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DEP Awards Grants to Restore, Protect Pennsylvania's Coastal Zones

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has awarded more than $750,000 in annual coastal zone management grants to organizations dedicated to protecting and preserving Pennsylvania's coastal zones along Lake Erie and the Delaware Estuary.

"These grants play an important role to ensure the protection of our coastal waters," DEP Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo said. "This money will not only improve coastal waters, but provide additional recreational and educational opportunities for nearby residents."

The annual grants were awarded to 22 non-profit and government organizations for 25 projects in counties that border Pennsylvania's coastal zones or have a direct impact on water quality in those areas.

Coastal zones and adjacent shore land face increasing pressure from development, erosion, biodiversity losses and pollution. Pennsylvania's two coastal areas are a 112-mile stretch along the Delaware Estuary and 76 miles along Lake Erie.

Coastal zone management grants support programs that measure the impact of various pollution sources, improve public access, preserve habitats and educate the public about the benefits of the state's coastal zones.

The Delaware Estuary coastal zone is in Bucks, Delaware and Philadelphia counties and contains islands, marshes and the shore lands of tributaries that are affected by ocean tides. The Delaware Estuary is considered one of the largest freshwater ports in the world. The Lake Erie coastal zone is in Erie County and includes several major tributaries' shorelines.

These grants are largely funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Administered by DEP's Coastal Resources Management Program. NOAA is a federal agency under the Department of Commerce with programs in each state that work to inform residents of the changing impacts of weather and water resources. In Pennsylvania, those programs include the National Ocean Service and National Weather Service.

The Coastal Resources Management Program is now accepting applications for 2015. Non-profit organizations, schools and universities, local government organizations, authorities and state agencies are all encouraged to apply until the current grant round closes on Oct. 22, 2014, at 4 p.m.

For more information on how to apply, visit www.dep.state.pa.us  keyword: Coastal Zone.

Media contact: Amanda Witman, 717-787-1323

Editor's note: A complete list of the grants follows, organized by county:

Bucks County Conservation District - $20,000 to employ a specialist to implement and track coastal non-point Pollution management measures

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission - $43,000 to implement the Cultural Landscape Treatment Plan at Pennsbury Manor

Friends of Silver Lake - $10,100 to continue to monitor the watershed and educate high school students on non-point source pollution, invasive species and other coastal issues

Heritage Conservancy - $18,000 to restore and steward Bristol Marsh Preserve and Mill Creek through educational programs and clean-up days

Heritage Conservancy - $11,467 to develop a comprehensive management and stewardship plan for Croydon Woods

Delaware County Conservation District - $20,000 to employ a specialist to implement and track coastal non-point pollution management measures

City of Chester - $32,500 to plan, survey and design a recreation trail connecting Crozer Park to Deshong Park in the City of Chester

Erie County Conservation District - $20,000 to employ a specialist to implement and track coastal non-point pollution management measures

Erie Times-News in Education - $23,800 for a recurring newspaper in education weekly page focusing on coastal zone environmental issues

Harborcreek Township - $35,500 to develop a master site plan for the newly acquired Shorewood Park

National Audubon Society - $50,000 to assess use of the near shore waters and airspace of Lake Erie by birds during migration seasons

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - $7,200 to upgrade equipment for the free-to-the-public Lagoons by Pontoons operation in Presque Isle State Park

Pennsylvania State University, PA Sea Grant - $80,000 to develop an aquatic invasive species rapid response monitoring and surveillance system; build Marine Spatial Planning; and explore the Lake Erie coastal zone boundary and potential interests in expansion

County of Erie - $74,000 for coordination and technical assistance with Lake Erie Coastal Zone projects

County of Erie - $9,000 to assist Lake Erie coastal communities in administering the Bluff Recession and Setback Act of 1980

Regional Science Consortium - $25,000 to collect additional weather and wave data to complete an existing observation system which will provide safety information for boaters on the Pennsylvania portion of Lake Erie

Regional Science Consortium - $30,000 to develop an underwater survey team, survey shipwrecks and promote conservation of these and other shipwrecks

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission - $50,000 to implement the Coastal Management Program in the Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone that includes Delaware, Philadelphia and Bucks counties

Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Inc. - $35,725 to conduct Pennsylvania Coast Day 2015 events, which educate the public about coastal recreation, historic sites and public access

Schuylkill River Development Corporation - $45,000 to perform a feasibility study and develop preliminary design for an extension of Schuylkill River Trail from south of Bartram's Garden to south of Passyunk Avenue

Delaware River City Corporation - $45,000 to fund a planning study for a neighborhood green connector street connecting the Wissinoming and Tacony neighborhoods in Philadelphia to Lardner's Point Park and the East Coast Greenway

Clean Air Council - $30,000 to fund preliminary design of the Cobbs Creek Connector Trail Segment B

Schuylkill River Development Corporation - $2,240 to provide urban youth free aquatic recreational experiences on the Schuylkill River

Philadelphia Regional Port Authority - $40,000 to analyze the feasibility of a marine highway project between the Port of Philadelphia and selected port pairings on the M-95 corridor

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

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