The Brandywine Conservancy is excited to announce it has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). As part of NFWF’s 2019 Delaware River Restoration Fund, this grant is a multistate investment to restore habitats and deliver practices that ultimately improve and protect critical sources of drinking water. With these funds, the Brandywine will help implement agricultural best management practices using a whole- farm approach within the headwater reaches of the Red Clay Creek and White Clay creek sub-watersheds, with a special focus on landowner education and outreach.
“NFWF’s support is a great show of confidence in the work of the Brandywine Conservancy,” noted director Ellen Ferretti. “These funds will enable us to expand the vital work being done to improve water quality along the Brandywine–Christina Watershed, specifically within the sub-watersheds of the Red and White Clay creeks. Using a holistic approach, we work directly with landowners to look at every component on their farm that affects water quality and then collaborate on implementing best management practices that diminish the impacts of water pollution. We look forward to increasing our efforts with landowners to better protect the water in these sub-watersheds.”
The identified Red and White Clay Creek stream sections are currently listed as “impaired” by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection due to agricultural stressors. These stream sections represent headwaters where restoration work will have the greatest impact to downstream users, as well as create measurable water quality improvements. With concentrated efforts in these streams, the Brandywine hopes its work will ultimately result in achieving “attained” water quality status; re-establish wild trout populations; reduce physical, chemical and biological impacts of agricultural run-off; and support long-term water quality improvements.
Several federal and state leaders across Pennsylvania and Delaware expressed their support of the Brandywine Conservancy and the NFWF grant award, noting the importance of the work being done along the watershed.
“Our ongoing efforts to support economically viable and environmentally friendly agricultural practices is part of what makes Chester County so special,” said Pennsylvania state senator Andy Dinniman (D–Chester County). “These funds will strengthen the Brandywine Conservancy’s efforts to protect and preserve the Red Clay Creek and White Clay Creek Watersheds. I am proud to say that their work will continue to bolster the beautiful spaces we have in our county, while also conserving our environmental treasures.”
“The Brandywine Conservancy is a valued leader in promoting the protection of our watersheds and natural resources,” commented Pennsylvania state senator Tom Killion (R–Chester and Delaware). “This grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation is an acknowledgement of its vital work engaging others in its mission and protecting the Red Clay Creek and White Clay Creek sub-watersheds.
“The Brandywine Conservancy safeguards tens of thousands of acres from development in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and I’m excited that this federal funding will help them continue their important work,” noted U.S. senator Chris Coons (D–DE). “This organization, founded by local citizens seeking to protect and conserve our natural and cultural resources, continues to be a strong advocate for our environment. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant, made possible by the generosity of the William Penn Foundation and other federal supporters, will contribute to the restoration of the Red Clay Creek and White Clay Creek watersheds.”
“I’m so pleased that our office could help secure this $200,000 grant for the Brandywine Conservancy in Chadds Ford,” said U.S. representative Chrissy Houlahan (D–PA). “This money will go towards their project entitled, ‘Restoring the Red Clay Creek and White Clay Creek Watersheds’, which is an incredible program that will help educate farmers and landowners with the best approaches to managing their agricultural land. I remain committed to supporting the work they’re doing for our local agricultural community.”
The geography for the Brandywine’s work will encompass the Red Clay Creek and White Clay Creek in Chester County, PA, within East and West Marlborough, Kennett, London Grove, Londonderry, New Garden, and Penn Townships; and Kennett Square, Borough. The project will also build on the Brandywine Conservancy’s ongoing successful projects as part of the William Penn Foundation’s Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI).
Tasked with leading one of the eight targeted areas identified by the DRWI as priority zones—where interventions could significantly safeguard or improve clean water— the Brandywine Conservancy is one of six non-profit partner organizations working together to protect, improve and restore water quality in the Brandywine-Christina Watershed. The watershed encompasses over 565 square miles in parts of Delaware and Pennsylvania, including the Brandywine River, Red and White Clay Creeks, and the Christina River. Streams and rivers in the Brandywine-Christina Watershed provide 100 million gallons of drinking water to more than 500,000 people each day.