State Growing Greener Plus funds support Indiana County’s Lower Two Lick Creek Watershed and several projects in Armstrong County.
An announcement to that effect was made Friday by Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman, R-Indiana, and State Representatives Jim Struzzi, R-Indiana, Donna Oberlander, R-Clarion, and Abby Major, R-Ford City.
The grants totaling $164,466 for the Indiana County Conservation District and $427,826 for four projects maintained by the Armstrong County Conservation District and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy are among more than $19 million in grants awarded statewide by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection have been announced.
Indiana County funds flow into the Lower Two Lick Creek Watershed.
“As a member of the House Budget Committee, I was very fortunate to assist in the preparation and subsequent approval of the fiscal year budget, which includes the largest investment to date in the Growing Greener program,” said Struzzi. “Addressing environmental concerns is easy, good responsibility for Pennsylvanians now and in the future.”
Growing Greener is the largest single federal investment in Pennsylvania history to address critical environmental issues. Eligible entities for Growing Greener grants may be watershed groups, local or county governments, local authorities, county planning commissions, county conservation districts, government councils, educational institutions, or non-profit organizations.
“Increasing funding for greener projects helps us begin and continue projects that focus on critical environmental concerns like those funded in Indiana and Armstrong counties,” said Pittman.
According to DEP, grantees have up to three years to implement their projects, which will be deployed across the country to protect waterways and watersheds, reclamate abandoned mine landmarks, and reclamate and plug abandoned oil and gas wells.
In Armstrong County, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy received $89,286 for the Patterson Run Instream Habitat Improvement and $129,995 for the Buffalo Creek Stream Restoration, while the Armstrong Conservation District received $103,990 for the Glade Run Streambank Stabilization and Fish Habitat Project and $104,555 for the Buffalo Creek Streambank received Project Stabilization and Fish Habitat Schwickrath.
“Armstrong County has many creeks and creeks that flow into the Allegheny River,” Major said. “Upstream water quality has a major impact on the river ecosystem. These grants will help improve our natural resources so they can be used for generations to come.”
The Growing Greener program was established in 1999 to protect and improve watersheds, reduce stormwater runoff and acid mine drainage, and support educational programs and other important conservation efforts.
“We all need a safe, clean, and reliable source of water, so I’m pleased that this grant will offset the cost of bringing water to the community,” Oberlander added. “Even in the tough financial times that so many people are going through, we still need to make important investments like this. These grants are also essential to preserving our environmental and recreational opportunities.”
The program is supported by the Environmental Stewardship Fund (tipping fees) and Act 13 natural gas drilling fees.