The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds

FPW Announces Spring Grants

On April 24, 2012 the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds’ (FPW) Board of Advisors reviewed spring grant proposals; 16 grants were awarded totaling $185,000. The projects totaled more than $1.37M in construction costs resulting in a leverage of seven dollars for every one dollar FPW invested. These projects were paid out of FPW’s general grant making budget, which is supported through philanthropic grant making. An additional five projects were funded via GenOn Settlement funds; project grants totaled $224,500 and leveraged $1.02M.

R. John Dawes, Executive Director said, “We had a really strong group of proposals this spring—perhaps one of the best dockets in years. The project quality and outcomes are to be commended. We are accustomed to seeing higher leverage of our funds, but the recent decline in the economy and government funds easily explains the decrease; we continue working with our funders and legislators to move toward increased funding.”

Projects funded included:

Alliance for the Cheasapeake—Brightbill Project $15,000

FPW is funding a riparian piece of a larger project. The riparian project will restore 640 linear feet of natural plant, streambank buffer. The overall project is intended to reduce total suspended solids by: 1,632 lbs/yr, total phosphorus by: 2.24 lbs/yr, and total nitrogen by: 12.8 lbs/yr. The project is highly visible and a projected 500 to 1,000 visitors a day will see the work.

The American Chestnut Foundation—Elk County Mine Reclamation $12,000

The objective of this project is to establish diverse forest plantings of American chestnut and other high-quality hardwoods on strip mined land at Bennett Branch in Elk County, Pennsylvania, on land owned and managed by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Each restoration site will include a 1-acre planting of blight-resistant chestnuts trees (monoculture), established within an approximately 30-acre mixed planting of blight-resistant chestnut and high-quality native hardwoods (chestnuts planted at 20 trees per acre within the mixed hardwoods). The 1-acre plantings serve as a source population of chestnut, maximizing the long-term probability that the chestnut can perpetuate itself within the larger stand and provides a control site to allow for long-term performance evaluation of the blight-resistant chestnuts.

Carnegie Institute—Laurel Highlands Reference Reach $10,000

Under the direction of Dr. R. Hoch, Department of Geography and Regional Planning, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), students, interns, and staff will study Powdermill Run to determine the values for flow rate, sedimentation rate, straight versus curve, width of bed, height of bank, nature of substrate, etc., that are useful for regulators and ecosystem engineers. Because Powdermill Run is a protected stream, it will be an ideal reference reach that can be used to measure and evaluate either degradation or mitigation of other water courses.

Clearwater Conservancy—Riparian Conservation Project $15,000

Project funds support the organization’s work to restore 7,000 linear feet of forested buffers resulting in the following nutrient reductions: 2 tons of sediment, 5 pounds of nitrogen, and 139 pounds of nitrogen annually. These buffers will also substantially improve in-stream habitat for macroinvertebrates.

Husky Research Corporation—Headwater Flood Evaluation $15,000

This study will explore impacts of Tropical Storm Lee as it relates to sport fishing and in-stream nitrogen retention. The goal is to better understand how storms of increasing size and intensity are negatively impacting these two stream functions. Further, the study aims to correlate man-made stream alterations into the study (i.e. diking, stream channel, and hard-armoring).

Jacobs Creek Watershed Association—Capacity Building $7,500

Project funds are intended to assist the organization with completion of eight, under-construction, watershed projects. By the end of 2013, JCWA’s projects—if completed on schedule and according to specifications—will have prevented more than 75 tons of sediment from entering Jacobs Creek, Brush Run, Shupe Run, and Little Sherrick Run annually. Additional project deliverables include: stabilization of 3,300 feet of severely eroded stream bank, the installation of 2 animal stream crossings, and the placement of 1,700 feet of agricultural fencing and vegetative buffers. Additionally, two acres of wetlands will be restored.

Loyalsock Creek Watershed Association—Headwater Stream Recovery $15,000

Project funds will be used to explore how quickly macroinvertebrates recolonize streams after catastrophic flooding. Dateline data will be used to monitor macroinvertebrate recovery in headwater streams impacted by Tropical Storm Lee.

