LOCAL

York County receives $1 million for Chesapeake Bay watershed restoration

Noel Miller
York Dispatch

York County will receive $1 million in grant funding for its part in Chesapeake Bay watershed restoration efforts.

The funding, which will be managed by the York County Planning Commission, is part of $12 million the state Department of Environmental Protection awarded to nearly 30 Pennsylvania counties.

"The requests that we sent into the DEP was for a list of projects totaling more than $16 million. So there's definitely a huge need for the funding," said Rachel Stahlman, York County's planning coordinator.

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Between 2020 and 2022, previous funding went toward stream and creek restoration projects for local waterways, she said. These included projects like the Center Street stream bank stabilization in Penn Township and Pine Run stream restoration in Windsor Township.

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In addition to restoration projects, Stahlman said additional funding could be used for stream crossings for livestock and fencing around waterways to keep farm animals out.

In its State of the Bay report, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation noted recent farm conservation funding at the federal and state levels should help reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, which fuels harmful algae blooms that remove dissolved oxygen from the water.

Still, the environmental group gave the Chesapeake Bay watershed a D-plus grade in the evaluation released on Thursday — the same grade earned in its last report two years ago.

Efforts to restore the nation's largest estuary are struggling to reduce agricultural pollution, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation said in a news release on its State of the Bay report, which is released every two years. Polluted runoff is increasing amid inconsistent enforcement from government agencies, new development and climate change, the report said.

“While we’ve made significant progress, far too much pollution still reaches our waterways, and climate change is making matters worse,” said Hilary Harp Falk, CBF's president, adding that the organization is particularly concerned with blue crab populations.

To learn more about the York countywide action plan and the planning commissions work, visit its website at https://www.ycpc.org/459/York-Countywide-Action-Plan-for-Clean-Wa.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

— Reach Noel Miller at NMiller3@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @TheNoelM.