Harrisburg — Soil health projects on more than 11,000 acres as far north as Potter County are included in more than $10.6 million in federal grants for restoration and conservation grants within the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Pennsylvania.
The northern tier grants of $500,000 to the Potter County Conservation District for soil health work in the headwaters of the Cowanesque River in Potter and Tioga counties are aimed at enhancing eastern brook trout populations there.
The Cowanesque River is a tributary of the Tioga River, which is a tributary of the Chemung River and ultimately the Susquehanna River.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently announced the 18 grants through the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grant Program and Small Watershed Grants Program, core grant programs of the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program partnership.
“This funding not only helps kickstart critical water quality programs within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, it represents an investment in public health and the communities who call the bay home,” said Janet McCabe, EPA deputy administrator.
Some of the other grants in the $10.6 million package are:
• $75,000 to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to complete six preliminary concept plans for agricultural conservation practices for producer members of the Dairy Farmers for America cooperative to improve water quality in south-central Pennsylvania.
• $1 million to the Watershed Alliance of York to bring together private and public partners to accelerate implementation, maintenance and financial incentives of riparian forest buffers and lawn conversion projects in York County.
• $75,000 to the Trust for Public Land to design a schoolyard at Kennedy Elementary School in Scranton that meets community needs for a healthy, equitable and climate-resilient community park.
• Since 2006, the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grant Program has provided more than $123 million to 219 projects that have reduced 22 million pounds of nitrogen, 4 million pounds of phosphorus, and 480,000 tons of sediment across the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The Small Watershed Grants Program has provided more than $109 million to 496 projects that have permanently protected 169,00 acres under conservation easement, restored more than 1,550 miles of riparian habitat and 14,000 acres of wetlands, and engaged more than 125,000 watershed residents in volunteer conservation and restoration efforts.