Sunday, February 7, 2016

Get Help Filling Out TreeVitalize Pittsburgh Applications At March 2 Workshop

The Western PA Conservancy will hold a workshop March 2 to help those interested in filling out an application for TreeVitalize Pittsburgh tree planting grants.
The workshop will be held at the Conservancy’s office at 800 Waterfront Dr., Pittsburgh starting at 6:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh and Allegheny County neighborhoods can apply for trees and other services to support street, park and riverfront tree plantings by the Pittsburgh TreeVitalize Program administered by the Western PA Conservancy.   Application deadline is March 18.
Submitting an application does not guarantee your group will receive trees, and funding for seasonal plantings is limited. Please review your community’s eligibility and selection criteria before applying.
Please contact Jeffrey Bergman, TreeVitalize Director, at 412-586-2396 or send email to: to discuss your planting plan before moving forward with your project.
For more information on programs and initiatives, visit the Pittsburgh TreeVitalize Program webpage.
For information on similar programs in other areas of Pennsylvania, visit the TreeVitalize Program website.

Gov. Wolf Releases Short Video Preview Of Next Budget Which Is Based On Agreed-To Budget

Gov. Wolf Sunday released a short video preview of the budget Sunday saying he assumes the $30.7 billion “agreed-to” budget framework is in place (when Republicans don’t), adding a failure to act means “severe consequences for Pennsylvania.”
House Majority Leader David Reed (R-Indiana) Wednesday again declared the frequently changed “agreed-to” budget framework Gov. Wolf keeps pushing in public statements “dead.”
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) Sunday, in an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, was even stronger saying, “He (Wolf) can pine away all he wants for that to come back (the agreed-to budget framework), It’s not going to come back. He needs to negotiate a new deal, something that can get the votes in the House and Senate.”
Related Story:
Post-Gazette: Wolf: Next Budget Will Have Narrow Focus-- Schools, Cover Cost Increases

Post-Gazette: Wolf: Next Budget Will Have Narrow Focus- Schools, Cover Cost Increases

In an article published Sunday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Gov. Wolf said the focus of his second budget proposal will be narrow-- boosting school funding while raising taxes to pay for automatic cost increases in pensions, medical assistance and other programs.
He said the proposal will total about $32 billion.  In December, Gov. Wolf signed the Republican-passed $30.2 billion General Fund budget, but line-itemed vetoed $6.8 billion from that budget.
Gov. Wolf said he still wants to lower the corporate net income tax rate and provide school district property tax relief, but neither will be part of his budget proposal Tuesday.
In the article, Gov. Wolf said the Independent Fiscal Office estimates there will be a $1.9 billion deficit in the upcoming fiscal year.  [Actually, the IFO said $318 million would be needed to balance the FY 2015-16 budget signed into law in December and, if there are no changes, another $1.3 billion to balance the FY 2016-17 budget.]
Gov. Wolf continues to support the spending levels in the $30.7 billion “agreed-to” budget framework and his announcements last week of additional education funding assumed the funding in the “agreed-to” budget was still agreed-to.
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) was quoted in the new article as saying, “He (Wolf) can pine away all he wants for that to come back (the agreed-to budget framework), It’s not going to come back. He needs to negotiate a new deal, something that can get the votes in the House and Senate.”
Gov. Wolf Sunday released a short video preview of the budget Sunday saying he assumes the $30.7 billion “agreed-to” budget framework is in place (when Republicans don’t), adding a failure to act means “severe consequences for Pennsylvania.”
Wolf Calls For An Honest Budget, Tax Increase

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Nature Conservancy-PA Feb/March Nature Pennsylvania Is Now Available

The February/March edition of Nature Pennsylvania newsletter is now available from The Nature Conservancy-PA featuring articles on--
-- Address Climate Change In The Keystone State
-- Promoting Energy Efficiency And Innovation
-- Protecting Nature From Energy Development
-- Click Here to sign up for your own copy.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events in Pennsylvania, visit The Nature Conservancy-PA website, Follow them on Twitter, Like them on Facebook and Join them on Instagram.

Farmers Invited To Feb. 25 Meeting In Conewago, Chiques Watersheds In Lancaster

LancasterOnline reported Saturday farmers are invited to the Conewago and Chiques Creek Watersheds Winter Meeting on February 25 at Acorn Farms, 3141 Mount Joy Road, Mount Joy, Lancaster County starting at 8:30 a.m.
Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding will provide opening remarks.  
Following his comments, presentations will include an introduction to local efforts to improve the health of our streams, an introduction to the resources available to support the implementation of conservation practices, and research from Penn State on cover crops and other practices.
The meeting is free and includes morning refreshments and lunch.  Space is limited. Farmers around Manheim, Mount Joy, Elizabethtown, Landisville and Mount Gretna are invited.
The event is sponsored by the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center with support from the Conewago Creek Initiative, the Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance and other partners.
Click Here for the full agenda.  To register or for more information, call the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center at 717-948-6609 or send email to:
For more information on programs, initiatives and other special events, visit the Conewago Creek Initiative webpage.  Visit Here to watch a video of the Conewago Creek story.  Click Here for the Initiative’s most recent quarterly newsletter.  To get your own copy, send an email to:
Farmers In Conewago, Chiques Creek Watersheds Invited To Environmental Meeting

