Friday, May 22, 2015

Geisinger Medical Systems Seeking Applications For Marcellus Shale Health Studies

The Environmental Health Institute at Geisinger Medical Systems is seeking proposals for research into the impacts of Marcellus Shale development that could influence environmental, human or community Health.
Proposals are due June 1.  Click Here for the request for proposals.  Click Here for an application.

Campbell Foundation Accepting Applications For Chesapeake Bay Watershed Grants

The Campbell Foundation is now accepting applications for projects to accelerate the pace of nutrient and sediment reduction in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  Applications are due June 30.
The Campbell Foundation seeks to identify, broaden and enhance leadership and grassroots advocacy by building capacity for the networks that promote stronger environmental action.
Click Here for all the details and to apply.

Friday PA Environmental NewsClips

Click Here  for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Thursday, May 21, 2015

POWR Awards 15 Mini-Grants For River Sojourns

The PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers Awarded 15 mini-grants to support river sojourns all across Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Sojourns reach over 4,000 people, paddle over 500 miles of rivers, offer more than 100 educational programs, and distribute more than $60,000 in grants across the state.
A guided paddling trip, each sojourn that applied needed to incorporate educational programming and be open to all participants.
The grants were awarded to—
-- 16th Annual Ohiopyle Over The Falls Festival: The 16th Annual Ohiopyle Over The Falls Festival will be held August 22.
Whitewater paddlers nationwide will gather to race and freestyle over the spectacular 18-foot waterfall in the picturesque mountain village of Ohiopyle. Spectators are invited to watch paddlers sprint and cartwheel, end-over-end, off the waterfall.
Other events for the day include the Falls Under Lights, town party, live music, and silent auction. There are also opportunities for biking, hiking, camping, viewing magnificent scenery, taking spectacular photos, and partaking in historic and cultural activities.
-- 18th Annual Alle-Kiski-Connie River Sojourn: The 18th Annual Alle-Kiski-Connie River Sojourn will be held from May 14 through May 17.
Enjoy a scenic river adventure, paddling through the beautiful Allegheny, Kiskiminetas, and Conemaugh Valleys. Share in the rich heritage of these unique waterways, while relaxing and enjoying excellent food, experienced safety guides, amid a family-friendly environment! The sojourn is organized by the Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center and is administered by the Armstrong Educational Trust.
Participate in the entire sojourn or just enjoy a portion of it. One, two, and three day packages are available.
-- 16th Annual Stony-Kiski-Conemaugh Rivers Sojourn: The 16th annual Stony-Kiski- Conemaugh Rivers Sojourn will be held from June 4 through June 7.
The Sojourn offers up to four days of mostly flat paddling along the borders of Cambria, Westmoreland, Indiana, and Armstrong Counties in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Paddle through a river corridor rich in scenery and history, view spectacular and little known gorges, and stop in historic communities like Blairsville, Saltsburg, and Apollo.
The sojourn is appropriate for both new and experienced paddlers, and is a great way to learn about the rivers, history, culture, and recreation resources.
-- Boy Scouts of America River Sojourn: The Boy Scouts of America River Sojourn will be held from May 15 through May 17.
BSA will be offering the program to all boy scouts within the area. There will be camping at Hornbrooke Park in Bradford County on Friday night. Saturday includes a trip to French Azilum, an historic site along the Susquehanna River.
During the paddle the boy scouts will stop to do cleanups and partake in environmental educational programs. There will be historic education presentations done at both Hornbrooke Park and French Azilum.
Endless Mountains Heritage Region will be hosting the event. The kayaks and canoes will be supplied by Endless Mountains Outfitters. Registration will be done through the BSA.
-- French Creek Summer Solstice Sojourn: The French Creek Summer Solstice Sojourn will take place from June 20 through June 21.
The French Creek Summer Solstice Sojourn is a two-day, one-night paddling trip down one of Pennsylvania’s most unique and important waterways. The trip features educational presentations, musical entertainment, delicious food, and fellowship.
-- Loyalhanna Sojourn: The second Annual Loyalhanna Sojourn will be held on May 30
Paddle a nine-mile section of the Loyalhanna Creek from the Cardinal park launch site in Latrobe to the new Ball Field launch site in New Alexandria. The day will include shuttle service, refreshments, boater safety, environmental education, and a free concert and community event.
-- The Mon River Spring Paddle: Come Down to the River and Play: The Mon River Spring Paddle will be held on May 30.
The Spring Paddle includes safety instructions, interpretation on historic sites and industrial artifacts seen on and near the river, a boxed lunch, and a stand up paddling demonstration.
The paddle is a key event in a weekend of activities planned for the Come Down to the River and Play.  For more information, visit the Mon River Towns website.
-- Kids Pedal/Paddle on the Schuylkill River: The Kids Pedal/Paddle will be held on August 19.
Pedal/Paddle is a “gateway” program to introduce people of all ages and abilities to bicycling the Schuylkill River Trail and paddling the Schuylkill River. Bikes (if needed) and kayaks are provided along with a safety and technique orientation for cycling on the trail and paddling on the river to insure all participants have a fun and safe experience.
