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DEP Announces More than $1.7 Million to Fund Local Water Clean Up Projects in PA’s Northwest Region

01/26/2022

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that seven projects aimed at cleaning up waters in the state’s northwest region have been selected to collectively receive more than $1.7 million in funding through DEP’s Growing Greener Plus program. 
 
“Growing Greener awardees help keep Pennsylvania clean,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “It is imperative that communities in Pennsylvania receive the necessary funding to reduce pollutants in area waterways.”
 
Statewide, more than $18 million has been awarded to fund over 60 projects to clean up waters. Grantees have up to three years to implement their projects from the award date.
 
DEP announced funding for these seven awards at the Erie County Conservation District Office, which received one of the seven grants and plans to utilize these funds for the Pennsylvania Vested in Environmental Sustainability program (PA VinES). The program works with viticulture and grape growing operations through a voluntary, proactive approach to assess agricultural operations for environmental and economic sustainability, fund best management practices identified by the assessments, and create a certification/recognition program. 
 
“The Pennsylvania Lake Erie Grape Region boasts approximately 10,000 acres of juice and wine grapes, making it the largest agricultural land use in the PA Lake Erie Basin,“ said Erin Wells, DEP Northwest Regional Director. “The PA VinES program is a vital asset to the region, as it promotes sustainable viticulture practices for Concord and Niagara grape production in the Lake Erie Watershed.”
 
Growing Greener is the largest single investment of state funds in Pennsylvania's history to address Pennsylvania's critical environmental concerns of the 21st century.

It has helped to slash the backlog of farmland-preservation projects statewide, protect open space, eliminate the maintenance backlog in state parks, clean up abandoned mines and restore watersheds. It also provides funds for recreational trails and local parks, helps communities address land use, and provides new and upgraded water and sewer systems.
 
DEP is authorized to allocate these funds in grants for watershed restoration and protection, abandoned mine reclamation, and abandoned oil and gas well plugging projects.
 
Three other state agencies also received funds to distribute for appropriate projects: the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to administer farmland preservation projects, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for state park renovations and improvements, and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority for water and sewer system upgrades.
 
Growing Greener projects in the northwest region include projects addressing stream bank restoration and in-stream habitat improvements, assisting farmers to install best management practices to reduce agricultural runoff to streams and rivers, and reducing nutrient and sediment pollution in the Lake Erie Watershed.
 
Northwest Region and Statewide Growing Greener Awardees:

Erie
Erie County Conservation District, PA VinES Program (Vested in Environmental Sustainability) in the Lake Erie Watershed, $249,500

City of Erie, McDannell Run Restoration Design and Construction, $248,000
 
Jefferson
Jefferson County Conservation District, Rattlesnake Creek Stream Improvement Project, $276,150
 
Venango
Northwest Pennsylvania Eminent Community Institute, Management & Continuation of the Northwest PA Greenways Implementation Block Grants, $200,000
 
Armstrong
Armstrong Conservation District, Mahoning-Redbank Creek Ag BMP Grant, $294,061
 
Indiana
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Yellow Creek Streambank Stabilization, $51,374
 
McKean
McKean County Conservation District, Upper Allegheny Ag. BMP Project, $382,492
 
MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Decker, thomadecke@pa.gov, 814-332-6615
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