expansion of the Riparian Forest Buffer grant program and is still a part of DCNR’s larger C2P2 grants. Now, instead of funding only riparian forest buffers through this specific subset of C2P2 grants, DCNR is also funding TreeVitalize (community/urban forestry) projects, as well as lawn conversion projects, in addition to riparian forest buffers. The next C2P2 grant round will open January 2023. 

    PACD accepting Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) mini-grants

    PACD is now accepting mini-grant applications for up to $3,000 to implement educational and outreach activities that support and extend the work of CREP. Projects should focus on CREP enrollment, re-enrollment and/or CREP maintenance. Applications are due February 24, 2023. Project examples include:
    • Walkabouts/field days
    • Farmer and landowner workshops
    • Riparian buffer workshops
    • Workshop series with several topics
    • Developing educational materials like brochures, flyers, fact sheets or billboards
    • Hiring interns to provide CREP outreach

    EPA announces $25.7 million in grants to support water systems in rural and small communities

    EPA announced the availability of $25.7 million in grant funding for organizations to provide technical assistance and training to support small drinking water and wastewater systems that are often located in rural communities. EPA’s funding will help ensure that drinking water in these communities is safe and that wastewater is treated before it is responsibly returned to the environment. Eligible applicants for this competitive agreement are nonprofit organizations, nonprofit private universities and colleges and public institutions of higher education. The application period for these competitive grants is now open. Questions about applying for EPA funding for training and technical assistance must be received by January 11, and applications must be received by January 26, 2023. EPA expects to award these cooperative agreements by fall 2023 and encourages all eligible organizations who have an interest in these projects to apply. This grant will be competed through a Request for Application process. The funding opportunity will remain open for 45 days on

    Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) Grant Program RFP is now open

    The Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) Grant Program request for proposals (RFP) is open until March 8. The G3 grant program is funded by EPA, the West Virginia DEP and the Chesapeake Bay Trust to help communities develop and implement plans that reduce stormwater runoff, increase the number and amount of green spaces in urban areas, improve the health of local waters and the Chesapeake Bay, and enhance quality of life and community livability. Eligible applicants include local governments such as municipalities, non-profit organizations, neighborhood/community associations and other nonprofit entities. Match is encouraged, but not required.
    Applicants can request funds from the following project tracks:
    • Track 1: Conceptual Plans for Green Streets/Green Infrastructure Projects
    • Track 2: Engineered Designs for Green Streets/Green Infrastructure Projects
    • Track 3: Implementation/Construction of Green Streets/Green Infrastructure Projects
    • Track 4: Community Greening
    • Track 5: White Papers
    • Track 6: Green Street Charrette/Technical Planning Assistance

    Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) Consumptive Use Mitigation Grant Program

    From November 1, 2022 to January 31, 2023, SRBC will accept grant applications for the 2022-2023 Consumptive Use Mitigation Program. SRBC anticipates awarding a total of $4-6 million in grant funding. Examples of eligible projects include: Wetland and Stream Restoration, Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) Treatment, Retrofitting Stormwater Best Management Practices, Floodplain Preservation and Restoration. More information about the grant program and what projects may be eligible can be found at Consumptive Use Mitigation Grants. Additionally, a grant program overview pamphlet can be found at SRBC Pamphlet - Consumptive Use Mitigation Grants.

    Getting Credit for Our Work

    PA Chesapeake Bay 2022 Progress Run Reporting Update

    DEP’s BWRNSM submitted its data to EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office (CBPO) on December 1st for the 2022 Progress Run, meeting Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Partnership deadline.  A total of 11,726 new records from Pennsylvania’s reporting programs were submitted, which is 1,945 more records than was reported in 2021. This reporting included data submitted from 39 distinct reporting programs which are documented in the newly updated Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP).
    New this year, DEP’s BWRNSM and Office of Field Operations worked with the PA Turnpike Commission to submit stormwater data, reporting 116 stormwater records from February 1996 to October 2022 that included bioretention, dry detention basins, infiltration basins and trenches, permeable pavement, vegetated treatment areas, wet ponds and wetlands.
    At the beginning of 2021, DEP invested additional funds through CBRAP for expanded agriculture BMP verification efforts detailed in the Phase 3 WIP Amendment. This BMP verification effort utilized established agriculture BMP inspections and reporting protocols to PracticeKeeper. Through this effort, DEP was able to report 1,989 agriculture records to EPA CBPO.
    Penn State University completed their 2022 Agricultural Voluntary BMP Reporting Outreach program and reported 941 agriculture BMPs to DEP from the following 16 counties: Bedford, Centre, Columbia, Cumberland, Clinton, Dauphin, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Tioga and Union.
    DEP BWRNSM greatly appreciates all the field inspectors, new implementation and re-verification efforts, data entry and program administrators whose efforts to report all of this data improved Pennsylvania’s progress reporting and highlighted our collective efforts to improve water quality.

