In 2003, the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Fish and Boat Commission, and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds formed the Coldwater Heritage Partnership to provide grants for conserving and protecting coldwater streams across PA, particularly those with naturally reproducing trout. The program helps generate water conservation plans, implement riparian buffers and in-stream aquatic habitat structures, restore streambanks, and address invasive species.
Since its inception, the Coldwater Heritage Partnership has provided approximately 173 planning grants and completed 62 implementation projects, providing financial and technical assistance to grassroots organizations. The program encourages partnerships and links partners with the expertise needed to create successful projects. Additionally, the program focuses on building connections with the local community by hosting public meetings and place-based events that emphasize the importance of watershed health.
Funding for the Coldwater Heritage Partnership comes primarily from DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2), supported by the Environmental Stewardship Fund. Without state funding, this program would not exist, and it would be nearly impossible for grantees to leverage other funding sources. Even with DCNR as a major funder of the program, they have to turn away several great projects due to insufficient funds, struggling to fulfill the enormous need to fund high-quality coldwater streams, which make up less than 30% of PA streams.