This event is underwritten by a grant provided by PA Organization for Watershed and Rivers and the LL Bean Outdoor Experience Mini Grant that encourages students and active teens to get out and explore nature through a series of activities.
The program will take approximately four hours (orientation and fitting for bikes and boats, lunch, program, etc.) and will be supervised by SRT, PEC, Phoenixville Green Team, Port Providence Paddle and PAL staff (perhaps some parents).  
Timeframe for the program is approximately 3.5 hours. Departing from Longford Park the group will pedal to Lock 60 outside of Phoenixville and have lunch and a program by a historian or someone from Fairmount Water Works about water quality.
-- Annual Perkiomen Creek SojournPerkiomen: The Annual Perkiomen Creek Sojourn will be held on June 6.
Paddle with the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy team along a seven-mile stretch of the Perkiomen Creek! Paddlers will learn about the human and natural history of the area, enjoy lunch, and have plenty of opportunities to view wildlife.
-- Invisible Schuylkill River 2015: Invisible River 2015 will be held on August 29.
Invisible River is a performance and boating event celebrating the Schuylkill River. Audiences on the water and on the shore will witness live music and dance performances on the river’s banks and waters, as well as suspended above it from the Strawberry Mansion Bridge.
Preceding the main performance, audiences will be led on a music processional along Randolph Creek to the boat launch on Kelly Drive, where local officials will speak.
-- 2015 Schuylkill River Sojourn: The Schuylkill River Sojourn will be held from June 6 through June 12.
The Sojourn is a seven-day, 115-mile guided canoe and kayak trip on the Schuylkill River. Paddlers will explore Pennsylvania’s first Scenic River as it changes from a narrow waterway gently dropping out of the mountains in Schuylkill County to a wider and slower river as it flows into historic Philadelphia.
Along the way, paddlers will encounter people, groups, and communities that care about the river as one of their most valued resources and recognize its importance and look forward to welcoming the sojourners each year.
Participants paddle 14-18 miles per day and can register for the entire trip or as little as one day.
-- West Branch Susquehanna River Educational Sojourn: The West Branch Susquehanna River Sojourn will be held from June 17 through June 21.
The Sojourn is a five-day educational paddling and cycling trip highlighting the beautiful scenery and special places along the river and Greenway. Paddlers will be guided through 47 miles of the breathtaking natural beauty along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
The sojourn will pass through the historic river towns of Jersey Shore, Williamsport, and Muncy; with much of the trip passing along rural and scenic areas. Along the way, local experts will educate sojourners about the area’s wildlife, geologic and cultural history, and local conservation efforts through riverside presentations and guided tours.
Join the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership for the whole trip or just one day.
-- Swatara Sojourn, a Long Drink of Water: The Swatara Sojourn will be held from May 2 through May 3.
“Swatara, a Long Drink of Water” will take paddlers from Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, through Swatara State Park, and end at Swatara Watershed Park, Annville, Lebanon County. Paddlers will travel 30 miles over two days and sleep on the banks of the Swatara Creek.
Paddlers will visit the rustic Bordner Cabin, see the Appalachian Trail bridge and canal locks. There will be fishing and boating demonstrations, workshops, and product demonstrations, and paddlers will have ample opportunities to view wildlife as well as work on their paddling technique.
-- Delaware River Sojourn: Birthplace of America: The 21st Delaware River Sojourn will be held from June 20 through June 27.
The Delaware River Sojourn gives people of all ages and experiences a chance to have a truly “hands-on” river adventure that includes a guided kayak (or canoe) paddle, camping, and educational programming.
What makes the Delaware Sojourn unique is the combined efforts of local, regional, and federal partners, as well as individual volunteers, that come together to plan, host, and lead a very special eight days on and off the Delaware River.
The Delaware Sojourn is an annual reunion of individuals who come together every year to celebrate the river, participate in a fun, outdoors event, and learn a little bit about our environment and how to give back.
-- Lehigh River Sojourn: The Lehigh River Sojourn will be held from June 26 through June 29.
The sojourn is a 28-mile guided paddling trip on the Lehigh River hosted by Wildlands Conservancy.
Beginning in the Pocono Mountains and ending in Northampton, sojourners travel through the metro-wilderness of the Lehigh River region and experience all of the treasures of nature – scenic views, visits from resident wildlife and a shared appreciation for preserving the environment.
The trip provides the opportunity for participants to learn about what is being done to protect the Lehigh River and how they can take an active role in preserving our natural resources. The trip celebrates the history, importance, and significance of the Lehigh River to the region and beyond.
Each day is filled with education programs on the important conservation work being done by Wildlands Conservancy to improve and enhance the natural resources of the Lehigh River.
For more information and a schedule of PA River Sojourns, visit the POWR 2015 Sojourns webpage.

