Archive for January, 2011

The Future of Growing Greener

Friday, January 7th, 2011

By Andy McAllister, Regional Coordinator

Yesterday’s announcement of Growing Greener grant awards by Governor Rendell serves as a reminder of how important Growing Greener is to our reclamation community. The Governor’s announcement also stands in stark contrast to the possible demise of that program in the not too distant future. As most funding avenues continue to get smaller and smaller, the environmental successes fostered in part by the Growing Greener program come to the forefront. Streams across the region are recovering and our mine scarred land is healing. This work, funded in part or in whole by Growing Greener is all due to the hard work of our County Conservation Districts, local Watershed groups, and many municipalities. We can continue to build upon these environmental success stories in the coming years, but we have challenges to face.

In spite of our community’s incredible success stories in cleaning up Abandoned Mine Drainage throughout the state, there is so much more to do. Our work is far from being done. But, with Growing Greener’s funding dwindling, our work could slow dramatically.

Along with that challenge, is the danger that we may lose funding for our county Watershed Specialist positions in 2012. The Watershed Specialist positions have traditionally been funded through the Growing Greener program and if that program isn’t funded or some kind of dedicated funding stream isn’t found, our Watershed Specialists, important links between the grassroots effort and state agencies, will be gone.

The director of the Renew Growing Greener Coalition, Andrew Heath, had this to say in a press release yesterday, “It is imperative that we provide the information to our policy-makers necessary to elevate this issue to the highest priority. Funding for Growing Greener is not a luxury, it is essential for the future economic vitality of the state, and for the future of our rich natural heritage”.

As a member of the Renew Growing Greener Coalition, WPCAMR couldn’t agree more. With the changes in our state government leadership, it’s even more important now that we communicate the need for Growing Greener and the need for our Watershed Specialists to our legislators. The environmental successes brought about by our reclamation community stand as a testament to the strength of community action and the importance of the Growing Greener program.

To find out how your county Watershed Specialist can help you, contact your local county Conservation District office. To find the contact information for your county Conservation District, go to:

To find contact information for your state representative and senator, go to: and enter your zipcode.

For more information on the Renew Growing Greener Coalition, go to: