Thursday, September 21, 2017

Laurel Hill State Park Hosts Salute To PA Outdoor Corps In State Parks, Forestlands

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Thursday joined Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), Department of Labor & Industry officials and Bureau of State Parks representatives in saluting contributions and successes of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps at Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset County.
“Looking back on its second year of operation, the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps certainly is emerging as a ‘win-win’ effort for all involved,” Dunn said. “The young men and women who accomplished so much here at Laurel Hill are indicative of corps spirit and commitment seen in state parks and forests across the state. They have helped chip away at a backlog of needed work, while gaining invaluable career direction and exposure to the outdoors.”
Dunn joined other participants at the park event in meeting members of the Greensburg Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps and visiting one of their project sites on the park campgrounds, where they are building shelters.
“Work like this accents an incredible success story that I have been seeing across the state,” Dunn said. “In the summer of 2016 alone, the outdoor corps made possible enhancement and rehabilitation of 33 acres of green space, 7,000 feet of shoreline, 30 miles of nature trails and 86 park and forest structures.
“This program is connecting youth and young adults with job opportunities relating to the outdoors and the environment, and providing training in work skills necessary for future successful employment.”
The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps is an initiative offered by the Wolf Administration through the departments of Conservation and Natural Resources and Labor & Industry that offers work experience, job training, and educational opportunities to young people who complete recreation and conservation projects on Pennsylvania’s public lands.
This program is designed to protect and restore public lands while providing young people with the knowledge to be good stewards of the state’s natural resources.
“This new program is a key element of our Youth initiative -- one of six being pursued by DCNR to position the department as a leader in areas that go far beyond the operation and stewardship of our state parks and forests,” said Dunn. “This youth employment and enrichment program is managed by DCNR in cooperation with the Student Conservation Association, with financial and program support provided by DCNR the Department of Labor & Industry.”
Initial roll-out of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps in July 2016 was financed through the Department of Labor & Industry’s Reemployment Fund.
“Labor & Industry is all about jobs that pay and jobs that prepare our youth for the careers of today and tomorrow,” said L&I Bureau of Workforce Development Administration Supervisor Michael White. “L&I’s use of the re-employment fund to work on the PA Outdoor Corps with DCNR is a perfect example of governmental collaboration, promoting youth transition services that allow students to be exposed to the world of work and the necessary skills for future success.”
The statewide program is based in state parks and forests locations in rural and urban locations, particularly those areas close to disadvantaged communities and school districts. Crews are dispatched within the region, working on public lands with resource and infrastructure project needs.
The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps consists of two components: a six-week, summer program for youth between the ages of 15-18; and four 10-month programs for young adults ages 18-25. Locations were set up across the state to help facilitate participation by youth and young adults in disadvantaged communities.
Initial site locations in 2016 for the younger group were Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre and Johnstown.
Signaling growth of the program, this summer it included Erie, Meadville, Pittsburgh, Uniontown, Altoona, McConnellsburg, Saint Marys, Renovo, Williamsport, Harrisburg, York, Reading, Wilkes-Barre and Philadelphia.
The Outdoor Corps tackled hands-on projects such as trail restoration, tree planting, light construction, shoreline restorations and invasive species management in state and local parks, state forests and other public lands.
To oversee the program, DCNR appointed Scott Carney as Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps Coordinator.
For more details and to apply, visit the Pennsylvania Outdoors Corps webpage.
For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Now Accepting Entries For Digital Photo Contest

Grab your camera and get to Hawk Mountain in Berks County, because November 26 marks the final day for local photographers to submit entries for the Hawk Mountain Digital Photo Contest.
Photographers of any skill level can enter their best photos taken at Hawk Mountain for an entry fee of just $5, which benefits the Sanctuary's education programs.
Participants can enter in as many of the 5 categories as they like, but only up to 2 photos per category.
Categories include Scenic Views and Wild Landscapes, Wild Avians, Native Wild Flora, Native Wild Fauna, and Macro Photography. All photos must be submitted online at hawkmountain.org/photocontest.
A winner and runner up will be chosen for each category. Honorable mentions and a staff pick will also be selected.
The winner for each category will receive $75 dollars and the runner up will receive $25. The award-winning photos will be displayed in an exhibit in the Wings of Wonder Gallery in the Hawk Mountain Visitor Center for a year and in the Autumn 2018 Hawk Mountain News.
The digital format of this contest allows any photographer to participate easily.
"We want people to get out here and explore the Mountain's trails, overlooks, and programs. This is the perfect chance to practice nature photography and capture the beauty of Hawk Mountain,"  says Gigi Romano, the Sanctuary's Communications Specialist. "It's a breeze to enter, and your submission fee directly benefits our work here on the Mountain."
Click Here for a complete list of rules and guidelines or to enter.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary website or call 610-756-6961.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Sanctuary, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, visit them on Flickr, be part of their Google+ Circle and visit their YouTube Channel.  Click Here to support Hawk Mountain.

