It will also be used to develop an outreach campaign to the Mennonite community and to educate and encourage farmers to participate in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Farm Stewardship Program, according to the grant description.
A detailed assessment of the east branch of the Antietam also will be done, according to association Vice President Pat Heefner. The assessment will help determine the effect on the watershed of proposed commercial and residential development and identify remedies such as stormwater management projects, she said.
The grant identifies a number of partners with the association that will contribute another $114,000 to the various projects. Those partners include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Franklin County Conservation District, Dickinson College, Penn State Mont Alto and Trout Unlimited.
In Pennsylvania, the watershed includes the area from the head waters of the Antietam Creek near South Mountain, Pa., and the area of the east and west branches of the Antietam. The branches join together at the Maryland line and flow into the Potomac River, according to Rettig.
About 91 square miles of the watershed is in Pennsylvania, he said. The two major problems facing the watershed are high levels of nitrates and a lack of forest buffers along the creek's course, according to Rettig.
In two years, the association has done two riparian projects along Marsh Run and a third on West Antietam Creek. Rettig said the association works with farmers, urging them to fence off sections of the waterways from their livestock. Between the fences and the banks, volunteers plant vegetation that prevents erosion, filters the water before it enters creeks and streams and provides shade to cool the water and protect aquatic life, he said.
Because so much of the waterways are exposed to sunlight, Rettig said the water is too warm to promote natural breeding of trout and other fish. "Most of the trout that are in there now are stocked," he said.
Next month, the association will do a streamside project along a section of the Antietam that flows through the Quincy Village retirement community, Rettig said.
"They've worked hard to secure the grant," Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher said. "They're working hard with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to do all the right things and keep the quality of water in our creeks as high as possible," he said.
Christopher said he hopes the association and township can work closely together on future water quality projects.