Prove your humanity

More than $5 million is heading to Pennsylvania to help reduce pollution flowing to the Chesapeake Bay.

Pennsylvania has been lagging behind other Bay states in meeting cleanup goals set for 2025.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently reached a settlement with other Bay states, agreeing to step up oversight in the commonwealth.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and EPA announced $9.6 million in grants to organizations in Bay states this week. The money is from the 2021 federal infrastructure law. Groups are matching the grants with their own money.

In Pennsylvania, more than $5.5 million will be split between Penn State University, the Stroud Water Research Center, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, the Nature Conservancy, and the Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District of New York.

Many of the projects focus on planting buffers to keep pollutants out of waterways and helping farmers adopt practices to keep sediment and nutrients on their fields, instead of running off into streams.

Penn State is getting $1 million to build partnerships in faith communities. It plans to help places of worship start green infrastructure projects and support members of the congregations to adopt farm conservation practices.

The Stroud Water Research Center plans to use a $1 million grant to grow forest buffers and train conservation workers in 8 counties across the state’s watershed.

The state Department of Environmental Protection also this week awarded $3.8 million in watershed restoration grants.

“Clean water is a key part of a community’s health,” said DEP Secretary Rich Negrin. “That’s why cleaning up Pennsylvania waters is vital in ensuring our communities live happier and healthier lives.”

The 15 projects benefiting from the grants focus on reducing pollution that can’t be traced back to a single source, called nonpoint source pollution.

The projects range from Conowingo Creek restoration in Lancaster County, to farmland management in Mifflin County and acid mine drainage solutions statewide.

This story is produced in partnership with StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration among The Allegheny Front, WPSU, WITF and WHYY to cover the commonwealth's energy economy.