DCNR Issues First Fall Foliage Report: Some Areas In Northern PA Closest To Peak

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Thursday issued its first Fall Foliage Report showing the Northern Tier area of the state is about 25-30 percent of the way toward peak foliage color.
For more information on the status of foliage around the state, visit DCNR’s Fall Foliage Reports webpage.
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Delaware River Basin Commission OKs Review Of Aquatic Life Uses In Delaware Estuary

At its September 13 meeting, the Delaware River Basin Commission approved a resolution recognizing the significant water quality improvements in the Delaware River Estuary and providing for a formal review of the designated aquatic life uses and water quality criteria necessary to support these uses.
“The resolution outlines a deliberative, scientific process to further study evidence on the reproduction of resident and migratory fish in a 38-mile section of the tidal Delaware River stretching from Wilmington, Del. to just above the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge connecting Philadelphia and New Jersey,” said DRBC Executive Director Steve Tambini.  “This study will allow the commission to determine the ‘designated use’ of this reach of the river and provide data and information to establish revised water quality standards.  It also affirms the important goal of continued water quality improvement shared by the DRBC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the estuary states of Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.”
The DRBC-approved resolution provides for scientific and technical studies to be performed over the next 3.5 years for the following purposes:
-- To conduct additional field studies of the occurrence, spatial and temporal distribution of the life stages of important fish species that utilize the estuary;
-- To determine the dissolved oxygen requirements of these fish species and the oxygen-depleting nutrient loadings from point (end-of-pipe) and nonpoint (runoff) sources that can be discharged into the tidal river while maintaining the dissolved oxygen levels in the water;
-- To conduct an analysis to determine the attainability of the dissolved oxygen requirements and water quality standards that would result in an upgrade in the designated aquatic life use in this 38-mile stretch of the tidal Delaware River, including technical, social, and economic factors; and
-- To identify and evaluate opportunities for early action to reduce oxygen-depleting discharges to this stretch of river in the short term.
The resolution directs the initiation of DRBC rulemaking to revise the designated aquatic life uses consistent with the results of these scientific and technical studies as well as the federal Clean Water Act.  
The Commission seeks to issue a final rule and an implementation strategy within six years, dependent on the availability of resources to fund the effort.
“The action taken by the commissioners is the continuation of water pollution control efforts that have been underway in the Delaware River Basin for over 50 years, and that have achieved the much-improved water quality that now exists in this area,” noted Tambini.
When the DRBC was created in 1961, little or no dissolved oxygen was present in the Delaware River from Wilmington to Philadelphia for periods of up to six months each year.  To combat this serious challenge, DRBC in 1967 established designated aquatic life uses for the Delaware Estuary (tidal river and bay) and associated numerical water quality criteria necessary to protect those uses.  
The designated use in the 38-mile stretch of river between Wilmington and Philadelphia was “maintenance” (survival) of resident fish and movement of migratory fish through these waters to spawning areas.
Significant improvements in dissolved oxygen levels have occurred throughout this 38-mile stretch of the tidal Delaware River since 1967.  
This shared achievement has been the result of effective water management by DRBC, the federal government, and the basin states, public interest in the restoration and protection of this important natural resource, and substantial investment in wastewater treatment works by public entities and private industry.  
By the late 1980s, over one billion dollars had been spent on improving wastewater treatment facilities throughout the Delaware River Basin, which benefitted communities along the river and strengthened fish populations.
The scientific and technical studies to be undertaken as the result of the approved resolution will help to better inform decision makers on dissolved oxygen requirements of resident and migratory fish species since the early life stages of estuarine fish species are generally more sensitive to dissolved oxygen levels than are the adults living in the river stretches or just passing through these waters to reach spawning areas.
In order to fulfill their obligation under the Clean Water Act to designate and protect uses for surface waters including the shared waters of the Delaware River Estuary, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania either apply DRBC water quality standards that they have jointly established or provide for application of the more stringent of state and DRBC standards within the basin.
A draft version of the resolution was published February 23 on the DRBC’s website.  A special public hearing on the draft resolution was held on April 6 and written comments were accepted through April 13.
Following a review of all comments, DRBC staff in consultation with the commissioners developed a comment and response document, including a clarifying change to the February 23 draft resolution.  
Additional information, including the approved resolution and the comment and response document, are available on the commission’s website.

