Habitat Improvement

Funding Opportunity for Farmers and Landowners

The York County Conservation District is pleased to announce a habitat improvement funding opportunity for farmers and private landowners in York County, Pennsylvania.

In 2014, the Department of Environmental Protection issued a water quality certification for the continued operation and maintenance of Exelon’s Muddy Run Pumped Storage Project.  Exelon wishes to preserve this virtually emissions-free generating capacity and its electrical output while enhancing both environmental integrity and local community relationships.  A condition of the certification requires that $4 million be provided by Exelon to fund a variety of projects through 2030 that will help Pennsylvania achieve commitments to protect the Chesapeake Bay.  Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan identifies priority best management practices to achieve its goals of reducing total nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment.


The Problem

Water quality in the Chesapeake Bay has degraded to a poor condition and, despite extensive restoration efforts, the poor water quality has continued.  This required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) to establish a “pollution diet” for the Bay, called a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).  The TMDL identifies pollutant reductions from major sources of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment that are needed to restore the Bay and sets pollution limits to meet water quality standards established for the Bay and its tidal rivers.

The Solution

The District is encouraging landowners to implement priority Habitat Improvement Projects.  Priority funding will be given to projects that include forested stream buffers of at least 50 feet in width and wetlands creation projects. In addition, projects that provide long term protection and/or maintenance (through deed restrictions, conservation easement, or other maintenance protection) are preferred. The District will seek to leverage the Exelon HIP Funds with other funding sources and will work with government and non-government organizations to implement habitat improvement projects.

How the EHIP Program Works

  • Grant applications are accepted on a continual basis.
  • Exelon HIP Funds shall be used for the implementation of agricultural pasture and barnyard best management practices and other habitat improvement projects to address sediment and nutrient problems;
  • PADEP-SCRO approves all projects prior to contract signing, including budget;
  • All size farms are eligible, as are non-farm properties;
  • Maintenance of BMP’s is an eligible practice (must have a connection to water);
  • Projects involving monitoring and audit, eligible administrative expense;
  • $71,250 maximum per project;
  • Administrative funding, including engineering support, may not exceed 5% of a project grant;
  • Exelon would pay for signage where appropriate and landowner approves;

Priority Ag BMPs:

  • Forested stream buffers (Priority)
  • Wetlands creation (Priority)
  • Barnyard BMPs
  • Pasture BMPs
  • Field BMPs
  • Stream restoration

Other priority BMPs:

  • Forested stream buffers (Priority)
  • Wetlands creation (Priority)
  • Riparian buffer maintenance
  • Stream restoration and maintenance
  • In-stream habitat improvement and maintenance

If you are interested in learning more about the program click on the guidelines below or contact the District staff listed.


For more information about ag-related BMPs, contact Mark Flaharty, Ag Resource Conservationist at 717-840-7430 or e-mail mflaharty@yorkccd.org.

For more information about other habitat improvement BMPs, contact Emily Neideigh, Watershed Specialist, at 717-840-7430 or e-mail eneideigh@yorkccd.org.

Mail Applications to:

York County Conservation District, 2401 Pleasant Valley Road, Suite #101, Room 139, York, PA 17402.