Mountain Watershed Association—Youghiogheny Monitoring $10,000

Project funds will assist in leveraging funding from the United State Geological Survey, and is intended to outline a comprehensive, water sampling protocol for the Youghiogheny River. The project will also explore how best to disseminate collected data, and how best to develop an ‘early warning’ system.

Nature Abounds—Senior Environmental Corps $15,000

With funding from the US EPA’s 319 Nonpoint Source Protection Program (in wrap-up stage now) as well as support from the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds and guidance from the Pa DEP’s Watershed Bureau, Nature Abounds has been able to start revitalizing the PASEC over the last couple years. Since 1997, PASEC volunteers have dedicated more than 2,000,000 hours to protecting and restoring Pennsylvania’s environment.

Specifically, under this project, the PASEC members will be engaged in the following tasks:

  • Assessing Conservation Resource Program (CRP) sites, EPA 319 sites as well as Riparian Buffer sites, and AMD sites;
  • Monitoring the water quality of Pennsylvania’s streams and rivers.  To do so, they will be purchasing more equipment and training volunteers, current and new); and
  • Expanding the PASEC to a minimum of 10 new counties. Of particular interest are counties in Southwest PA and along the West Branch of the Susquehanna.

Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens—Woodland Garden $10,000

Project funds will assist with installing an epoxycoated concrete tank (~20×100) with a maximimum depth of four feet. The tank will be filled with 400 to 500 tons of limestone, and provide the associated treatment. The overall project will provide the following water quality enhancements: 0.5 stream miles improved, near 100 percent removal of iron, aluminum, and manganese, increase of 3 pH units, and restoration of nearly 0.25 acres. It is estimated that the project will result in a 15,000 lbs/yr reduction in acidity, and a 650 lbs/yr reduction in aluminum, stream deposition.

Sewickley Creek Watershed Association—Lowber Project $15,000

This project will make modifications to the Marchand (Lowber) passive treatment system that will facilitate its operation and maintenance.  The Marchand system treats a 1,850 gpm deep mine discharge that contains 75 mg/L Fe.  The completely passive system was built in 2006 and consists of six oxidation/settling ponds followed by a wetland.  Treatment has decreased the iron concentrations from 70-80 mg/L to less than 3 mg/L at the final effluent; removing one ton of Fe solids daily.  Funds will assist with removing distribution piping, and install operation and maintenance friendly troughs.

PA Fish and Boat Unassessed Waters Program

Susquehanna University—$17,000

Kings College—$8,000

Lycoming College—$3,500

Although Pennsylvania contains 64,345 streams totaling approximately 86,000 miles of flowing water, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has only been able to conduct surveys and implement management strategies on slightly more than 26,000 miles.  As a result, only eight percent of the streams and 29 percent of the total stream miles are being actively managed. This grant builds on our three-year, past commitment to assess the remaining stream miles. This process is of particular interest in protecting streams for developmental pressures.

Stewards of the Lower Susquehana—Conowingo Sedimentation $10,000

Project funds will be focused on continued exploration of options for sediment removal behind the Conowingo Dam. Sediment removal is of paramount concern, as a catastrophic release during high flow would further complicate recovery efforts within the Chesapeake Bay.

Western PA Conservancy—Beaverdale Sportsman’s Easement $7,500

Project funds will be used towards surveying, and recording costs associated with a 325 acre easement.

Branden S. Diehl, Project and Grant Consultant said, “We are actively working to increase our project funding, and working with business, industry, and agencies to maximize our investment. We are hopeful about recent developments that should assist with work being completed in watersheds with Hydrologic Unit Plans. As always, we encourage grantees to call us to schedule site visits, and to discuss how FPW can assist them. We pride ourselves in providing project resources that go beyond grants/money.”

FPW’s next grant deadline is August 24, 2012 when fall Letters of Inquiry are due. To learn more about FPW’s grant process visit: www.pennsylvaniawatersheds.org. To learn more about the projects they fund visit: http://fpw.rhizalabs.com.

May 11 2012 01:32 pm | News

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