Harrisburg, PA — Green stormwater infrastructure, greenway planning, and harmful algal bloom research are just a few of 17 projects that have been awarded over $700,000 in grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to protect and restore the state’s two coastal zones along Lake Erie and the Delaware Estuary.
“Our coastal zones are important environmental, economic, and community resources for the Commonwealth,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Each year, the diverse projects of the Coastal Zone Grant recipients help us take a comprehensive approach to ensuring their ecological health.”
Coastal zones are the area where the land meets the sea and include both coastal waters and adjacent shorelands. They’re under increasing pressure from development, erosion, biodiversity loss and pollution.
The annual Coastal Zone Grants are awarded to projects related to fisheries, wetlands, recreation, historic sites, public education, coastal hazards such as bluff recession, and other areas. Funded primarily by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the grants are administered by the DEP Coastal Resources Management Program.
This year 14 nonprofit organizations and government agencies received funding. The two largest grants ($50,000 each) went to the City of Chester for a recreation, open space, and greenway plan and to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission for municipal outreach on climate resiliency. The smallest award ($3,000) went to the Schuylkill Conservation District for an event that includes public education on sustainability, biodiversity and non-point source pollution.
The 112-mile Delaware Estuary coastal zone is located in Bucks, Delaware and Philadelphia counties and encompasses islands, marshes and other areas in the Delaware Estuary watershed. It encompasses the largest freshwater port in the world.
The 77-mile Lake Erie coastal zone is in Erie County and includes the Lake Erie shoreline and several major tributaries. The coastal zone also extends to the middle of the lake, to the international boundary with Canada and inland an average of 1.4 miles. Grants may also be awarded to other valuable projects in the watershed that have an impact on coastal waters.
Since federal approval of the DEP Coastal Resources Management Program in 1980, the program has provided more than $50 million in funding for coastal zone projects.
Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone
• City of Chester – $50,000 to prepare a comprehensive recreation, open space and greenway plan for Chester, focusing on the alignment and development of new trails and strategic investment in existing recreational resources.
• Delaware County – $40,000 to engage municipalities and stakeholders in planning for the construction and sustainable long-term maintenance of the East Coast Greenway in Delaware County.
• Temple University – $49,999 to develop, in partnership with Eastern Delaware County Stormwater Collaborative, a Green Stormwater Infrastructure Prioritization Plan for eastern Delaware County municipalities in the Darby-Cobbs watershed.
• Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission – $50,000 to conduct outreach to municipalities in the Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone focused on climate resiliency and related hazard mitigation; $40,000 to implement the Coastal Management Program in the Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone.
• Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Inc. – $49,782 to stock juvenile freshwater mussels in streams and ponds in southeastern Pennsylvania and monitor survival rates to develop best management practices and improve water quality; $34,361 to conduct Pennsylvania Coast Day 2017 events to educate the public on coastal recreation, historic sites, and public access.
• Schuylkill River Development Corporation – $48,000 to complete preliminary engineering for a new segment of Schuylkill Banks, part of the Schuylkill River Trail, from 58th Street to 61st Street.
• Schuylkill Conservation District – $3,000 to host the 2017 Bear Creek Festival, reaching approximately 2,000 people and providing education on sustainability, enhancing biodiversity and mitigating non-point source pollution.
Lake Erie Coastal Zone
• County of Erie – $67,500 for coordination and technical assistance with Lake Erie coastal zone projects; $7,000 to assist Lake Erie coastal communities in administering the Bluff Recession and Setback Act of 1980
• Erie Times News in Education – $38,760 for a recurring Newspaper in Education weekly page on coastal zone environmental issues.
• Girard Township – $49,955 to improve the eroded conditions of the Lake Erie Community Park West Trail and provide safe access to Lake Erie and the shoreline.
• National Audubon Society, Inc. – $44,475 to assess bird use during migration and to determine ecological habitat quality within the Lake Erie coastal zone.
• Pennsylvania State University – $34,000 to host the 2017 Children’s Water Festival, which will share science-based water resources information with approximately 1,000 local students in the Lake Erie watershed.
• Regional Science Consortium – $47,652 to collect and analyze water samples from Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and surrounding waters to learn more about the characteristics of harmful algal blooms.
• Texas Tech University – $32,495 to continue study of bat migration corridors between Erie and Canada.