Watershed-Friendly PA Program Expands; Launches New Website

Watershed-Friendly PA Program Expands to Large Properties and Urban/Small Lots and Apartments; Launches New Website Watershedfriendlypa.org

Watershed-Friendly PA is a project of the Nurture Nature Center and Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program. 

Seeking to increase the amount of areas throughout Pennsylvania that positively contribute to watershed health, the Watershed-Friendly PA program provides education about best management practices and certification for those incorporating those practices in their daily lives and on their properties. 

The Watershed-Friendly program recognizes property owners who incorporate best practices in managing and protecting water resources, provide habitat for wildlife and pollinators on their property, and minimize their potential impact on water quality. In order to achieve the certification, individuals and organizations must commit to working towards the objectives of the Watershed-Friendly PA Program, which include:

Reducing stormwater runoff, reducing pollution, conserving water, supporting wildlife and pollinators, and participating in community-based watershed protection activities.

Launched in 2020 with support from PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Environmental Education Award, the program has resulted in over 1,200 acres of property being certified watershed-friendly in counties across the state. PA DEP continued its support of the program through grant funding in 2022-2023 to expand the program to additional property and individual types as well as to launch a brand new website, watershedfriendlypa.org.

Why should individuals check out the program? Healthy landscapes make healthy communities and the practices encouraged through the program help protect local streams and rivers and promote habitat for birds, fish, and other wildlife. Program certification brings awareness to the importance of watershed health and helps educate others about healthy watersheds. The website offers guidance, resources, inspiration and ideas, and allows property owners to fill out a simple online application to qualify for the watershed-friendly certification. 

There are three different applications: urban small lot or apartment (less than 10,500 square feet), mid-sized property (0.25 acres to 15 acres), and large-sized property (over 15 acres).  The urban small lot or apartment is designed for anyone who manages or shares management of an outdoor space measuring less than 10,500 square feet, or who manages a streetside, patio, or rooftop garden, or who only controls their indoor living environment, and recognizes community members who incorporate best practices into their lives and where they live. 

No matter your living situation, you can positively impact drinking water and watersheds, near you and downstream.  Help make PA watershed-friendly!

Upcoming webinars offering more information are planned for May 11th at noon (register at https://extension.psu.edu/watershed-friendly-property-certification-expansion) and May 31st at 7 pm (register at https://extension.psu.edu/watershed-friendly-certification-program-for-urban-or-small-spaces). 

For more information: https://watershedfriendlypa.org/