EPA visits Halfmoon Creek Watershed in Centre County, PA to learn more about local conservation efforts, water quality improvements

PHILADELPHIA (March 26, 2024) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz visited Centre County, Pennsylvania to see first-hand the positive impact ClearWater Conservancy is having on local and downstream water quality.

Donnan Stoicovy, Interim Executive Director; Jennifer Dombroskie, Riparian Program Manager; Suzy Yetter, Ecologist pictured with Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz looking at a stream.

Joining staff from the Conservancy, Ortiz viewed several conservation sites in the Halfmoon Creek Watershed, discussing how the Conservancy works to identify opportunities, is leveraging increased federal funds available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and how even small projects can change water quality.

“From Centre County to the Chesapeake Bay, we’re seeing the positive impact organizations like ClearWater Conservancy are having on water quality, both locally and downstream,” said Ortiz. “Every mile of stream restored, every bank stabilized, and every riparian buffer planted makes a difference. It’s remarkable to see how federal dollars, partnerships, and a vision can deliver tangible solutions to intractable problems.”

Last year, EPA awarded over $430,000 in Section 319 grants for Halfmoon Creek’s Watershed Implementation Plan. This type of funding is used to address non-point source pollution, typically from agriculture or stormwater, in areas that have an approved watershed plan.

Ortiz team ended the tour at the Radzwich Farm, situated along the Beaver Branch of Spruce Creek. Beginning in 2017, ClearWater worked with several partners, including the Radzwich Family, to restore and stabilize 3.8 acres of stream bank, plant a riparian buffer, and install fencing and livestock crossings that allowed animals access to all pastures but kept them out of the stream. Removing livestock from streams is good for both stream and herd health and prevents sediment and nutrients from flowing downstream where it can ultimately make its way to the Chesapeake Bay.

Donnan Stoicovy, Interim Executive Director, “Having the opportunity to personally show EPA leadership the work we’re doing in Centre County – from partnering with landowners to getting federal dollars on the ground – is a testament to the commitment this administration has to the environment. From Spruce Creek down to the Bay, we’re working hard and we’re working together to improve our waters.”

ClearWater Conservancy’s mission is to conserve and restore natural resources through land conservation, water resources stewardship, and environmental outreach across Central Pennsylvania. Since 1980, the organization has conserved over 3,100 acres of land through easements and ownership, while working to repair streams, stabilize banks, and restore the natural landscape.

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