STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has awarded funding to the Chesapeake Conservancy for a major restoration and conservation initiative in the Susquehanna River watershed to be conducted in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Susquehanna University, Bloomsburg University and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The three-year initiative will pilot a new approach to conservation with local partners in Pennsylvania’s Centre and Clinton counties to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution from nonpoint sources to improve water quality and scenic beauty.

Once complete, the project may serve as a national model.

The NFWF grant provides funding to help local partners plan their restoration projects using new high-resolution land cover and LiDAR datasets to determine precisely where projects will create the best opportunities for conservation and restoration.

The project will also help measure progress toward achieving the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Program Agreement goals.

The Chesapeake Conservancy and partners have spent the last 18 months working with the Chesapeake Bay Program to produce 1-by-1-meter resolution land cover data for the entire 64,000 square mile Chesapeake Bay watershed.

This is one of the largest, high-resolution land cover datasets ever produced and will be open source data available to all government agencies, nonprofits and individuals across the watershed.

“This information, with 900 times the resolution of previously available data, will fundamentally change how conservation and restoration planning are completed and will enhance everyone’s efficiency and effectiveness,” said Jeffrey Allenby, director of conservation technology for the Chesapeake Conservancy.