    Updated EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office (CBPO) Quick Reference Guide for BMPs

    The EPA CBPO Quick Reference Guide for BMPs has been updated. The updated guide includes details on previously “to be announced” BMPs, including an Abandoned Mine Reclamation BMP. BMP crediting and/or efficiencies contingent upon release of CAST-2021 are also listed. Download the new 2022 EPA CBPO Quick Reference Guide for BMPs here. For questions about the EPA CBPO Quick Reference Guide for BMPs, reach out to your respective CAP Coordinator.

    Counties in Action

    Adams County gets multiple projects on the ground

    The Cumberland Township CAP projects have officially been completed.  Adams County partnered with Cumberland Township to help complete two stormwater basin retrofits and two raingarden installations. Adams County was awarded $269,728 through the 2022-2023 CAP Implementation Grant, which will be put into five stream restoration projects across the county, raingardens in partnership with a local church, and a streambank fencing project with 13,670 linear feet of fencing with a 50 foot grass buffer on each side. CAP funds will also be combined with ACAP funding to construct a waste storage facility at a local ag operation. 

    Huntingdon County Conservation District completes multi-functional riparian forest buffer

    Huntingdon County Conservation District planted 16 acres of multi-functional riparian forest buffer along a tributary to Crooked Creek at a farm in Huntingdon County. The project cost $59,630 and was paid for through PACD’s multi-functional buffer sub-grant program. Funding is still available. Learn more about the program here.

    Lancaster County project receives state grant that puts the project two years ahead of schedule; installs conservation practices; and recognizes Lancaster resident for environmental justice work

    Excavation work is underway for an $18 million project that will transform 2.5 miles of Little Conestoga Creek from Marietta Avenue in East Hempfield Township to Park City Center, and it’s ahead of schedule. The $2 million competitive state grant from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program awarded to the project could speed up its completion date by two years. The $2 million infusion means the Little Conestoga Creek Foundation, which operates the project, will not have to wait as long for more state grants and other funding to become available to chip away at the project’s cost.
    Stream crossing and riparian buffer planting in East Lampeter Township
    Conservation practices were installed along a small tributary to the Mill Creek in East Lampeter Township to alleviate flooding and other stormwater issues due to high amounts of impervious surface upstream. During heavy rains, the landowner could not let his animals out into the pasture because of high-levels of flooding. Funded by Section 319 and managed by the Lancaster County Conservation District, the property now displays a stream restoration project involving 1,300 linear feet of bank stabilization and instream habitat improvements, in addition to a 35 foot riparian forest buffer. These implemented conservation practices contribute to Lancaster’s goals to improve local water quality and waters trickling downstream to the Chesapeake Bay. 
    Mark Heller pulls weeds out of a buffer tube. Photo credit: Sam Feibel, Yale Environmental Humanities 
    In 2018, Mark Heller looked out over his property in Lancaster County and saw a muddy, heavily used meadow right up to the edge of a stream with eroding banks. He thought “this doesn’t look healthy.” But he didn’t see a way to readily correct the problems. Since receiving help from Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center and other local partners, Mark has installed several conservation practices on his land, including a three-acre riparian forest buffer. He’s also participated in a pilot buffer establishment program and now offers tours of his property in Manheim. Read the Lancaster Clean Water Partners blog for the full story.
    Photo of canvassing team regarding the city on lead awareness, organized by Zeshan Ismat and the City of Lancaster
    Congratulations to Lancaster City’s own Dr. Zeshan Ismat who was awarded the Mira Lloyd Dock Partnership Diversity Award by the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership in recognition of her conservation and environmental justice work. Dr. Ismat is committed to rebuilding people's connections to the land and strengthening cultural identity in under-represented parts of Lancaster. She started the Blackbirds Environmental Justice group to teach youngsters in Lancaster City about the environment in a fun way while emphasizing stewardship, community, and justice. An award was also awarded to Brennan Ka’aihue of Central Pennsylvania for conservation work in six counties across the state. 

    16- acre farm preserved in Lebanon County

    The Lebanon Valley Conservancy preserved a 16-acre farm in Union Township, Lebanon County, owned by Albert Minnich. The farm, located next to Swatara State Park and a large campground, has been in Albert’s family for 100 years. The property has a mature wooded area that provides a home for wildlife like deer and owls. Conserving this property allows for a continuation of lands for recreation, open space, wildlife, and scenic views.
    Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101