Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts

We support Pennsylvania’s Conservation Districts who work for clean water and healthy soil every day.

2024 Watershed Congress includes Keynote on Conservation District Buffer Program

(Pictured at top) Brian Vadino, Montgomery County Conservation District, and Kent Himelright, Berks County Conservation District, provide the keynote address during the 2024 Watershed Congress.

The keynote presentation at the 2024 Watershed Congress was “The Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Local Conservation Districts, and You – Helping Achieve Pennsylvania’s Forest and Meadow Goals.” The keynote featured representatives from two Pennsylvania conservation districts discussing a PACD grant program that supports the creation of conventional riparian buffers, multi-functional riparian buffers, and lawn conversions. These programs were developed to help achieve Pennsylvania’s goal of planting 5,000 acres of upland forest and 5,000 acres of meadow by 2025.

The event was held on March 23, 2024, at the Montgomery County Community College, Pottstown, PA.

The speakers included Brian Vadino, Watershed Specialist for the Montgomery County Conservation District. Brian spoke about a project in the Perkiomen Creek Watershed that the districts completed through the PACD Riparian Buffer Sub-Grant for Conservation Districts program.

Kent Himelright, Watershed Coordinator for Berks County Conservation District, spoke about a riparian buffer project at Zartman Farm and a lawn-to-meadow conversion project at the Caernarvon Municipal Authority.

Click here to watch the presentation. 

Financial and other support for the Riparian Buffer Sub-Grant for Conservation Districts program is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.

 

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Clearfield and Indiana County Conservation Districts Receive Abandoned Mine Lands and Acid Mine Drainage Grant

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced up to $101,110,178 in funding for 16 environmental restoration projects of abandoned mine lands (AML) as a part of the Abandoned Mine Lands and Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) Grant Program. These projects focus on reclaiming AML, decreasing AMD, or treating AMD through the construction, operation, and/or maintenance of an AMD treatment facility.

Two conservation districts received grants:

  • Clearfield County Conservation District— $533,134
    • Anderson South (Planning and Development)— The project will restore Anderson Creek.
  • Indiana County Conservation District— $195,283
    • Bear Run South— The project will include designing, engineering, and permitting two AMD passive treatment systems to replace existing ineffective lime-dosing silos. South Branch Bear Run and discharge areas PA3326 and PA1029 will also be assessed.

Click here to read the entire press release. 

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Over $80,000 Available for CREP Mini Grants through 2024!

PACD is accepting mini-grant applications from conservation districts for up to $3,000 to implement educational and outreach activities that support and extend the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) work. Projects should focus on CREP enrollment, re-enrollment, and/or CREP maintenance.

Applications will be accepted and approved on a rolling basis until funds are expended.

Project Completion & Final Report Deadline: August 31, 2024

Project examples:

– Walkabouts/field days
– Farmer and landowner workshops
– Riparian buffer workshops
– Workshop series with several topics
– Developing educational materials like brochures, flyers, fact sheets, or even billboards
– Hire interns to provide CREP outreach

We encourage working with CREP partners to complete education and outreach activities. Partners include USDA Farm Service Agency, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, PA Department of Environmental Protection, Pheasants Forever, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Stroud Water Research Center, PA Game Commission, and other conservation districts!

The guidelines, application, and reporting documents for the CREP mini-grant program can be found here.

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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Sub-grants Now Available for Lawn Conversion

PACD was awarded a $100,000 Community Conservation Partnerships Program Grant from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to offer Lawn Conversion training and mini-grants to Pennsylvania’s conservation districts. The lawn conversion program will help the Commonwealth achieve a goal of planting 5,000 acres of upland forest and 5,000 acres of meadow by 2025.

The Lawn Conversion for Conservation Districts training recording and a copy of Ryan Davis’s presentation are available on the PA Clean Water Academy. Click here to access the course page. (You will need to be logged in.)

The application and other lawn conversion sub-grant program materials are available here

It is recommended that you complete the training before applying for the sub-grant.

Questions may be directed to Holly Miller, PACD Program Manager, at hmiller@pacd.org or (717) 794-6105.

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Thirty-Seven Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Educational Mini-grant Projects Completed

Washington County Conservation District’s cover crop field day on September 27, 2022, was completed during the 2022-23 mini-grant round. Photo provided by WCCD.

