The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 27, 2013

Area watershed groups awarded settlement funds

The Tribune-Democrat

— The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds became the beneficiary of the largest settlement agreement ever levied in the Conemaugh River Basin on Aug. 17, 2011.

The funds were part of a citizens’ suit against GenOn, a coal-fired power plant operator.

As part of the settlement, the foundation received $3.5 million for site-specific restoration projects.

The first installment of $500,000 was received in November 2011, and a subsequent installment of $1.5 million was received in January 2012.

On Nov. 27, the foundation’s board agreed to fund nine additional GenOn projects totaling $373,000, with awards ranging from $7,000 to $58,000.

Those who received awards are:

• Cambria County Conservation District, for access road stabilization to Wilmore Dam and stream restoration.

• Conemaugh Valley Conservancy, for water quality monitoring.

• Southern Alleghenies Conservancy, for stream restoration and Wilmore Dam shoreline.

• Evergreen Conservancy, for water quality monitoring.

• Indiana County Conservation District, for Young Township dirt and gravel roads.

• Somerset Conservation District, for habitat development downstream of Quemahoning Dam.

• St. Francis University, for technical assistance to watershed groups.

• Trust for Tomorrow, for continuation of farm outreach efforts.

• Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, for Hirsch Road dirt and gravel road project.

At November’s meeting, the foundation’s board decided to re-evaluate GenOn funding priorities.

Until new prioritizations are made, the foundation will not accept any unsolicited proposals.

The board and staff are currently working with local, state and federal agencies to determine how best to leverage the remaining $2.5 million.

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