Thursday, July 18, 2019

Delaware River Basin Commission Seeks Consultant To Evaluate Options For Additional Water Storage To Meet Low Flow Water Demands In The Basin

The Delaware River Basin Commission published a Request for Qualifications and Statement of Interest for consulting services to evaluate additional storage options for meeting water demands and managing flows in the Delaware River Basin during periods of low flow or drought.  Proposals are due September 13.
The proposal asks the consultant to identify feasible storage options for a 1 billion gallons, 5 billion, 10 billion and 20 billion gallons.
The following Projects will not be considered as viable projects during this review.
-- Tocks Island Reservoir or any other main stem Delaware River dam.
-- Maiden Creek Reservoir (Maiden Creek upstream of Lake Ontelaunee, Berks County)
-- Trexler Reservoir (Jordan Creek, Lehigh County)
The RFQ notes there are studies being considered by the Commission and other partners regarding storage options in F.E. Walter Reservoir in the Lehigh River Basin.
The RFQ lists previous reservoir and storage studies the consultant should review.
The RFQ also lists other items to consider--
-- Public Water Supply Reservoirs taken offline in the 1990’s after EPA’s Surface Water Treatment Rules
Click Here for a copy of the RFQ.  Technical questions should be directed to Dr. SeungAh Byun; 609-883-9500 ext 237 or at
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Delaware River Basin Commission website.  Click Here to sign up for regulator updates.  Follow DRBC on TwitterVisit them on YouTube.

Presentation Proposals Now Being Accepted For 2020 PA Brownfields Conference March 9-11, State College

The Engineers’ Society of Western PA and DEP are now accepting presentation proposals for the 2020 PA Brownfield Conference to be held March 9-11 in State College.  Proposals are due September 27.
Conference organizers are seeking presentations with current, relevant, and informative content on a wide range of topics involved in bringing a brownfield back to successful reuse.
While fundamental issues such as financing, funding, remediation and others will always provide the foundation for reuse, we hope to go beyond these traditional topics to present a program that is thought-provoking and forward thinking with “what’s next” for the brownfields industry.
Click Here to submit a proposal or for more information.

Wildlife For Everyone: Bald Eagle Creek Restoration Kickstarts Proposed Wildlife Center, Centre County

The Wildlife for Everyone Foundation will initiate the first enhancement to its proposed Wildlife Center, slated for construction in the Tom Ridge Wetlands along old Route 220 South in Huston Township, Centre County. 
The restoration project had been delayed for one year due to high water levels caused by record rainfall throughout the summer and fall of 2018.  Movement of big construction equipment was impossible due to the excessive water and deep mud. 
The restoration of 600 feet of Bald Eagle Creek will begin the week of July 22 and take approximately one week to construct. 
“This long-awaited project will set the wheels in motion for the development of the Wildlife Center,” said Susan Hawthorne, Executive Director of the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation. 
The first phase will include the development of a one-mile ADA-compliant walking trail, observation/viewing areas, accessible fishing platform and education pavilion.  The restoration will improve fish habitat by creating deep water and cover for the fish and reduce the bank erosion where the accessible fishing platform will be constructed.  
“The accessibility that is built into the design of the Wildlife Center will provide all persons, regardless of physical limitation, the opportunity to connect with nature through participation in fishing, hiking or wildlife viewing, allowing them to experience the restorative benefits that being outdoors offers,” adds Hawthorne. 
The accessible fishing platform is one feature of this model. 
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s program, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, is funding the effort that will eliminate stream bank erosion and improve the quality of fish habitat.  
The Bald Eagle Creek is stocked with trout and is a very popular fishing destination. In addition to trout, the creek supports small mouth bass, rock bass, white suckers, catfish and other fishable species.  
Fundraising efforts for the Wildlife Center, a project of the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation, are in full swing. Anyone wishing to make a donation should contact the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation office by calling 814-238-8138 or make a donation online
(Photo: Part of proposed ADA-compliant walking trail.)

DEP Issues Code Orange Air Quality Action Day For Friday, July 19 In Lehigh Valley, Southeast PA

The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for ozone for Friday, July 19 in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia counties.
A strong ridge of high pressure will bring sunshine and excessive heat to the commonwealth Friday into Sunday. High temperatures of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit are possible in southeastern parts of the state during this time, with heat indices close to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. 
On Friday, light southwest winds and the high temperatures will promote ozone development into the code ORANGE range. DEP will provide further updates tomorrow and over the weekend as this heat and air quality episode progresses. Further action day issuances will be sent as needed.
On air quality action days, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standardized air quality index uses colors to report daily air quality. Green signifies good; yellow means moderate; orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people; and red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.
To help keep the air healthy, residents and business are encouraged to voluntarily restrict certain pollution-producing activities by:
-- Refueling cars and trucks after dusk;
-- Setting air conditioner thermostats to a higher temperature;
-- Carpooling or using public transportation; and 
-- Combining errands to reduce trips. 
These forecasts are provided in conjunction with DEP’s regional air quality partnerships, including the Lehigh Valley-Berks Air Quality Partnership and the Air Quality Partnership for the Delaware Valley
Visit DEP’s Air Quality Partnerships webpage for more information on air quality across Pennsylvania.

