The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds

News

Channel 10 News Covers AML Funding

September 14 2012

Altoona’s Channel 10 News provided recent coverage on the impacts of funding to PA’s mine reclamation effort. Click here for details.

Coldwater Grants Available

September 12 2012

As provided by: Samantha Kutskel

Email:  skutskel@coldwaterheritage.org

Phone:  (814) 359-5233

September, 2012

Coldwater Heritage Partnership Announces Opening of 2013 Grant Program

The Coldwater Heritage Partnership (CHP) announces the opening of the 2013 Coldwater Conservation Grants Program. The program provides two grant opportunities, which help to protect and conserve the health of Pennsylvania’s coldwater ecosystems.

The two grant opportunities are:

  • Planning Grant- designed to help develop a conservation plan that identifies the values and threats that impact the health of our coldwater ecosystems that have naturally reproducing trout.  The collected information can be used as a catalyst for more comprehensive planning or for development of watershed improvements projects. Planning grants average around $6,000.
  • Implementation Grant- designed to provide funding to projects recommended in a completed conservation plan or report. Potential projects must enhance, conserve or protect the coldwater stream for which the coldwater conservation plan was originally completed.  Implementation grants average around $10,000.

Applications can be found at www.coldwaterheritage.org. Applications will be accepted through December 14, 2012.  The Coldwater Heritage Partnership (CHP) urges watershed groups, conservation districts, municipalities and local chapters of Trout Unlimited to apply.

The Coldwater Heritage Partnership provides technical assistance and funding support for the evaluation, conservation and protection of Pennsylvania’s coldwater streams. Grants will be awarded to organizations to outline strategies and complete implementation projects that best conserve and protect our coldwater fisheries.

Besides offering grants, CHP works to: foster greater public understanding of watershed characteristics and how they affect coldwater ecosystems; identify special areas of concern, such as areas with exceptional water quality and high potential for impacts; and provide technical assistance and financial opportunities to organizations dedicated to protecting our coldwater ecosystems.

The CHP is a cooperative effort of Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited (PATU), the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the PA Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds.

For more information, contact PATU Coldwater Resource Specialist Samantha Kutskel at (814) 359-5233 or visit the Coldwater Heritage Partnership website at www.coldwaterheritage.org.

Survey For Environmental Groups

September 05 2012

Erin Pischke, a Duquesne graduate student is asking environmental groups to assist her with research. The proposed research will identify and analyze the breadth and depth of the networks of non-profit environmental organizations and conservation districts that advocate for or against issues surrounding Marcellus Shale drilling within northeastern and southwestern Pennsylvania. To take the survey click here.

Robert Morris Outdoor Fair

September 04 2012

Robert Morris University will host an outdoor fair on September 18, 2012 from 11 to 1. For more information click here.

Raid of AML Fund

September 04 2012

Just when environmental groups had grown accustomed to the new, funding provisions under the reauthorized Abandoned Mine Lands Fund of 2006, Congress has pulled the rug out from under us. With a ‘gap’ in transportation funding, the AML Fund seemingly became the target for balancing the Transportation Bill, and the Baucus Amendment was the vehicle. The raided funds will equate to at least $178 Million being derailed for PA mine reclamation. With our legacy issues still accounting for more than 180,000 acres of mine scared land, and some 5,500 miles of degraded streams, this is a HUGE travesty. Click on the links below for more information, and stay tuned for details on how you can reverse the Baucus Amendment!

Baucus Amendment Information.

PA Environmental News Interview.

Altoona Mirror Article.

WHYY’s Blog Post.

WHYY’s Interview with John Dawes.

New Gas Regulations Unveiled

August 22 2012

On Wednesday the Department of Environmental Protection issued a concept paper to the agency’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board on proposed changes to Pennsylvania’s Chapter 78 Oil and Gas Regulations required by the Marcellus Shale drilling law adopted in February as Act 13.

The bulleted list of proposed changes cover application requirements, well location restrictions, proposed protection of water supplies, predrilling or prealteration survey requirements, erosion and sedimentation controls, wastewater control and disposal planning, standards for pit and tank containment and much more.

DEP said proposed language to implement these changes should be available online on or about September 14.

DEP has scheduled two additional Oil and Gas Board meetings to review these proposals on September 17 and October 15.  The proposals will also be shared with DEP’s Small Business Compliance Assistance Advisory Committee on October 24.

DEP anticipates finalizing proposed language at the November 15 Oil and Gas Board meeting and then send it to the Environmental Quality Board on December 12 for their consideration.

FPW Nominated for CLASSY Award

July 11 2012

Vote Foundation PA Watersheds as Best Nonprofit Environmental Group

The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds (FPW), is a finalist for national recognition as one of the United States’ best, non-profit, environmental groups. Now, we need your help to get FPW to the red carpet event held on September 22, 2012, in San Diego, Calif. Now through July 26, you can vote for FPW by following three simple steps:

  1. Visit http://www.stayclassy.org/classy-awards/vote
  2. Select “East”
  3. Scroll to Environmental Protection  and select “Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds”

Regional finalists will be announced July 31, 2012, and winners will be announced September 22. Please forward this to as many friends of the Foundation as you can!

FPW Vying for National Award

June 21 2012

FPW has been nominated for a CLASSY Award!  Our story has been published to the Stories page of the CLASSY Awards website. Learn more by clicking here. You can vote for FPW July 9-26th.

