$60,000 Available for 2020-21 Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Educational Mini-grant Program for Conservation Districts

Thanks to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection continuing to support conservation district educational projects, PACD is ready to open a new round of Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Prevention Educational Mini-grants!

Grants up to $2,000 are awarded to conservation districts for adult educational projects that offer strategies for reducing and preventing NPS Pollution. Projects should stimulate a local awareness of water quality issues, promote the theme “We All Live Downstream,” and encourage citizen participation in activities to improve water quality in local watersheds.

The deadline for NPS mini-grant applications is March 2, 2020. Click here for the online application and more information. Questions should be directed to Shannon Wehinger

Financial and other support for the NPS Mini-grant Program 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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The Work-Free Zone (Garden)

Photo provided by BCCD.

By: Kevin Brown, Ag. Resource Specialist, Bradford County Conservation District

Yes, that’s what I said, a garden that takes no work. This is a picture of our garden here at the office. I mulched it, planted it, spent maybe 15 minutes (total) weeding it at different times, and am now harvesting it. I know there are a lot of non-believers out there. My wife said it wouldn’t work. My co-workers said it wouldn’t work and wanted to know who was going to be the one spending the time needed to weed and water it. My response was, “If it works the way it’s supposed to, no one.” Even my mother said that when she read the first gardening article I wrote, “I couldn’t believe your name was associated with it. You never wanted anything to do with a garden.” And she’s right. I still don’t. But voilà! Here we are. I can handle a garden if I don’t have to do anything to make it a garden. Doesn’t everyone like to have super fresh vegetables if all they have to do is pick them? Well, you can.

Click here to read the entire article and here to read a news piece on the project. 

This workshop is part of the Bradford County Education & Outreach Mini-grant Project.

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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Pike County Conservation District Completes Bioswale Project

Photo provided by the Pike County Conservation District.

In August, the Pike County Conservation District refurbished a bioswale on the district’s property as part of their Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Educational Mini-grant Project. The bioswale filters and slows down the movement of stormwater runoff. (What is the difference between the bioswale and a rain garden? Click here to find out.)

An educational sign was installed to teach the public how the bioswale functions and the positive effect this type of installment can have on local water resources. The district plans to use the site as a demonstration area for future educational programs.

The sign is available on the Educational Events Sample Materials page on the PACD website. Click here to view the sample materials from previously funded mini-grant projects. Districts are encouraged to use these materials for their own activities rather than starting from scratch.

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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Northampton County Conservation District Holds Teacher Workshop

Northampton County Conservation District’s Act 48 teacher workshop visits Kline Farm’s cheese operation. Photo provided by NCCD.

The Northampton County Conservation District held an Act 48 workshop, Agriculture and You, to educate teachers. The teachers were able to observe agricultural practices that improve water quality. The program introduced local educators to nutrient and manure management, non-point source pollution control, and environmental conservation practices implemented on Lehigh Valley farms.

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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Potter County Conservation District Features Grazing Trial Kit during Field Day

Tim Elder with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service talks about rotational grazing to the group of farmers before heading out to the pasture. Photo provided by PCCD.

Potter County Conservation District (PCCD) brought together local producers this summer to demonstrate how rotational grazing can benefit their farm both financially and environmentally. First, the district selected a farm to use rotational grazing equipment to demonstrate the benefits of rotational grazing management.

PCCD then partnered with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Penn State Extension to develop a grazing plan for the selected farm. They took representative soil samples to test the biological activity of continuously grazed and rotationally grazed pastures with the same soil type. This information was presented during the field day.

Essential supplies for a grazing kit were purchased, including temporary fence, reels, posts, and automatic gate (Batt-Latch). The kit was given to the selected beef farmer in early July to install. On August 28, 2019, a field day was held at the farm to showcase the project and to discuss the benefits and challenges of rotational grazing.

In the future, another farmer that has an interest in this management style will be selected to use the grazing kit.

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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Beaver County Conservation District Holds Stormwater Workshop

Photo provided by Beaver County Conservation District.

Twenty-one workshop participants learned about the link between water quality and nonpoint source pollution at the Beaver County Conservation District “Managing Stormwater at Your Home” workshop. Participants mapped their property and decided where to place the best management practices. After a program on watersheds, nonpoint source pollution, and stormwater best management practices, the district demonstrated how to build a rain barrel. Those attending received a rain barrel kit and Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Homeowners Guide to Stormwater.

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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Clearfield and Jefferson County Conservation Districts Hold Cover Crop Field Day

Clearfield and Jefferson County Conservation Districts held a Cover Crop Field Day on August 23, 2019. Photo provided by Clearfield County Conservation District.

On August 23, 2019, Clearfield and Jefferson County Conservation Districts held a cover crop field day in partnership with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Local Seed Company, and PA No-till Alliance. There were 49 participants at the workshop. As part of the event, two acres of cover crops were planted for a demonstration of their effectiveness against erosion control and water infiltration.

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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Montgomery County Conservation District Presents on Rain Gardens

Screenshot from “2019 Watershed Congress Rain Garden Design and Construction“ https://youtu.be/5ma_QIv5UDc.

In March, Eric Konzelmann, Assistant District Manager at the Montgomery County Conservation District presented at the 2019 Watershed Congress. Eric spoke about best practices and construction techniques for building rain gardens. The presentation is available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/5ma_QIv5UDc.

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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Columbia Holds No Mow Workshop

Workshop attendees received a No Mow Zone sign for their property. Photo provided by Columbia County Conservation District.

In June, Columbia County Conservation District held a workshop for local landowners. The workshop encouraged attendees to establish more vegetation on their properties. A second “Establishing a No Mow Zone on Your Property” workshop will be held this week. Participants will learn about the benefits of reduced mowing and the use of cover crops to prevent floods, create wildlife habitat, and promote clean water for their communities.

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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Thirty-Four Conservation Districts Participate in Manure Mini-grant Program

Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS. 

Mini-grants were available to all 66 conservation districts to hold local Manure Management Manual and Chapter 102 Compliance seminars/work sessions and one-on-one assistance on a first-come, first-served basis. These sessions assisted farmers in understanding manure management requirements and led to the development of a complete manure management and/or agricultural erosion and sedimentation plan.

Thirty-four conservation districts completed projects. Nineteen full-day and thirty-five half-day workshops were completed.

Additional outcomes include:

Farmers reached: 1,526

Manure management plans developed: 265

Acres covered in the manure plans cover: 2,4628.70

Ag E&S plans developed: 43

Acres covered in the Ag E&S plans:  3,285.50

Click here for the program webpage.

Financial support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection through the Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant, the Clean Water Fund and the Chesapeake Bay Regulatory and Accountability Program (CBRAP).

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