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Alliance Receives New Green Infrastructure Grant, Moves Forward with Existing Program

The Alliance was recently awarded $197,000 to support stormwater management and green infrastructure initiatives in Central Pennsylvania, in partnership with the Capital Region Council of Governments (CapCOG). Our new program, entitled the “Capital Region Framework for Watershed Restoration,” will serve communities in Cumberland, Dauphin, and York counties and will be funded through a Growing Greener Grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection.

Harrisburg, PA in Dauphin County. (Photo courtesy of Dauphin County Government)

Over the course of the grant, the Alliance will partner with the CapCOG, the Environmental Finance Center (EFC), and Chesapeake Stormwater Network (CSN) to help several communities meet their watershed and water quality requirements.  As such, the program will focus on fostering collaboration between communities, providing technical training on how to design and implement stormwater best management practices (BMPs), and helping communities develop sustainable plans to finance green infrastructure. The Alliance and EFC will assist these communities with grant applications and organize a day-long seminar to connect them with local funders. We aim to leave behind knowledgeable, confident engineers and landscape designers who will help their communities install green infrastructure. At the conclusion of the grant, the Alliance hopes to secure the funding for BMPs that will reduce pollution loads enough to de-list an impaired stream.

Yellow Breeches Creek in Cumberland County, parts of which are listed as impaired. (Photo courtesy of Dickenson College)

The “Capital Region Framework” grant has much in common with another Alliance program, “Building Green Infrastructure in Blair County, Pennsylvania.” Like in the Capital Region, many Blair County communities need to meet the requirements of their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits and Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plans (among others).  Local practitioners in both areas don’t have much experience building green infrastructure, so the Alliance will work closely with these professionals and governments to provide them with the tools they need. Both programs also involve technical training workshops, reviews of local financing strategies, collaboration between communities, and identification of cost-effective BMP projects. The ultimate goal of these programs is to get green infrastructure BMPs in the ground.

January 20th Regional Planning & Financing Workshop in Altoona, PA.

On January 20th, the Alliance hosted the first of a series of workshops in Blair County along with EFC, American Rivers, and the National Association of Regional Councils. 21 municipal employees, engineers, and other planning professionals attended the workshop in Altoona, PA. The presenters introduced frameworks for regional planning and financing in stormwater management/green infrastructure. Upcoming workshops will delve deeper into financing strategies and collaboration opportunities. As 2015 gets underway, we’re looking forward to advancing green infrastructure through our grants in Blair County and the Capital Region of PA.

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Jenna Mitchell Pennsylvania State Director, Pennsylvania Office

Jenna serves as the Alliance's Pennsylvania State Director, where she oversees our PA staff and manages several projects in the region.

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