5 Environmental Groups Submit Joint Comments On DEP Drilling Regulations

This week, the PA Environmental Council, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA, Environmental Defense Fund, PA Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and the Western PA Conservancy submitted comments on the Department of Environmental Protection’s  proposed final regulatory changes for Marcellus and other unconventional shale gas development.
The comments reflected both praise for recent environmental protection improvements to the proposed rulemaking, as well as suggestions for additional measures that are still needed.
“These regulations are long-overdue and will, eventually, enact provisions of Act 13 that was signed into law almost three-and-a-half years ago,” PEC President and CEO Davitt Woodwell said. “We are looking forward to getting them into place and continuing to address other pressing concerns with shale gas development, especially control of methane leakage and standards for pipeline development.”
The proposed rulemaking is a significant step forward from the previous version published in December of 2013.
The joint comments commended the Department on taking several steps forward, notably, requiring drillers to more proactively prevent migration of drilling fluids and gas to groundwater. This is a priority issue for Pennsylvania, where the state has over 300,000 active and abandoned wells that can act like straws to pull contaminants toward the surface.
The rulemaking also calls for the elimination of impoundment storage pits at well sites, coupled with more robust containment standards. This will greatly reduce not only the short-term chances of contamination, but also a potential long-term legacy of environmental impact.
The comments also applauded the Department on enhanced analysis and precautions for water sourcing and use, additional protections for public resources and features, and many others.
In addition to the requirements set forth in the revised rulemaking proposal, the organizations also believe the Department should improve the containment and inspection requirements for water and waste storage, develop clear standards for noise reduction, expand the list of protected public resources, and enhance and clarify a number of critical terms within the rulemaking.
The joint comments are available online.
The public comment period on the regulations closed on May 19.  For more information, visit DEP’s Oil and Gas Regulations webpage.

