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!

Information Session Follow-Up

If you missed the info session on June 18, don’t worry! Below are all the links you need to get caught up.

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.

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

This project will reduce the amount of sediment entering into a portion of Little Cocalico Creek in East Cocalico Township. This reduction will come from structural improvements in a number of small drainage areas entering the forested flood plain (an existing buffer) from a large agricultural field. Currently these drainage areas are eroding, and represent a significant source of sediment into the creek. This project will improve downstream water quality by reducing suspended solids (sediment) and other pollutants. This is significant since the creek is in the Chesapeake Bay drainage area, and also serves as a municipal water supply. This sediment reduction will contribute to Lancaster County’s overall Water Improvement Plan.

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 groudwater through new buffers.  ADD MORE

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.