The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds

News

FPW Announces Spring Grants

May 11 2012

On April 24, 2012 the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds’ (FPW) Board of Advisors reviewed spring grant proposals; 16 grants were awarded totaling $185,000. The projects totaled more than $1.37M in construction costs resulting in a leverage of seven dollars for every one dollar FPW invested. These projects were paid out of FPW’s general grant making budget, which is supported through philanthropic grant making. An additional five projects were funded via GenOn Settlement funds; project grants totaled $224,500 and leveraged $1.02M.

R. John Dawes, Executive Director said, “We had a really strong group of proposals this spring—perhaps one of the best dockets in years. The project quality and outcomes are to be commended. We are accustomed to seeing higher leverage of our funds, but the recent decline in the economy and government funds easily explains the decrease; we continue working with our funders and legislators to move toward increased funding.”

Projects funded included:

Alliance for the Cheasapeake—Brightbill Project $15,000

FPW is funding a riparian piece of a larger project. The riparian project will restore 640 linear feet of natural plant, streambank buffer. The overall project is intended to reduce total suspended solids by: 1,632 lbs/yr, total phosphorus by: 2.24 lbs/yr, and total nitrogen by: 12.8 lbs/yr. The project is highly visible and a projected 500 to 1,000 visitors a day will see the work.

The American Chestnut Foundation—Elk County Mine Reclamation $12,000

The objective of this project is to establish diverse forest plantings of American chestnut and other high-quality hardwoods on strip mined land at Bennett Branch in Elk County, Pennsylvania, on land owned and managed by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Each restoration site will include a 1-acre planting of blight-resistant chestnuts trees (monoculture), established within an approximately 30-acre mixed planting of blight-resistant chestnut and high-quality native hardwoods (chestnuts planted at 20 trees per acre within the mixed hardwoods). The 1-acre plantings serve as a source population of chestnut, maximizing the long-term probability that the chestnut can perpetuate itself within the larger stand and provides a control site to allow for long-term performance evaluation of the blight-resistant chestnuts.

Carnegie Institute—Laurel Highlands Reference Reach $10,000

Under the direction of Dr. R. Hoch, Department of Geography and Regional Planning, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), students, interns, and staff will study Powdermill Run to determine the values for flow rate, sedimentation rate, straight versus curve, width of bed, height of bank, nature of substrate, etc., that are useful for regulators and ecosystem engineers. Because Powdermill Run is a protected stream, it will be an ideal reference reach that can be used to measure and evaluate either degradation or mitigation of other water courses.

Clearwater Conservancy—Riparian Conservation Project $15,000

Project funds support the organization’s work to restore 7,000 linear feet of forested buffers resulting in the following nutrient reductions: 2 tons of sediment, 5 pounds of nitrogen, and 139 pounds of nitrogen annually. These buffers will also substantially improve in-stream habitat for macroinvertebrates.

Husky Research Corporation—Headwater Flood Evaluation $15,000

This study will explore impacts of Tropical Storm Lee as it relates to sport fishing and in-stream nitrogen retention. The goal is to better understand how storms of increasing size and intensity are negatively impacting these two stream functions. Further, the study aims to correlate man-made stream alterations into the study (i.e. diking, stream channel, and hard-armoring).

Jacobs Creek Watershed Association—Capacity Building $7,500

Project funds are intended to assist the organization with completion of eight, under-construction, watershed projects. By the end of 2013, JCWA’s projects—if completed on schedule and according to specifications—will have prevented more than 75 tons of sediment from entering Jacobs Creek, Brush Run, Shupe Run, and Little Sherrick Run annually. Additional project deliverables include: stabilization of 3,300 feet of severely eroded stream bank, the installation of 2 animal stream crossings, and the placement of 1,700 feet of agricultural fencing and vegetative buffers. Additionally, two acres of wetlands will be restored.

