Riverkeeper note: The following is a press release from the Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance. We will be following up with more info on this update soon, including ways people can get involved with the important work being done by the SCRA.
Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance (SCRA) has received notification of a grant selection by the Biden-Harris Administration through the US Environmental Protection Agency. These grants address environmental justice projects across Pennsylvania as part of the Investing in America Agenda. SCRA served as the grant applicant; partners are FAR Better Together and Shamokin Community Gardens and Pocket Parks. The maximum award of $500,000 was requested and granted. The Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) program intentionally targeted small, non-profit organizations that historically struggle to receive federal funding.
The local award will establish a brick-and-mortar presence in the Shamokin Area and provide a full-time community coordinator position. Area non-profits will be invited to participate in the pooling of resources, volunteers, and services.
Citing the pre-pandemic town hall meeting held in February 2020, organizers recognized the need for grass roots revitalization efforts in the community. As a result, several groups were formed with the goal of improving life in the greater Shamokin area.
Currently, each of the partners is working independently without the benefit of paid staff.
ll engage in fundraising efforts, but in a small economically depressed area, organizations often find themselves in competition for scarce resources. Another problem with “working in silos” is that projects are sometimes duplicated. By joining forces, groups will have access to more volunteers, ideas, skill sets, and funding opportunities. In addition to dedicated staff, the funds will provide for a local office that is visible and accessible.
SCRA Vice President Steve Motyka credits the group approach in the successful application, "With this award, we are exploring a path forward which we haven’t explored yet. We will be combining the efforts of multiple community-based organizations while we work as a larger team to face our community’s challenges. We will engage other nonprofits, business leaders, faith groups, academia, and government as we move into the future. With this new approach, we are expecting great results.”
“When we help enable rural communities to tackle their most pressing issues, we invest in their future,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “This EPA grant will allow the Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance and its partners to coordinate efforts on acid mine drainage cleanup and other projects from a new storefront where they can also build stronger relationships between community members and organizations that will
work together to improve the quality of life in the region.”
An EPA advisor will be assigned to the group in the near future. Further developments will be made public through local media outlets and social media.
About Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance:
Our mission is to partner with local government, businesses, and citizens in clean-up efforts, provide educational opportunities for residents living within the watershed to learn about Abandoned Mine Land issues, and restore Abandoned Mine Lands to a condition supportive of commercial and residential development and recreational uses.
The Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance was founded in 1996. To become a member or learn more about the organization go to shamokincreek.org or facebook.com/shamokincreek.
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.