Lancaster Clean Water Fund

Lancaster Clean Water Fund

The Lancaster Clean Water Fund, funded through several partner organizations and charitable foundations, serves as a catalyst for increased collaboration to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of current and future clean water projects. In 2020, it will provide $128,000 for water quality improvement projects that help Lancaster achieve the specific pollutant reductions (nutrient and phosphorus) by 2025 in accordance with the Lancaster Countywide Action Plan.

Applications closed on July 26, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Grantees will be announced on September 18, 2020. Thank you to all who applied!

Grant Specifics

  • Grant requests must be matched with funds or in-kind services at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Verification will be required before reimbursement funds are awarded.
  • Funds are intended for implementation and need to ensure high nutrient reductions. Funds cannot be used for design and engineering unless funds to cover the project implementation costs are already in hand with the project lead.
  • Reporting should be compiled using narrative, photos, and success stories while demonstrating how the project resulted in high nutrient reductions and facilitated collaboration with new partners.
  • Applicants are encouraged to describe how their project will prioritize collaboration with new Lancaster County partners in an effort to collectively protect water, create habitats, and encourage outdoor exploration. Use the Partners’ Collaborative Mapping Tool to get your project location’s restoration opportunity score before applying. A link to Instructions for the map are available on the landing page.

Community Grant Fund – $2,500-5,000 application range

The Community Grant Fund will fund small-scale projects that are led by locally based conservation organizations, municipalities, and community groups. Projects can focus on streambank stabilization, riparian forest buffers, community and urban tree plantings, green infrastructure, or environmental education.
Photo Credit: Michelle Johnsen Photography

Water Quality Impact Fund – $10,000-50,000 application range

The Water Quality Impact Fund will support large-scale, high-priority restoration projects that create a measurable and positive impact on water quality in Lancaster County. Projects can include implementation of agricultural conservation and stormwater practices, riparian buffer plantings, green infrastructure, removal of impervious surfaces, and ecological restoration (stream, wetland, and floodplain restoration). This grant can cover conservation plan writing if a landowner does not currently have a plan.  Applicants should note: buffer installation is required if the project location includes a stream and no buffer already exists.

2020 Clean Water Fund Projects

Conservation Practice Implementation in Salisbury Township

Salisbury Township was awarded funding to install BMPs to address nutrient and sediment reductions on two plain sect farms at the Pequea Creek headwaters. Barnyard runoff and stream protection – the top two agricultural conservation needs in Salisbury Township – are the main focus of these two projects. These projects will also provide valuable learning and demonstration opportunities to address the barrier to conservation practices among plain sect farms.

“Cleaning Lancaster’s streams requires a commitment from landowners to make improvements that will improve water quality and a package of funding to make it possible,” says John Williamson, TeamAg, Inc. “We assisted Salisbury Township in obtaining a NFWF grant for two farms for fencing, stream crossings, and improved manure management structures. When this grant didn’t cover the entire project, we turned to the Lancaster Clean Water Fund. These projects will be built within a year, and will help these farms improve their economic and environmental performance.”

Peters Creek Restoration

Donegal Trout Unlimited (DTU) was awarded funding to restore a section of Peters Creek in southern Lancaster County. Restoration efforts, including stream and floodplain restoration and riparian buffer plantings, will reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollutants. Upon project completion, the stream will be used as a conservation laboratory. DTU will partner with Excelon to provide environmental and conservation education to the community through eco-tours for teachers, students, and volunteers, and provide information at the Muddy Run Visitor Center and Conowingo Visitor Center.

“DTU is especially pleased to work with Excelon for the third time on a stream restoration project on Peters Creek, a unique watershed containing native brown trout and the endangered logperch,” says Bob Kutz, conservation co-chair with DTU. “This final stretch of stream, which runs from Peach Bottom Road to the marina on the Susquehanna, will become a model used as a conservation laboratory by teachers, students and volunteers interested in coldwater stream restoration.”


Stormwater Management Education for Pre-Service Student Teachers

Millersville University Watershed Education Training Institute (WETi) has been awarded funds to provide pre-service student teachers with a meaningful watershed education experience, focusing on issues that impact local watersheds. As part of the project, students will have formal classroom instruction, site visits to impaired streams, and discussions with organizations about failed and successful conservation projects.

This project will unite students from different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, and provide them with the knowledge and tools to share with their future K-12 students so they too  can protect our waterways and diverse aquatic ecosystems for generations to come.

