|Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today awarded approximately $400,000 in boating facility grants to projects in four counties and approved fish passage and habitat grants for projects on the Lehigh River and in Franklin County. Also during the quarterly meeting, Commissioners elected William Worobec as president and Robert Bachman, Ph.D., as vice president.
The boating facility grants include:
- Borough of Berwick, Columbia County - $147,000. The Borough of Berwick will rehabilitate the Test Track Park boat launch facility located along the North Branch of the Susquehanna River by replacing the single lane ramp with a new two-lane concrete boat launch ramp. In addition, the borough plans to provide Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible parking spaces, expand the parking area, install a removable floating dock, provide lighting and construct a rock jetty to prevent sediment from building up along the launch area. This is the largest boat launch facility between Sunbury and Wilkes-Barre along the North Branch of the Susquehanna River.
- City of Sunbury, Northumberland County - $150,000. The city is constructing a $10 million Riverfront Improvement Project between the floodwall and the Susquehanna River. The project includes a marina, bicycle and pedestrian pathways, an amphitheater, concessions and a scenic overlook. The city will use the grant to develop the marina, which includes the installation of 16 floating dock sections.
- Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, Union County - $9,637. The conservancy will use the grant to acquire a parcel of land in Gregg Township, Union County, to develop a hand-carry canoe/kayak launch. The property is located along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River upriver from Allenwood. This facility will provide the only public access area on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in Union County.
- Borough of Shickshinny, Luzerne County - $96,000. The borough will use the grant to construct a new boat launch facility along the North Branch of the Susquehanna River. The new facility will include the construction of a gravel access road, a gravel parking area with two paved ADA accessible parking spaces, a gangway and floating docks, a single lane concrete boat launch ramp, and an ADA accessible pathway from the parking area to the boat docks.
Commissioners also approved a grant of up to $150,000 to the Wildlands Conservancy to fund the feasibility analysis of alternatives to improve fish passage at the Easton and Chain dams on the Lehigh River. The Commission has obtained $75,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/American Rivers Fish Passage Program and, as a match, $75,000 in planning funds held by the Palmerton Trustee Council.
The habitat grant approved today will be used by Wilson College for a project to address the removal of a small dam, wetland construction, and stream and riparian restoration on Conococheague Creek in Franklin County. The grant is for an amount up to $294,600.
In other action today, the Commission:
- Adopted the agency’s new five-year strategic plan (see separate release).
- Approved the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking containing proposed amendments to the royalty rate schedule for the extraction of sand and gravel from Commonwealth waters. The current royalty rate schedule, adopted in 1997, will expire on Dec. 31, 2010. If adopted on final rulemaking, these amendments will go into effect Jan. 1, 2011.
- Authorized the acquisition of property rights in Antis Township, Blair County. The property contains access to Sandy Run. The Commission has designated a portion of Sandy Run as a Class A wild trout stream, and the Department of Environmental Protection has designated it as a High Quality stream. Sandy Run provides a significant amount of the coldwater flow to the Little Juniata River, and wetlands located in or along the floodplain of Sandy Run are Exceptional Value and one of the most significant wetlands in Blair County. The Commission has entered into an option agreement in the amount of $90,000 to purchase 49.45 acres and a 1.52 acre easement for public fishing, boating, fishery and riparian buffer management and access on a portion of the adjacent property designated the Kiln Tract. Funding will come from two sources – the John Kennedy Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Blair County Conservation District.
- Approved adding to the list of Class A wild trout waters a total of seven streams in Carbon, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, and Pike counties.
- Approved a grant not to exceed $75,000 to the Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area for a public access improvement project on the lower Susquehanna River in York County. The project includes the creation of a water trail landing with a floating dock, boat access deck/bulkhead, and canoe/kayak launch and a boardwalk, interpretive pavilion, pedestrian crossing and walkways, signage, access drive with parking enhancements and landscaping. The grant will be used to help defray the cost of the $709,000 project.
- Approved a bog turtle restoration project. In 2009, the Commission applied for, and received approval for, $297,000 of National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) funds for bog turtle recovery efforts. Using these NFWF funds, the Commission will enter into cooperative agreements with partners to fund projects that the Commission has identified as high priority for recovery of this species. Commissioners also authorized the Executive Director to approve individual grants utilizing up to $100,000 of NFWF and other pass-through monies per grantee, per year, for projects meeting the Commission’s objectives relating to the conservation of endangered, threatened, candidate and other rare species.
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.