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Friday, November 22, 2013

Grants Available to Improve Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed

Grants Available to Improve

Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed
HARRISBURG, Pa. (Nov. 22) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today announced an invitation for project applications to the Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed Restoration Grant Program.
Project applicants must meet the eligibility criteria and must use the application form specified in the grant application package. Project applications must be postmarked no later than Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. The PFBC anticipates final selection and public announcement of grant awards by mid-May 2014.
This funding is available through a 2007 settlement agreement with Norfolk Southern as restitution for environmental damages from a June 30, 2006, train derailment in rural Norwich Township, McKean County. The accident spilled sodium hydroxide into Big Fill Run, Sinnemahoning-Portage Creek and the Driftwood Branch of the Sinnemahoning Creek. Under the settlement, Norfolk Southern agreed to pay the Commonwealth $7.35 million as restitution for environmental damages. The PFBC received $3.675 million of the settlement and must use the funds to develop and implement projects that benefit fishing, boating and aquatic resources in Cameron, Elk, McKean or 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. Projects that will be considered for funding include, for example, acid mine drainage abatement; habitat protection, enhancement and restoration; and the acquisition of properties for public fishing and access.
Awarding of funds for any selected projects will be contingent upon availability of funds. Currently, the balance of funds remaining in the program account is approximately $2 million. The PFBC will consider individual grant awards in the range of $10,000 to $200,000. Applicants must secure matching funds equal to at least 25% of the total project costs. 
For more information about applying for this grant program, contact Fisheries Biologist Jeff Schmid at 814.359.5242 or jschmid@pa.gov.

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