On August 20, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced applications will be accepted through September in two department grant programs aiding streamside buffer planting and ATV-related projects.
“Improved water quality in our rivers and streams, by planting trees to limit run-off and sedimentation, is the goal of one round of grants now available,” Dunn said. “During the same time period, we are seeking grant applications for projects that will add to the enjoyment of ATV-riding enthusiasts throughout Pennsylvania.”
In the application period, which opened August 1 and closes September 30, $1 million in PENNVEST-funded grants again is being made available to assist landowners in planting trees along stream and riverbanks in the state.
Expanding existing streamside buffer options for landowners, DCNR and PENNVEST partnered to offer funding for landowners to implement multi-functional buffers. Such buffers provide greater flexibility in landowner eligibility, buffer designs, widths, plant species and allow planting of some income-producing crops in the buffer zone. For these PENNVEST-funded grants, multi-functional buffers are required.
Individual landowners, businesses, nonprofit organizations, local governments, and educational institutions are all eligible for buffer grants but must be prequalified.
Forest buffers along stream banks provide critical barriers between polluting landscapes and receiving waterways. Properly planted and maintained, streamside tree and shrub plantings:
- Filter runoff of sediments and fertilizers applied to lawns and crops;
- Control erosion;
- Improve water quality;
- Reduce flooding;
- Cool stream temperatures;
- Improve fish habitat.
Pennsylvania has a goal of planting 95,000 acres of buffers along waterways by 2025. To date, investments totaling almost $4.4 million have funded plantings on more than 920 acres.