Announcing 2021 Lancaster Clean Water Fund Projects!
The Lancaster Clean Water Fund, administered by the Lancaster County Community Foundation and managed by the Lancaster Clean Water Partners, awarded $2,051,560 to 15 clean water projects in the most recent grant round. Each project is not only creative and collaborative but focuses on ways to accomplish clean and clear water in Lancaster by 2040. Projects range from conservation practice implementation in urban and rural areas to educational outreach, signage, and events.
Clean water is a priority for partners across all of Lancaster County, especially since over half of Lancaster’s streams and much of its groundwater are unhealthy. The Lancaster Clean Water Fund serves as a catalyst for increased collaboration to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of current and future clean water projects in accordance with the Lancaster Countywide Action Plan (CAP).
Since 2019, the fund has provided $3,023,560 to 24 nonprofits and municipalities working on stream restoration, riparian buffer plantings, agricultural practices, education, and stormwater management projects. Since April 2021 alone, more than $2 million has gone directly to nonprofits and municipalities for clean water projects that contribute to the CAP and rapid stream delisting strategy.
The fund addresses the immense need for clean water work throughout the county and provides financial support to bring ideas to life. More information on the Clean Water Fund is available at https://lancastercleanwaterpartners.com/clean-water-fund/.
Community Conservation Grants
Grants of $1,000 – $15,000
The Community Conservation Grant supports education, outreach, and regional engagement projects that improve Lancaster’s water quality through collaboration and creativity. Projects can range from educational campaigns to art installations to water quality monitoring equipment. Applicants are encouraged to describe how their project will prioritize collaboration with new Lancaster County partners in an effort to collectively protect water, create habitats, and encourage outdoor exploration.
Drumore Park Educational Signage and Bus Tour
Grantee: Friends of Fishing Creek
Nestled at the southern end of Lancaster County, the Fishing Creek watershed is a hidden gem. In the Fishing Creek Nature Preserve you’ll find a quiet stream that hosts freshwater trout, cranes, herons, and countless other species. With this grant, Friends of Fishing Creek will provide educational information in the form of signage and a bus tour. These hands-on experiences with local community members will emphasize the importance of protecting these waterways.
“Friends of Fishing Creek would like to share our overwhelming gratitude to the Community Foundation and the Lancaster Clean Water Partners. The Friends of Fishing Creek watershed group strives to educate the public on community-driven water stewardship, and help preserve the overall health of the Fishing Creek watershed. Thanks to the Clean Water Fund, our organization has big plans to engage and educate our local community on the importance of water quality!”
Memorial Park Riparian Buffer Educational Trail
Grantee: Quarryville Borough
Ten years ago along an unnamed tributary of Little Beaver Creek, Quarryville Borough planted a riparian buffer in collaboration with the Pequea Creek Watershed Association. With great growth and success of the buffer, there also came questions from residents regarding the “messy” look of the area. With this funding, the borough will create a trail along the buffer with educational signage to educate residents and visitors of all ages on the value of the riparian buffer to stream life, wildlife, plant life, and humans.
“We are excited to embark on a project that educates the public on the importance of forested riparian buffers for clean water in our local streams. The importance of clean water and healthy streams for our local community cannot be taken for granted. Through education we hope to encourage residents and visitors to participate in volunteer opportunities to plant trees and shrubs to create more forested riparian buffers.”
One Water Partnership in Lancaster County
Grantee: Interfaith Partners of the Chesapeake
One Water Partnership is a regional hub of faith-based action to address highly fragmented non-source pollution challenges and opportunities. With this funding, Interfaith Partners of the Chesapeake will recruit 3-5 faith-based organizations in Lancaster County to build green teams, a training that will equip teams to mobilize around clean water, educate congregation members, lead activities or programs, and implement stormwater best practices on their properties.
“The faith community is an eager and willing partner in efforts to achieve clean water in Lancaster County. This funding will help us build their capacity so that they can answer their call to be good caretakers of God’s Creation!” – Jodi Rose, Executive Director, Interfaith Partners of the Chesapeake
River Connections: Stories of Lancastrians’ Connections to Water
Grantee: City of Lancaster
There is a lack of understanding in the watershed protection and restoration movement of people’s current and historical connections to local waterways, specifically the Conestoga River. The purpose of this project is to raise awareness of the quality of waterways in Lancaster County and to foster a sense of stewardship for the Conestoga River watershed. To accomplish this, the City will work with community leaders to gather personal stories about people’s connections to the river and share those stories through various artistic mediums such as plays, music, visual art, poetry, and more.