“We’re very excited to receive this grant from the Partners,” says John Wallace, professor at Millersville University and project coordinator. “The grant will fund a novel, multi-scaled approach to train our pre-service student teachers to participate in a national certification stormwater management program, visit stormwater BMPs in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and experience the construction of a stormwater rain garden at MU WETi – all with the objective of disseminating this information across geographic and socio-economic boundaries for future generations to strive for the improvement of clean waters through effective stormwater management strategies.” 

Willow Street Park Rain Garden Installation

West Lampeter Township has been awarded funding to install a bioretention rain garden in the Willow Street Township Park. Currently a 15.5 acre tributary drainage area of untreated, urbanized area within the Mill Creek watershed flows through the park carrying pollutants, sediment, asphalt oils, and debris into downstream infrastructure. The project will remedy this by installing a rain garden with 18″ of amended soil media and native plants.

The rain garden installation provides a valuable opportunity to educate the public while providing an aesthetically pleasing and naturalistic example of the benefits that rain gardens provide.

“West Lampeter Township is honored to have received this grant funding from the Clean Water Fund and excited to break ground on this project,” says Amanda Hickman, community development director at West Lampeter Township. “This rain garden project not only compliments our recreational facilities but serves as a catalyst for the long term integration of our public education and conservation strategies moving forward.”


2019 Clean Water Fund Projects

Rapho Township

The Township intends to make improvements to a streamside property they have recently acquired. The 0.4-acre property is located entirely within the floodway with an 8′ high streambank.  The bank is currently stabilized with rotting railroad ties. The property will remain as open space in perpetuity. The Township sees this now-vacant, graded lot as an opportunity for a demonstration project, which would include streambank stabilization and planting of a riparian buffer. With the assistance of the Penn State Agriculture and Environmental Center staff and volunteers from the Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance (CCWA), the Township plans to install R-5-R-7 Riprap along 175 linear feet of the bank and plant native trees around the entire property. CCWA and Greening the Lower Susquehanna Initiative volunteers are partnering to plant the trees in this very scenic and remote location.

East Cocalico Township

East Cocalico Township was awarded funds to restore and stabilize 265 feet of streambank and create a live-stake nursery along Stony Run. This project will reduce the amount of sediment entering Stony Run, a small stream adjacent to the East Cocalico Township building that carries significant flow during rainfall events. As the nursery expands it will act as a riparian buffer for the stream. When the plants are sufficiently established the will be used to obtain live-stakes suitable for other streambank stabilization projects elsewhere in the township (and eventually other areas).

Manheim Borough

The project will implement floodplain restoration work, riparian buffers, educational signage, and over 1,500 feet of new ADA accessible walking trails along the creek.  A small dam will also be removed as a part of this project, which will be included in the overall permitting process for the project (which is currently underway). This project will also reduce the amount of sediment and pollutants entering the Chiques Creek, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay, by over 130,000 pound each year, which will result in significant water quality improvement for this critical watershed.

Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future

This project consists of two parts: 1) outreach and building commitment for water quality improvements with Leacock Township farmers; 2) demonstrate several agricultural water quality improvement BMPs at a Leacock Township farm (1110 feet of stream restoration (minimal), barnyard improvements, and 3.6 acres riparian forested buffer).

Most of Watson Run at the farm is already fenced keeping animals out of the stream with good vegetation and little streambank erosion. The landowners have agreed to install riparian forested buffer. Those areas where there is streambank erosion will be restored by cutting back the banks.

Donegal Trout Unlimited

Donegal Chapter of Trout Unlimited (DTU) has been restoring coldwater streams in the County since 1987 with a focus on those waterways that empty into the Chesapeake Bay. This project will help to link four earlier projects done by DTU on Climbers Run, designated by DEP as an impaired stream. The stream design for the project will eliminate erosion and filter groundwater through new buffers. For DTU, stream restoration is defined as all conservation BMPs needed for a particular project, including in-stream devices, to correct the problems. Anything less are temporary fixes at best.


These grants are possible thanks to the support of groups such as the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Lancaster’s Water Week. Lead partners include: The Lancaster Clean Water Partners, Lancaster County Conservation Foundation, and Lancaster Conservancy. These organizations work with countless trusted experts in the field, including the Lancaster Farmland Trust, Penn State’s Agriculture and Environment Center, Stroud Water Research Center, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and local municipalities.

If you’re interested in contributing to Lancaster’s Clean Water Fund, click here for more details.