TULSA, Okla. (June 22, 2015)—Williams and The Conservation Fund today announced 17 conservation projects which will receive more than $2.5 million in funding through the Atlantic Sunrise Environmental Stewardship Program. Together, these projects will restore over 10 miles of wildlife habitat along streams, prevent thousands of pounds of harmful nutrients from entering waterways, and support the construction of eight miles of new trails in central and southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Atlantic Sunrise Environmental Stewardship Program is a voluntary program designed to benefit the resources and support communities within the Atlantic Sunrise project area. It is not designed to replace traditional compensatory mitigation requirements of state and federal permitting agencies.
During much of the past year, The Conservation Fund has worked with Williams to provide an objective, scientifically-based identification and evaluation of natural resource stewardship needs within the project area. This included meetings with key stakeholders to identify significant natural resources such as forests, streams, and species habitats as well as recommended environmental stewardship opportunities.
As a leading operator of pipeline infrastructure in the U.S., Williams recognizes the importance of proactively demonstrating its commitment to communities and the environment. Williams’ proposed Atlantic Sunrise project would expand and extend one of the company’s existing pipelines to northeastern Pennsylvania.
“We believe that a project as unique and far-reaching as Atlantic Sunrise requires an equally unique and significant demonstration of our willingness to step up and not only protect, but also enhance the natural resources in the project area,” said Chris Springer, Atlantic Sunrise project director. “We appreciate the guidance we received from The Conservation Fund and are confident this formal approach to environmental stewardship will greatly benefit the project area.” The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit dedicated to finding conservation solutions that balance environmental and economic needs, partnered with Williams to identify the resources most in need of enhancement and/or protection in the project area. This partnership will continue to look for stewardship opportunities as The Conservation Fund implements the current environmental stewardship package.
“This Environmental Stewardship Program is an exemplary model that recognizes the importance of working in a collaborative way to go above and beyond legally required mitigation to advance high value community projects,” said Kris Hoellen, Vice President of Sustainable Programs for The Conservation Fund. “Our goal is to support local groups as they endeavor to preserve, restore, and lands and waters that have been identified as conservation priorities valued for their clean water, recreation, and other natural resources.”
Forty-eight proposals were received from eight counties for aquatic restoration, nutrient reduction, and trail projects. The Fund used consistent criteria and optimization scenarios to select the projects with the highest opportunity for natural resource improvement and benefits.
Once complete, the 17 projects chosen to receive Environmental Stewardship funds will result in the restoration of over 10 miles and 30 acres of streamside habitat, the creation of almost eight miles of new trails expected to be used by around 200,000 people, and the storage of approximately 925 tons each year of manure, which reduces quantities of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium entering nearby streams and improves water quality.
Environmental Stewardship Recipients:
- Donegal Trout Unlimited, Lancaster County – 3 projects
- Lock Haven Trout Unlimited, Northumberland County
- Millcreek Preservation Association, Lancaster County – 2 projects
- Northumberland County Planning Department, Northumberland County
- Pequea Creek Watershed Association, Lancaster County
- Wyoming County Conservation District, Wyoming County – 6 projects
Trail Enhancement & Creation
- Northumberland County Conservation District, Northumberland County
- Rail-Trail Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Susquehanna County
- Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, Columbia County