HARRISBURG - State Growing Greener grants will allow the Northumberland and Montour County conservation districts to undertake five projects to abate stream bank erosion and control manure runoff at local farms, according to state Sen. John Gordner, R-27.

"As a continuing commitment to meet the objectives of the Chesapeake Bay strategy, these projects will improve water quality by preventing erosion as well as farm runoff into area streams," Gordner was quoted in a statement issued by his office Wednesday.

The Northumberland County Conservation District (NCCD) will receive $356,000 for projects along Schwaben Creek, in the Rebuck-Leck Kill Area, and Hallowing Run, which feeds into the Susquehanna River midway between Sunbury and Herndon. The Montour County Conservation District, meanwhile, has targeted three projects along the Chillisquaque Creek with the $288,000 it will receive.

All projects involve stream bank fencing to prevent farms animals from entering the streams, as well as physical improvements to the farms' manure collection systems. The individual farms will also contribute to the projects.

Judy Becker, district manager at the NCCD, said she's excited about the announcement of the funding, and that the district got nearly all of the $371,000 for which it applied.

She provided more details on the county projects.

One involves a livestock operation, and the funds will be used to install a roofed concrete barnyard with a manure storage, roof gutters and downspouts to prevent clean water from contacting manure and installation of a watering system. The farm operation is also going to contribute by fencing out the stream and installing crossings to limit access to a Schwaben Creek tributary, she said.

The second project, involving a dairy operation, will involve implementing a roofed concrete barnyard with manure storage, installing roof gutters and downspouts to prevent clean water from contacting manure and putting in a collection tank with a manifold pipe system to discharge all milkhouse waste and any silage leachate into a designated vegetated area.

"Just these two projects alone will have a significant impact," Becker said, noting estimates of a combined reduction of approximately 15,318.8 pounds of nitrogen per year, 5,633.1 pounds of phosphorus per year and 2,131 tons of sediment per year.

The district anticipates having both projects complete by the summer 2015.

Growing Greener is the state's largest environmental fund and has provided assistance for watershed restoration and protection, farmland preservation, and abandoned mine reclamation since its inception in 1999. The program is currently funded through dedication of municipal waste disposal fees.