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EPA Awards Funds in Pennsylvania to Restore Streams in Chesapeake Bay Watershed

02/18/2020
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PHILADELPHIA (February 18, 2020) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the award of $464,200 to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) to hire eight employees to assist with stream improvement projects in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The grant is part of EPA’s action to ensure the timely spending of federal Chesapeake Bay grants to Pennsylvania.

The grant funds will be used to employ eight staff in the Commission’s Stream Habitat Section. The staff, comprised of full-time, part-time and seasonal employees, will provide technical assistance to conservation districts and landowners for the planning, design and installation of stream habitat improvement and bank stabilization structures as well as other stream and riparian corridor best management practices (BMPs).

“This action ensures that our federal grant funds are applied in a timely manner to improve Pennsylvania streams and the Chesapeake Bay,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to expand our efforts in this vital area of conservation,” said Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director. “Enhancing our waterways for both fish and anglers while protecting water quality for everyone upstream and downstream in the Chesapeake Bay watershed fits our mission and we’re anxious to get started.”

EPA redirected portions of Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant (CBIG) to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to accelerate the assistance for stream improvements.  EPA took the action in light of the commonwealth’s long-standing issue of unspent grant funds, known as unliquidated obligations, or ULOs.

EPA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced recently that $2.4 million of those unspent funds from two prior fiscal years would be applied to 14 water quality projects that will reduce stormwater runoff pollution from urban, suburban, and agricultural lands.

EPA also announced plans to redirect funds to support stream-side forest buffer projects proposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and to fund critical staff positions, including those at PADEP and Pennsylvania’s Conservation Districts, and up to eight new coordinator positions to implement county action plans under the commonwealth’s Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan.

EPA also is encouraging applications for Chesapeake Bay funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and other Pennsylvania agencies or commissions for projects that improve local water quality and further nutrient and sediment reductions to the Chesapeake Bay.

Today’s award, which helps protect public health and surface water ecosystems, supports EPA’s 50th anniversary celebration and its February theme of protecting America’s waters.