On March 21st the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced 27 grants totaling more than $1.5 million to help nonprofit organizations and local governments protect and enhance waterways across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“These grants help communities protect and enhance the scenic, recreational, and economic qualities of Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams,” DCNR Secretary John Oliver said. “I commend the local officials and regional groups and organizations, that have made river conservation a priority. Pennsylvania’s waterways are on their way to recovery thanks to their commitment.”
DCNR approved nine grants to help communities develop river conservation plans. The plans outline local strategies that river-support groups, municipalities, and residents can use to effectively implement river-conservation initiatives such as streambank stabilization and streamside buffers; water quality monitoring; public accessibility for recreational opportunities; and citizen participation. With these grants, locally developed river conservation plans will now cover a total of 23,532 square miles — approximately 52 percent of the state”.
In addition to the planning grants, 14 river conservation implementation or development grants were approved. These grants help accomplish the projects outlined in approved river conservation plans. Projects include development of boat launches, improvements to streamside corridors, trail feasibility studies, and development of a river-related environmental education center. Two grants will aid land acquisition to protect stream corridors and create greenways.
DCNR’s Rivers Conservation Program is part of the Community Conservation Partnership Program. Launched in 1995, the initiative provides funding to help communities and nonprofit organizations conserve natural and cultural resources, provide outdoor recreation, enhance tourism, and foster community and economic development. In addition to river conservation, grants are used for community recreation, heritage tourism, open space protection, and greenways and trails.
Funded through the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund Act, the Rivers Conservation Program provides up to 50 percent of the cost of the project, with the applicant providing the other half through matching funds or in-kind services.