Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed Restoration Grant Program

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

Grant amount: Up to US $100,000

Anticipated deadline: Jun 17, 2018 1:00pm PDT

Applicant type: Government Entity College / University Nonprofit

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program, Education / Outreach

Location of project: Counties in Pennsylvania: Cameron County, Elk County, McKean County, Potter County

Location of residency: Pennsylvania

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Purpose of the Restoration Fund

On June 30, 2006 approximately 31 rail cars of a train operated by Norfolk Southern Corporation derailed near Gardeau, in Norwich Township, McKean County, Pennsylvania. The derailment resulted in sodium hydroxide spilling into the environment that caused damage to the natural resources of Big Fill Run, Sinnemahoning-Portage Creek and the Driftwood Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek.

Thereafter, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Norfolk Southern reached a settlement agreement. As part of the settlement, Norfolk Southern agreed to pay the Commonwealth $7,350,000 as restitution for the natural resource damages that occurred. The Commission received one-half of that amount or $3,675,000 and under the settlement must utilize the funds (minus its investigative and response costs of $93,000) for purposes of developing and implementing projects that benefit recreational fishing and boating and the aquatic resources of Cameron, McKean, Elk and Potter counties. The PFBC’s primary emphasis will be on projects in the Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed upstream of the confluence with the First Fork of Sinnemahoning Creek; However, projects located elsewhere within the aforementioned counties will be considered.

External and Internal Projects 

The PFBC will fund external and internal projects, and the IRC will consider applications and proposals for both which are consistent with the project types described below under Tier 1 and 2 project funding priorities.

External Project

An external project is one that is proposed and implemented by a third party partner under a cooperative agreement with the PFBC, typically following a competitive grant round.

Internal Project

An internal project is one that is proposed by a PFBC employee and is implemented utilizing PFBC staff or a vendor selected in accordance with the Commonwealth’s procurement rules. Internal projects may use funding to hire contractors and consultants, contract for services and purchase materials, equipment and supplies. Funding may also be used to pay for the costs associated with PFBC staff salary, benefits, travel and administrative support. Receipt of in-kind goods and/or services, including volunteer labor, is allowable.   

Funding Priorities

The PFBC has identified the following priority project types for funding under the current round of grant awards for the SCWRG Program. Only grant applications that propose projects that address one or more of the following priority project types will be considered. 

Tier 1: 

  • Natural stream channel and bank restoration projects that maintain or improve water quality and/or habitat for fish and other aquatic life. 
  • In-stream aquatic wildlife/fish habitat enhancement, provisions for fish passage at barriers to migration and projects to remove abandoned dams, water obstructions or encroachments.
  • Riparian buffer installation and/or improvement.
  • Agricultural best management practices.
  • Abandoned mine drainage treatment systems or mine reclamation projects that result in significant improvements to water resources that are likely to benefit fish and other aquatic life.
  • Acquisition and development of property (fee simple or easements) for public access, conservation and environmental improvement purposes. 
  • Enhancement or restoration of populations of aquatic Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) with State Status Rank of S3, S2, or S1 and species that are of Regional Responsibility within the Northeast United States (i.e., secure in PA, but extirpated or rare and declining elsewhere in this region) that are conserved and managed under the jurisdiction of the PFBC and are identified in the 2015 Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan – and limited to these species.
  • Plugging of orphan or abandoned oil and gas wells.

Tier 2: 

  • Storm water best management practices.
  • Acid deposition abatement and alkaline addition.
  • Targeted aquatic resource sampling and watershed assessment activities related to habitat protection or improvement and conducted according to PFBC and/or PA DEP sampling and assessment protocols. 
  • Trout propagation facility improvements by a PFBC Cooperative Nursery.
  • Education and/or outreach.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligible Applicants:
    • Commonwealth and federal agencies involved with the protection and conservation of environmental resources and fish/wildlife habitat
    • Counties and municipalities (boroughs, townships, etc.)
    • County conservation districts
    • Councils of Government
    • Watershed/conservation organizations that promote local watershed/conservation efforts
    • Other organizations involved in research, restoration, rehabilitation, planning, acquisition, development, land conservation, education or other activities that further the protection, enhancement, conservation, preservation or enjoyment of Pennsylvania's environmental, conservation, recreation or similar resources. 
    • Note: Non-governmental organizations must meet all of the following criteria in order to be eligible for funding:
      • The organization’s bylaws must indicate that its charitable purpose includes the preservation or conservation of critical fish and wildlife habitat, open space, watersheds, rivers and streams, or natural areas for public benefit.
      • The organization must be incorporated with the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Corporations.
      • The organization must be tax-exempt under Section 501 (c )(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
      • The organization must be registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Charitable Organizations. This requirement will be waived for grant requests of less than $5,000.
      • The organization must be in existence for at least five consecutive years.
      • For acquisition projects, the organization must have demonstrated experience in acquiring property.
  • To be eligible, projects must be located in and benefit fishing, boating and the aquatic resources of Cameron, McKean, Elk or Potter County.
  • Eligible projects must occur on lands owned by the applicant in fee simple or where the applicant has a long-term lease or other agreement with the landowner for the site. 
  • Matching Funds:
    • Applicants for external projects must secure matching funds equal to at least 25% of the total project costs to supplement PFBC funds and assist in implementing their proposed projects.  


  • The PFBC will afford Tier 1 projects a higher priority than Tier 2.


  • Ineligible applicants include individuals, private for-profit firms, and others that do not fall within the eligibility categories.