Friday, October 31, 2014

Nov. 3 PA Environment Digest Now Available

Nov. 3 PA Environment Digest Now Available.  Click Here To Print Entire Digest.

PEC Q/A With Gov. Corbett, Tom Wolf On Environmental Issues, Now You Decide
Tuesday, November 4 you get to decide whether Tom Corbett (R) or Tom Wolf (D) will be Governor the next four years.
Here are the responses the candidates gave in May to the Pennsylvania Environmental Council to questions on important environmental issues.  They are still very relevant today as voters go to the polls.

Stormwater Permit In Lititz Boon To Rock ‘n’ Roll Town, Water Quality, Sets Precedent
Thanks to the likes of the Bon Jovi, Katy Perry, Willie Nelson and other music stars, the Chesapeake Bay will benefit from cleaner upstream waters in one Susquehanna River tributary.
The Lancaster County Conservation District and the Department of Environmental Protection have authorized a permit for an innovative post-construction stormwater management plan for Rock Lititz, the $100 million rehearsal campus catering to the rock-concert industry.

Call For Presentations: High School, College Student Symposium On The Environment
Westminster College and the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition are again sponsoring the Student Symposium on the Environment December 4 at the McKelvey Campus Center, Witherspoon Rooms and Mueller Theater, Westminster College

Keep PA Beautiful: Electronics Waste Collections In Juniata, Mercer, Venango Counties
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful affiliates invite local residents to dispose of electronics properly. PA CleanWays of Venango County, Tri-County CleanWays and Keep Juniata County Beautiful are holding electronic collections during the month of November.

Feature: Great Strides With MEGA-Transect Chestnut Project In PA
In 2014, Mike and Kieu Manes played a tremendous role in moving the Appalachian Trail  MEGA-Transect Chestnut Project forward in Pennsylvania. This project trains volunteer hikers to recognize and count surviving American chestnut trees, as they hike along the Appalachian Trail.

Calvin Ernst, Ernst Conservation Seeds, Honored By Penn State, Atlantic Seed Association
Calvin Ernst, founder and president of Ernst Conservation Seeds in Meadville, Crawford County, was recently honored for a lifetime of contributions to the native seed industry by the Atlantic Seed Association and Penn State University during separate events.

Western PA Conservancy: TreeVitalize Pittsburgh Seeks Volunteers

Fall tree planting season has begun for TreeVitalize Pittsburgh and we need your help with plantings across the Pittsburgh area. Plantings run through November 22 and are held rain or shine.
Managed by the Western PA Conservancy, and with the help of volunteers, TreeVitalize Pittsburgh is planting more than 800 trees in about 24 communities and neighborhoods in and around Pittsburgh in November.
If you’re interested in volunteering or want to learn more, call 412-586-2386 or register online for a tree planting.

November Water, Land, Life Newsletter Now Available From Western PA Conservancy

The November edition of Water, Land, Life newsletter is now available from the Western PA Conservancy featuring articles on--
-- TreeVitalize Pittsburgh Seeks Volunteers
-- WPC Natural Area Dedication Honors Donor’s Legacy
-- Fallingwater Museum Store Hosts Book Signing Nov. 13
-- End-Of-Year Stewardship Workday, Potluck Nov. 8
-- Click Here to start receiving your own copy of Water, Land, Life.

Keep PA Beautiful: Electronics Waste Collection Events In Juniata, Mercer, Venango Counties

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful affiliates invite local residents to dispose of electronics properly. PA CleanWays of Venango County, Tri-County CleanWays and Keep Juniata County Beautiful are holding electronic collections during the month of November.
The collections, which consist of one-day events will accept various electronics, some fees apply.  The will be held on--
-- November 1: PA CleanWays of Venango County, Contact Erik Johnson at 814-432-9684;
-- November 6: Tri-County CleanWays Mercer County (by appointment only), Call 724-658-6925 for more information; and
-- November 15: Keep Juniata County Beautiful, Contact Teddi Stark at 717-436-8953 x 123
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful works to increase the availability of convenient, affordable disposal for certain items, such as tires, household hazardous waste, pharmaceuticals, and appliances. Our affiliates across the state often work with local solid waste and recycling offices to identify local disposal needs and implement special collections.
“I applaud our affiliates for providing this valuable service to their communities. Without special collections and drop-off locations, we would be expending far more resources on pulling those materials up the hillside,” states Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.   
Visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website’s Calendar of Events to find a special collection site near you. Or contact your local Recycling Coordinator for a listing of one day events or permanent drop-off locations in your area.