Landscapers, Contractors: Join Philadelphia Water’s Rain Check Team Feb. 12, Install Projects Like This

The Philadelphia Water Department, the PA Horticultural Society and Sustainable Business Network are looking for qualified contractors to work with the Rain Check Program.
Through Rain Check, Philadelphia Water provides free rain barrels  and helps residents pay for landscaping tools that manage stormwater and can beautify their properties.
They need qualified contractors to install stormwater tools such as rain gardens, permeable pavers, downspout planters and rain barrels.
Installation contractors may be landscapers, hardscapers, general home contractors, and professionals from related fields.
Benefits include: free or reduced-cost training, affiliation with our innovative Green City, Clean Waters Program, paid consultations, and new customer leads without the cost of advertising.
Rain Check work is not intended to be full time, and pairs well with an existing workload.
Depending on participant demand, active contractors can expect to earn $10,000-$35,000 per year. Work will begin in July for qualified contractors.
Information Session
To be considered for Rain Check, any interested contractors should join them for a February 12 information session to learn more about the program and meet current contractors.
The session will be held at the PA Horticultural Society Board Room, 100 N. 20th Street 5th Floor in Philadelphia.  Click Here to RSVP.
For more information, Visit Here for the formal announcement.

BioMost Volunteers Help Design Passive Mine Drainage Treatment Systems In Bolivia

Dr. Bill Strosnider, an Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at Saint Francis University (Cambria County), has been working to correct acid mine drainage problems in Bolivia since 2006 when he as a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma.
He has been continuing his efforts and encouraging others to work together with the local people to make a difference in the lives and the health of residents affected by the intensive mining of silver and other metals for other four centuries.
He recently led a group of four volunteers from BioMost, Inc.-- Tim Danehy, Margaret Dunn, Ryan Mahoney and Buck Neely-- to complete preliminary design work on a water treatment project in Potosi, Bolivia, the second-poorest nation in our hemisphere.
[Note: BioMost, Inc. personnel have been involved in the design of more than 230 passive treatment components of all types which are successfully treating a combined total of over 1 billion gallons per year. In addition, thousands of acres of active and abandoned mine lands have been successfully reclaimed.]
The project goal was to treat contaminated mine drainage so that the water can be safely used for much-needed irrigation in the impoverished farming communities downstream.
BioMost, Inc. is assisting in the Bolivian project by providing cost estimates, designs and construction guidance free-of-charge.
The idea for the project began several years ago when Dr. Strosnider and Dr. Robert Naim (Oklahoma School of Engineering and Environmental Science) envisioned a passive water treatment plant in Potosi, a very poor and arid region whose main source of water is the Juckucha River.
The river is so contaminated that the local people know not to drink from it, however, the Juckucha River is still the key water supply for the area’s livestock and irrigation.
A 2008 analysis of residents’ blood samples showed exceptionally high levels of cadmium, lead and arsenic for locals living as far as 100 miles downstream from the silver mines.
Phase I of the Juckucha reclamation project was completed in May 2012, with 4 million pounds of limestone moved by hand (quite a task with each rock weighing 40 to 70 pounds) to line the two highest channels of the river.
Phase II of the project focuses on creating passive treatment systems for the Upper Juckucha River, where the abandoned mines are located, which is the focus of the work of BioMost, Inc.
Doug Daley, a visiting Environmental Engineering Professor from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, also accompanied Strosnider’s team on their October trip as a consulting hydrologist.
Julie Horvath of the Saint Francis Office for Study Abroad helped coordinate the travel and the trip was funded by the United Methodist Committee on Relief in coordination with the Environmental Engineering Department’s nonprofit partner organization, Engineers In Action.
Saint Francis students will help with the project as part of their capstone work at the University.  They will work with Saint Francis professors and BioMost, inc. personnel to aid in the design of the irrigation water treatment project and during study abroad trips to Bolivia.  They will continue to assist with the monitoring and maintenance of the systems, once constructed.
This project is an exciting example of transferring environmental technology developed here in Pennsylvania to help those in need a content away.
We are excited to be part of a remarkable partnership involving the Bolivian government, Pososi Rotary Club, Oklahoma University, resident volunteers and Engineers In Action.
It was thrilling to see an active water treatment plant installed and operated by a local mining company as of 2014, and after 100 years of no life in the Juckucha River, there is now moss, algae, grass and birds returning to the valley and most importantly, there is a new hope for the residents for clean water for their community!
[Editor: Does this sound familiar Pennsylvania? The original Growing Greener Program and the hard work and ingenuity of Pennsylvania partners made this all possible!]
(Reprinted from the February issue of The Catalyst newsletter from the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition in Butler County.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)
Video: Bolivia’s Unsafe Water

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