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.
Press Release, August 12, 2014