“Lancastrians have a long and often cherished history and relationship with the Conestoga River, however some of these connections are not well known. We’re excited to shine a light on people’s experiences with the river and to honor those connections as we continue to build a community of stewards for this valued natural resource.” Steve Campbell, Director, Department of Public Works
Tri-County Conewago Creek Watershed Association Reinvigoration and Trail Education
Grantee: Tri-County Conewago Creek Watershed Association
After several years of quiet activity, TCCCA recently brought on renewed leadership and is ready to re-engage residents in the Conewago Creek Watershed. Funds from this grant will be used to send mailers to all 4,400 households in the watershed informing residents on how to get involved, and develop and install signage along the Conewago Recreational Trail highlighting several projects visible from the trail.
“TCCCA is incredibly excited to envision clean and clear water by 2040, and welcome community members to get involved!”
Small Implementation Grants
Grants of $5,000- $25,000
The Clean Water Implementation Small Grant supports the implementation of collaborative, watershed-scale restoration projects that encourages diverse audiences to improve Lancaster’s water quality at a rapid pace. Projects can range from implementation of agricultural conservation and stormwater practices to riparian buffer plantings to removal of impervious surfaces. Funds can be used to reimburse design and engineering if project implementation funding is already received. If a buffer will be planted as part of the project, a maintenance plan is required.
Beiler Farm Best Management Practice Installation
Grantee: Octoraro Watershed Association
The Octoraro Watershed Association will work with Mr. Beiler on his farm in Colerain Township to implement several BMPs that will improve overall water quality in Lancaster County, but specifically in Bells Run. Conservation implementation practices will stabilize the ground and dramatically reduce sediment deposition.
“We are very appreciative of the Lancaster Clean Water Fund’s support of this project. Mr. Beiler purchased this farm in 2018 and has visions of establishing his own dairy operation here in the near future. As part of this vision, Mr. Beiler is committed to improving the existing conditions of the property and ultimately running an operation that is both productive and low-impact on our environment. He fully supports the efforts to restore the health of the local streams in Lancaster County by 2040 and this grant will allow for important Best Management Practices to be installed in order to prevent sediment and nutrients from reaching our waterways.”
Rain Garden Installation on North Lane
Grantee: Lititz Borough
The North Lane rain garden installation in Lititz Borough will take excess water from North Lane, filter it while reducing the ponding on the roadway, and discharge the clean water to nearby Lititz Run. This location is the last to need stormwater implementation. Multiple rain gardens currently dot the landscape along the corridor, so this project will complete the bioretention corridor.
“Lititz Borough is thrilled to have received a Clean Water Implementation Grant from the Lancaster Clean Water Partners to continue our work to improve the water quality of Lititz Run. This project will be the seventh small stormwater best management practice installed by the Borough, and will be the third completed on Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine property along the stream. Not only are each of these facilities a good example of how these BMPs can be sized and placed within a developed community, they each do their part to improve our stream.”
Upper Camp Andrews Fishing Creek Restoration
Grantee: Donegal Trout Unlimited
The Donegal chapter of Trout Unlimited’s mission is to help landowners and farmers protect, reconnect, restore, and sustain cold water fisheries and watersheds in Lancaster County. This funding will assist with that mission by restoring and maintaining 0.4 miles of the main branch of Fishing Creek and one of its unnamed tributaries located in Drumore Township. Specifically, DTU will install BMPs to decrease nutrient and sediment loads by filtering agriculture runoff, removing invasive plants and trees, improving fish habitat in a naturally reproducing trout stream, and restoring 3.25 acres of wetlands.
“We are excited that this grant completed the funding requirements for Phase 2 of the Camp Andrews stream restoration project, including restoration of 3.25 acres of wetlands.” — Barry Witmer, President, Donegal Trout Unlimited
Large Implementation Grants
Grants of $200,000- $500,000
The Clean Water Implementation Large Grant supports the installation of high-impact projects in priority locations to achieve nutrient and sediment reductions for Lancaster’s Countywide Action Plan. In 2021, approximately $2 million is available to be awarded to projects. Specifically, $1 million will be allocated to agricultural projects and $1 million will be allocated to stormwater projects. This funding is intended for implementation projects but design and/or engineering may be eligible for up to 25% of construction costs.
