The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds

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FPW is updating its contact information. If you are a past grantee or are interested in our work, and occasionally receiving environmental updates please email your contact information to: Branden S. Diehl.

February 04 2016 | News | Comments Off

OSMRE Releases Rulemaking

Building a Stream Protection Rule
The U.S. Government’s Official Website for the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). OSMRE’s business practices are to reclaim abandoned mine lands (Title IV), regulate active coal mines (Title V), and apply sound science through technology transfer.

Branden S. Diehl, Grant and Project Consultant for the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds said, “The rule-making, as we understand it, is based on science, and reforms previous rules that were more than 30 years old. In that time, not only have mining practices changed, but so have restoration practices. Mining is still part of our energy portfolio, and it is important that both economic and environmental needs are protected. Based on the rule-making’s Economic Impact Statement (EIS) there will be marginal gains or losses in jobs and other external costs to consumers. As a Pennsylvania nonprofit that provides mine-related, restoration funding, we are pleased that the rule will provide enhanced protection for 6,500 stream miles over the next 20 years.”

July 16 2015 | News | Comments Off

FPW Announces GenOn Round II

On April 24, 2012 the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds’ (FPW) Board of Advisors reviewed spring grant proposals, and made payout from their GenOn Settlement Fund. Five projects were funded via GenOn Settlement funds; project grants totaled $224,500 and leveraged $1.02M.

John Dawes, Executive Director said, “We are privileged to have this opportunity to invest this money back into the communities for which the settlement was won. Though we had no part in the litigation, we certainly take our job of overseeing the funds very seriously. We hope that this investment will further inspire those working in the trenches to think even bigger about what watershed recovery means to Johnstown and the surrounding area.”

Projects funded included:

The American Chestnut Foundation—Flight 93 Restoration $40,000

Project funds will be used to assist with restoring native, American chestnut trees to the reclaimed mine site at the Shankesville, PA Flight 93 National Park. More than 230 chestnuts will be planted on the 60 acre plot. The blight-resistant trees will serve to introduce the chestnut back into its home range. This project leverages National Park Service resources, and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s (OSMRE) Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI).

Blackleggs Watershed Association, INC—Big Run #3 $55,000

In total the Big Run projects will address more than 50 percent of the acidity, 25 percent of the iron, and 50 percent of the aluminum flowing into Big Run. This project is part of the larger initiative that will address water quality improvements in a nearly nine square mile watershed. Additional project partners include: Growing Greener, OSMRE’s Clean Streams Initiative, Environmental Protection Agency 319 funds, and Norfolk Southern.

Conemaugh Valley Conservancy—Stream Team $9,500

Funding will assist the Stream Team in continued support of water quality monitoring for watershed organizations, ensure continued monitoring of 150 sample points, provide community outreach/engagement, and assist with student education about the environment. In 2011, the Stream Team reached 700 students through their outreach efforts.

Stream Restoration, INC (SRI)—Kiski-basin Assessment $60,000

Project funding was awarded to provide a more thorough evaluation of passive treatment systems that were deemed failing by a preliminary scan of water quality data provided in DataShed. The scan identified more than 20 systems that showed decreased water quality performance. The grant will allow SRI to thoroughly evaluate these systems, and provide recommendations for their repairs.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy—Dirt and Gravel Roads and Unassessed Waters $60,000

Grant funds were awarded to assist with Dirt and Gravel Road activities in Ligonier Township totaling one mile, and for assessing fish assemblages within several state parks. Fish assessments will result in 61 miles of additionally assessed state, water resources.  Lastly, the grant will provide funding for assessing additional township and state property that might be eligible for Dirt and Gravel Road funding from the state.

Branden S. Diehl, Project and Grant Consultant said, “Some groups have seized the opportunity presented by the GenOn funds. Several projects had been shelved because funding wasn’t available, so they dusted them off and now they are being constructed. ”

FPW’s next grant deadline is August 24, 2012 when fall Letters of Inquiry are due. To learn more about FPW’s grant process visit: To learn more about the projects they fund visit:

May 25 2012 | News | Comments Off

FPW Announces Spring Grants

On April 24, 2012 the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds’ (FPW) Board of Advisors reviewed spring grant proposals; 16 grants were awarded totaling $185,000. The projects totaled more than $1.37M in construction costs resulting in a leverage of seven dollars for every one dollar FPW invested. These projects were paid out of FPW’s general grant making budget, which is supported through philanthropic grant making. An additional five projects were funded via GenOn Settlement funds; project grants totaled $224,500 and leveraged $1.02M.

