Stormwater funding for small property owners is available from now through the end of December 2020. Emphasis is shifting to individuals and property owners to be involved in improving standards for clean water in our communities. “Growing environmental stewardship in our neighborhoods will build sustainable communities for us, our children, and future generations,” said Madge Monser, current Chair of the EAC. “We have to be the difference by seeking opportunities we can implement in our public spaces and private property, engaging the Ambler community at some level to do their part.”
Regulations and grant funding are two avenues for local communities adopt to educate and engage better practices for managing water, one of our most critical resources. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulates municipalities, industries and facilities that release storm water into impaired streams through a permit process. DEP is using Growing Greener Grants to encourage communities and organizations to figure out additional ways to implement best land management and stormwater management practices through more public education and public involvement.
The Ambler Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) was awarded a $206,000 DEP grant to accomplish borough wide management of stormwater by involving residents and property owners. “It is fairly rare that a Growing Greener Grant is awarded to an EAC applicant,” said David Burke, DEP Office of Watersheds. “We believe that EACs have a unique ability to activate grassroots involvement when supported by their townships.”
The mission of EAC is “Creating a Culture of Stewardship.”
Over the next year and a half, the DEP grant will significantly subsidize Ambler Borough property owners to implement one or more features proven to hold back rain water and reduce the amount of discharge or flow to streams during storms. Available to all property owners within borough limits are: rain barrels, downspout planter boxes, rain gardens, replacement of patios with permeable pavers; and to some owners near streams: stream bank trees and bushes, and steep slope terraces. The EAC arranges for a free on-site stormwater consultation to assess suitability of the various features for each property.
“A majority of the Ambler property owners will need to adopt at least one new feature that will allow more of the rain which flows off their yards and roofs to infiltrate on their land,” encouraged Susan Curry, a strong Ambler sustainability advocate. Stormwater responsibility means “the rain that falls on your property stays on your property,” Curry clarified. “All the features hold back some of the rain so that it can be released more slowly when used to benefit your landscape.”
“It’s not simple, normal, or easy to get people to do something better for the local streams, but it is logical to appeal to them with incentives such as subsidies and reduction of fees,” added Monser. “We have the grant money to offer reduced costs. To participate, homeowners need to attend one of our online webinars.”
The workshop schedule can be seen at Growing Ambler Greener Website.
“There is a role for everyone.” Monser said. “People who live outside of the Borough or who don’t own property can contribute to the EACs efforts by attending a meeting, as a volunteer with a single event installation, or by taking a role in one of the projects.”
Organizations are helping too. The Rotary Club of Ambler has contributed $1400, and J.P.Mascaro & Sons have given $500 to assist in Growing Ambler Greener efforts called “Clean Streams, Clean Water”. For more information on how to get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org