Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories
State Funding Programs: Pennsylvania's Growing Greener Program
|In December 1999 the governor signed Pennsylvania's Growing Greener program into law, providing nearly $650 million over 5 years to address the state's most pressing environmental challenges. Funds provided by Growing Greener will be split among four state agencies on an annual basis: Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Agriculture, and Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority. These agencies will direct Growing Greener funding to protect open space, clean up abandoned mines, restore watersheds, and provide new and upgraded water and sewer systems, among other projects.
The first year of Pennsylvania's Growing Greener grant program has been very successful. Growing Greener grants have led to 55 watershed assessment and protection plans and 85 restoration/demonstration projects being implemented. Projects facilitating 58 environmental education projects and the organization of 21 watershed groups have also been set in motion.
With the help of Growing Greener funds, 3,603 acres of wetlands and 117 miles of riparian buffers are being restored. In addition, 279 miles of streams affected by acid mine drainage are being cleaned up, nearly 800 acres of abandoned mine lands are being reclaimed, and 43 miles of stream improvement structures are being built. Growing Greener has also enabled Pennsylvania to eliminate its backlog of mine reclamation and oil and gas well plugging projects. As a result, an additional 612 acres of abandoned mine lands are being reclaimed and more than 134 abandoned oil and gas wells are being plugged.
Grant recipients took the initiative to seek out other sources of funding to build on their Growing Greener grants. Nearly $45 million in matching funds supplemented the Commonwealth's investment. Match money was received in the form of cash, volunteer time, or donations of equipment or materials.
For more information on Pennsylvania's Growing Greener program, see www.dep.state.pa.us/ growgreen.