Everyone knows that there are environmental laws designed to protect water quality. But, to understand how these laws are applied, one must first know the difference between the two main types of water pollution: Point Source and Nonpoint Source.
Point Source Pollution is a direct discharge into a river, stream, lake or pond. A few obvious examples of a Point Source of pollution would be a sewage treatment plant or an industrial wastewater discharge. A less obvious point source of pollution is generated during earth disturbance at a construction site. Uncontrolled runoff during construction can lead to heavy sediment loading. These impacts are obvious in other parts of the state where streams look like coffee or chocolate milk when it rains.
Because all of these types of activities have pollution potential, they can be regulated by state and federal agencies to minimize the probability that a pollution event will take place. One of the requirements for projects proposing to discharge wastewater is to get a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. Development sites proposing earth disturbance must also have an approved Erosion and Sediment Control plan. In addition, activities in wetlands, stream crossings or floodway encroachments all require permits. To find out if a planned activity may require any permits including an NPDES permit, or an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan, contact the Monroe County Conservation District at 570-629-3060.
Nonpoint Source Pollution is pollution that enters our streams, lakes and ground water from a myriad of unidentified diffuse sources. Nonpoint source pollution is often the direct outcome of stormwater runoff from any type of land cover you may imagine, including: parking lots, rooftops, roads, farm fields and suburban lawns. Along the way, the runoff picks up sediments, nutrients, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, animal waste, petroleum distillates, litter and all sorts of other things that can cause degradation in our waterways. In addition, the rainwater itself can be acidic and therefore be considered a nonpoint source of pollution. Failing on-lot septic systems, leaking under ground storage tanks, and things as simple as washing your car in the driveway can all contribute to nonpoint source pollution.
Due to the diffused nature of nonpoint source pollution’s origins, it is much more difficult to regulate. Many municipalities have stormwater management regulations; however, for years, the focus of such regulations was to control volume in order to minimize flood flows from increases in impervious surfaces. New stormwater management plans must take water quality, not just quantity, into account.
The good news is that we can all play a role in minimizing nonpoint source pollution impacts to our streams, lakes and ground water.
Things you can do to protect water resources: Learn your watershed address. If we all learn our watershed address and take stewardship of the stream in our back yard, then we will all benefit. Your watershed address begins with the smallest named body of water to which the water that runs off from your property drains and ends with the Atlantic Ocean. For example, the watershed address of the Monroe County Conservation District is as follows:
Kettle Creek → Appenzell Creek → McMichaels Creek → Brodhead Creek → Delaware River → Delaware Bay → Atlantic Ocean Maintain vegetated buffers around lakes and streams on your property and in your neighborhood. Forested buffers along our streams and other bodies of water reduce impacts caused by runoff flows, intercept sediments, take-up excess nutrients and other pollutants, moderate stream temperatures, and increase wildlife habitat values.
Preserve wetlands on your property and in your neighborhood. Wetlands have numerous water quality and quantity values when looked at from a watershed point of view. In the Poconos, the most common wetland types are swamps, marshes, bogs and vernal pools. Wetlands store stormwater, slowly replenish groundwater aquifers, and filter sediments and other pollutants. Wetlands in the Poconos also provide critical habitats to many of the regions rarest species of plants and animals.
Manage stormwater runoff from your property. Direct runoff to a low point on your property and detain it in a grassy swale or rain garden (a depression in the landscape that uses native vegetation adapted to intermittent inundation to manage stormwater runoff). Direct rooftop runoff onto lawn areas or rain gardens, not the driveway.
Wash the car on the lawn. Do it yourself car washing in urban and suburban areas accounts for a potent mix of petroleum products, salts, detergents, nutrients and toxic heavy metals. Most of us don’t think about the impact this has on the streams receiving this water. The best thing to do is go to a commercial car wash where the water gets recycled and the discharge is regulated. If you must wash the car at home, do it on the lawn where the runoff can be filtered by the grass.
Do not dispose of anything into curbside storm drains. In most communities, these drains lead directly to receiving streams. Even during dry weather, the stuff (oil, pet waste, etc.) you put down the drain will get into the stream the next time it rains. Do not pour petroleum products or solvents down household drains or on the lawn. Return used motor oil, transmission fluid and antifreeze to a reputable dealership or garage, and they will dispose of it properly. Toxics washed down the drain or flushed down the toilet end up in your septic system or sewage treatment plant, neither of which is designed to handle these chemicals. If this is done often enough, water resources can be severely impacted.
Engage in watershed friendly lawn care and landscaping. Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard; create rain gardens for stormwater management, landscape using more trees, shrubs and wildflowers. Leave buffers around streams, lakes and wetlands. If you must use fertilizers, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Do not use excessive herbicides and pesticides. Some products may be environmentally friendly on land but are extremely toxic in aquatic ecosystems, where excess chemicals may end up during a storm event.
Join a local watershed organization and help out. Many of Monroe County’s watersheds now have citizen-based grassroots organizations dedicated to watershed stewardship. Contact them and get involved as a water quality monitor or organize a stream cleanup in your community.
