Nearly $ 570,000 in state funding awarded to protect Chester County waterways – Daily Local

WEST CHESTER – The Chester County Conservation District will receive nearly $ 570,000 in state grants to improve the health of local streams, rivers and lakes by reducing nutrient and sediment pollution.

The funds are part of a total grant of $ 17.4 million given to projects in 33 counties of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to implement county-wide action plan projects and verify best practices in pollution reduction management.

“These investments are important to building on our continued success in managing and containing the impacts of agricultural runoff, a major non-point source of pollution to our streams, rivers and lakes,” said State Representative Carolyn Comitta , which sits in the Environmental Senate. Resources and Energy Commission. “By working with Pennsylvania communities and farmers, municipalities, businesses and other landowners, we can better protect our environmental health, our public health, and our economic health from pollution. “

Pennsylvania’s share of the Chesapeake Bay watershed spans half of the state and includes more than 12,000 miles of polluted streams and rivers. Pollution by nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and eroded sediments enter streams, rivers and lakes due to human activities widely dispersed on the soil, such as using too much fertilizer , plowing and plowing agricultural fields, removing trees and vegetation, and expanding concrete and paving areas.

The funding is intended to allow county teams and partners to build on Pennsylvania’s record-breaking progress in the watershed. It includes $ 15 million from the Pennsylvania Environmental Stewardship Fund, primarily the Growing Greener program, and $ 2.4 million from the EPA.

“Pennsylvania has started to make real change to improve the health of the watershed, directly through the hard work of county-level teams of government, nonprofit and private sector partners,” Governor Wolf said. . “It is crucial that their unprecedented momentum is backed by broad support. Their actions will benefit our drinking water, protect the long-term viability of our farms and the outdoor recreation economy, and help our communities reduce flooding and attract businesses.

“With 26 counties making plans this year, the 34 counties that were asked to develop county-wide action plans to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution have now completed them,” the secretary said. from the Department of Environmental Protection, Patrick McDonnell. “Reaching this exciting milestone is a testament to the growing understanding among landowners and community leaders of the value of healthy aquatic ecosystems to the quality of life and livelihoods of Pennsylvanians. DEP is committed to supporting these local partnerships as they now continue with action.

Nitrogen runoff pollution was reduced by more than 4 million pounds in 2020, with half of the reduction coming from agriculture and the other half from the wastewater treatment sector. In addition, over half a million acres of cropland complied with nutrient and manure management practices last year.

Farmers used improved nutrient management on more than 305,500 acres of cropland in 2020. Going beyond standard nutrient management, this approach applies fertilizers in a 4R approach: at the right time, at the right time. right source, in the right place and at the right rate.

“Increasingly, farmers recognize that the soil, nitrogen and phosphorus flowing from the land into waterways is a symptom of a farm operation that is below peak efficiency. For many, the pandemic has underscored the importance of ensuring the future viability of their farms, which today requires the management of their soil and water, ”Agriculture Department Secretary Russell Redding said. .

In addition, last year more than 17 miles of streams were fully restored and tens of thousands of trees were planted, many through programs from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

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