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State Agency Action Overview

Summary of State Actions to Support Local Progress

This page provides an overview of the actions Pennsylvania is taking to support adaptation efforts at the local level by sector.


The Department of Conservation of Natural Resources’ (DCNR) Bureau of Forestry established TreeVitalize, a public-private partnership to help build capacity within communities to plant and care for trees, as well as offer educational programs to help citizens understand the diverse benefits and importance of maintaining tree health in urban and natural settings. Additionally, DCNR received a U.S. Forest Service grant to provide communities with the Pennsylvania Community TreeMap tool. The tool offers communities a means of conducting tree inventories, storing data on trees, and tracking tree maintenance activities. The tool is intended to communicate the economic benefits of tree canopies within a municipality and can help community tree managers make more informed and resilient land planning decisions. DCNR also developed the Citizen Monitoring Tree Training Toolkit, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, to help communities conduct their own young tree monitoring to ensure the sustainability of tree plantings.


The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) (the Commonwealth’s state revolving fund for water infrastructure) is encouraging investment in environmentally responsible and resilient solutions for water infrastructure through its Green Initiatives grant program. PENNVEST’s efforts to provide low-interest loans for green infrastructures to support adaptation of municipal stormwater infrastructure to changing rainfall patterns was featured in an American River’s report. In addition to these state actions, the City of Philadelphia has been a national leader in using green infrastructure to manage stormwater and prepare for the impacts of climate change. For example, PENNVEST loans were leveraged to support implementation of some of the green stormwater management projects identified in Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program, a pioneering a multi-decade investment strategy for using green infrastructure to reduce sewer overflows to the city’s waterways and enhance the urban environment, as detailed in the city’s Implementation and Adaptive Management Plan.


To promote water conservation and contribute to a more resilient water supply future, Pennsylvania developed several tools. In 2017, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) created several interactive web-based tools that allow the public and policymakers to access annual water use data and water quality data that the state collects. Maintaining and restoring buffers is a key strategy for improving water quality and aquatic habitat and preventing floods in Pennsylvania, as well as increasing resilience in the face of changing precipitation patterns and climate change. DEP also provides online stories and maps for the public to learn about the importance of protecting aquatic ecosystems and also provides Pennsylvanians with an interactive case study on the Susquehanna River. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is promoting the restoration of riparian buffer systems through Pennsylvania’s Buffer Initiative’s educational materials and River Conservation Grants.


(Research last updated: July 13, 2018).


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