Loyalsock Creek Watershed Association—Headwater Stream Recovery $15,000

Project funds will be used to explore how quickly macroinvertebrates recolonize streams after catastrophic flooding. Dateline data will be used to monitor macroinvertebrate recovery in headwater streams impacted by Tropical Storm Lee.

Mountain Watershed Association—Youghiogheny Monitoring $10,000

Project funds will assist in leveraging funding from the United State Geological Survey, and is intended to outline a comprehensive, water sampling protocol for the Youghiogheny River. The project will also explore how best to disseminate collected data, and how best to develop an ‘early warning’ system.

Nature Abounds—Senior Environmental Corps $15,000

With funding from the US EPA’s 319 Nonpoint Source Protection Program (in wrap-up stage now) as well as support from the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds and guidance from the Pa DEP’s Watershed Bureau, Nature Abounds has been able to start revitalizing the PASEC over the last couple years. Since 1997, PASEC volunteers have dedicated more than 2,000,000 hours to protecting and restoring Pennsylvania’s environment.

Specifically, under this project, the PASEC members will be engaged in the following tasks:

  • Assessing Conservation Resource Program (CRP) sites, EPA 319 sites as well as Riparian Buffer sites, and AMD sites;
  • Monitoring the water quality of Pennsylvania’s streams and rivers.  To do so, they will be purchasing more equipment and training volunteers, current and new); and
  • Expanding the PASEC to a minimum of 10 new counties. Of particular interest are counties in Southwest PA and along the West Branch of the Susquehanna.

Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens—Woodland Garden $10,000

Project funds will assist with installing an epoxycoated concrete tank (~20×100) with a maximimum depth of four feet. The tank will be filled with 400 to 500 tons of limestone, and provide the associated treatment. The overall project will provide the following water quality enhancements: 0.5 stream miles improved, near 100 percent removal of iron, aluminum, and manganese, increase of 3 pH units, and restoration of nearly 0.25 acres. It is estimated that the project will result in a 15,000 lbs/yr reduction in acidity, and a 650 lbs/yr reduction in aluminum, stream deposition.

Sewickley Creek Watershed Association—Lowber Project $15,000

This project will make modifications to the Marchand (Lowber) passive treatment system that will facilitate its operation and maintenance.  The Marchand system treats a 1,850 gpm deep mine discharge that contains 75 mg/L Fe.  The completely passive system was built in 2006 and consists of six oxidation/settling ponds followed by a wetland.  Treatment has decreased the iron concentrations from 70-80 mg/L to less than 3 mg/L at the final effluent; removing one ton of Fe solids daily.  Funds will assist with removing distribution piping, and install operation and maintenance friendly troughs.

PA Fish and Boat Unassessed Waters Program

Susquehanna University—$17,000

Kings College—$8,000

Lycoming College—$3,500

Although Pennsylvania contains 64,345 streams totaling approximately 86,000 miles of flowing water, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has only been able to conduct surveys and implement management strategies on slightly more than 26,000 miles.  As a result, only eight percent of the streams and 29 percent of the total stream miles are being actively managed. This grant builds on our three-year, past commitment to assess the remaining stream miles. This process is of particular interest in protecting streams for developmental pressures.

Stewards of the Lower Susquehana—Conowingo Sedimentation $10,000

Project funds will be focused on continued exploration of options for sediment removal behind the Conowingo Dam. Sediment removal is of paramount concern, as a catastrophic release during high flow would further complicate recovery efforts within the Chesapeake Bay.

Western PA Conservancy—Beaverdale Sportsman’s Easement $7,500

Project funds will be used towards surveying, and recording costs associated with a 325 acre easement.

Branden S. Diehl, Project and Grant Consultant said, “We are actively working to increase our project funding, and working with business, industry, and agencies to maximize our investment. We are hopeful about recent developments that should assist with work being completed in watersheds with Hydrologic Unit Plans. As always, we encourage grantees to call us to schedule site visits, and to discuss how FPW can assist them. We pride ourselves in providing project resources that go beyond grants/money.”