R. John Dawes, Executive Director said, “We had a really strong group of proposals this spring—perhaps one of the best dockets in years. The project quality and outcomes are to be commended. We are accustomed to seeing higher leverage of our funds, but the recent decline in the economy and government funds easily explains the decrease; we continue working with our funders and legislators to move toward increased funding.”

Projects funded included:

Alliance for the Cheasapeake—Brightbill Project $15,000

FPW is funding a riparian piece of a larger project. The riparian project will restore 640 linear feet of natural plant, streambank buffer. The overall project is intended to reduce total suspended solids by: 1,632 lbs/yr, total phosphorus by: 2.24 lbs/yr, and total nitrogen by: 12.8 lbs/yr. The project is highly visible and a projected 500 to 1,000 visitors a day will see the work.

The American Chestnut Foundation—Elk County Mine Reclamation $12,000

The objective of this project is to establish diverse forest plantings of American chestnut and other high-quality hardwoods on strip mined land at Bennett Branch in Elk County, Pennsylvania, on land owned and managed by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Each restoration site will include a 1-acre planting of blight-resistant chestnuts trees (monoculture), established within an approximately 30-acre mixed planting of blight-resistant chestnut and high-quality native hardwoods (chestnuts planted at 20 trees per acre within the mixed hardwoods). The 1-acre plantings serve as a source population of chestnut, maximizing the long-term probability that the chestnut can perpetuate itself within the larger stand and provides a control site to allow for long-term performance evaluation of the blight-resistant chestnuts.

Carnegie Institute—Laurel Highlands Reference Reach $10,000

Under the direction of Dr. R. Hoch, Department of Geography and Regional Planning, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), students, interns, and staff will study Powdermill Run to determine the values for flow rate, sedimentation rate, straight versus curve, width of bed, height of bank, nature of substrate, etc., that are useful for regulators and ecosystem engineers. Because Powdermill Run is a protected stream, it will be an ideal reference reach that can be used to measure and evaluate either degradation or mitigation of other water courses.

Clearwater Conservancy—Riparian Conservation Project $15,000

Project funds support the organization’s work to restore 7,000 linear feet of forested buffers resulting in the following nutrient reductions: 2 tons of sediment, 5 pounds of nitrogen, and 139 pounds of nitrogen annually. These buffers will also substantially improve in-stream habitat for macroinvertebrates.

Husky Research Corporation—Headwater Flood Evaluation $15,000

This study will explore impacts of Tropical Storm Lee as it relates to sport fishing and in-stream nitrogen retention. The goal is to better understand how storms of increasing size and intensity are negatively impacting these two stream functions. Further, the study aims to correlate man-made stream alterations into the study (i.e. diking, stream channel, and hard-armoring).

Jacobs Creek Watershed Association—Capacity Building $7,500

Project funds are intended to assist the organization with completion of eight, under-construction, watershed projects. By the end of 2013, JCWA’s projects—if completed on schedule and according to specifications—will have prevented more than 75 tons of sediment from entering Jacobs Creek, Brush Run, Shupe Run, and Little Sherrick Run annually. Additional project deliverables include: stabilization of 3,300 feet of severely eroded stream bank, the installation of 2 animal stream crossings, and the placement of 1,700 feet of agricultural fencing and vegetative buffers. Additionally, two acres of wetlands will be restored.

Loyalsock Creek Watershed Association—Headwater Stream Recovery $15,000

Project funds will be used to explore how quickly macroinvertebrates recolonize streams after catastrophic flooding. Dateline data will be used to monitor macroinvertebrate recovery in headwater streams impacted by Tropical Storm Lee.

Mountain Watershed Association—Youghiogheny Monitoring $10,000

Project funds will assist in leveraging funding from the United State Geological Survey, and is intended to outline a comprehensive, water sampling protocol for the Youghiogheny River. The project will also explore how best to disseminate collected data, and how best to develop an ‘early warning’ system.

Nature Abounds—Senior Environmental Corps $15,000

With funding from the US EPA’s 319 Nonpoint Source Protection Program (in wrap-up stage now) as well as support from the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds and guidance from the Pa DEP’s Watershed Bureau, Nature Abounds has been able to start revitalizing the PASEC over the last couple years. Since 1997, PASEC volunteers have dedicated more than 2,000,000 hours to protecting and restoring Pennsylvania’s environment.