FPW Announces GenOn Round II

May 25 2012

On April 24, 2012 the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds’ (FPW) Board of Advisors reviewed spring grant proposals, and made payout from their GenOn Settlement Fund. Five projects were funded via GenOn Settlement funds; project grants totaled $224,500 and leveraged $1.02M.

John Dawes, Executive Director said, “We are privileged to have this opportunity to invest this money back into the communities for which the settlement was won. Though we had no part in the litigation, we certainly take our job of overseeing the funds very seriously. We hope that this investment will further inspire those working in the trenches to think even bigger about what watershed recovery means to Johnstown and the surrounding area.”

Projects funded included:

The American Chestnut Foundation—Flight 93 Restoration $40,000

Project funds will be used to assist with restoring native, American chestnut trees to the reclaimed mine site at the Shankesville, PA Flight 93 National Park. More than 230 chestnuts will be planted on the 60 acre plot. The blight-resistant trees will serve to introduce the chestnut back into its home range. This project leverages National Park Service resources, and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s (OSMRE) Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI).

Blackleggs Watershed Association, INC—Big Run #3 $55,000

In total the Big Run projects will address more than 50 percent of the acidity, 25 percent of the iron, and 50 percent of the aluminum flowing into Big Run. This project is part of the larger initiative that will address water quality improvements in a nearly nine square mile watershed. Additional project partners include: Growing Greener, OSMRE’s Clean Streams Initiative, Environmental Protection Agency 319 funds, and Norfolk Southern.

Conemaugh Valley Conservancy—Stream Team $9,500

Funding will assist the Stream Team in continued support of water quality monitoring for watershed organizations, ensure continued monitoring of 150 sample points, provide community outreach/engagement, and assist with student education about the environment. In 2011, the Stream Team reached 700 students through their outreach efforts.

Stream Restoration, INC (SRI)—Kiski-basin Assessment $60,000

Project funding was awarded to provide a more thorough evaluation of passive treatment systems that were deemed failing by a preliminary scan of water quality data provided in DataShed. The scan identified more than 20 systems that showed decreased water quality performance. The grant will allow SRI to thoroughly evaluate these systems, and provide recommendations for their repairs.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy—Dirt and Gravel Roads and Unassessed Waters $60,000

Grant funds were awarded to assist with Dirt and Gravel Road activities in Ligonier Township totaling one mile, and for assessing fish assemblages within several state parks. Fish assessments will result in 61 miles of additionally assessed state, water resources.  Lastly, the grant will provide funding for assessing additional township and state property that might be eligible for Dirt and Gravel Road funding from the state.

Branden S. Diehl, Project and Grant Consultant said, “Some groups have seized the opportunity presented by the GenOn funds. Several projects had been shelved because funding wasn’t available, so they dusted them off and now they are being constructed. ”

FPW’s next grant deadline is August 24, 2012 when fall Letters of Inquiry are due. To learn more about FPW’s grant process visit: www.pennsylvaniawatersheds.org. To learn more about the projects they fund visit: http://fpw.rhizalabs.com.

Fish and Boat Public Meeting

May 17 2012

As provided by SRHCES:

SRHCES Partners with Pennsylvania Fish and Boat for May 23 Public Meeting

The Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies (SRHCES) is coordinating with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and several partners on an upcoming public forum on conservation issues, to be held May 23 at Lycoming College in Williamsport.

The SRHCES and PFBC will be joined by the Lycoming College Clean Water Institute and the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited as three topics are discussed – PFBC’s leasing of Rose Valley Lake, the River’s small mouth bass population, and the debate on “stream cleaning”.

PFBC Executive Director John Arway will explain the agency’s recent decision to enter into a non-surface use oil and gas cooperative agreement for the development of natural gas under its Rose Valley Lake property.

“It’s important for the public to understand the decision-making that took place before we entered into the agreement,” said Mr. Arway. “It’s equally important for the public to know that the Fish and Boat Commission is dedicated to maintaining the ecological and recreational integrity of the lake and the surrounding lands under our stewardship.”

All money from the Rose Valley contract and other natural gas agreements will be deposited into a special account where they will be used to fund efforts to repair or rebuild Commonwealth-owned high-hazard, unsafe dams managed by the PFBC. The PFBC is responsible for managing dams which need approximately $34 million in repairs, and the Natural Gas and Water Access Program is one way of raising the funds to fix these facilities so communities can continue to enjoy them.

PFBC Susquehanna River Biologist Geoff Smith will present the latest data related to the water quality in the Susquehanna River and the staggering decline of much of the river’s world-renowned smallmouth bass fishery. Mr. Smith will explain the work that has been done to date to try to diagnose the causes of the disease that has been killing young-of-year smallmouth bass for almost a decade and has most recently resulted in unsightly lesions and open sores on adult bass.

Finally, Dr. Mel Zimmerman from Lycoming College, Larry Brannaka from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and PFBC Fisheries Biologist Tom Shervinskie will offer an ecological perspective on the emotional issue of stream channel clean-up. They will turn the discussion form one of channelization to one that focuses on how habitats that support healthy aquatic communities can be compatible with long-term flood minimization.

The event will take place from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. in Room G-11 of the Heim Science Building at Lycoming College. School will not be in session, so there will be plenty of parking available. Directions to the college and a campus map can be found on Lycoming College’s website.

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