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.

Senate Budget Proposal Restores Key 93

May 11 2012

Capitolwire: State Senate passes $27.65 billion state budget.
By Peter L. DeCoursey Bureau Chief Capitolwire

HARRISBURG (May 9) – The Pennsylvania Senate voted 39-8 to pass its $27.65 billion budget proposal today, with 27 Republicans voting unanimously for it and Democrats supporting it 12-8.

The Senate-approved budget, Senate Bill 1466, hikes state spending by 1.8 percent, and restores funding cuts proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett.

Those restorations include $245 million Corbett cut from 18 state-funded universities, $84 million from county welfare programs and $50 million from education block grants. It also provides $50 million for fiscally-distressed schools and restores some pre-K programs, while cutting funding for Child Care Services for poor families. While the Senate budget raises Corbett’s spending level by $500 million, a total of $650 million in the governor’s cuts from the current year budget were restored, staff said.

For a story about Gov. Tom Corbett’s staff saying it spent too much and giving more detail on its provisions, CLICK HERE. For a story about Corbett and House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, saying the Senate proposed spending level is a “ceiling” and they would like reach a lower spending total and the Senate leader’s responses, CLICK HERE.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman, R-Centre, and Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, said if revenues run higher than expected, they might be open to a spending increase once those numbers become clearer next month.

Corman said: “We may be comfortable with going a little higher” if revenues out-pace the IFO projections, “but obviously we are only one-third of this operation.” Of the $27.65 billion “ceiling,” Corman said: “If that’s where they are and they stick to that, I’m sure we won’t go any higher.”

He also noted that top Corbett officials said the proposed Senate budget was “unsustainable” on Monday.

“We’ve gone pretty far from unsustainability to a ceiling now,” he said.

Turzai seemed more comfortable with the spending ceiling than had Corbett, who seemed to want to substantially lower it. Turzai said the Senate bill was “a good work product.” He then said that the House had to yet to fully discuss and finalize its own proposals.

The House could present its own budget in its Appropriations Committee as early as the week of May 22, or premiere it in June in committee or on the floor, Turzai said.

“We’re still discussing all the issues and listening to our caucus,” he said.

Pileggi defended the bill as fiscally responsible: “This is a responsible, sustainable state budget. Senate Bill 1466 proposes to spend $27.656 billion from the General Fund. That’s an increase of just 1.8 percent over the current fiscal year, and it’s a lower spending level than Fiscal Years 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11.

“It also represents a 1.7 percent increase over General Fund spending five years ago, in Fiscal Year 2007-08. As a point of comparison, over that same time period, the cost-of-living has increased by 11.7 percent.”

In terms of programs, Pileggi said during the floor debate: “In this proposal, we restore important funding for higher education, for local schools, and for county social services. We restore the health research program, known as CURE, under the Tobacco Settlement Fund. We restore funding to the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, commonly known as Key 93.

“And there is no question that we accomplish all of this in a way that is sustainable in future years.”

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, and Senate Minority Appropriations Committee Chairman Vince Hughes, D-Philadelphia, said the bill restored close to $650 million in programs cut by Corbett, and was “a good step forward.” They both voted for it.

Sens. Mike Stack and Anthony Williams, both D-Philadelphia, voted against it.

Stack said the budget did too little to meet the needs of the people of the state, and its cuts to education block grants, county welfare grants and other programs were unacceptable.

“They were trying to not have the spend number for this budget go above a 2-percent increase in compliance with the right-wing, TABOR agenda,” he said in an interview after the vote.

“This budget had clear losers and winners,” Williams said after the vote. “Higher Education won. Social Services lost. Public education lost.”

Williams said the budget fell far short of what Senate Democrats had been advocating for years.