Specifically, under this project, the PASEC members will be engaged in the following tasks:

  • Assessing Conservation Resource Program (CRP) sites, EPA 319 sites as well as Riparian Buffer sites, and AMD sites;
  • Monitoring the water quality of Pennsylvania’s streams and rivers.  To do so, they will be purchasing more equipment and training volunteers, current and new); and
  • Expanding the PASEC to a minimum of 10 new counties. Of particular interest are counties in Southwest PA and along the West Branch of the Susquehanna.

Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens—Woodland Garden $10,000

Project funds will assist with installing an epoxycoated concrete tank (~20×100) with a maximimum depth of four feet. The tank will be filled with 400 to 500 tons of limestone, and provide the associated treatment. The overall project will provide the following water quality enhancements: 0.5 stream miles improved, near 100 percent removal of iron, aluminum, and manganese, increase of 3 pH units, and restoration of nearly 0.25 acres. It is estimated that the project will result in a 15,000 lbs/yr reduction in acidity, and a 650 lbs/yr reduction in aluminum, stream deposition.

Sewickley Creek Watershed Association—Lowber Project $15,000

This project will make modifications to the Marchand (Lowber) passive treatment system that will facilitate its operation and maintenance.  The Marchand system treats a 1,850 gpm deep mine discharge that contains 75 mg/L Fe.  The completely passive system was built in 2006 and consists of six oxidation/settling ponds followed by a wetland.  Treatment has decreased the iron concentrations from 70-80 mg/L to less than 3 mg/L at the final effluent; removing one ton of Fe solids daily.  Funds will assist with removing distribution piping, and install operation and maintenance friendly troughs.

PA Fish and Boat Unassessed Waters Program

Susquehanna University—$17,000

Kings College—$8,000

Lycoming College—$3,500

Although Pennsylvania contains 64,345 streams totaling approximately 86,000 miles of flowing water, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has only been able to conduct surveys and implement management strategies on slightly more than 26,000 miles.  As a result, only eight percent of the streams and 29 percent of the total stream miles are being actively managed. This grant builds on our three-year, past commitment to assess the remaining stream miles. This process is of particular interest in protecting streams for developmental pressures.

Stewards of the Lower Susquehana—Conowingo Sedimentation $10,000

Project funds will be focused on continued exploration of options for sediment removal behind the Conowingo Dam. Sediment removal is of paramount concern, as a catastrophic release during high flow would further complicate recovery efforts within the Chesapeake Bay.

Western PA Conservancy—Beaverdale Sportsman’s Easement $7,500

Project funds will be used towards surveying, and recording costs associated with a 325 acre easement.

Branden S. Diehl, Project and Grant Consultant said, “We are actively working to increase our project funding, and working with business, industry, and agencies to maximize our investment. We are hopeful about recent developments that should assist with work being completed in watersheds with Hydrologic Unit Plans. As always, we encourage grantees to call us to schedule site visits, and to discuss how FPW can assist them. We pride ourselves in providing project resources that go beyond grants/money.”

FPW’s next grant deadline is August 24, 2012 when fall Letters of Inquiry are due. To learn more about FPW’s grant process visit: To learn more about the projects they fund visit:

May 11 2012 | News | Comments Off

Rosebud Moving Forward

As reported on WJAC-TV, Rosebud Mining is moving forward on the St. Michael’s Topper Run Project. Hedging their bets that the EPA and DEP will give final approval to their discharge permits, Rosebud’s John Garcia said they have already started building their treatment system. This project would ultimately address 30 to 33 percent of the Little Conemaugh’s mine loading. Click here for news coverage.

Branden Diehl, FPW Consultant said, “I remember numerous parties proposing plans for this project. Those plans date back to my days at the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy. The plan was always focused on capturing the minerals in the water via Resource Recovery. Until Rosebud came along, I don’t think anyone was focused on active mining being the potential solution.”

R. John Dawes, FPW Executive Director said, “With our management of the GenOn settlement funds, we are excited that this project will assist us with our stewardship goals related to those funds. We should be able to see much more improvement once the Topper Run discharge is addressed.”

February 29 2012 | News | Comments Off

FPW Announces GenOn Grants

More than $350,000 awarded to local efforts to protect and restore streams.

