The City of Allentown is being awarded a $6,000 Lehigh Valley Greenways Conservation Landscape 2019 Matching Mini Grant Award to support the riparian buffers in Cedar Beach Park and Lehigh Parkway.
The proposed project would address stormwater management issues, reduce streambank erosion, and stabilize the streambanks, while also enhancing water purification, mitigating flooding, and creating natural habitat for wildlife.
The project includes planting 44 native trees and 34 shrubs in a one-quarter-acre area along the Little Cedar Creek and 160 native trees in a 2.3-acre area along the Little Lehigh River.
The city also plans to install signage that educates visitors as to the presence, purpose, and maintenance of the riparian buffers. Signage will note that the area is a “grow zone” or “no mowing” zone.
The city will work to eradicate invasive plant species that exist along the project areas, so the native meadow grasses, trees and shrubs will have the best opportunity to establish and thrive. Best management practices will be used to slow and manage stormwater and mitigate flooding.
Receipt of the grant requires site visits from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of Forestry before executing the agreement and after the planting is complete.
The city received notice of the grant award in a letter from Claire W. Sadler, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Director of Trails & Conservation and Co-Lead of Lehigh Valley Greenways Conservation Landscape.
Lehigh Valley Greenways also awarded a $2,000 matching grant to the Friends of the Allentown Parks to support Get Back to Nature! – Trees and Water School-Based Environmental Education.
Get Back to Nature! is a project designed to increase young people’s interest in the environment/science and impart on them the importance and impact the environment has on quality of life.
Allentown School District elementary school students will participate in STEM educational activities presented in English and Spanish. The grant will support an educational module on trees where students learn to identify different trees and learn about their role in the natural landscape. Students participate in a hands-on activity where they learn how to properly pot, care for, and maintain a seedling in their own classrooms. Students then take a field trip to plant their trees in specific areas in various city parks.
Get Back to Nature! also delivers a module on water pollution and conservation that includes engagement via a 3D EnviroScape Watershed/Non-Point Source model that provides an interactive demonstration of the sources and effects of water pollution. Students learn about storm water runoff, how pollutants travel through the watershed to bodies of water, and how to prevent it. The demonstration includes interactive information on water treatment, the impact of trees/riparian buffers, and storm drainage. Children work in small groups, with each group receiving their own EnviroScape Point Source watershed kit.