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Five Conservation Districts and PACD Receive 319 Grants

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) awarded over $4.1 million to 13 projects statewide that will help communities restore impaired local watersheds.

The Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Grants program supports projects that carry out best management practices (BMPs) specified in Watershed Implementation Plans for 36 watersheds around the state, with special consideration for projects in Pennsylvania’s share of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The following conservation district projects received Section 319 Grants:

  • Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts: $362,565 to support nonpoint source pollution education by county conservation district offices.
  • Clearfield County Conservation District: $722,661 for design, permitting, and construction of a passive treatment system to remediate Korb 4 AMD discharge in Little Anderson Creek in Bloom Township.
  • Lancaster County Conservation District: $121,000 to identify and implement projects to install streambank buffers, streambank fencing, and livestock crossings on various tributaries in Mill Creek Watershed.
  • Schuylkill Conservation District: $240,000 to design a streambank restoration project for the Swatara Creek floodplain in Ravine, Tremont Township.
  • York County Conservation District: $508,581 to design, permit and construct a stream restoration project, including streambed and bank stabilization, on Willis Run, a tributary to Codorus Creek, and in the west branch of Codorus Creek, in the City of York.
  • York County Conservation District: $280,898 for Codorus Creek Watershed stream restorations.

Click here to read the entire press release. 

Grant funding is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and authorized through Section 319(h) of the federal Water Pollution Control Act.

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Erosion Control in Our Forests Workshop Held in Potter County

Group photo in the upper right: (left to right): Chuck Coup, SFI Program Manager; Jason Childs, PCCD Manager; Andrew Mickey, PCCD Dirt, Gravel and Low Volume Road Specialist; Sherry Dunmire, McKean County Conservation District Resource Conservationist; Maddie Stanisch, McKean County Conservation District Resource Conservationist (front row); Ryan Grimm, Elk County Conservation District (ECCD) Resource Conservationist (back row); Victoria Challingsworth, ECCD Resource Conservationist; Micaela Lefever, ECCD Watershed Technician; Scott Moore, Tioga Co Resource Conservationist; Glenn Dunn, PCCD Resource Conservationist; Eric Monger, DCNR Bureau of Forestry Service Forester.

On Friday, October 8, 2021, the Potter County Conservation District (PCCD) hosted “Erosion Control in Our Forests”–a Sustainable Forestry Initiative workshop for foresters, loggers, logging contractors, and private forest landowners.

Held at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum and on-field sites within the Susquehannock Forest, the event provided Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Society of American Foresters (SAF) credits. The workshop was held with the support and expertise of several speakers and organizations, including the PA Department of Agriculture, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry, and Elk, McKean, Cameron, and Tioga County Conservation Districts.

In total, 51 attendees participated. Topics covered included erosion prevention/102/105 permitting, planning harvests, stream crossings, and post-timbering best management practices.

Financial and other support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Carbon County Creates Unique Educational Activity

Carbon County Educator Franklin Klock examines “poop” to the delight of second graders. Photo provided by Carbon County Conservation District.

Carbon County Environmental Education Center has developed a fun demonstration for elementary students on the relationships between plants, animals, and soil. The “Poop Plop” is played by mixing brightly colored beads into a plastic bag full of chocolate pudding. The pudding is then piped across a gameboard as “poop” from a bear or fox, depositing the beads as “seeds” onto places where they might–or might not–germinate, such as in good soil, near a rotting log, or along a road.

Educators then examine the poop by hand to dig out the seeds. Seed colors correspond to student teams, with teams earning points depending on where the seeds have landed. The activity aligns with academic standards for ecology and the environment.

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Bradford and Schuylkill Conservation Districts Receive NFWF Grants

On October 12, 2021, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program partnership announced more than $10 million in grants for projects that will protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its surrounding watershed.

Fourteen projects that will benefit Pennsylvania received $3.88 million. The conservation district funded projects are:

  1. Bradford County Conservation District – Accelerated Watershed Implementation Plan Development – II. Grant amount: $49,995. The project aims to accelerate the planning of Bradford County’s Watershed Implementation Plan in the areas of stream rehabilitation, agricultural management, stream-crossing replacement, and forestry. The project will address water quality impacts in the county by creating designs for stream rehabilitation and crossings, comprehensive nutrient management, riparian buffer installation, and reforestation.
  2. Schuylkill Conservation District – Little Mahanoy Creek Headwaters Restoration Plan Development. Grant Amount: $50,000. Develop a detailed watershed restoration plan for the headwaters of Little Mahanoy Creek Watershed. The project will provide a blueprint for managing stormwater in the watershed, restoring habitat in the headwaters, and improving water quality to protect the unimpaired downstream sections where trout reproduce naturally.

Click here to read about all the projects. 

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Conservation District Watershed Specialist Webinar Series Concludes

2021 Watershed Specialist Photo Contest Best in Show Winner “I Heart You” by Robert Frank, Watershed Specialist, Dauphin County Conservation District.

