CLARION - The Clarion Conservation District board was informed Nov. 19 of two potential projects, aimed at addressing flooding issues and the remediation of county headwater streams.
District resource technician Tricia Mazik told the board the application round for Growing Greener grants had recently opened up. Mazik said there are two project submissions she is currently working on.
The first project relates to streambank stabilization and restoration of the Leisure run watershed, which follows along State Route 66 and into New Bethlehem. The stream experienced severe flash flooding in July, which extended to several properties along the stream.
"I've helped two different landowners get emergency permits to try to help with stabilization," Mazik said. "We're looking at a bigger picture of what we can do in the watershed."
Mazik said the district will be partnering with DEP and look to combine a Growing Greener grant with funding from the Redbank Creek Watershed Trust, which applies for water quality improvements for Redbank Creek and its tributaries.
So far, Mazik has met with around ten landowners along the stream to gauge the repairs needed to secure the creek. The project would also involve an assessment to determine where controls could be placed throughout the watershed to deal with flooding.
According to Mazik, the waters also flooded on Halloween to the vexation of nearby property owners.
"It happened again just a few months away from each other," said Mazik regarding the rainfall in July and October. "I think that's going to be a really great project. It will do a lot of good for the landowners throughout there."
The district is working with engineers to acquire description designs and a budget for the project.
The second project
The other plan relates to the restoration of a Little Coon Run treatment system in Farmington Township. District board members and administration visited the system last year, which was said to be aging and needed to be cleaned.
The grant application will also include remediation of Toby Creek. Board member Andy Turner discovered wild trout in the headwaters of the creek, which Mazik said is "getting acid dosed every time it rains" by a spoil pile adjacent to a nearby landfill.
Mazik said the budget for the Farmington Township headwaters project is estimated to be between $600,000 to $700,000.
lMazik informed the board the district's affiliate WPCAMR (Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation) had asked for the district's support in the reauthorization of Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 funding.
According to a document provided by the district, Title V is the section that contains the funding mechanism to reclaim land and water degraded by mining prior to SMCRA's passage.
Funding for reclamation activities is derived from a reclamation fee on every ton of coal mined in the U.S. since 1977. Those fees are placed into an account known as the Abandoned Mine Land Fund. States impacted by past coal mining can receive Title V funding.
Funding is set to end in 2021, which prompted WPCAMR to ask for a letter of support from the district requesting the extension of the program.
According to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Pennsylvania's annual grants from 2007 to 2019 and projected grants from 2020 through 2022 will total $722 million.
The requested extension is set to last until 2036 if approved by U.S. Congress.
According to Mazik, WPCAMR believes Pennsylvania's remaining high priority abandoned land mine inventory exceeds $4.6 billion.
The district approved sending a letter of support toward reauthorization of the program through 2036.
lDistrict manager Trudy Alexander informed the board she had applied for an $800 Envirothon mini-grant. The grant is used to assist the Clarion County Envirothon's winner in attending the state event held at Susquehanna University on May 19 and 20. The grant would go toward registration, lodging and travel costs.
The district also approved the donation of $250 toward the event's scholarship fund. Each student on the first place team at the 2020 state competition will receive a $1,250 scholarship award. Those placing second through fifth will receive scholarship awards also.
lMazik announced the final invasive series workshop would take place Nov. 23 at Cook Forest State Park. Speakers educated attendees on how to identify and deal with aquatic invasive species such as hydrilla found in Kahle Lake.
Speakers from Clarion University, Pennsylvania Sea Grant and the Crawford Conservation District attended.
The next district meeting is set to take place at 10 a.m. Dec. 17 at the Clarion Human Services building.