Agriculture: Work To Address Spotted Lanternfly Underway In Berks County

With nearly 20,000 Spotted Lanternfly terminated to date and additional egg masses hatching, officials from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Berks County and local community came together Thursday to provide an update on surveillance efforts and work to eradicate this threatening invasive species.
Last fall, the Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, was officially identified in Berks County.
A native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam, the Spotted Lanternfly could severely impact the state’s grape, fruit tree and hardwood industries. Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species that also grow in Pennsylvania.
State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding highlighted the intergovernmental partnerships that are working to contain – and ultimately eradicate – the Spotted Lanternfly.
“I appreciate the support that USDA has given us, particularly to combat the Spotted Lanternfly,” said Redding. “We would like to also thank the Berks County state legislators, county commissioners and the volunteers for their dedication and cooperation as we work together to stop the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly.”
The USDA echoed Redding’s comments and commitment to cooperation.
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has a strong history of partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and local producers," said APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea. "Working together, we successfully eradicated plum pox from the state, and now we're bringing that same cooperation and resolve to the fight against the Spotted Lanternfly."
Pennsylvania received $2.8 million for 21 projects through the 2014 Farm Bill to protect the state’s agriculture industry against pest and disease threats. More than $1.5 million of the funding will allow the state to address the Spotted Lanternfly, which poses a significant threat to the commonwealth’s grape, apple, and stone fruit industries.
These industries produce sales of approximately $20.5 million, $134 million, and $24 million, respectively. Pine and hardwood logging in Pennsylvania also accounts for $12 billion in sales.
As of the beginning of May, nearly 20,000 Spotted Lanternflies have been terminated through the work of egg mass scraping that occurred throughout the fall, winter and spring. The egg masses are now beginning to hatch, and tree bands are being installed at the bottom of the Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima).
Members of the community, in addition to experts, have volunteered to submit egg mass scrapings and install tree bands.
The Department of Agriculture received nearly $1.4 million to hire crews for survey, installation of tree bands, and assist in eradication efforts in the six Berks County townships infested with the Spotted Lanternfly.
The department will work with Kutztown University and Penn State University, both of which secured USDA funding, to conduct research to gain better insight on managing and eliminating the pest.
Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences received more than $27,000 to study the impact of the Spotted Lanternfly on the grape industry and to develop control solutions for growers, and an additional $30,500 for outreach and extension programming.
Kutztown University received more than $13,000 to study the North American host range of Spotted Lanternfly and its seasonal occurrence.
“It is the partnerships we have with Penn State University, Penn State Extension, and Kutztown University that allow us to better understand this new invasive species,” added Redding. “When we fight invasive species in Pennsylvania, we aren’t just working to protect our agriculture industry, but the industry in neighboring states and across the country.”
The United States has not experienced this invasive species prior to its discovery Berks County. There is currently a quarantine in place around the boroughs of Bally and Bechtelsville and the townships of District, Earl, Hereford, Pike, Rockland and Washington.
The quarantine may be expanded to new areas as further detections of the Spotted Lanternfly are detected and confirmed.
For more information, visit Agriculture’s Spotted Lanternfly webpage.