Denver Park Annex Cocalico Creek Greenway Development Project
Grantee: Denver Borough
Denver Borough will install a native riparian forest buffer, green stormwater management infrastructure practices, and restore a portion of the Cocalico Creek near the Denver Park Annex, adjacent to Denver Memorial Park. Grant funding from the Lancaster County Clean Water Fund will be used to design and construct the two rain gardens and three constructed wetland areas. This project is designed to enhance the active and passive recreational opportunities in the Park Annex by developing the existing greenway in an environmentally sound way that prevents flood damage and soil erosion, protects surface water quality, improves wildlife habitat, provides educational opportunities, and blends the region’s natural diversity with man-made development.
Full Speed Ahead: Accelerated BMP Implementation in the Pequea Creek Watershed
Grantee: Lancaster Farmland Trust
Lancaster Farmland Trust will work with three farms in the Pequea Creek Watershed to implement agricultural BMPs. BMPs include manure management, barnyard improvements, animal walkways, fencing, pipes and stabilized outlets to control driveway runoff and roof water; and critical seeding and mulching where needed.
Little Beaver Creek Tributary at Sides Mill Road Emergency Restoration Improvements
Grantee: Strasburg Jay Cee Park
This project will restore 300 linear feet of stream to an unnamed tributary to Little Beaver Creek. In August of 2020, an 8’ dam failed in a flood resulting in extreme incision and associated bank failure, releasing tons of legacy sediments downstream. The stream is actively degrading, with the likelihood of instabilities migrating upstream. The work will raise the channel invert and stabilize the banks to create a stable, well-vegetated channel with a shallow floodplain bench that will slow flood flow velocities and dissipate potentially erosive energy. The work will address excessive sedimentation and habitat degradation that currently exists, and proposed benches will increase the potential for wetland development. Improved habitat will be provided through the establishment of a native species riparian buffer.
Little Conestoga Blue/Green Corridor Stream Restoration
Grantee: Little Conestoga Creek Foundation
The Blue/Green Corridor Project Phase 1 stream restoration is on Little Conestoga Creek Foundation property along Marietta Ave in Lancaster Township. Phase 1 will implement specific BMP components identified in the Countywide Action Plan to address nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment reductions.
These improvements include restoration of floodplain wetlands and degraded stream channels to improve water quality, increase stream health and resiliency. The restoration includes establishment of forested riparian buffers on both sides of the stream on adjacent uplands. The riparian buffer totals 1.37 acres in addition to 1,121 linear feet of stream restoration and 2.4 acres of wetlands located within a designated Urban Area. Phase 1 is the first of six restoration reaches for a 2.5-mile corridor project. The highly visible Phase 1 site will highlight and restore a community resource that will have regional pollution reduction impacts significant to Lancaster County that extend to the Chesapeake Bay.
Pequea Creek Headwaters Improvement Project
Grantee: Conservation Foundation of Lancaster County
This project involves working with two Plain Sect farms in the upper Pequea Creek Watershed for stream and pastureland improvements. These projects build upon previous work completed by the Lancaster Conservation District, Salisbury Township, Team Ag, and Lancaster Farmland Trust in this area. Project details involve nearly 2,900 linear feet of stream restoration, over 4,000 ft. streambank fencing, an average riparian buffer inside the fence of 35-50 feet or 6.1 acres of buffer, 2 livestock walkways to control sediment and nutrient runoff to the stream from the pastures, and 4 livestock/equipment crossings along Indian Springs Run and the headwaters of the Pequea Creek.
Restoration of Cocalico Creek at Autumn Hills
Grantee: Ephrata Township
The Restoration of the Cocalico Creek at Autumn Hills project will primarily address required pollutant reductions for Ephrata Township’s 2018-2023 MS4 Permit. This project proposes to restore the Cocalico Creek by installing a three-zone multifunctional riparian buffer; constructing a canoe/kayak launch area; ADA accessible fishing pier; ADA access; walking trail; parking lot; in-stream structures for stream bank stabilization; floodplain and wetland restoration; and educational signage. The total project cost is estimated at $400,000. Funding from the Lancaster Clean Water Fund will be applied to construction activities such as erosion and sediment control, earthwork, in-stream structures, and mobilization.
Stream Restoration and Riparian Buffer Planting
Grantee: East Donegal Township
East Donegal Township is partnering with Marietta Borough, with support from private property owners to design, permit, and construct 1,300 linear feet of streambank restoration along the most unstable portions of this reach. Sections of the 2,150 linear foot project reach are eroded with steep banks due to the high flows from the large upstream drainage area and lack of stabilization along the banks. In addition to streambank restoration, the project will expand the riparian buffer along the entire 2,150-foot reach. This will result in the creation of 3.5 acres of buffer habitat. East Donegal Township was awarded a $200,000 Growing Greener Grant from PA DEP in December of 2020, and the township will use this additional funding to take the project from design to construction.