Hughes responded: “This is a big step forward and we are not done. We have a lot of work left to do to meet the needs of Pennsylvania. But we were in the negotiations, we were in the room and you can see the progress we made on the restorations our caucus prioritized.”

House Democratic spokesman Bill Patton responded: “Hospitals and nursing facilities, public schools, food banks, domestic violence shelters and safe bridges are basic must-haves that have not been adequately funded since Tom Corbett took over.

“The Senate budget disregards hundreds of millions of dollars in existing revenue and potential revenue. House Democrats will keep fighting to provide better budget choices for Pennsylvania than the false choices offered by Republicans.”

Corman said getting the 18 universities that receive more than $500 million in state funding to agree to limit tuition hikes to the cost-of-living or below was a major achievement.

Turzai agreed, and said any restorations for universities would require such a guarantee.

FPW’s Reauthorization Efforts Keep Money Flowing

May 11 2012

Department of Environmental Protection: DEP awards more than $2.25 million in mine reclamation contracts.

Text of May 9 press release.

Harrisburg – The Department of Environmental Protection announced today it has awarded $2,252,855 for remediation projects at abandoned mine sites in Butler, Cambria, Clarion, Jefferson and Luzerne counties.

The remediation will reclaim 181 acres to pre-mining conditions by planting tens of thousands of trees, re-grading thousands of cubic yards of steep slopes left by mining, stabilizing old mine pits and shafts, and preventing more than 75,000 gallons a day of acid mine drainage from reaching waterways.

“Coal mining fueled the nation’s economy for many years, but it left Pennsylvania a legacy of sites in need of remediation,” DEP Deputy Secretary for Active and Abandoned Mine Operations John Stefanko said. “Our aggressive program is reclaiming these sites from scarred earth to the condition that they once were.”

The remediation work will take place over the next year and a half at abandonedmining sites across the state.

The contracts were awarded on a competitive basis and are being paid for out of a grant from the federal Office of Surface Mining. The federal fund is supported by a tax on the modern coal industry and is distributed to states as annualgrants to reclaim mine sites that were abandoned prior to passage of the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.

For more information, visit www.dep.state.pa.us or call 717-783-2267.

Editor’s Note: Following are descriptions of the projects:

Parker Township, Butler County Morgan’s Excavating of Mount Union, Huntingdon County, has been awarded $289,301 to reclaim 33.5 acres near abandoned mines outside of the community of Bruin. The site’s dangerous pits and steep highwalls will be filled in and unstable heaps of dirt, rocks and vegetation that piled up from mining will be graded and stabilized. A subsurface drain will control water runoff from the site, and grass and other vegetation will be planted. Work is expected to be completed by October 2012.

White Township, Cambria County Morgan’s Excavating of Mount Union, Huntingdon County, has been awarded $261,587 to restore 21 acres at a strip mining pit adjacent to state game lands and Prince Gallitzin State Park. The site was abandoned prior to 1960, and the work will return the site to its original contour. Dangerously steep highwalls left from mining, ranging in height from 20 to 40 feet, will be filled in with approximately 153,000 cubic yards of soil. A collapsed mine shaft that drops 15 feet from the surface will be filled in; a subsurface drain will be installed with a limestone channel to neutralize the acidity of any water that flows through the site; and more than 15,000 trees will be planted. Work is expected to be completed by mid-September 2012.

Farmington Township, Clarion County The Gralan Corporation of West Fort Ann, New York, has been awarded $321,626 to reclaim an abandoned mining site outside of the community of Tylersburg. The Crown mine, abandoned in 1960, contains numerous pits, precipitous highwalls and unstable piles of coal-mining waste in need of reclamation. More than 5,000 trees will be planted across 22.5 acres at thesite after 12 acres of pits and highwalls are graded and stabilized. In addition, more than 1,800 tons of alkaline will be packed into the ground to neutralize the acidity of any water that becomes contaminated from flowing through the site. Work is expected to be completed by February 2013.

