More than 45 new watershed groups formed across Pennsylvania during 2001, greatly surpassing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) goal of increasing by 10 the number of organizations implementing protection and restoration of their watersheds by 2004.
Many of the new groups are a result of Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener initiative, the efforts of DEP’s regional watershed coordinators, and the newly hired Watershed Specialists employed by county conservation districts. Others are a direct result of involved citizens taking charge to make a difference in their own communities.
Citizens are able to address their local watershed needs through a watershed association, and are able to receive funding for restoration or protection projects. The new watershed groups are working on existing nonpoint source pollution problems; educating citizens on the values of streams and lakes in their communities; collecting water quality data through monitoring programs; and obtaining funding for new or existing projects.
Lake Erie is currently served by the Pennsylvania Lake Erie Watershed Association (PLEWA) and the Junior Pennsylvania Lake Erie Watershed Association (JrPLEWA) — both funded by a Growing Greener grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.