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Major Grant Funds River Pollution Reduction

The grant will target 106 miles of polluted waterways in the Juniata River Basin. Credit: Cngodles/en.wikipedia
The grant will target 106 miles of polluted waterways in the Juniata River Basin. Credit: Cngodles/en.wikipedia
October 12, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has received a $265,000 grant to reduce pollution and improve water quality in Pennsylvania rivers damaged by agricultural pollution.

The grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will target three waterways in the Juniata River Basin. According to B.J. Small, communications director for CBF in Pennsylvania, that includes more than 100 miles of polluted rivers and streams in Juniata County.

"This grant will enable them to put in some practices that will reduce the nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that are causing the key problem," says Small.

Those practices include barnyard improvements, waste storage structures and incentives to plant forest buffers between farms and streams.

Fifty percent of the water flowing into Chesapeake Bay comes from Pennsylvania rivers. As Small points out, pollution from Juniata County feeds into the Susquehanna River and downstream from there.

"Agriculture is the leading cause to impairment to 19,000 miles of waterways in the Commonwealth, and this grant will enable Juniata to take a bite out of that important work," he says.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation says Pennsylvania is significantly behind in its commitment to clean water.

Small says state environmental officials have committed to rebooting their clean-water efforts and will have a plan in place by the end of the year.

"We hope that plan certainly includes leadership, commitment and investment on behalf of the Commonwealth so we can get Pennsylvania back on track," says Small.

Projects funded by the grant are expected to reduce pollutants by more than 13 tons, and sediment by more than half a million pounds a year.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA