HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell said today that Pennsylvania is making a major investment to improve and maintain its coastal zones by reducing shoreline erosion and non-source pollution that can stem from development and educating residents, as well as expanding the public's access to these areas.
"Our shorelines and coastal zones provide our citizens and visitors with recreational, tourism and educational opportunities all year long," said Governor Rendell. "But these areas are also driving Pennsylvania's economy through research, environmental restoration and by providing the waterway access many businesses depend on to move their products. The investment we're announcing today will help preserve this vital resource for the benefit of our people and our economy.
The Governor announced more than $1 million in grant funding for the 37 projects through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's coastal resource management program. The grants help to improve public access, protect natural resources, expand strategies to improve local economies, promote proper planning and conserve coastal resources.
Grants are awarded to nonprofit groups, educational institutions, local governments and state agencies to finance projects, such as the rehabilitation of streambanks and the restoration of riparian buffers to reduce pollution flowing into waterways, the reforestation of urban areas, better management of stormwater runoff, and the development of new technologies to locate and address unseen sources of pollution.
The coastal zone is an area where the land meets the sea and includes coastal waters and adjacent shorelands. Pennsylvania has two coastal areas: 57 miles of coastline along the Delaware Estuary and 63 miles of coastline along Lake Erie.
The Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone lies within Bucks, Delaware and Philadelphia counties and contains islands, marshes and the shorelands of tributaries that are affected by ocean tides. The combined facilities of the Delaware Estuary comprise the largest freshwater port in the world.
The Lake Erie Coastal Zone is located within Erie County and includes the shorelines of major tributaries. The zone extends to the middle of the lake to the boundary with Canada and inland 900 feet within the city of Erie. The lake, one of the state ports for international shipping, also contains Presque Isle State Park.
The majority of coastal zone management grants are funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from money made available by the federal government. Grant recipients include local governments, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and state agencies. Since 2003 the Pennsylvania Coastal Resource Management Program has provided more than $6.2 million in funding for coastal zone projects.
The application period for next year's grant round will be open until Oct. 22. To request an application or more information about Pennsylvania's Coastal Resource Management Program, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Coastal Zone.
The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web site at: www.governor.state.pa.us.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a complete list of the more than $1 million in coastal zone management grants.
Friends of Silver Lake -- $22,000 to create an environmental education initiative for local schools that incorporate classroom and hands-on project work at Silver Lake Nature Center, including a cleanup event for students and a student project to design wetland mitigation plan.
Heritage Conservancy -- $16,000 for the Bristol Marsh Conservation Plan to create a master plan to guide long-term conservation efforts for a rare, fresh-water wetland that contains six threatened and/or endangered native plant species. The conservancy was also awarded $19,000 to provide special zoning and ordinance mechanisms to support coastal zone historical preservation efforts in Bensalem Township along the Delaware River.
Ridley Township -- $45,000 for the construction of a public fishing pier at the Ridley Township municipal marina.
City of Erie -- $12,500 to educate and implement strategies for managing stormwater runoff by providing workshops to city residents on non-point source pollution and mitigation strategies. Attendees will be given sample containers and spouts to use to hold used oil, antifreeze and other fluids for proper disposal at recycling centers.
Erie County Department of Planning -- $60,000 for the continued oversight and administration of local coastal zone management projects and to ensure a high level of cooperation between local project managers, the county and DEP. The Department of Planning was also awarded $6,000 to assist Lake Erie coastal communities in administering the Bluff Recession and Setback Act of 1980. Eight municipalities have been designated as having bluff recession hazard areas and are required to administer bluff setback ordinances.
Erie County Health Department -- $25,000 for the continuation of the Eastern Erie County watershed bacteriological study, which is evaluating the human bacteriological impact on the tributaries of Lake Erie located to the east of Presque Isle State Park.
Erie Times-News In Education Inc. -- $31,000 to provide environmental education through a published weekly Newspaper in Education page with educational information dealing with coastal hazards areas, fisheries management, wetlands, public access, historic sites and structures, port activities, etc. This program will educate students and the public to become more involved in protecting Lake Erie's coastal zone assets.
Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority -- $40,000 to prepare an updated waterfront master plan. An updated planning document will guide the port authority toward thoughtful and meaningful development along the waterfront in Erie. This plan will engage the public and create a community vision for Erie's bay front and compile a GIS-based system to assist with education, maintenance, safety and security issues.
Fairview Township -- $45,000 to make it easier for anglers and visitors to get to Trout Run, on the shores of Lake Erie. Improvements will include access road enhancements, the addition of a turn-around, a parking area and an observation platform to view the fish migration along Trout Run.
Harborcreek Township -- $15,000 to update the township's comprehensive plan, as well as update zoning ordinances and better monitor and enforce the Bluff Recession and Setback Act of 1980.
Lake Erie-Allegheny Earth Force Inc. -- $40,000 to continue and extend the Earth Force program in the Lake Erie coastal zone with a special focus on water health and watershed management. Earth Force will expand its programming by training additional educators and supporting them and all active, previously trained educators as they engage students/youths in project development.
Lake Erie Region Conservancy -- $15,000 to further the "Saving Land Saves Money" program, a public awareness initiative to educate property owners and developers on comprehensive and sound conservation land management. This project is intended to implement more public meetings, seminars and provide written materials to property owners, developers and other stakeholders.
The Pennsylvania State University (Erie) -- $99,633 to support the work of PA Sea Grant to continue to build coastal resource capacity in Pennsylvania's coastal management and related programs. This project will enhance the state's ability to more effectively manage coastal aquatic and terrestrial habitat restoration efforts and other coastal zone activities within the state's two coastal zones and their related watersheds.
Regional Science Consortium -- $35,000 to use emerging technologies to identify and detail bacterial pathogens in both the beach sand and waters of Presque Isle State Park.
Springfield Township -- $30,000 to retain a consultant to develop master site plans for two community lakeside parks in the township: Raccoon Creek and Eagley parks. The plans will provide a professional "road map" as to how to rehabilitate these parks to meet the needs of citizens and provide better access to Lake Erie.
Cheltenham Township -- $45,000 to improve 750 feet of riparian buffer along Tookany Creek. This is the latest in the multi-year effort to upgrade and enhance the creek's stream banks and riparian buffers.
Clean Air Council -- $33,000 to implement storm water best management practices at the Philadelphia ports by the port operators and its stakeholders in order to reduce runoff into the Delaware River and its tributaries.
Delaware Valley Earth Force -- $40,000 to provide watershed "Awareness to Action" training to educators in schools located in the Delaware Estuary coastal zone and to support teachers and students as they identify and address watershed issues.