Union Township, Jefferson County The Headwaters Charitable Trust and Mill Creek Coalition of Jefferson County have been awarded $350,000 to install an acid mine drainage treatment system at the former Orcutt and Smail mine sites. The bonds for the site were forfeited by the operator in 1991 after mining was complete, but discharge continued to go untreated. The treatment system that will be installed will prevent the 75,000 gallons of acid mine drainage that currently flow out of the site from reaching waterways untreated. The system will mix limestone slurry into collected pools of the acidic water to neutralize its acidity. Further treatment will aerate the water to remove the other contaminants, helping to restore the health of nearby Little Mill Creek, which eventually flows into the Clarion River. Work is expected to be completed by December 2013.

Plymouth Township, Luzerne County C.E. Ankiewicz Construction and Excavation Inc. of Mountain Top, Luzerne County, have been awarded $1,030,341 to reclaim the Avondale strip mine pit. Abandoned in 1959, the site will see 98,800 cubic yards of rock and soil re-graded; 14,390 cubic yards of soil excavated to control drainage at the site; 10,090 square yards of rock lining put down to stabilize the site; and 92 acres of vegetation and trees seeded on the site for reclamation and beautification. The grant was awarded because of inaction by the former contractor, who had been tasked with reclaiming the site. Work is expected to be completed by early February 2013.

Trail Logbook Unveiled

May 03 2012

As provided by FracTracker.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Harrisburg) – FracTracker.org and the Keystone Trails Association are proud to launch Trail Logbook: Reporting Gas Industry Impacts on Pennsylvania Trail Experiences – an effort to collect information from hikers and other trail users who have had negative or hazardous encounters while recreating in PA.

“Throughout the Marcellus Shale region, more and more we’re hearing of problems from our constituents,” said Curt Ashenfelter, Executive Director of the Keystone Trails Association (KTA) – a volunteer-directed, public service organization dedicated to providing, preserving, protecting and promoting recreational hiking trails and hiking opportunities in PA. “Pennsylvania hikers are concerned about the effect of drilling and want to play a role in monitoring the impact of this industry on PA’s forests and hiking trails.

With a simple-to-use form – available online and as a mail-in postcard – data on a variety of trail impacts related to shale gas drilling activities will be uploaded to FracTracker.org, a website providing a common portal to share data, photos, maps, and information related to the issues corollary to the shale gas industry. Photos of reported impacts can also be submitted.

“We’re pleased to be a partner in this grassroots endeavor to aggregate what have to date been mostly anecdotal but often alarming reports from our state’s extraordinary network of trails,” said Brook Lenker, Director of FracTracker. “We hope the information gathered helps to clarify the nature of the impacts and leads to sustainable solutions.”

“With over 3,000 miles of hiking trails in Pennsylvania and tourism being the Commonwealth’s 2nd largest industry, it’s critical to expose and address recurring problems caused by gas drilling activities, “ Ashenfelter added. “With a quick feedback loop like FracTracker, we can report problems to the appropriate agencies and gas drilling companies and seek remediation quickly.”

For more information on the Trail Logbook project, contact:

To  see the Trail Logbook submission page or to submit data, visit: http://www.fractracker.org/logbook. If you would prefer to print out the logbook and mail it in, click here.

Essay Contest Announced

May 03 2012

As provided by Expedition Chesapeake:

Expedition Chesapeake Launches Essay Contest for Students

HARRISBURG, PA (February 20, 2012) – Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts is inviting the winner of a new essay contest to spend a day with international conservationist and educator Jeff Corwin on the set of Expedition Chesapeake during the 2012-2013 school year.

Jeff Corwin will serve as the host for the 42-minute Large Format film that is the center of Expedition Chesapeake. Corwin is perhaps the world’s best known celebrity scientist and has worked for the conservation of endangered species and ecosystems around the world. He recently launched the ABC television series Ocean Mysteries. He has also hosted a variety of popular television shows, including Animal Planet’s Jeff Corwin Experience, Corwin’s Quest and Giant Monsters; Disney’s Going Wild with Jeff Corwin; Investigation Earth with the Discovery Networks; and NBC’s Jeff Corwin Unleashed, which was nominated four times for an Emmy and won an Emmy for Outstanding Host.