DCNR Joins Effort To Set Tree Planting Record In North America

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources employees and volunteers joined teams from across North America Wednesday in a record-setting bid by Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. to plant a quarter-million trees in one hour.
Sections of Tuscarora and Moshannon state forests have been selected for participation in this attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the “Most Trees Planted in One Hour.” From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. May 20, Pennsylvania teams joined some 40 others across the United States and Canada in this tree-planting endeavor sponsored by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc..
“Participating are a diverse group of young people, forestry industry representatives, community volunteers, and DCNR workers who all recognize our forests are critical to our health and the sustainability of our communities,” said DCNR Acting Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “Their efforts will go far beyond setting a record—they will be realizing the tangible rewards of volunteerism while helping to ensure healthy forests for the future.”
Hard hit by past gypsy moth infestation, a section of the Tuscarora State Forest District, headquartered in Perry County, is targeted for spruce and white pine seedling plantings.
Meanwhile, in Moshannon State Forest District, based in Clearfield County, the effort will focus on state forestland in Centre County that reclaimed after surface mining.
Seedlings for both plantings are being supplied by the Bureau of Forestry’s Penn Nursery in Spring Mills.
The acting secretary noted tree planting and forest regeneration efforts are vital to the Bureau of Forestry’s timber harvesting program which, in 2014, saw approximately 13,720 acres of timber felled on state forestlands.
“These contracts have a value of about $19.6 million in revenue for the commonwealth and supplied the raw materials for an estimated $400 million in private sector economic activity,” Dunn said. “The timber harvesting program provides renewable wood products to consumers; helps support local jobs and industry; creates early successional forests to enhance wildlife populations; and helps to maintain healthy forests.”
Volunteers of all ages pitched in today in the tree-planting exercise at Tuscarora State Forest.According to SFI estimates, forests across the nation are part of a vast green infrastructure that creates 2.4 million jobs; generates $87 billion in payroll; $223 billion in sales and adds $102 billion to the Gross Domestic Product. This includes harvesting trees for paper and timber products, and using forests for sport and recreation.
“This year the Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee is celebrating 20 years of work aimed at fostering an appreciation of forest conservation and management throughout the forest community in Pennsylvania,” said Chuck Coup, program manager with the Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee. “We think this is a terrific opportunity to bring recognition to the importance of our forests while also working to ensure their future."
“Whether they recognize the economic, recreational or aesthetic value of our forests, volunteers pitching in next week all know our woodlands’ environmental impact is immense,” said Bureau of Forestry Director Daniel Devlin, who will be joining the groups in next week’s plantings. “Forests offset carbon dioxide emissions by 12 percent and are the source of more than half of our drinking water supply. Not to mention the critical wildlife habitat they provide.”
Tuscarora State Forest volunteers met at Fowlers Hollow State Park, off Route 274 between Blain and New Germantown, Perry County. In Moshannon State Forest, volunteers gathered at a reclaimed surface mine site off Route 53, between Black Moshannon State Park and the town of Winburne, Clearfield County.
Official confirmation from Guinness World Records is expected in 6-8 weeks from Wednesday’s world record attempt.
The non-profit SFI works “to bring environmental, social and economic interests together to conserve healthy forests for future generations, while supporting the people and communities who depend on them today.”
Forestland certified to the SFI Standard covers a quarter-billion acres across North America.
For more information, visit the SFI Implementation Committee website.  Visit DCNR’s State Forest Certification webpage for more information on sustainability certification for Pennsylvania’s State Forests by the Forest Stewardship Council.
(Reprinted from the May 20 issue of the Resource newsletter from DCNR.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy (bottom of the page).)

Keep PA Beautiful: Nearly 13,000 In PA Participate In 2014 International Coastal Cleanup

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Thursday announced 12,809 volunteers from 50 counties canvassed their communities to remove 646,210 pounds of trash and debris from Pennsylvania’s waterways and coastal regions during the 2014 International Coastal Cleanup.
The information was released by the Ocean Conservancy as part of its summary of accomplishments during the 29th year of the International Coastal Cleanup in 2014.
The International Coastal Cleanup is the largest volunteer effort aimed at improving the health of the ocean, bringing out more than half a million volunteers from around the world to remove millions of pounds of plastics and debris from beaches, lakes and waterways and surrounding areas while recording every piece of trash that is found.  
Keep PA Beautiful coordinates this effort in Pennsylvania.
In February, the journal Science published research on the shocking extent of debris in the open ocean and projected that it will only grow in the future if land-based solutions like better waste management aren’t expanded. The International Coastal Cleanup’s Marine Debris Index provides the only annual global snapshot of marine debris.
The Index’s results are used to inform researchers, government and industry leaders as they develop new initiatives to prevent trash from harming fish and wildlife habitat and improve health and sanitation on land.
“Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is honored to coordinate efforts of the International Coastal Cleanup in Pennsylvania. Our goal is to prevent trash from ever reaching our waterways where it contaminates water supplies, poses health and safety risks to humans and animals and is difficult and costly to remove” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. “By participating in the annual data collection and reporting, Pennsylvania’s play an important role in changing the way waste is managed in the future.”
The 2015 International Coastal Cleanup is September 1st through October 31st. Any cleanup site is eligible since we all live in a watershed and all waterways flow into our coastal waters.  
To participate contact Michelle Dunn, Keep PA Beautiful Program Coordinator, by sending email to: mdunn@keeppabeautiful.org or call 724-836-4121 x113.

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