On October 22, 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) awarded over $430,000 in grants for 11 regenerative projects to protect and restore the state’s eastern coastal zone along the Delaware Estuary.
“Pennsylvania coastal zones are vital environmental, economic, and community resources for the commonwealth,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Each year, the varied coastal zone projects help us rethink, reexamine, and refocus our efforts towards a multi-faceted approach to ensuring the protection of these habitats.”
Coastal zones are areas where land meets the coast and include both coastal waters and adjacent shorelands. These areas are under increasing pressure from development, erosion, biodiversity loss, and pollution.
Coastal Zone grants are awarded to projects related to fisheries, wetlands, stormwater management improvements, recreation, public education, coastal hazards such as bluff recession, and other areas. Grants may also be awarded to other projects in the watershed that have an impact on coastal waters.
This year, 11 nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and municipalities in the Delaware Estuary coastal area received funding. The 112-mile zone is located in Bucks, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties and encompasses islands, marshes, and other areas in the Delaware Estuary watershed. It’s the largest freshwater port in the world.
Approved projects include:
- Delaware River Waterfront Corporation: $50,000 to develop a conceptual design of an innovative park, featuring restored wetlands set within unused and decrepit pier structures of the Delaware River in South Philadelphia;
- Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission: $45,000 to implement the Coastal Management Program in the Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone that includes Delaware, Philadelphia, and Bucks counties;
- Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission: $50,000 to conduct outreach to municipalities in the Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone focused on climate resiliency and related hazard mitigation
- Glenn Foerd Conservation Corporation: $16,690 to develop a master planting plan for the property along the Poquessing Creek and Delaware River shoreline;
- John Bartram Association: $50,000 to plan and design a new hands-on education and science classroom on the Schuylkill River;
- Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Inc.: $39,401 to conduct Pennsylvania Coast Day 2020 events to educate the public about coastal recreation, historic sites, and public access;
- Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Inc.: $50,000 to test whether beds of freshwater mussels can be incorporated into living shorelines in the urban, freshwater tidal zone of the Schuylkill River;
- PA Cleanways dba Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful: $20,000 to conduct community cleanups and marine debris removal in the Delaware Estuary;
- Riverfront North Partnership: $50,000 to complete a design for the Tacony Boat Launch trailhead park; and
- Schuylkill River Development Corporation: $44,500 to complete the Bartram’s Mile fishing pier design.
- Heritage Conservancy: $24,375 to produce a virtual video tour of the Croydon Woods Preserve to educate students and the general population
Funded primarily by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the grants are administered by DEP’s Coastal Resources Management Program. Since federal approval of the DEP Coastal Resources Management Program in 1980, the program has provided more than $50 million in funding for coastal zone projects.