Power of Partnership: EPA Delists Two Segments of Turtle Creek from the Agriculturally Impaired Streams List


Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120



DEP Newsroom

Shapiro Administration and Partners Celebrate Turtle Creek Watershed Stream Restoration, Investments, and Water Quality Improvements

Stream delisting highlights the importance of strong partnerships in restoring the Chesapeake Bay watershed

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) joined the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), Senator Gene Yaw, Senator Scott Martin, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, and the Chesapeake Conservancy to celebrate portions of the Turtle Creek watershed in southeastern Union County being removed, or “delisted” from the federal Clean Water Act impaired waters list. Stream delisting and improving water quality in Pennsylvania is a long-term goal for the Shapiro Administration, including in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Photo Credit: Pennsylvania DEP

“We are proud to showcase the significant accomplishments made to improve Turtle Creek and the surrounding watershed. Restoring water quality and habitat while maintaining the watershed as a working agricultural landscape was no small undertaking, and it is yielding incredible results,” said DEP Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley. “The Turtle Creek watershed is a prime example of how strong partnerships, innovation, and sustained and strategic investments have restored local streams. This success would not have been possible without our state and local agency partners, including the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy and county conservation districts. Together, we’ll restore more streams and protect more watersheds across Pennsylvania.”

The Union County Conservation District hosted attendees for an informational session on Turtle Creek watershed projects through an innovative block grant model using Growing Greener and other funds. Leaders discussed the importance of investing in local water quality.

“Turtle Creek is evidence that Pennsylvania’s investments in cleaner water and healthier soil are working,” said PDA Secretary Russell Redding. “Pennsylvania is a national leader in preserving prime farmland and in adopting innovative farming practices that restore our waterways and soil. Keeping us a national leader is one reason Governor Josh Shapiro has proposed investing $10 million in a new Agriculture Innovation and Conservation Fund that will make successes like we’re celebrating today happen more often, and ensure clean, healthy water to support healthy families and healthy farms in the future.”

“The Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy is thrilled to see the northcentral stream partnership’s work is creating cleaner water in Turtle Creek and other streams throughout the region,” said Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy Executive Director Renee Carey. “It’s a team effort to select, design, and implement each and every project. We’re grateful to be part of a team that is improving local waterways one project at a time.”

The tour continued at the Mary Beth and Frank Griffith Farm, where DEP Acting Secretary Shirley, PDA Secretary Redding, DCNR Policy Director Nicole Faraguna, PFBC Executive Director Timothy Schaeffer, Senator Yaw, Senator Scott Martin, and President of Chesapeake Conservancy Joel Dunn spoke about the importance of investing in the improvement, restoration, and protection of our local water.

Photo Credit: Pennsylvania DEP

“The success we celebrate today is just the start of what we can achieve when we apply funding in a more strategic way and align it with local goals and expertise. With the new Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program directing funding to agriculturally-impaired waters based on local priorities, and expansion of the Chesapeake Conservancy’s data-driven guidance, we are equipping our local partners to push the gas pedal on their clean water efforts,” said Pennsylvania Delegation Chair, Chesapeake Bay Commission Senator Gene Yaw.

“Today’s event is recognition of the success of Pennsylvania’s efforts to support healthier waterways, including the Clean Streams Fund, which is being held up as a national model for other states. We are proud to be stepping up with new ideas that are focused first on Pennsylvania’s own waters, but also benefit our neighbors downstream,” said Appropriations Committee Chair Senator Scott Martin.

“Today, at Turtle Creek, the conservation community has proven the power of partnership by implementing a strategic and focused approach to improving agriculturally impaired waterways, marking a turning point for the Chesapeake Bay restoration movement,” said Joel Dunn, President & CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy. “Now what we need is the will and additional resources to deploy this type of data-driven, successful strategy watershed-wide.”

“The success story being written here on Turtle Creek is nothing short of remarkable and should inspire us to keep working to conserve, protect, and enhance our aquatic resources statewide,” said PFBC Executive Director Tim Schaeffer. “By improving the water quality locally, the benefits are ultimately realized hundreds of miles downstream where fish and other aquatic life benefit throughout the Susquehanna River watershed and Chesapeake Bay.”

The stream partnership has continued its ongoing commitment to Turtle Creek with a stream restoration, riparian buffer – plants that help protect the stream habitat – and pollinator habitat project at Turtle Creek Park in East Buffalo Township. The project was recently recognized with the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.

Photo Credit: Pennsylvania DEP

“With a get stuff done mentality on this work, the Shapiro Administration has been able to partner with East Buffalo Township and community partners to quickly accomplish and develop a plan to improve water quality, protect wildlife habitats, and create new recreational opportunities at Turtle Creek,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “This important work is critical in supporting the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the health and wellness in communities like East Buffalo Township. Let this initiative serve as a template for what we can do when we work together to support our environment.”

For more information about the ongoing Turtle Creek restoration effort, view the interactive story map at www.dep.pa.gov/turtlecreek.

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