The Brandywine Conservancy has been awarded a grant of nearly $500,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The funds will be used to protect and restore water quality in a 15.5-square-mile area of farmland in the headwaters of the Brandywine Creek's west branch, which will benefit local residents and downstream communities. The conservancy will collaborate on the project with Stroud Water Research Center and Brandywine Red Clay Alliance, working together with farmers in Salisbury Township in Lancaster County and Honey Brook Township in Chester County.
The Brandywine and its tributaries are a major source of drinking water for more than a half million people, including the communities of Downingtown, Coatesville, and West Chester, as well as the residents of Wilmington, Del. The Brandywine also provides water for commercial, agricultural, and industrial uses.
Using the grant funds, the partners will work with farmers in this predominantly Plain Sect community to provide technical assistance to farmers and promote and implement agricultural best management practices (BMPs) that increase profitability while protecting and restoring the water quality of the Brandywine at its source. These BMPs may include stream bank fencing to keep livestock out of streams, managing barnyard run-off, assisting with manure management, installing stabilized stream crossings, and planting trees along the stream corridors, all to help keep sediments and pollutants out of the streams.
The project aims to restore dozens of streams in the Brandywine headwaters area that are currently listed as "impaired" by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to "un-impaired" status.
For more information, readers may visit brandywine.org.