Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today announced $500,000 in grants to develop and implement projects that benefit fishing, boating, and aquatic resources within in Cameron, Elk, Potter and McKean counties.
The funding is available through a 2007 settlement agreement with Norfolk Southern as restitution for environmental damages from a June 30, 2006, train derailment in rural Norwich Township, McKean County. Under the settlement, Norfolk Southern agreed to pay the Commonwealth $7.35 million as restitution for environmental damages. The PFBC received $3.675 million of the settlement.
“The funds received through this damage settlement have been used to improve access, water quality and stream health and to restore stream connectivity,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “We are pleased to work cooperatively with our conservation partners to make ongoing and lasting improvements in the Sinnemahoning Creek watershed and eligible surrounding counties.”
The projects funded today total $500,000 and include:
- PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, $58,000 - “Miller Run Access and Viewing Area.” Provide a new public access along the Bennett Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek in Cameron County, information kiosk, and parking. Boating access will include a trail to the water and launch ramp for canoes and kayaks.
- McKean County Conservation District, $100,000 - “Fish Habitat Improvement and Stream Restoration Program.” Improve fish and wildlife habitats in streams and riparian buffers; protect public and private property by installing in-stream structures; stabilize eroded streambanks; and plant trees and shrubs in riparian corridors.
- McKean County Conservation District, $100,000 - “Improved Fishing and Boating Access Program.” Install public fishing and boating facilities which are accessible for persons with disabilities at three sites: Marilla Reservoir, Gilbert Reservoir, and along Potato Creek at the Donald G. Comes Natural Resource Learning Center.
- Potter County Conservation District, $88,000 - “Fish Habitat Improvement and Stream Restoration Program.” Improve natural functions of streams and riparian areas to ensure they are supporting aquatic and riparian wildlife communities. Accomplished by completing streambank stabilization and fish habitat enhancement using PFBC-approved habitat structures.
- Potter County Conservation District, $42,000 - “Opening Stream Corridors through Bottomless Culverts.” Use an already completed county-wide inventory of bridges and culverts requiring replacement or repair to help guide the district staff as they assess and rank these structures using both biological and non-biological criteria. Following completion of the culvert/bridge rankings, will replace the top priority structure with a bottomless arch in order to improve passage for aquatic organisms. Monitoring of aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish will be performed before and after replacement of the structure.
- Toby Creek Watershed Association, $31,000 - “Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment Systems/Mine Reclamation.” Purchase chemicals for operation of the Blue Valley AMD Treatment Facility and Trout Hatchery located in Elk County along Brandy Camp Creek, which is a tributary to Toby Creek and the Clarion River. Site also has a trout stocked pond and parking to provide public fishing.
- Lock Haven office of Trout Unlimited, $81,000 - “Improving Brook Trout Habitat in the Kettle Creek Watershed” in Potter County. Reduce erosion from high priority dirt and gravel roads; stabilize actively eroding streambank; restore forested riparian buffer; train volunteers to assess stream crossing sites at roads to determine potential to be barriers to aquatic organism passage (AOP); design and permit high priority AOP barrier removals.
Including the current grant announcement, the PFBC has awarded nearly $2.1 million in grants from the Sinnemahoning settlement.
MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Levis, Press Secretary - 717.705.7806
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