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Chester County Press

Comitta announces $1.3 Million for watershed protection projects

02/07/2022 10:58PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Five projects to protect and restore watersheds in Chester County and the surrounding region will receive more than $1.3 million in total state funding through the Growing Greener Program, state Senator Carolyn Comitta announced last week.
“As we continue to face the growing impacts of climate change, including more intense precipitation and potential flooding, it’s imperative that we work together with local and regional organizations to better manage the impacts of stormwater runoff on our streams and waterways,” said Comitta, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. “Growing Greener funds continue to play a leading role in that effort.
The grants include the following:
~ $495,944 for the Stroud Water Research Center to implement agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) and forested buffers along the Red Clay Creek. The proposed project will implement 55 agricultural BMPs to address livestock impacts to water quality and more than 11 acres of riparian forest buffers on three equine operations in the Delaware River Watershed. The BMPs will address concerns related to equine manure handling and heavy use areas, including grass waterways to address erosion, riparian forested buffers, off-stream livestock watering, livestock exclusion fencing, and stabilized stream crossings.  The projects are part of a focused effort to comprehensively address water quality threats and protect stream health. The project is estimated to reduce 5,522.5 pounds per year of nitrogen, 753.7 pounds per year of phosphorus, and 272.37 tons per year of sediment.
~ $199,680 for the Chester County Conversation District to address the management of mushroom industry byproducts and reduce nonpoint source loading to local streams and tributaries, including within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The estimated pollutant load reductions are 1,400 lbs. per year of nitrogen, 654 lbs. per year of phosphorus, and 33 tons per year of sediment.
~ $12,740 for Tredyffrin Township for a program to educate citizens about the value of rain gardens by designing and constructing two public rain gardens and organizing educational events. The Tredyffrin Rain Garden Program, launched last year by the Tredyffrin Environmental Advisory Council and the TE Green Team, also provides incentives to residents who apply to receive and maintain a rain garden on their property. The grant funding will support the design and construction of 13 residential rain gardens.
~ $340,000 for Tredyffrin Township for the Bair Road/Trout Creek Infiltration, Water Quality, and Flood Mitigation Project. The project seeks to capture, treat, control, and infiltrate stormwater runoff from over 19 acres of upstream residential drainage area with the construction of two subsurface storage and infiltration beds in the township-owned and managed right-of-way. Combined, the two infiltration beds with a high-capacity storage system will be able to store nearly 15,000 cubic feet (110,000 gallons) of stormwater runoff and will manage approximately 7,400 lbs. per yr. of total suspended solids.
~ $269,298 for the Brandywine Conservancy to assess and improve water quality in the Brandywine-Christiana watershed. The project calls for working with organizations and partners to achieve measurable water quality improvements in the headwater reaches of the watershed by implementing agricultural BMPs in the Brandywine Headwaters, Red Clay Creek, and White Clay Creek Focus Areas of the Delaware River Watershed Imitative Brandywine-Christina Cluster. The project will also conduct Focus Area Feasibility and Opportunity Assessments to identify strategic watershed-scale water quality interventions on select properties that do not qualify for agricultural BMP funding, culminating in two pilot projects based on the results of the assessment.
The Chester County projects come as part of $3.5 million in total state funding awarded to 14 watershed restoration and protection projects in Southeast Pennsylvania. Grants are awarded for projects in three categories: watershed restoration and protection; abandoned mine reclamation; and abandoned oil and gas well plugging projects.
Growing Greener remains the largest single investment of state funds in Pennsylvania's history to address Pennsylvania's critical environmental concerns of the 21st century. Statewide, this year’s awards exceed $18 million and will fund projects focused on design, construction, education, and outreach. 
Three other 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.
Comitta is also a strong supporter of Senate Bill 525, bipartisan legislation to allocate $500 million in federal American Rescue Plan Funding to establish Growing Greener III in Pennsylvania.
The legislation overwhelmingly passed the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee in September and is now before the Senate Appropriations Committee.