Over 100 conservation district watershed specialists, DEP staff, and partners attended the 21st Conservation District Watershed Specialist Meeting, which took place as a webinar series October 5-7, 2021. Over the three half-days of programming, watershed specialists learned about building and managing a water quality monitoring station using Stroud Water Research Center’s EnviroDIY program, shared successful projects, learned about partnership opportunities and resources from partner agencies, and much more. Many thanks to this year’s presenters for sharing their time and expertise!

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New Round of CREP Mini-grants Opens

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 the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Projects should focus on CREP enrollment, re-enrollment, and/or CREP maintenance.

The guidelines and application for the CREP Mini-grant Program for Conservation Districts are posted here. The deadline to apply is November 12, 2021. Questions should be directed to Holly Miller at hmiller@pacd.org.

Financial and other support for the CREP Outreach Program Office Mini-grant Program is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a Growing Greener Watershed Protection grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and with additional support from USDA-NRCS.

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Lancaster Completes Multi-Functional Riparian Forest Buffer

Lancaster County Conservation District completed a 20-acre multi-functional riparian forest buffer project on a dairy farm in Lancaster County. The total cost for the buffer was $66,368 and was paid for through PACD’s multi-functional buffer sub-grant program. Click here for more information. Contact Holly Miller with questions at hmiller@pacd.org.

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Succession Planning Management Webinar Series: Rescheduled Dates

Does your district have a succession plan? Vacancies in key positions can disrupt operations and cause significant extra workload and worries, but succession planning management can help alleviate the stress and uncertainty of dealing with vacancies, both planned and unplanned. This comprehensive two-part webinar will examine current workforce challenges, the true costs of a lack of preparedness, and actions you can take now to ensure smoother future transitions.

Note for those registered or planning to register for the Fall Leadership Webinar series: Succession Planning Management Part 1 (originally scheduled for October 27) will now be on Wednesday November 3 and Part 2 will be on Wednesday November 17.

District board members, associate directors, managers, and partners can still register for the Fall Leadership Webinar Series. For more information and to register, please visit Building for Tomorrow

Financial and other support for the Building for Tomorrow Leadership Development Program is provided through a grant from the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission. Guidance for the Program is provided through the Pennsylvania Conservation Partnership’s Leadership Development Committee.

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Franklin County Conservation District Hosts Showcase Tour

Secretary Russell Redding (left) with Dairy Farmers/CEG Recipients Ben & Sharon Peckman.

On September 30, 2021, the Franklin County Conservation District held a showcase tour of the county’s first completed project funded through the Conservation Excellence Grant (CEG) program. The tour was held at Ben and Sharon Peckman’s Slate Ridge Dairy Farm in Saint Thomas, PA.

PA Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding participated in the tour along with Representatives Kauffman and Schemel and Commissioner Ziobrowski. As a result, participants were able to see firsthand the conservation work being accomplished in Franklin County.

Secretary Redding’s office said this about his participation in the tour:

It’s always gratifying to see a plan come together, especially when the results mean cleaner water, healthier soil, and a regenerative, sustainable, solid farm operation.

Like Franklin County Conservation District, PA Manager David Stoner said of their County Action Plan, “The stars were aligned, staff was in place to do the work, money came in, and farmers applied.”

Yesterday, I spent a perfect afternoon touring the results of the farm that fit the plans goals perfectly and had the most important ingredient – a willing farmer who is committed to conservation. On Ben and Sharon Peckman’s Slate Ridge Dairy Farm in St. Thomas, the plan came together in just six months from project conception to completion.

With Conservation Excellence Grant funding from the state to the Conservation District, and REAP tax credits from the state to meet out-of-pocket costs not covered by the grant, this investment by the state, the county and the farmer will pay off in a healthy viable farm. What we envisioned for Conservation Excellence Grants has payed [sic] off here.

Click here for the description of the Slate Ridge Dairy CEG project. 

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Somerset Conservation District and PACD Hold Tour of Oven Run

PACD Conservation Technician Phil Wilson, left, discusses AMD treatment technology to the attendees at the tour of the Oven Treatment sites in Somerset County. Photo by Len Lichvar. Used with permission.

On September 29, 2021, the Somerset Conservation District (SCD) held the Stonycreek-Conemaugh River Improvement Project’s 30th Anniversary Tour. SCD Manager Len Lichvar kicked off the tour of the Oven Run Watershed Mine Drainage Abatement Site D near Hooversville then handed it over to PACD staff. PACD Conservation Engineer Danielle Kalp, PE, and PACD Conservation Technician Philip Wilson showed attendees how the water is treated. Also, SCD Watershed Specialist Greg Shustrick contributed to the tour.

PACD immediate past President and South West Region Director Mike Price attended on behalf of the PACD Executive Board.

Click here to read an article and view photos of the event. 

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