House Environmental Committee To Again Consider Impact Fee/Severance Tax Bill Sept. 25

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to again consider House Bill 113 (Harper-R-Montgomery) at a meeting on September 25.
On September 11 the Committee amended the bill to change the name of the existing Act 13 drilling impact fee to “severance tax” and then deleted all provisions in the bill enacting a real natural gas severance tax.
The amendment was offered by Rep. John Maher (R-Allegheny), the Majority Chair of the Committee, and was approved in a party-line vote Republicans supporting.
The bill was then held in Committee to give members more time to prepare additional amendments.
These amendments to be bill were ready for the last meeting--
-- Rep. Carroll/A03054: Fix for the definition of stripper well definition as a result of a Commonwealth Court decision in March to prevent loss of revenue to Act 13 impact fee;
-- Rep. Tallman/A03250: Reducing the severance tax from 3.5 percent to 1.75 percent; and
-- A03296: Eliminate Act 13 impact fee, replace with 5 percent severance tax with the same distribution.
It is not known what additional amendments may be considered at this writing.
In reaction to the Committee’s action last time, prime sponsor of the bill Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery) said, “I am very disappointed that the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee essentially voted to remove the severance tax from House Bill 113. With that bill, I had hoped to help solve our current budget impasse.
“I had designed a bill with a reasonable severance tax rate and with the proceeds going to the communities affected by the shale drilling; environmental programs statewide; the Pennsylvania State Police, which provides local police services to many of the communities in the shale region; and the underfunded teachers’ pension program, which is causing property taxes to rise across the state.
“The General Fund, currently short by $2 billion, needs the revenues to pay for essential government services, and before we tax cable, telephone and natural gas customers, we should enact a reasonable severance tax here in Pennsylvania.
“I am not hostile to the natural gas industry – truly I believe Pennsylvania can be the ‘Saudi Arabia’ of natural gas – but every other gas-producing state has a severance tax. These big industry giants are, in fact, paying this tax already to other states, and the price of natural gas to the customer, whether in Pennsylvania or Oklahoma, is set by an international market which has already factored in a reasonable severance tax because every other state has one.
“I will be filing an amendment to the current bill as amended by the committee to levy a 5 percent severance tax and direct the revenues it produces to the communities affected by the drilling, to the state police that protect those communities, to teacher pensions that were earned and must be paid, and to environmental programs statewide both to regulate the drilling and production of natural gas and to provide funds for mitigating its effects.
“I am hopeful that such an amendment – with a severance tax overwhelmingly supported by Pennsylvanians statewide – will break the budget logjam and get the job done.”
A discharge resolution requesting committee consideration of the bill was filed on July 11.
The meeting will be held in Room B-31 Main Capitol starting at Noon.  Typically, committee meetings are webcast on the House Republican Caucus website.
Rep. John Maher (R-Allegheny) serves as Majority Chair of the House Environmental Committee and can be contacted by sending email to: jmaher@pahousegop.com.  Rep. Mike Carroll serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by sending email to: mcarroll@pahouse.net.

Fort Indiantown Gap Environmental Program Wins 2016 Army Environmental Award For Sustainability

Written By Sgt. Zane Craig, Fort Indiantown Gap*

The Pennsylvania National Guard’s environmental office sustainability team at Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County, staffed by both Pennsylvania National Guard members and Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs civilians, won the 2016 Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for sustainability.
After taking top honors in the environmental restoration team category and second in the natural resources team category in 2015, the sustainability team achieved major milestones and outperformed 53 other states and territories to win the sustainability award.
“I’m here today to congratulate the winners of the fiscal year 2016 Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for sustainability,” said Eugene Collins, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health.
“You didn’t compete against amateurs, and you can now say you are the best in the entire Army, everywhere, when it comes to sustainability. That tells me that you are certainly world class. This is our highest award for environmental leadership.”
The team won for achieving major sustainability milestones over the past two years, particularly in the areas of waste stream reduction and diversion. The team has established recycling, reuse, and resale of solid waste and other materials, resulting in more than 50 percent reductions in universal waste streams compared with the 2012 baseline, alongside 44 percent reduction in hazardous waste.
“It’s because of you that we are able to accomplish the herculean task of being the busiest National Guard training center in the nation and still be great to the environment and great to our community without flinching on our primary mission, which is to train our service members,” Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania adjutant general, told the team.
The team is also completing the conversion of PAARNG properties from heating oil to natural gas, recycling more than 300 aboveground heating oil tanks, implementing a new pharmacy system, and recycling fluorescent bulbs.
John Fronko, director of the environmental team, is happy with the win.
"With our great team of professionals we are able to support and enhance both the military mission and the environment and it is fulfilling to see them recognized for their efforts."
The sustainability team will now go on to compete in the 2016 Secretary of Defense environmental competition.
The Pennsylvania National Guard, Bureau of Environmental Management, is committed to environmental excellence in supporting the missions of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs as well as the Pennsylvania National Guard.
The bureau manages a large variety of programs ranging from endangered species to cultural resources to hazardous waste.
(Photo: Eugene Collins, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health, presents Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania adjutant general, and the Fort Indiantown Gap environmental office’s sustainability team with the 2016 Secretary of the Army Environmental Award at the Keystone Conference Center September 18 at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa. The environmental office’s sustainability team won for achieving major sustainability milestones over the past two years, particularly in the areas of waste stream reduction and diversion. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Shane Smith.)
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Keep PA Beautiful Invites Schools To Participate In Litter Free School Zone Program