In the 2022-23 Nonpoint Source Pollution Educational Mini-grant round, 37 projects were completed by 27 conservation districts, reaching over 1,571 adults in the target audience.

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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DEP Announces 2023 Environmental Education Grant Awards

Twenty Conservation District Projects Funded for over $172,700

Allegheny County Conservation District: $4,999 to host field workshops for municipal managers to elevate their knowledge of watersheds, watershed planning, and best management practices to remedy non-point source pollution and impacts of climate change, such as localized flooding.

Bradford County Conservation District: $29,942 to hold a Forestry Education Symposium, providing two Forestry Education events for private landowners, forestry professionals, and logging professionals who are interested in expanding their knowledge of forest practices, sustainability, and forest health. Eight conservation districts as well as the Northern Tier Hardwood Association will partner to host the events. Each event will include multiple guest speakers and a field tour.

Bradford County Conservation District: $4,912 to supply six school districts with the necessary materials, curriculum, resources, and guidance to implement Eels in the Classroom, an interdisciplinary, standards-based, educational experience throughout the 2023/2024 school year and beyond.

Bucks County Conservation District: $17,500 to develop county-wide education programs, including presentations for youth (K-12) and multi-municipality public events. Programs will be accessed through a website menu of curriculums with associated displays, brochures, and hands-on materials.

Cameron County Conservation District: $5,000 to hold several elementary and high school student field studies, along with adult-based workshops and community events. Hands-on activities and demonstrations will address water issues involving flooding and climate change.

Columbia County Conservation District: $4,998 to partner with the Borough of Berwick to construct and install approximately 15 downspout planters at homes along main streets in the Borough. Hold at least one public workshop addressing benefits of downspout planters and other ways to reduce stormwater runoff, non-point source pollution, and improve water quality.

Dauphin County Conservation District: $5,000 to partner with municipalities to host Stormwater Management for Homeowners workshops on reducing non-point source pollution.

Delaware County Conservation District: $5,000 to host a one-day sustainability conference, located within an environmental justice area, that aligns with the DEP 2021 Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan and the 2022 Delaware County Sustainability Plan. Multiple tracks will engage K-12 and college students, academics, community members and leaders, citizen scientists, non-profits, and businesses.

Indiana County Conservation District: $8,955 to incorporate environmental education principles into public outreach efforts. The initiative will incorporate current and relevant climate change and water quality information, hands-on materials, engaging activities, age-appropriate lessons, and in-person workshops.

Jefferson County Conservation District: $4,795 to hold a three-day outdoor camp for women and girls to increase knowledge about the environment, climate change, and sustainability.

Juniata County Conservation District: $1,440 to increase public awareness about stormwater pollutants by collaborating with the Mifflintown Borough maintenance department to stencil about 60 stormwater grates with the message “only rain in the drain.”

Lackawanna County Conservation District: $30,000 to create a permanent three-station stormwater best management practice demonstration area and hold three hands-on events for multiple audiences on stormwater and local water quality.

Lebanon County Conservation District: $4,758 to hold two streambank landowner workshops providing presentations, materials, and hands-on macroinvertebrate stream studies to educate landowners on assessing stream health.

Lehigh County Conservation District: $5,000 to develop an educational garden laboratory in a vacant school courtyard to improve students’ understanding of local climate change and water quality and other real-world sustainability challenges.

Mercer County Conservation District: $3,385 to conduct a three-week camp for middle school students, including outdoor activities that address climate change and water quality issues and education on science and/or environmentally themed careers.

Potter County Conservation District: $5,000 to use a stream simulation table to help municipal officials and workers understand stream processes and concepts related to stream management and in-stream construction.

Snyder County Conservation District: $3,298 to host two rain barrel workshops for residents and business owners of Snyder County who are interested in learning about storm water management. Each participant will receive one complete rain barrel and rain gutter garden for installation at their property.

Susquehanna County Conservation District: $19,722 to host education activities for school groups and community members along an interpretive trail. Trail signage features five points of interest highlighting climate change and regional water quality topics.

Westmoreland County Conservation District: $5,000 to provide stormwater education to 40 students in the Mosaic Community Development Center’s afterschool program. The conservation district will present two in-person educational programs for the students and work with the students and center to develop a demonstration rain garden that incorporates the lessons learned.

