|Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has approved
a program to award grants of up to $100,000 to projects to restore the Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed,
which was damaged in a June 30, 2006, train derailment in rural Norwich Township, McKean County. The action was
taken at yesterday’s
The program stems from a settlement with Norfolk Southern as a result of 31 rail cars
derailing and spilling sodium hydroxide into Big Fill Run, Sinnemahoning-Portage Creek and the Driftwood
Branch of the Sinnemahoning Creek. Under the settlement, Norfolk Southern agreed to pay the Commonwealth
$7.35 million as restitution for environmental damages. The PFBC received $3.675 million of the settlement and must
use the funds to develop and implement projects that benefit fishing, boating and aquatic resources in Cameron, Elk,
McKean or Potter counties.
The PFBC’s primary
emphasis will be on projects in the Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed, upstream of the confluence with the
First Fork of Sinnemahoning Creek. Projects that will be considered for funding include, for example,
acid mine drainage abatement; habitat protection, enhancement and restoration; and the acquisition
of properties for public fishing and access.
The grant application and project guidelines will be made available to
the public through the PFBC website by the end of October. The first round of grants will be awarded
in spring of 2009 for projects to be started in summer of 2009.
A complete copy of the meeting schedule
and the full agenda can be found on the PFBC’s web site at www.fishandboat.com/minutes.htm.
The mission of the
Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic
resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating
in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.