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful invites schools in Pennsylvania to participate in the Litter Free School Zone Program, a comprehensive program that encourages young people to play an active role in protecting and improving our environment through recycling, litter awareness, and community stewardship.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful provides a sign recognizing the participating school as a Litter Free School Zone. The school, in turn, organizes two cleanup or beautification events per year.
There are currently over seventy schools that participate in the program. All schools are welcome – elementary through high school.  
The Lancaster Mennonite School – Hershey Campus in Dauphin County has been a Litter Free School Zone since 2015.
“The Litter Free School Zone program has given wings to an intentional environmental stewardship program at our K-12 school. There's something really helpful about being part of a movement that offers a workable accountability for campus cleanups/beautification events,” said Sue Eckert, Lancaster Mennonite Hershey Campus Elementary Music/Computer Teacher. “Older and younger students form teams to pick up trash, plant flowers, weed a garden, repaint playground equipment, and more.
“Last year, we received two park benches made from recycled plastic bags from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful through their partnership with Giant Markets and their Bags to Benches program. We put them at the playground as an abiding reminder of environmental care,” added Eckert.  “I have nothing but thanks and praise for Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and this relevant and empowering organization!”
“Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful welcomes students, clubs, classes, and even entire school districts to participate in the Litter Free School Zone program,” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.  “This program provides a fun and easy way for students to work together, learning valuable community leadership and responsibility skills while gaining a respect for the environment and the world around them. It is also an opportunity to develop a school-wide stewardship ethic and set a community example.”
The Litter Free School Zone program is sponsored by the Department of Environment Protection.
For all the details, visit the Keep PA Beautiful’s Litter Free School Zone webpage.  Questions should be directed to Stephanie Larson at 877-772-3673 or send email to: slarson@keeppabeautiful.org.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website. Click Here to become a member.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from KPB, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, Discover them on Pinterest and visit their YouTube Channel.
Also visit the Illegal Dump Free PA website for more ideas on how to clean up communities and keep them clean and KPB’s new Electronics Waste website.

10,000 Friends Of PA Honors Smart Growth Projects, Leaders With Commonwealth Awards Dec. 7

10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania will honor Smart Growth Projects Revitalizing York with the Commonwealth Award and Royal Square Development and Construction, Inc. with the inaugural Louis J. Appel, Jr. Leadership Award at a special awards program December 7 at The Bond, 134 E. King Street in York.
The Commonwealth Awards is 10,000 Friends' signature program recognizing great development projects and initiatives and the people and organizations that make them happen.  It is the only statewide smart growth award program in Pennsylvania and reflects 10,000 Friends' commitment to improving the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.
It has become clear to the Board of 10,000 Friends that the combined commitment of enlightened local developers, architects, planners, and civic leaders, along with the support of key community partners and the City of York, has led to an emerging renaissance of York that is both reenergizing the downtown and addressing important neighborhood and community needs.  
10,000 Friends is delighted to recognize this collective effort and honor key players, projects, and initiatives that have made significant contributions to York's emerging renaissance.
This year's Commonwealth Awards will honor Royal Square Development and Construction, Inc. as the recipient of the inaugural Louis J. Appell, Jr. Leadership Award and also bestow Commonwealth Awards to leading private sector companies and nonprofit institutions, including Think Loud Development, York College, One West, Keystone Color Works, and Better York, among many others, whose projects and initiatives have made outstanding contributions to the City of York.
Louis J. Appell, Jr., beloved business leader, civic visionary, and philanthropist.  Preferring to work behind the scenes, Mr. Appell's quiet leadership, vision, and financial contributions to the City of York and state of Pennsylvania were well known in many circles, if not often publicly celebrated in his lifetime.  
Mr. Appell deeply believed in the mission and smart growth vision of 10,000 Friends - and was its largest private benefactor over many years.  
In 2006, 10,000 Friends honored Mr. Appell, a former 10,000 Friends board member, with its lifetime achievement award known as the "Friend of Pennsylvania Award."
As chairman of Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co., Mr. Appell led by personal example through his corporate leadership in downtown York, and his generous personal investment in the York community.
For more information on the program and sponsorship information, visit the Commonwealth Awards webpage.
More information on the programs, initiatives and other upcoming events is available at the 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania website.
(Photo: Think Loud Development office complex in York once occupied by Maple Press.)
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