HARRISBURG — The Corbett Administration has awarded more than $800,000 in annual coastal zone management grants to organizations dedicated to protecting and preserving Pennsylvania’s coastal zones along Lake Erie and the Delaware Estuary.
“These grants play a crucial role to ensure that Pennsylvania’s coastal areas continue to thrive,” Acting Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Chris Abruzzo said today. “We are thrilled to be able to support projects that positively impact the environment and enhance Pennsylvania’s natural beauty.”
The annual grants, largely funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), were awarded to 19 non-profit and government organizations in counties that border Pennsylvania’s coastal zones or have a direct impact on water quality in those areas. NOAA is a federal agency under the Department of Commerce with programs in each state that work to inform residents of the changing impacts of weather and water resources. In Pennsylvania, those programs include the National Ocean Service and National Weather Service.
Coastal zone management grants support programs that measure the impact of various pollution sources, improve public access, preserve habitats and educate the public about the benefits of the state’s coastal zones.
Coastal zones and adjacent shore land face increasing pressure from development, erosion, biodiversity losses and pollution. Pennsylvania’s two coastal areas are a 112-mile stretch along the Delaware Estuary and 76 miles along Lake Erie.
The Delaware Estuary coastal zone is in Bucks, Delaware and Philadelphia counties and contains islands, marshes and the shore lands of tributaries that are affected by ocean tides. The Delaware Estuary is considered one of the largest freshwater ports in the world. The Lake Erie coastal zone is in Erie County and includes several major tributaries’ shorelines.
The Coastal Resources Management Program is now accepting applications for 2014. Non-profit organizations, schools and universities, local government organizations, authorities and state agencies are all encouraged to apply until the current grant round closes at 4 p.m. on Oct. 21, 2013.
For more information, and how to apply for the 2014 grant, visit www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: Coastal Zone.