Students in 7th and 8th grades who live in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York, West Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia are invited to participate in the essay contest and are asked in 500 words or less to discuss their favorite science teacher and how this teacher has had an impact on his or her learning. Complete contest rules and requirements are available by e-mailing essaycontest@expeditionchesapeake.org or by calling (717) 234-1295. One winning essay will be chosen by a committee from the Expedition Chesapeake Advisory Panel. The deadline for essay submissions is May 31, and the winning essay will be chosen before June 25.

“Whitaker Center aims to educate the next generation about important watershed issues and the environment around them. We understand the critical role that teachers play in the education of our youth, and this is an opportunity to recognize the efforts of the area’s best science teachers while also reconnecting students with their writing skills,” says Dr. Michael Hanes, President and CEO of Whitaker Center.

Expedition Chesapeake includes four related components headlined by a 42-minute Large Format film. The educational components include a television documentary, a hands-on, 4D science exhibit that will travel to science centers, and a set of online learning experiences designed to engage students throughout the six states of the watershed. The Chesapeake Bay watershed supports 17 million residents and is the largest estuary in the nation.

Located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts is the mid-state’s premier center for arts, education, entertainment and cultural enrichment. Composed of three main venues – Sunoco Performance Theater, Select Medical IMAX® Theater and Harsco Science Center – our mission is to serve as the center for scientific, artistic, cultural and educational activities to enhance the region’s quality of life and economic vitality. For more information, visit whitakercenter.org.

Electronics Recycling

April 30 2012

Penn State’s Lion Surplus will hold an electronics’ recycling day on Friday, May 4 from 7AM to 6PM at the Lion Surplus Building on Service Road. For more information visit Green.PSU.edu or contact Jeremy Bean at 814-867-4219.

Chesapeake Bay Standards’ Lawsuit

April 25 2012

As provided by Chesapeake Bay Foundation:

CBF AND PARTNERS CALL ON COURT

TO DISMISS BAY CLEAN-UP LAWSUIT

(HARRISBURG, PA)  —  The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and its partners have called on Pennsylvania federal court Judge Sylvia Rambo to dismiss a lawsuit filed by agricultural and home building lobbyists who are seeking to abolish scientifically developed limits on pollution that is destroying the Chesapeake Bay.

“The Fertilizer Institute, the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Producers, the National Association of Homebuilders, and other national organizations are seeking to maximize the economic interests of a few at the expense of all whose health and economic survival depends on the water quality of local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay,” said CBF President William C. Baker. “Their arguments, however, are sorely lacking in both legal and factual basis. We have asked the court to dismiss the suit and uphold the last and best chance to restore this national treasure.”

As a result of pollution, the Chesapeake Bay is on the Clean Waters Act’s impaired waters list. Jobs have been lost, habitat destroyed, and human health is at risk. While some progress has been made, there is still a long way to go.

After decades of failed efforts to reduce pollution sufficiently to restore the Chesapeake Bay, in 2010 EPA used its authority to establish pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay. The Bay states and the District of Columbia then developed individual blueprints for reducing pollution to the hundreds of rivers and streams that feed it.

The lawsuit contends that EPA did not have the authority to issue the pollution limits, that the public was not granted sufficient opportunity to review and comment, and that the limits are based upon flawed computer modeling and input data.

EPA’s obligation to develop the pollution limits is established by statute, interstate compacts, judicial consent decrees, a binding settlement agreement, and an Executive Order. In fulfilling that obligation, EPA held hundreds public meetings throughout the watershed to discuss development of the pollution limits and to hear public concerns. Finally, in a letter that assessed the use of the Bay models to develop the limits, leading Bay scientists stated that, ‘In our judgment, the consensus of the scientific community is that they are both useful and adequate for these purposes.’

“The Bay’s clean-up plan is critical to ensuring that future generations can enjoy a healthy Bay that is abundant with wildlife,” says Jim Murphy, Senior Counsel with the National Wildlife Federation. “The Clean Water Act mandates an end to pollution in the Bay, not that this plan be undone or weakened to accommodate polluters.”

Reducing pollution in the Chesapeake and its rivers and streams will support the increasing number of crabs, and allow for abundant fish and oyster populations. Economic studies have shown repeatedly that sound environmental policies and a strong economy go hand in hand.

“EPA’s pollution limits and the blueprints developed by the states are the best chance to restore the Bay,” Baker said. “Saving the Bay and restoring local rivers and streams will benefit our children and future generations. If we don’t succeed we will continue to have polluted water, human health hazards, and lost jobs – at a huge cost to society.”

CBF’s partners in calling for the dismissal of the lawsuit include the National Wildlife Federation, Defenders of Wildlife represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, the Jefferson County Public Service District, and the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy.

###

Kelly Donaldson

PA Communications & Media Coordinator

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

614 N. Front St., Harrisburg, PA 17101

717.234.5550

kdonaldson@cbf.org

www.cbf.org

SRBC Stops Some Withdrawals

April 19 2012

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BASIN COMMISSION   Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    April 18, 2012

CONTACT: Susan Obleski, Director of Communications

Office: (717) 238-0423, x316   Cell: (717) 215-7278   Twitter: @SRBCnews

SEVENTEEN WATER WITHDRAWALS FOR NATURAL GAS DRILLING

AND OTHER USES TEMPORARILY ON HOLD TO PROTECT STREAMS

Streamflows Being Impacted by Below Normal Precipitation

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC www.srbc.net) today announced that 17 separate water withdrawals approved by SRBC are temporarily suspended due to localized stream flow levels dropping throughout the Susquehanna basin.

“Hydrologic conditions have been on a steady decline for some time following a winter with very little snow and below normal rainfall this spring,” said SRBC executive director Paul Swartz.  “As a result of low streamflows in many portions of the basin, 17 individual water withdrawals affecting 10 companies in 5 Pennsylvania counties have been temporarily suspended by virtue of the Commission’s passby flow restrictions.  The majority of those suspended withdrawals are related to water for natural gas development.”

Under SRBC’s passby flow restrictions, when streams drop to pre-determined protected low flow levels, project sponsors who are required to meet the agency’s passby requirement must stop taking water.  They cannot resume taking water until streams have recovered above the protected level for at least 48 hours.

SRBC and its regulated project sponsors monitor real-time streamflow data generated by stream gages maintained and operated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  Based on unseasonably low streamflow conditions, SRBC’s passby requirements actually began kicking in as early as February 2012 for certain water withdrawals in northern Pennsylvania.

Regulated project sponsors are required to install tamper-proof water meters that automatically record their water withdrawals on a daily basis.  SRBC also monitors the USGS gages daily to determine which ones have triggered, and SRBC’s field staff conducts frequent spot-inspections to verify compliance with passby requirements.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Water Management Deputy Secretary Kelly Heffner said, “The department has been closely monitoring the key hydrologic parameters, including streamflows, groundwater levels, and precipitation deficits as well as soil moisture indexes.  Among the protocols that DEP follows is the 90-day trigger of much below normal precipitation.”

Swartz said, “If rainfall shortages persist, the Commission anticipates more water withdrawals being suspended, as was the case in 2010 and 2011.  The Commission does not wait for drought declarations to temporarily halt water withdrawals.  Our science-based stream protection system kicks in well before streams drop to critical low levels.”

Not all SRBC approvals contain passby restrictions.  Those are the withdrawals where the approved withdrawal amounts are so small that they will not affect the protective levels of streams.  In those cases, companies can continue to take water during low flow periods.

FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF COMPANIES AND THEIR WATER WITHDRAWAL SOURCES IN PENNSYLVANIA

TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED AS OF APRIL 18, 2012:

BRADFORD COUNTY

Chesapeake Energy: Sugar Creek

Healthy Properties: Sugar Creek

Talisman Energy: Fall Brook at Bense, Seeley Creek at Jones, Sugar Creek at Hoffman, Wappasening Creek at Adriance, unnamed tributary to North Branch Sugar Creek

Tennessee Gas Pipeline: Towanda Creek

LUZERNE COUNTY

Eagle Rock Community Association: Abandoned Quarry associated with unnamed tributary to Tomhicken Creek

LYCOMING COUNTY

EXCO Resources: Muncy Creek at McClintock

Hughesville-Wolf Township Joint Municipal Authority: wastewater from treatment plant

Keystone Clearwater Solutions: Lycoming Creek

XTO Energy: Lick Run, Little Muncy Creek

SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY

Carrizo: unnamed tributary to Middle Branch Wyalusing Creek

TIOGA COUNTY

Keystone Clearwater Solutions: Babb Creek

Tennessee Gas Pipeline: unnamed tributary of North Elk Run

The Harrisburg, PA-based SRBC (www.srbc.net) is the governing agency established under a 100-year compact signed on December 24, 1970 by the federal government and the states of New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland to protect and wisely manage the water resources of the Susquehanna River Basin.  The Susquehanna River starts in Cooperstown, New York, and flows 444 miles to Havre de Grace, Maryland, where the river meets the Chesapeake Bay.

National Trust for Historic Preservation Funds Available

April 16 2012

As provided by The National Trust for Historic Preservation:

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is currently accepting applications for the Henry A. Jordan, M.D. Preservation Excellence Fund. Grants from this fund are awarded to organizations working to protect natural and cultural resources in the Mid-Atlantic region. The endowed fund supports innovative projects and programs in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  Individual awards typically range from $1,000 to $2,000, but applicants can apply for up to $5,000.

The National Trust is seeking projects that:

  • Facilitate positive dialogues between the diverse interests of historic preservation, land conservation, business development, transportation, and government in a search for common ground in protecting the environment
  • Stimulate the development of local and state policies that protect the cultural landscape and its resources
  • Heighten public awareness of or increase involvement in issues relating to the livability and sustainability of communities
  • Encourage innovative partnerships and approaches to open space conservation and historic preservation

Visit our web site today for more information and to access the application for the Henry A. Jordan, M.D. Preservation Excellence Fund.  Applications can be submitted now through April 30, 2012.

Funding Available

April 16 2012

As provided by American Rivers:

American Rivers is now accepting proposals for a wide variety of projects aimed at protecting and restoring the forests, wetlands and streams of the Potomac Highlands Region. The Potomac Highlands Implementation Grant Program is a partnership of American Rivers and the Environmental Protection Agency. These grants are designed to provide support for communities in specific portions of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Funds have become available for a 2nd funding round. Proposals are due Friday, May 25th, 2012. Grants will range from $150,000 – $300,000. A 25% non-federal match is required. State, local and tribal governments, and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. A great diversity of implementation phase project types are eligible.

Complete details are available at www.AmericanRivers.org/PotomacHighlands. Please review these materials thoroughly when developing a proposal. If, after reviewing the information available, you have additional questions, please contact the region-specific American Rivers staff person below.

  • Maryland: Serena McClain, 202-347-7550, ext. 3004
  • Pennsylvania (Bedford, Fulton, Somerset counties): Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy, 412-727-6130
  • Pennsylvania (Franklin, Adams counties): Laura Craig, 856-786-9000
  • Virginia: Serena McClain, 202-347-7550, ext. 3004
  • West Virginia: Jamie Mierau, 202-347-7550, ext. 3003

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