Wildlands Conservancy: Stream Restoration Success, Why Sea Lamprey Are A Good Sign For Lehigh Watershed

What’s slimy, eel-like, has row upon row of pointy jagged teeth inside its suction-cup mouth and is an indicator of a healthy waterway? If you guessed a Sea Lamprey – you’re correct! 
One of the most primitive vertebrate species is finding its way back into our Lehigh River watershed – as nearby as Jordan Creek, where it was identified this spring.
And this could-be creature-feature happens to be really good news! This species spells success for Wildlands Conservancy’s stream restoration efforts, and it boasts improved water quality for drinking, swimming, fishing and boating.
Why Did the Sea Lamprey Surface in the Jordan Creek?
The Sea Lamprey is an anadromous species. Along with the likes of Pacific salmons and sturgeon, Atlantic salmon and sturgeon, striped bass and blueback herring, the Sea Lamprey is born in freshwater, travels to the sea to mature, and eventually returns to freshwater to spawn and finish their lifecycle.
Now for the “why” of why this guy showed up in the Jordan Creek, Wildlands director of ecological restoration, Kristie Fach, says it has everything to do with dam removal aspect of our stream restoration work.
The City of Allentown’s Jordan Creek is a 34.1-mile long tributary to the Little Lehigh Creek, and had been designated as “impaired” by the Department of Environmental Protection. 
Backed by the support our giving community, Wildlands worked with local and state agencies to restore fish passage to just about 10 miles along the Jordan, which included a series of dam removals. 
As of June 2019, five of nine existing dams have been removed.
It’s great to see positive changes to the stream and habitat after removing the first series of dams on the Jordan Creek,” says Fach. “I’m grateful for the body of partnerships, donors and volunteers that help us make these critical advancements for the health of our Lehigh River watershed.
Why Dams Get in the Way (of more than just Sea Lamprey)
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) is among Wildlands’ partners when it comes to both land protection and environmental stewardship. 
Specific to species like the Sea Lamprey, PFBC fisheries biologist, Benjamin Lorson, says, “Several species have had a significant portion of their native ranges cut off by the construction of dams and many of their populations are at a fraction of historic levels.”
So when retired biologist Mike Kaufmann reported sighting multiple Sea Lamprey redds, or nests, in the Jordan this spring, those involved with the restoration efforts there were thrilled. 
The discovery of these anadromous fish points to the positive changes that occur when a waterway is allowed to function in its most natural state.
These fish are not the warmest and fuzziest of mascots for stream restoration success, however, they are integral to the natural system Wildlands’ restoration efforts aimed to repair. Lorson notes, “Diverse community = diverse habitat = healthy waterways.”
Across the nation, crumbling dams – remnants of mankind’s attempts at harnessing the power of moving water – are relics dotting our country’s varied waterways.  In the United States, a movement is growing (actually led in number by Pennsylvania) to support the removal of man-made dams.
Dam removal is one of the most low-cost, effective tools for permanently restoring the ecology and natural function of streams.  Too, results are often realized soon after removal.  
And while viscous, water-dwelling creatures like our Sea Lamprey might make us squirm, their presence speaks to the reversal of negative human impacts on local waterways (making them almost lovable?).
Old obsolete dams can:
-- Impede the natural movement of water, materials, plants and animals from place to place for -- feeding, breeding and more
-- Trap fish and other aquatic wildlife
-- Cause sediment to build up
-- Raise water temperature and lower oxygen levels where water has unnaturally  pooled
-- Contribute to local flooding
-- Become a public safety hazard when people recreate in exclusion zones – climbing and walking on crumbling structures, or swimming in dam-created whirlpools that pose a drowning risk
Other Tools in Our Stream Restoration Kit & Looking Ahead
Likeminded partners and generous supporters keep Wildlands on the ground advancing stream restoration, while reaching for a variety of tools in combination with dam removal.  The results benefit human and wildlife residents in the vicinity in lots of amazing ways.
“First we evaluate possible barriers to completing a project successfully along with any risks involved. Once necessary partnerships are secured and the permitting process is complete, heavy machinery is brought in to take down the structure. In addition to removing the dam itself, any other opportunities to improve the environment are also incorporated,” says Fach.
Planting riparian buffers (strips of native grasses, shrubs and trees that protect waterways by providing shade and minimizing polluted runoff) and installing PFBC-approved in-stream fish habitat structures are also proven tools.
And successes like the Jordan help Wildlands forward future projects. 
Fach is looking forward to advancing plans along the Bushkill Creek as well as the Lehigh River headwaters situated at the 500-acre Klondike property Wildlands permanently protected last year. 
Both endeavors include specifics for dam removal.
With these steps forward and continued marks of positive progress, Wildlands will continue to aid in clearing the paths originally cut by Mother Nature herself. 
With more wide-open waterways, who knows what interesting fauna with fins, scales, claws or feathers we may encounter in and around our critical, beautiful Lehigh River watershed!
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Wildlands Conservancy website. Like on Facebook, Follow on Twitter and Join on InstagramClick Here to support the Conservancy.
(Photo: Sea Lamprey mouth, Jordan Creek after dam removal.)
(Reprinted from Wildlands Conservancy website.)

