A community conservation program aimed at preventing pollution from entering central Pennsylvania waterways is a winner of the 2014 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards, announced today by Dominion and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
Representatives of the ClearWater Conservancy will accept the award at the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. The award is presented for leadership, effectiveness and results in making an impact on the environment by Dominion and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and includes a $5,000 donation.
Miles of streams and creeks in central Pennsylvania are impaired by agriculture. So the ClearWater Conservancy developed its Riparian Conservation Program to restore functioning streambank buffer zones in Central Pennsylvania watersheds.
Thirty-six individual volunteers and three corporate groups acted as site stewards and another 85 volunteers assisted with restoration work in 2013, the inaugural year of the riparian site steward program. Over the course of the year, stewards and volunteers collectively invested 800 hours in the program and planted 375 seedlings at 17 existing restoration sites and another 360 seedlings at three new restoration sites.
To date the Riparian Conservation Program has protected 4,600 acres of high-value riparian habitat. More than 300 ClearWater staff and volunteers have installed riparian buffers along more than 69,890 feet of stream. They’ve also installed 35,988 feet of streambank fencing and 16 stream crossings for livestock, removed three dams, installed 168 streambank stabilization and fish habitat enhancement structures, and treated countless acres of invasive species.
This project is one of four winners from throughout Western Pennsylvania chosen to receive this award by a group of independent judges of environmental experts and Pennsylvania Environmental Council staff in response to a call for entries earlier this year.
All entries were judged on the basis of their relevance to local environmental priorities, evidence of their impact on the environment, their approach to solving an environmental problem, and the environmental benefit of their work.