Almost all of Monroe County’s streams are worthy of special protection due to their high quality and exceptionally valuable resources. Preservation of these resources will take the combined efforts of the community working with regulatory agencies. We all have a role to play in making the future bright for our resources. For more information on how you can help, contact Monroe County Conservation District Watershed Specialist, Annie Mikol, at 570-629-3060.
“The people have a right to clean air, pure water and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustees of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all people.” - Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution
Potential Grant Funding Sources: 1. EPA Urban Waters Small Grants- application open from Sept 22-Nov 20, 2015 The mission of EPA’s Urban Waters Program is to help local residents and their organizations, particularly those in underserved communities, restore their urban water in ways that also benefit their local communities and promote economic revitalization. For the 2015/2016 grant cycle, the EPA seeks to fund projects that address urban runoff pollution through diverse partnerships that produce multiple community benefits, such as protection of drinking water sources. http://www2.epa.gov/urbanwaters/urban-waters-small-grants
2.Patagonia- Deadline- April 30, 2016 Patagonia funds only environmental work. They are most interested in making grants to organizations that identify and work on the root causes of problems and that approach issues with a commitment to long-term change. Because they believe that the most direct path to real change is through building grassroots momentum, our funding focuses on organizations that create a strong base of citizen support.
They support small, grassroots, activist organizations with provocative direct-action agendas, working on multi-pronged campaigns to preserve and protect our environment. They help local groups working to protect local habitat, and think the individual battles to protect a specific stand of forest, stretch of river or indigenous wild species are the most effective in raising more complicated issues—particularly those of biodiversity and ecosystem protection—in the public mind. They look for innovative groups that produce measurable results, and like to support efforts that force the government to abide by its own—our own—laws. Efforts should be quantifiable, with specific goals, objectives and action plans, and should include measures for evaluating success.
Because they’re a privately held company, we have the freedom to fund groups off the beaten track, and that's where we believe our small grants are most effective. They support the use of creative methods to engage communities to take action, including film, photography and books. However, media projects will only be successful in our proposal process if they are tightly linked to a direct-action campaign on the issue, with specific goals that go beyond education and awareness
b.World Trout Initiative- $3,000- $15,000- The World Trout Initiative funds only groups and efforts working to restore and protect wild, self-sustainable trout, salmon, and other fish species within their native range
PROGRAM OVERVIEW: The Coldwater Heritage Partnership (CHP) is a collaborative effort between the PA Fish & Boat Commission, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds and Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited. The purpose of the Coldwater Heritage Partnership (CHP) is to provide leadership, coordination, technical assistance, and funding support for the evaluation, conservation and protection of Pennsylvania's coldwater streams. Coldwater Conservation Planning Grants: Coldwater Conservation Plans are useful in building local awareness and support for the long-term stewardship of coldwater streams and their surrounding watersheds. The plans are meant to identify potential problems and opportunities for stream conservation, and may often also lead to more detailed watershed studies or projects, ultimately improving the health of coldwater ecosystems. Grants of approximately $5,000 will be awarded for the creation of a Coldwater Conservation plan that will ultimately conserve and protect the coldwater streams of Pennsylvania. This grant is meant to: •Gather existing data about the coldwater ecosystem; •Identify potential impacts, threats, problems and opportunities to our coldwater streams; •Formulate a plan of action for proposed conservation and protection strategies; and •Build community awareness and support for the conservation of our coldwater streams.
5.National Wildlife Refuge Friends Group Grant Program- this is only relevant for folks within a NWR- Cherry Valley-and the key would be strongly underscoring the (obvious) connection that watershed protection IS habitat protection, one of the key measures the grants support.
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provides grants for projects that help organizations to be effective co-stewards of our Nation's important natural resources within the National Wildlife Refuge System. This program provides competitive seed grants to help increase the number and effectiveness of organizations interested in assisting the refuge system nationwide. Program will fund: (1) Start-up Grants to assist starting refuge support groups with formative and/or initial operational support (membership drives, training, postage, etc.); (2) Capacity Building Grants to strengthen existing refuge support groups' capacity to be more effective (outreach efforts, strategic planning, membership development); and (3) Project Specific Grants to support a specific project (conservation education programs for local schools, outreach programs for private landowners, habitat restoration projects, etc.)
7.Clif Bar Foundation- deadline February/16 (May 15, Aug 15, Nov 1 also)
Small Grants represent the vast majority of Clif Bar’s Grants Programs and account for more than 70% of total giving. These grants are awarded for general organizational support or to fund specific projects.
Small Grants average approximately $8,000 each. Applications must be received by February 15 for consideration during the first quarter of the year. Grants awarded during a particular quarter will be announced at the beginning of the following quarter. Priority is given to applicants who: Address Clif Bar’s funding priorities from a holistic perspective* which means thee monies must go to projects that: • Protect Earth's beauty and bounty. • Create a robust, healthy food system. • Increase opportunities for outdoor activity. • Reduce environmental health hazards. • Build stronger communities. • Operate with clearly defined objectives and viable plans to achieve them. • Demonstrate strong community ties and operate at the community level. • Promote positive change through both the projects and their implementation process. website: http://clifbarfamilyfoundation.org/Grants-Programs