HARRISBURG – The Department of Environmental Protection will begin accepting applications on June 22 through the Growing Greener Plus grant program for watershed protection and abandoned mine drainage projects, the agency announced today. Local governments, non-profits, schools, municipal authorities and watershed associations are eligible to apply.
$18 million is available for projects to improve and protect water quality; with an additional $3 million designated for watershed restoration work in federally listed priority watersheds and another $2 million for abandoned mine drainage projects. A formal notice announcing the grant solicitation, which runs through Aug. 16, appears in this week’s Pennsylvania Bulletin.
“Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Corbett and the General Assembly, millions of dollars from the Act 13 impact fee are revitalizing this program, which is helping to protect our waterways,” DEP Acting Secretary Chris Abruzzo said. “We are also continuing to partner with the federal government by encouraging innovative projects to reclaim mine sites and restore the environment.”
Act 13 impact fee revenues are expected to provide $27.5 million into the Environmental Stewardship Fund that in part supports the Growing Greener program this year. Growing Greener is also funded in part by a series of bond issues and a fee on waste entering landfills. The infusion of impact fee revenues restores funding levels to where they stood before the fund was obligated to pay debt service on the bond issues.
A total of $18 million is available through the Pennsylvania Growing Greener program for projects to improve water quality in impaired waterways or to protect water quality where the watershed may be threatened by non-point sources, such as agricultural or urban runoff or acid mine drainage. Approved projects for this section of the grant solicitation must be completed by Dec. 31, 2017.
The state works with watershed associations and the federal government to list certain priority watersheds in need of restoration, identified through the development of an approved Section 319 Nonpoint Source Watershed Implementation Plan. $3 million of funding from the federal Water Pollution Control Act is available for projects to support restoration of 35 such watersheds across the state. Projects must be completed by Sept. 30, 2017.
As part of its innovative and award-winning program to restore abandoned mine sites, DEP also announced $2 million in federal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act funding for abandoned mine drainage projects. The federal program is funded by a fee on the active mining industry. The state is also accepting applications for projects to reclaim mine sites that have forfeited reclamation bonds.
Applications must be postmarked no later than August 16, 2013 and mailed to the DEP Grant Center at P.O. Box 8776, Harrisburg, PA 17105. If hand delivered, the package must be received by the Center by 4 p.m. on August 16. Late submissions will not be considered.
For more information and to download a grant application, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click the “Growing Greener” button or enter keyword: Growing Greener.