Gov. Wolf announces Environmental Excellence awards for 13 projects, one in Centre County

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ)– The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) honored 13 projects by schools, businesses, and community organizations around the state with the 2021 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence, with one of them being a business in Centre County.

This year’s Environmental Excellence honorees showcase the innovation and passion that our students, educators, and community and business leaders bring to environmental challenges,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Their dedication brings health, economic, and recreation benefits not only to their communities, but to all Pennsylvanians.”

Penns Valley Conservation Association in Centre County has a project for Muddy Creek stream restoration and is currently in the third phase that deals with the Marquardt Farm. Phases one and two of the stream restoration dealt with a two-mile section of Muddy Creek that is owned by five farmers. Phase three is the restoration of a 1,200-foot reach of stream that is a part of Marquardt Farm.

16 bank stabilization and fish habit structures to reduce erosion were built by the association and partners. In order to provide overhead cover and pool depth for adult trout and to protect the streambank, mudsill cribs were installed. Log vanes were put in the stream in order to increase water velocity and promote silt-free gravel deposition downstream. Vegetative buffers along the stream were planted to help with the higher summer temperatures of the water. Trees and shrubs were planted to provide shade, stabilizing seasonal water temperature fluctuations and they also help minimize soil erosion and provide additional wildlife habitat.

Other counties include:

Allegheny County

  • EvolveEA and New Sun Rising, for Breathe EasyTriboro EcoDistrict air quality project:
  • Regional Industrial Development Corporation, for RIDC Mill 19
Dauphin County
  • Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, for development of an environmental parameters dashboard for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission
  • Commonwealth Charter Academy, for AgWorks Lab
Erie County
  • North East Intermediate Elementary School, for “Protect Our Lake
Lancaster County
  • Lancaster Farmland Trust, for Plain Sect community and marketplace engagement for clean water
  • RGS Associates and Land Studies, for Lime Spring Square mixed-used development
Montgomery County
  • Wissahickon Trails, PECO, Upper Gwynedd Township, William Penn Foundation, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, for Wissahickon Creek headwaters stream and riparian restoration
Montour County
  • Geisinger Medical Center for Sechler Run stream restoration
Philadelphia County
  • Riverfront North Partnership, for reforestation at Pennypack On The Delaware Park
York County
  • York County Solid Waste and Refuse Authority, for Resource Recovery Center improvements and a new ash processing and recycling facility

All applications were evaluated based on their degree of environmental protection, innovation, partnership, economic impact, consideration of climate change and sustainability, and outcomes achieved.

In total, this is what the projects resulted in:

  • Creation of 8.5 acres of wetlands and 5 acres of tree or other vegetation buffers on stream banks to remove over 675 tons of sediment, 6,000 pounds of nitrogen, and 375 pounds of phosphorous annually from waterways;
  • Planting of more than 3,200 native trees and shrubs that will sequester over 400,000 pounds of carbon from the air and remove more than 2,600 pounds of other air pollutants over 25 years;
  • Remediation of 300,000 square feet of hazardous materials and sustainable redevelopment of nearly 200 acres of former industrial property;
  • Education of more than 1,100 Pennsylvania students and nearly 24,000 residents on environmental issues;
  • Over 100 new or updated Agricultural Erosion and Sediment Management Plans or Manure Management Plans;
  • Installation of three air quality monitors for local communities; and
  • Generation of over 2.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity from solar energy.

Currently, applications are being accepted for the 2022 Excellence awards. For the guidelines and application process visit the Environmental Excellence Awards website.

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