Schuylkill River Restoration Fund Information
(Formerly the Exelon Schuylkill River Watershed Restoration Program)

Background Information:

The Exelon Schuylkill River Watershed Restoration Program resulted from the DRBC's October 27, 2004 decision to approve Exelon's application for an opportunity to demonstrate that greater operational flexibility with respect to cooling water needs at its Limerick Generating Station (LGS) would not cause negative environmental impacts to the Schuylkill River.  Moreover, less usage of Delaware River water could be realized.

"The commission believes this is a unique opportunity to not only work with a company in a regulatory program to ensure protection of our precious water resources while providing it with the flexibility to conduct its operations in a more efficient manner, but also to get critically needed funds to assist in the restoration of a watershed," DRBC Executive Director Carol R. Collier said.

According to Docket No. D-69-210 CP (FINAL) (Revision 12) (pdf 88 KB), Exelon's contribution to the fund is based on the amount of water that is not required to be pumped from the Delaware River for cooling purposes at its nuclear-powered LGS located in Montgomery County, Pa. during the demonstration period, which is set to expire no later than 2008 (Note: this docket has been extended by DRBC Resolution in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012).

On May 8, 2013 the DRBC Commissioners unanimously approved Docket No. D-69-210 CP 13 (pdf 950 KB). This docket includes provisions under which Exelon will continue to contribute to the fund based upon their annual surface water consumptive use. Exelon's contributions to the fund as of September 2013 total over $1 million dollars.

In 2005, there was a reduction of 2.63 billion gallons of water withdrawn from the Delaware River during the first year of the demonstration project and the subsequent generation of nearly $160,000 for the Schuylkill River Watershed Restoration Program. In 2006, there was a reduction of 4.519 billion gallons of water withdrawn from the Delaware River during the second year of the demonstration project and the subsequent generation of about $270,000 for the Restoration Program. In 2007, there was a reduction of over 2.7 billion gallons of water withdrawn from the Delaware River during the third year of the demonstration project and the subsequent generation of about $162,000 for the Restoration Program.

The docket language states that Exelon will make its fund payments to a non-profit or not-for-profit organization of its choosing, which will oversee, manage, and administer the restoration program. The restoration program monies are to be used solely for the purpose of supporting projects in the Schuylkill River Basin that are consistent with restoration and water management goals for the Schuylkill River.  

On January 17, 2006, Exelon announced that the Schuylkill River Heritage Area (SRHA) was its choice to oversee the Schuylkill River Watershed Restoration Program. SRHA is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting communities, organizations, and citizens of the Schuylkill River region to preserve and sustain their cultural heritage and natural environment for future generations.

A committee comprised of representatives from the DRBC, Exelon, SRHA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, and the Schuylkill Action Network review grant applications and select the recipients; additionally, the docket states that selected recipients are subject to the approval of DRBC's executive director prior to the distribution of funds.

Since being established in 2006, the fund has collected more than $2 million and funded over 30 projects.

Yearly Contribution Amounts and Projects Funded:

  • In August 2006, three projects were chosen to receive grants from funds generated in 2005; the projects that were chosen focused on agricultural improvements, streambank restoration, and headwaters protection.
  • In August 2007, another three projects were chosen to be funded through the Restoration Program. These selected projects will help correct water quality problems resulting from agricultural runoff, eroding streambanks, and acid mine drainage. Click here to view the news release on the 2007 grant announcement event.
  • In August 2008, another three projects were chosen to be funded through the Restoration Program; these selected projects will help correct water quality problems resulting from agricultural and stormwater runoff. Additionally, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by a collaboration of agencies within the Schuylkill Action Network (SAN) in order to expand the Restoration Program's funding sources in the future. Click here to view the news release on the 2008 grant announcement event.
  • In August 2009, close to $170,000 was awarded through the Restoration Program to two non-profit agencies for projects that will mitigate acid mine drainage and agricultural pollution. To view further details on the selected projects, please click here (see page 2).
  • In 2010, PWD was a first-time contributor to the Restoration Program, which has been re-named the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund (SRRF) to indicate this expansion from a solely Exelon-funded initiative. In August 2010, close to $325,000 ($224,441 from Exelon and $100,000 from PWD) was contributed to the SRRF, which is still managed by SRHA; of that amount, over $220,000 was awarded to four non-profit agencies for projects that will mitigate acid mine drainage, stormwater run-off and agricultural pollution. To view further details on the selected projects, please click here.
  • In 2011, The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) joined PWD and Exelon as a contributor to the SRRF; PDE donated $10,000 to be specifically used for land protection transactions. The Land Protection Transaction Grants (LPTG) program, a part of the SRRF debuted in the spring of 2011, provides matching grants of up to $4,000 per project to assist with transaction costs for permanent land protection projects (conservation easements, full fee acquisitions, donations, etc.) within the Schuylkill River Watershed. In September 2011, SRHA distributed close to $400,000 to seven projects that will improve the water quality of the Schuylkill River Watershed. One of the seven projects is a land conservation easement supported by the newly formed LPTG program. To view the press release about the grant distribution announcement, please click here. To view information on the seven selected projects, please click here.
  • In 2012, Aqua PA joined PWD and Exelon as a contributor to the SRRF, donating $2500, with Exelon contributing $211,092 and PWD $100,000. In August 2012, SRHA distributed around $240,000 to support five projects and four land transaction grants, all of which will improve the water quality in the Schuylkill River and its tributaries. Remaining 2012 funds will roll over to the 2013 grant program. Please click here to go to SRHA's web site for additional details, including the press release that was issued about the grant distribution announcement, a listing of funded projects, and more.
  • In September 2013, SRHA distributed a total of $358,821 to support seven projects and three land transaction grants at an awards ceremony that took place at the East Norriton Middle School in Norristown, Pa., site of the completed Stony Creek Restoration Project, a 2011 grant recipient. Contributors to the SRRF in 2013 included Aqua PA ($4,015), Exelon Corporation ($220,422), and the Philadelphia Water Department ($100,000). All funds not distributed for 2013 projects will be rolled over into the 2014 grant round. Click here to view additional information and photos from the awards ceremony.

SAN continues to work to further grow the program by seeking additional funders.

For more information about the SRRF, including how to apply for a grant, please review the guidelines that are now available on the SRHA's web site.