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The ​Conservation Excellence Grant Program

The Conservation Excellence Grant (CEG) Program, created by Act 39 of 2019, provides financial and technical assistance for the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) on agricultural operations in high-priority locations within the Commonwealth.

Financial assistance may be provided through grants, loans and tax credits, or a combination of all three.  CEG is administered by the State Conservation Commission and delegated to participating conservation districts for local implementation of the program.

Guidelines & Uses

When evaluating applications for eligible projects under the CEG program, a participating conservation district will give priority to complete applications based upon the following criteria:

    • Priority locations as designated in PA Department of Environmental Protection's Chesapeake Bay Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan.
    • Priority best management practices established by the Commission and defined in the CEG Guidelines.
    • The level of planning and technical assistance already completed by the applicant for the proposed project.
    • The extent to which an applicant is willing to accept a reasonable mix of grant, loans, tax credits or to supply non-governmental funds for the project

CEG Program Priority Location Criteria

Priority Location are as follows in the below order as designated by PA DEP's Chesapeake Bay Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan:

    • Tier 1: Lancaster and York counties
    • Tier 2: Bedford, Center, Cumberland, Franklin, and Lebanon counties
    • Tier 3: Adams, Bradford, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder, Susquehanna, and Tioga counties.
    • All other counties

CEG Program Priority BMP Criteria

  • ​Livestock exclusion fencing.
  • Stream-side buffers.
  • Streambank restoration.
  • Barnyard and feedlot runoff abatement.
  • ​Stream crossings.
  • Off-stream watering.
  • Manure storage facilities.
  • Nutrient management plans and manure management plans.
  • Conservation plans or agricultural erosion and sedimentation plans.
  • Cover crops.
  • Any other priority practices approved by the Commission.

These practices (BMPs) may include those BMPs currently identified in the CEG/REAP Best Management Practice List provided by the Commission. 

Funding Opportunities

CEG provides grant funding to eligible projects through delegated local county conservation districts. 

    • The grant is a reimbursement grant.
    • The amount of reimbursement is based on eligible costs submitted by an approved applicant for an approved project.
    • A single grant awarded to an eligible applicant may not exceed $250,000. 
    • Small grants are also available for any BMP project under $25,000. Grants will be awarded based on priority criteria established for the program and Commission guidelines.

*CEG is currently available in Bedford, Centre, Cumberland, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York Counties.

Eligible Costs

    • Project design, engineering and associated planning costs.
    • Project construction or installation provided by a contractor, including labor provided by the applicant.
    • Equipment, materials and other components of eligible projects.
    • Post construction inspections.

How to Apply

Applicants can apply for a CEG Program grant through their County Conservation District.

The State Conservation Commission has no prescribed application period.  Contact your local conservation district to see if they have any prescribed application periods or whether applications may be submitted to the conservation district at any time.