York County Conservation District: $4,039 to hold two seminars for residents on York County’s watersheds. The seminars will provide in-depth information on how residents’ actions can make a difference, even if they don’t have a waterway or a water body on their property.

Click here to read about all the projects funded.

 

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Conservation Districts Awarded Over $65,000 for Nonpoint Source Mini-grant Program

Photo of installed rain barrel provided by Dauphin County Conservation District.

Last week, Pennsylvania’s county conservation districts were awarded over $65,000 for thirty-seven pollution reduction projects in twenty-eight counties. These projects educate adults on water pollution prevention. Projects are funded through the Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Prevention Educational Mini-Grant Program. The projects will take place over the next fifteen months.

Click here to read the entire press release and here for a summary of funded projects. 

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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Five Conservation Districts Receive Chesapeake Bay Grants

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced $33.8 million in grant awards to support the restoration and conservation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The 104 grants will leverage more than $30 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of more than $64 million.

Awards for Pennsylvania’s Conservation Districts:

  • Accelerating Agricultural Pollution Reduction in the Mahantango Watershed
    Grantee: Snyder County Conservation District Grant, $414,000.
    Reduce agricultural runoff in the West and North Branches of Mahantango Creek through farmer outreach, developing agricultural conservation plans, and implementing conservation practices on beef and poultry operations. The project will result in the development of 30 agricultural conservation plans to guide future farm management for improved water quality.
  • Advancing Conservation Practice Implementation Through Planning
    Grantee: Lebanon County Conservation District Grant, $61,200.
    Provide additional technical assistance support to assist with the significant requests for conservation plans within the Little Swatara and Swatara Creek watersheds in Lebanon County. The project will result in the development of more than 50 agricultural conservation plans that will allow the advancement of future implementation of pollutant reduction best management practices on farms in these watersheds.
  • Enhancing Resilience of the Cowanesque Watershed through Collaboration
    Grantee: Potter County Conservation District Grant, $500,000.
    Implement more than 11,000 acres of soil health practices across the headwaters of the Cowanesque River in Potter and Tioga counties, including cover crops, no-till, prescribed grazing, and nutrient management. The project will enhance eastern brook trout populations in a high-priority patch by restoring connectivity to upstream cold-water habitat by replacing an existing stream culvert.
  • Helping Farmers Accomplish Conservation Goals in the West Branch Susquehanna River Watershed
    Grantee: Union County Conservation District Grant, $500,000.
    Implement agricultural conservation practices on four Turtle Creek watershed farms within the Susquehanna River’s broader West Branch. The project will complete whole farm conservation plans by strategically leveraging federal conservation program funding to fulfill farm-level funding needs.
  • Middle Creek Strategic Watershed Restoration Plan
    Grantee: Schuylkill Conservation District Grant, $50,000.
    Conduct an assessment of the Middle Creek watershed and develop a restoration plan that addresses sources of stormwater, flooding, sediment, and habitat fragmentation to build environmental and community resiliency. The project will rank pollution sources and watershed stressors and identify specific restoration solutions with the highest impact and lowest cost and risk.

Click here to read more. 

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PACD’s Ag Plan Reimbursement Program Now Open!

PACD was awarded a $500,000 Growing Greener Grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection to offer an Ag Plan Reimbursement Program for conservation districts from 2022-2024.

Please join us on August 9, 2022, for an informational webinar about the program. Use the link below to register. The webinar will introduce the program, review guidelines and instructions, and allow for questions and answers.

Webinar: Introducing PACD’s Ag Plan Reimbursement Program
August 9, 2022 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

To learn more about the program, please visit https://pacd.org/?page_id=69. Here you will find guidelines, application forms, and reporting templates. Please get in touch with Holly Miller at hmiller@pacd.org with any questions.

Financial and other support for the Ag Plan Reimbursement 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.

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Indiana County Conservation District Receives Agriculture Grant

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced more than $2.45 million in federal grants awarded to 23 projects that will grow markets and increase the quality, safety, and sustainability of the state’s vegetable, fruit, nut, and nursery specialty crops.

Indiana County Conservation District received $100,491. The district will demonstrate how to grow specialty crops by creating demonstration test plots at three locations to expand community knowledge of specialty crops and decrease food deserts.

Click here to read the press release. 

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