Watershed protection projects in Bradford, Sullivan counties receive grants $1 million awarded for environmental projects in 23rd District
Two area water projects were awarded state grants recently.
A $244,720 state grant state was recently awarded to help rehabilitate the watershed of Bullard Creek in Bradford County, which is on the state's impaired streams list, while a separate $96,914 state grant was awarded to rehabilitate and upgrade a passive acid mine drainage treatment facility in Cherry Township, Sullivan County.
The awards were among the more than $1 million in federal and state grants for watershed protection projects in four counties in the 23rd District, which were announced in a recent press release issued by state Sen. Gene Yaw.
"It's gratifying to see this funding targeted for areas in the Northern Tier," Yaw said in the press release. "Addressing abandoned mine drainage and severe erosion and deposition problems contributable to flooding will certainly protect our watersheds from further impairment. Some of these projects will utilize natural stream restoration techniques to improve the overall quality of the stream and stabilize existing stream banks."
Bullard Creek is on the impaired streams list due to sediment and nutrients that are getting into the stream, said Joe Quatrini, the technical team leader for the Bradford County Conservation District.
The $244,720 grant for the Bullard Creek project, which was awarded to the Wysox Creek Watershed Association, is half of what the group had applied for, said Mike Lovegreen, district manager of the Bradford County Conservation District.
The group had applied to use the funds in Rome Borough and Litchfield, Sheshequin, Rome townships to install streambank fencing and a total of 11,000 feet of streambank stabilization, according to written information provided by Yaw's office. The Bullard Creek project also included cattle crossings, 2.1 miles of dirt and gravel road improvements, a manure storage facility and a milkhouse waste system.
Negotiations involving the Department of Environmental Protection, the Bradford County Conservation District and the watershed group will now take place to prioritize which parts of the project can be done with the scaled-down grant money, Lovegreen said.
The Bullard Creek project's stream stabilization work is mainly intended to prevent soil erosion, which would not only help stop sediment from getting into the stream, but would also reduce the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen that enters the waterway, since those nutrients are tied to soil, Quatrini said.
Stream fencing would be installed on certain farms to help prevent cattle and horses from accessing and rutting up certain sections of stream banks, while still giving them places to access the waterway for drinking, Lovegreen said. Keeping the animals off stream banks helps prevent erosion, partly because they destroy vegetation that helps to hold the stream bank together, he said.
The acid mine drainage facility in Cherry Township treats drainage from the abandoned Bernice Lewis coal mine.
The acid mine drainage project is being carried out by the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.
A total of four projects in Susquehanna and Union counties received the rest of the $1.02 million in funding.
The $1.02 million was awarded through the Pennsylvania's Environmental Stewardship and Watershed Protection (Growing Greener) Grant Program, Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Grant Program and the federal Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program,
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: email@example.com.