Erie County organizations received more than a quarter of the $913,800 in coastal zone management grants recently awarded by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The grants support programs that measure the effect of various pollution sources, improve public access, preserve habitats and educate the public about the benefits of the state's coastal zones, according to a state news release.
Pennsylvania's two coastal zones are the 76 miles along Lake Erie in Erie County and a 112-mile stretch along the Delaware Estuary in Bucks, Delaware and Philadelphia counties.
"We are committed to protecting these assets, and the grants will enhance our ongoing efforts to maintain our coastal waters," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said in the release.
Funded largely by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the latest grants were awarded to 26 nonprofit and government organizations in counties bordering the coastal zones or having a direct effect on water quality in the areas.
In Erie County, the recipients sharing a total of $274,760 were:
- Erie County Conservation District -- $20,000 to implement and track the Coastal Non-Point Pollution Program management measures.
- Erie County Conservation District -- $8,000 for a countywide stream study for students with results to be published in fliers distributed to local municipalities and the public.
- Erie County Department of Planning -- $67,000 for coordination and technical assistance with Lake Erie Coastal Zone projects.
- Erie County Department of Planning -- $9,000 to assist communities in administering the Bluff Recession and Setback Act of 1980.
- Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit -- $13,000 to operate the Regional Summer School of Excellence program Investigating and Researching Environmental Health Problems.
- Environment Erie -- $25,000 for the Earth Partnership: Renewing Our Great Lakes educational program for students and teachers on stormwater management.
- City of Erie -- $25,000 to complete the first phase of a comprehensive plan.
- Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission -- $19,000 to acquire 1.7 acres of vacant land along Twelve Mile Creek next to a public park owned by Harborcreek Township.
- Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority -- $50,000 for replacement of floating docks, a courtesy dock and a floating gas dock at Lampe Marina.
- Erie Times-News in Education Inc. -- $38,760 for a Newspaper in Education weekly page focusing on coastal zone environmental issues.
October 15 is the deadline for nonprofit organizations, schools and universities, local government organizations, authorities and state agencies to apply for 2013 coastal zone management grants. To apply or learn more, go to www.dep.state.pa.us/river/czmp.htm or call (717) 705-5400.