$3.4 Million Approved for Water Quality Projects

Jun 22, 2022 | News

Updated July 26, 2022 

Lancaster’s collaborative spirit for stewardship and conservation had a tremendous win! The County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve $3.4 million of available American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for water quality projects that will have a transformational impact in Lancaster County. These projects are already in motion, and this funding will take them over the finish line. 

The Partners was approved for funding from the Lancaster County allocation of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to financially support 11 water quality projects that will have a transformational impact in the County by reducing harmful pollutants in waterways. This represents the largest single investment in preserving clean water in Lancaster County government history. 

The $3.4 million will leverage $9,094,025 and directly fund the following projects: 

  • Agricultural best management practices on farms in Fulton, Colerain, Paradise, and East Lampeter townships
  • A multi-municipal stream restoration project along the Conewago Creek in Londonderry and Mount Joy townships
  • Urban forest planting in the City of Lancaster to implement the Trees for People Plan
  • A steam restoration project along the Gross Run tributary in Ephrata Borough that involves over 40 landowners
  • A stream restoration and floodplain restoration project along the Little Conestoga Creek on Franklin & Marshall’s campus
  • Eight continuous instream monitoring units to be placed in the Conestoga and Pequea watersheds
  • Multi-year riparian buffer establishment support for landowners with newly planted buffers
  • Conestoga Water Trail planning to improve public access and expand recreational opportunities on the river

The full list of projects is available here

The Lancaster County Board of Commissioners presented a check for $3.4 million to the Lancaster County Conservation District and the Lancaster Clean Water Partners on July 26 at the Conewago Recreational Trail to highlight the three-phase, multi-municipal Conewago Creek floodplain restoration project – one of the 11 water quality projects funded. 

The Conewago Creek floodplain restoration project includes the implementation of stream restoration, legacy sediment removal, floodplain reconnection, and wetland creation that will lead to significant improvements to water quality, promote enhanced ecosystem resiliency, and support Lancaster’s pollutant reduction goals. The restoration originates immediately downstream of the Hertzler Road bridge on Brills Run (a tributary of the Conewago Creek), and approximately 3,500 linear feet downstream of the Mill Road bridge on the mainstem of the Conewago Creek. The restoration continues through the Brills Run-Conewago Creek confluence and downstream through an existing farm bridge to its terminus approximately 750 linear feet upstream of the PA-230 bridge. The project is made possible because of collaborative partnership between Mount Joy Township and Londonderry Township. Construction is anticipated to be completed in 2024. More information about the Conewago Creek floodplain restoration project is available on this StoryMap, created by Monique Dykman, MS4 environmental specialist at Londonderry Township

Conservation work has been ongoing in Lancaster County for generations, but not at the scale and pace required to accomplish Lancaster’s Countywide Action Plan (CAP), a strategic plan led by the Partners to reduce 11.7 million pounds of nitrogen and 524,000 pounds of phosphorus by 2025. The Partners works with three local organizations – David Miller/Associates, Lancaster Farmland Trust, and LandStudies – to lead CAP efforts. 

Clean water is a community-wide priority. These projects will create multi-faceted improvements to residents’ quality of life such as improved recreational use of streams, decreased cost of both public and private water treatment for safe drinking water, decreased flooding, and lower cost of infrastructure repairs to name only a few community-wide benefits. 

The Partners will work alongside the Lancaster County Conservation District to finalize the agreement and required contracts with the county so reporting and documentation steps are clear. Sub-agreements will be developed for each project lead. There is more to do, and we will continue to bring together resources that get us closer to our goal of clean and clear by 2040.