Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed Restoration Grant Program

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission


Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $200,000

Deadline: Sep 29, 2018

Applicant type: Government Entity College / University Nonprofit

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

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

Location of residency: Pennsylvania

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Overview:

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.

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. Note that this limited number of project types has changed since the last round of awards. All are of equal priority, so the listing sequence below is not indicative of their priority. Priority project types eligible for funding may be revised in future grant rounds as determined necessary by the PFBC.

Natural stream channel and bank restoration or lake/reservoir/pond projects that provide public fishing access and maintain or improve water quality and/or habitat for fish and other aquatic life

Eligible costs include:

  • Project planning and design.
  • Project construction.
  • Assessment of the impacts of the project on aquatic life, and aquatic life habitat.
  • Maintenance activities on new or existing projects

In-stream habitat modifications that restore/enhance aquatic wildlife/fish passage at barriers to migration including projects to remove/replace culverts, or to remove dams, water obstructions, or encroachments that restrict habitat connectivity.

Eligible costs include:

  • Project planning and design.
  • Prooject construction.
  • Assessment of the impacts of the project on aquatic life, and aquatic life habitat.
  • Maintenance activities on new or existing projects.

Riparian buffer installation and/or improvement

Eligible costs include:

  • Purchase price of property (fee simple or easement). See item number 6 for eligible acquisition costs.
  • Project planning and design.
  • Project construction activities including materials, supplies and contracted services.
  • Assessment of the impacts of the project on aquatic life and aquatic life habitat.
  • Maintenance activities on new or existing projects.

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.

  • Project planning and design.
  • Project construction activities.
  • Operation and maintenance of new projects, as well as operation, maintenance, and replacement of existing projects.
  • Assessment of the impacts of the project on aquatic life and aquatic life habitat.

Acquisition and development of property (fee simple or easements) for public access, conservation and environmental improvement purposes.

Eligible costs include:

  • Purchase price.
  • Associated legal, recording, and settlement costs.
  • Preparation of the baseline document for easements. This will be required for all easement projects.
  • Title insurance, environmental assessments and appraisals.
  • Public fishing and boating access development, including design, engineering and construction.
  • GIS mapping and surveying.
  • One time stewardship endowment cost for monitoring and enforcement of easement agreements
  • Maintenance activities.

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 the following species:

  • FISH
    • Allegheny Burbot
    • Allegheny Pearl Dace
    • American Eel 
    • Bigmouth Shiner
    • Brook Trout 
    • Longhead Darter 
    • Mountain Brook Lamprey 
    • Redside Dace
    • Tonguetied Minnow
  • MUSSELS
    • Brook Floater
    • Creek Heelsplitter 
    • Elktoe
    • Green Floater
    • Long-solid
    • Round Pigtoe
    • Wavy-rayed Lampmussel
  • AMPHIBIANS
    • Eastern Hellbender
    • Mudpuppy

For additional information, please see here - especially the species accounts found in Appendix 1.4.

Eligible costs include:

  • Project planning and design – including costs associated with obtaining Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory (PNDI) clearance from all jurisdictional agencies.
  • Project implementation/construction.
  • Mussel species propagation, translocation, and reintroduction – limited solely to the aforementioned mussel species.
  • Conservation or population enhancement measures that benefit the host fishes for the aforementioned eligible mussel species will be considered.
  • Assessment of the effects of the project on aquatic SGCN habitat and population – including aquatic SGCN population monitoring to determine presence, abundance, distribution, translocation/reintroduction survivorship, and reproductive success.

Storm water conservation practices/best management practices that maintain or improve water quality and/or habitat for fish and other aquatic life.

Eligible costs include:

  • Project planning and design.
  • Project construction.
  • Maintenance activities on new or existing projects.
  • Environmentally sensitive dirt and gravel road maintenance – limited to Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance (ESM) practices/best management practices eligible for funding from the PA Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program and described in the publication “Environmentally Sensitive Road Maintenance Practices for Dirt and Gravel Roads” (U.S.D.A., Forest Service, National Technology & Development Program, publication # 1177 1802; April 2012; online at here). NOTE: road paving with Driving Surface Aggregate (DSA) is eligible for funding; however, paving with asphalt or concrete or tar-and-chip is ineligible for funding. Except for road paving or sealing, ESM for Low Volume Roads is eligible.
  • Assessment of the impacts of the project on aquatic life and aquatic life habitat.

Acid deposition abatement and alkaline addition to remediate adverse impacts from acidic precipitation to habitat for fish and other aquatic life.

Eligible costs include:

  • Pre-project assessment and sampling.
  • Planning and design activities.
  • Alkaline addition activities (automatic lime dosers, accepted land liming methods, etc.).
  • Assessment of the impacts of a remediation project on aquatic life and aquatic life habitat.

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

Eligibility:

  • To be eligible, applicants must meet one of the following criteria. Although the applicant does not have to be located in Cameron, McKean, Elk or Potter County, the project has to be implemented in one of those counties.
    • 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.
  • Applicants must secure matching funds equal to at least 25% of the total project costs in order to supplement PFBC funds and assist in implementing their proposed projects.

Preferences:


Ineligibility:

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