Growing Greener Coalition: Lawmakers Name Hellbender Clean Water Ambassador, Then Cut $16 Million For Clean Water Projects

Growing Greener Coalition: "In April, lawmakers declared the eastern hellbender—a species sensitive to pollution—the official state amphibian. In June, they cut $16 million for projects to clean up Pennsylvania's waterways."
Visit the new Environmental Stewardship (Growing Greener) Fund website to learn more about how communities have used Growing Greener money for projects to restore their watersheds, reducing flooding and stormwater pollution.
$16 million in local project funding money was taken away from this Fund in the FY 2019-20 budget to pay for personnel and operating expenses at DEP.
Visit the Keystone Recreation, Park & Conservation Fund website to learn more about how communities have used Keystone Fund money to improve local recreational opportunities, preserve farmland and open space, sensitive natural areas and maintain recreational facilities in State Parks and Forests.
Gov. Wolf proposed to take $30 million in local project funding from the Keystone Fund to pay for DCNR operating expenses, but that was beaten back.
Click Here to learn more from PA Environment Digest.
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Register Now for Delaware River Watershed Form Oct. 16-17 In Allentown

Registration is now open for the 7th Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum to be held October 16-17 at the Renaissance Allentown Hotel.
The Forum will bring together organizations and individuals spanning the four watershed states of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. The Forum allows for collaboration among those working on environmental conservation and policy; and provides professional and personal development opportunities.
Workshops and speakers will focus on topics such as water quality, agriculture, community engagement, equity, and environmental policy. 
This year, Forum organizers excited to introduce new elements to the Forum, including a student poster session, municipal awards, and lightning talks featuring Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund grant recipients!
As always, we'll also be offering fun, interactive conservation-focused field trips, including: a Lehigh River Bike Ride, a Musconetcong River Restoration Tour, a Delaware River Film Festival, a Blue Mountain Superfund Site Restoration Tour, and Villa Milagro Winery Tour.
Student Poster Presentations
Current college and university students are invited to participate in a poster session to showcase their research or reports on environment and conservation topics (i.e. plastics, water quality, wildlife, environmental policy, etc.) to the Forum's expected 250+ attendees. 
The Forum wants to hear from the next generation of conservation leaders! Registration is free for poster session participants.  
Poster submissions are due by October 4.  Questions should be directed to
Click Here for information on how to sponsor the 2019 Delaware River Watershed Forum and reap the benefits of program advertising. Sponsorship submissions are due by September 30.  Questions should be directed to
Click Here to register and for more information.

The New Source For Environmental News Affecting The Allegheny Watershed

There is a new online source for environmental news in the Allegheny River Watershed in Northwestern PA-- The
The describes itself as an "alternative publishing platform to the newspapers in the area which generally place economics above ecosystems."
In it's greeting to readers, they said--
"Like the Allegheny River, The Allegheny Voice begins small, barely a seep in a meadow.
“Our mission here is to serve the Allegheny River watershed ecosystem, including all its communities, natural and human.
“We know the River has its own many voices, from the miles of whispering flat water, to the shouts of rare rapids, to the angry roar at the outflow below Kinzua Dam. While we cannot improve on the River’s natural voices, perhaps we can use our human voices, from time to time, to speak on behalf of the River. 
“Or at least to speak for those love the River, who refuse to sacrifice ecosystems to economics, and for those who believe the River has the natural right to flow free and to flourish from that meadow in Potter County to Point Park in Pittsburgh.
“So we begin here. A trickle.
“We hope you join us."
PGE vs. Small Rural Township
One of the initial articles describes the results of a federal lawsuit brought by Grant Township in Indiana County against Pennsylvania General Energy.  PGE is converting a gas well in the township to an injection well for the disposal of drilling wastewater.
The township, which has 800 people, lost the challenge and was ordered by the judge to pay PGE $600,000 in lawyer fees, later reduced by PGE to $102,978.  The article expressed a concern that even that amount would cause the Township's financial ruin.
Stop by and give them a read!  Questions should be directed to:
About The Allegheny
The Allegheny River was Pennsylvania’s 2017 River Of The Year. The river flows more than 315 miles through the state, including a portion of the PA Wilds. With a watershed area of 11,580 square miles, it contributes 60 percent of the Ohio River flow at Pittsburgh.
Eighty-six miles of the Allegheny River -- from Kinzua Dam to Emlenton -- are a federally designated National Wild and Scenic River, containing seven islands that are protected under America’s National Wilderness Preservation System.
The Allegheny has one of the most biologically diverse watersheds in the state.  It is seeing increasing oil and gas drilling activity and benefits from the forestry and tourism industry.  It also has scars from coal mining in the form of abandoned mine lands and mine discharges.
Related Article:
Conventional Oil & Gas Industry Has A Major Goal In 2019-- To Restore Program To Spread Oil & Gas Well Brine On Dirt And Gravel Roads

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