On August 17, 2011, Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds (FPW) became the benefactor of the largest settlement agreement ever levied in the Conemaugh River Basin. The funds were part of a citizens’ suit against GenOn—a coal-fired power plant operator. As part of the settlement, FPW received $3.5M for site-specific restoration projects. The first installment of $500,000 was received in November 2011. A subsequent installment of $1.5M was received in January 2012.

R. John Dawes, FPW Executive Director, said, “Receiving the funds was a natural extension of what we do. We’ve invested more than $8M throughout Pennsylvania, and we’ve leveraged more than $118M. That’s what we were created to do—leverage local, state, and federal funds to protect healthy, natural streams and clean and restore habitats. Being named the benefactor of the settlement is not something we’ll take lightly; we will see that these funds are used appropriately and result in positive change.”

October 20, 2011 was a monumental day, as a visioning session was facilitated by The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management. The session brought together more than 30 individuals who represented more than 20 different watershed and recreational interests. Attendees shared their visions for a cleaner, healthier, and more productive Conemaugh River. With recent restoration initiatives cleaning-up the Stonycreek, attendees were excited about how we might replicate that work within the Conemaugh.

The group discussed increasing river access, river beautification projects, abandoned mine drainage treatment, new opportunities to work with industry, and a desire to work on problems from St. Michael to Johnstown to Indiana. Attendees brought project applications that ranged from $23,000 to $550,000.

The applications were reviewed and voted on by FPW’s Board, which approved projects totaling $379,000. These included correlating water health to habitat for birds and animals; funding St. Francis University for technical assistance to nonprofits working on water issues; supporting abandoned mine treatment projects; developing restoration plans for mine-impacted bodies of water; exploration of mine-pool water for geothermal purposes; and restoring plant buffers along the Conemaugh. The Board gave priority to projects that leveraged public funds and that resulted in a large environmental benefit.

Branden S. Diehl, FPW Grant and Project Consultant, said, “We were entrusted with these funds, and we are committed to working with old and new grantees to ensure we are maximizing environmental benefits. Grant applications that were declined in the first round will have an opportunity to resubmit—we’ve made it clear to applicants what they need to do in order to qualify for funds. Bottom-line, if you have a water related project in the Conemaugh Basin, we want to hear from you.”

FPW applications are available at: For a comprehensive list of projects they’ve funded, visit: The next application round closes on March 12. A subsequent grant round will be open from April 1 through July 24, 2012.

Contact:  Branden S. Diehl, FPW Grant and Project Consultant

February 08 2012 | News | Comments Off

Shale Commission

The Marcellus Shale Commission shocked some last week with their call for an impact fee. Though some were surprised, FPW was expecting this recommendation. Despite the legislatures bulking at the fee, industry is seemingly on board with something. The one surprise was the amount of work the Commission called for in terms of health, environment, and drilling. This is something that FPW and its funders are working diligently to develop. Branden S. Diehl, Grant and Project Consultant said, “We’ve started conversations with funders about a need to provide outreach to emergency responders, health practitioners, and others. We’d be anxious to work with the PA Department of Health and Department of Public Welfare. There is certainly an interest on our part of collaborate.” To learn more about the Commission’s recommendations click here.

July 18 2011 | News | Comments Off

New Grant Procedures

In an effort to streamline our grant processing, and to simplify the process for our grantees, the Foundation has unveiled a new grant process. Please note these procedural changes that go into effect immediately.

Letters of Inquiry

Convening Grants

Grant Application Process

Final Reporting

Should you have questions please contact Branden S. Diehl, Project and Grant Consultant at: 814-669-4244-303.

July 11 2011 | News | Comments Off

2011 Grant Schedule

FPW announced its 2011 grants scheduletoday. Branden S. Diehl Project and Grant Consultant encourages prospective grantees to follow the guidelines, as incomplete or improperly filed applications/requests will not be considered. Additionally, Diehl reminds grantees that FPW has a “no funding policy” for grantees that have outstanding project reports due.

November 24 2010 | News | Comments Off


Due to technology upgrades, and problems with our ISP we were forced to change our email addresses. They are longer now, but are under our registered domain—hopefully, ensuring this is the last change necessary. Please note the following changes:

Gwen Johnson,

R. John Dawes,

Branden S. Diehl,

Vi Confer,

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and for updating your records.

August 31 2010 | News | Comments Off

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