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Coastal Zone Grants to Protect Lake Erie, Delaware Estuary Areas
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 12/07/2017

Green stormwater infrastructure, greenway planning, and shoreline enhancement strategies are just a few of 15 projects that have been awarded nearly $550,000 in grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to protect and restore the state's two coastal zones along Lake Erie and the Delaware Estuary.

"Our coastal zones are vital environmental, economic, and community resources for the commonwealth," said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. "Each year, the diverse Coastal Zone projects help us rethink, reexamine, and rededicate our efforts towards a comprehensive approach to ensuring the sustainability of these habitats."

Coastal zones are the area where land meets the coast, and include both coastal waters and adjacent shorelands and are under increasing pressure from development, erosion, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Coastal Zone Grants are awarded to projects related to fisheries, wetlands, stormwater management improvements, recreation, public education, coastal hazards such as bluff recession, and other areas. Grants may also be awarded to other projects in the watershed that have an impact on coastal waters.

This year, 15 nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and municipalities received funding. The three largest grants ($50,000 each) went to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission for municipal outreach on climate resiliency, to the Delaware River Basin Commission to examine nutrient treatment technologies, and to Erie County to provide technical assistance for Lake Erie coastal zone projects.

The 112-mile Delaware Estuary coastal zone is located in Bucks, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties and encompasses islands, marshes, and other areas in the Delaware Estuary watershed. It is the largest freshwater port in the world.

The 77-mile Lake Erie coastal zone is in Erie County and includes the Lake Erie shoreline and several major tributaries. The coastal zone also extends to the middle of the lake, to the international boundary with Canada, and inland an average of 1.4 miles.

Funded primarily by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the grants are administered by DEP's Coastal Resources Management Program. Since federal approval of the DEP Coastal Resources Management Program in 1980, the program has provided more than $50 million in funding for coastal zone projects.

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