The Schuylkill Action Network announced more than $300,000 in grants to nine projects improving water quality in the Schuylkill River Watershed of Philadelphia, Chester, Montgomery and Berks counties.
The projects included conservation easement for the Olivet Blue Mountain Camp, miles away from the river to runoff mitigation on farms and parking lots much closer to the waterway that is the drinking water source for almost 2 million people.
The grants were announced recently as part of a virtual tour showcasing grant recipients from 2019 and 2018, including properties in Schuylkill, Berks and Montgomery counties.
For 2020, the group awarded $307,695 to Berks Nature, Berks County Conservation District, Charlestown Play House, Lower Frederick Township and the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education for nine projects that will improve water quality in the Schuylkill River. For the past 15 years, the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund has supported more than 120 projects for the conservation and preservation of the Schuylkill River. Ninety have been completed.
The projects are funded by partners: Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area, Schuylkill Action Network, Exelon Generation, Delaware River Basin Commission, Philadelphia Water Department and Aqua Pennsylvania.
• The Berks Conservation District received $113,045 for two projects around Irish Creek watershed in Centre Township. The District will implement a $61,625 project at the dairy operation owned and operated by the Grube family. The goal is to reduce nutrient, sediment, and pathogen pollution to Irish Creek and Schuylkill River watershed.
• At Irish Creek Stables, a beef and equine board operation in Mohrsville, the district will also implement a $51,420 agriculture best management practice project to reduce nutrient, sediment and pathogen runoff. The project is situated between two previous agriculture projects, and includes over a mile of continuous new riparian forest buffer.
Riparian buffers are vegetated areas along stream banks. They provide habitat for insects, amphibians and wildlife. Riparian areas store water in high flow times and release during low flow times. They also dissipate water energy during floods.
• Berks Nature received $108,000 for two farm projects and two conservation easements. The $30,000 project at the Gauker Farm in Richmond Township will include manure storage, roofed heavy use area and stormwater controls. The Kunkel Farm, just over the Berks County border in Lynn Township, Lehigh County, will install agricultural best management practices for stormwater, including a manure storage facility and stream crossing. The grant is for $70,000.
• A $4,000 grant will help permanently protect an important forest of 109 acres of the Olivet Blue Mountain Camp property in Hamburg and Windsor Township. This forested…