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ISC gets $664,000 for stream projects

The Intergovernmental Stormwater Committee has received a $664,000 grant to help pay for several stream restoration projects designed to reduce the amount of sediment that flows into area creeks and rivers.

The committee can use the Chesapeake Bay Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grant to pay up to half the cost of projects that will include work on the Beaverdam Branch of the Juniata River near the Altoona Water Authority’s Westerly Sewer Treatment Plant; on Brush Run through the Sylvan Hills Golf Course; on the Beaverdam Branch at the Blair County Conservation District’s NatureWorks Park; and on the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River along River Road; according to committee stormwater coordinator Chelsey Ergler.

The announcement of the Chesapeake Bay Program grant is “great news,” committee Chairman Tim Brown said at a recent meeting.

All of the projects to be funded are on the committee’s Pollution Reduction Plan, which call for reducing sediment entering streams in the Altoona urbanized area by 1.4 million pounds per year to comply with a five-year “permit” from the state Department of Environmental Protection that expires in 2023.

The committee is halfway to its permit goal, said Teddie Kreitz of Keller Engineers.

So far, since the 11 urbanized municipalities formed the committee several years ago, it has completed the dredging of the lake at Lakemont Park, stream bank stabilization at the Petre property, a detention basin at 39th Street, a pond project at Edgewood Drive, green infrastructure on Poplar Avenue, rain gardens and a landscaped area at Lakemont Park and People’s Natural Gas Field, two rain gardens near St. Therese’s Church, and one rain garden each at the Blair Township municipal building, Duncansville Memorial Park, Wordsworth Avenue, and Bellwood-Antis park, according to Ergler.

The committee was originally planning to partner with PennDOT on the Sylvan Hills project, but PennDOT has decided against it, according to Kreitz.

Committee experts still think the project is “viable,” Kreitz said.

Legal agreements are being worked out, she said.

That project will cost about $750,000, Ergler said.

The creek has caused severe erosion on the golf course during storms, Ergler said.

The project will help keep the course from losing more land to the creek, she said.

The work will be done with vegetation, not rock-filled gabion baskets, she said.

Most of the property in the Westerly project is owned by the Water Authority, although there is ground owned by PennDOT and by a private party on the side opposite the plant, according to Ergler. Trout Unlimited initiated the project in hopes of improving the fish habitat, according to Ergler.

The 38-year-old Annapolis, Md.,-based Chesapeake Bay Program is a partnership of federal and state agencies, local governments, non-profit organizations and academic institutions, according to the program website.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.

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