North America’s Largest Predatory Bird Visits Hawk Mountain Nov. 8

Visitors to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton, Berks County, will have a guaranteed chance to see North America’s largest predatory bird on “Golden Eagle Saturday,” held November 8 with one-day-only eagle programs at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.
This live raptor event coincides with the peak of golden eagle migration at Hawk Mountain. Each golden eagle program is free, but a trail fee applies for those who walk the Sanctuary’s trails.
Courtesy of Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, visitors to the eagle programs will see a live, non-releasable golden eagle in the Sanctuary’s Outdoor Amphitheater. In the event of inclement weather, programs will be held inside the Visitor Center.
This program also will include other raptor species in order to show how adaptations differ among species, and to help explain what sets the golden eagle apart from other raptors.
A solitary and secretive bird, the golden eagle is rare to see throughout the northeast but during autumn, an average 90 are spotted at Hawk Mountain, most during the first two weeks of November. The bird sails by on plank-like wings that stretch more than seven feet and typically migrates alone, heading south on updrafts and thermals along the Kittatinny Ridge or “Blue Mountain.”
Early November also is the best time to see both bald and golden eagles in the air on the same day, another rare opportunity that brings birders and wildlife enthusiasts to Hawk Mountain’s North Lookout for a chance to glimpse the two enormous raptors. In fact, last weekend at Hawk Mountain, the two species were photographed together, in flight.
The golden eagles that do pass, biologists believe, move south from nesting grounds in Quebec and the chilly, northern provinces of Canada.
At this time of year, visitors also can expect to see large numbers of red-tailed hawks, the Sanctuary’s third most numerous migrant, as well as rarer birds of the north, such as the northern goshawk.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a prime observation point for autumn raptor migration because of its location along the easternmost edge of the Appalachian Mountains. Hawks use ridge currents for uplift like glider pilots on long-distance flights.
In addition to birds of prey, hummingbirds, monarch butterflies, songbirds and waterfowl use the Appalachian Mountain Flyway. Some species follow the Appalachians to their end, before heading south to the coastal plains of eastern Mexico and falling out to the tropical forests of Central and South America.
The official Hawk Mountain raptor watch runs from August 15 to December 15. As the world’s first refuge for birds of prey, the Sanctuary boasts the longest-running database of hawk migration in the world.
Visitors during November should wear sturdy shoes, dress in warm, layered clothing, and bring binoculars, something soft to sit upon, and a daypack. The Sanctuary has no trash receptacles and follows a carry in–carry out trash policy. Snack food and water are available for sale in the Visitor Center.
Trails to the lookouts at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary are open daily from dawn to dusk. Weekday trail fees are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for children 6-12. Weekend trail fees from September 1 through November 30 cost $8 for adults and seniors, and $4 for children 6-12. Trail fees include a variety of free weekend programs, which continue through November 21.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a non-profit, member-support organization located just seven miles north of I-78 near Hamburg (exit 29B).
For more information on weekend programs or for weather forecasts, interested visitors can call the info line at 610-756-6000. For daily hawk counts, visit Hawk Mountain Sanctuary’s website or call the hawk count line at 610-756-6000x6.

Feature: Great Strides With MEGA-Transect Chestnut Project In PA

In 2014, Mike and Kieu Manes played a tremendous role in moving the Appalachian Trail  MEGA-Transect Chestnut Project forward in Pennsylvania. This project trains volunteer hikers to recognize and count surviving American chestnut trees, as they hike along the Appalachian Trail.
In October 2014, Kieu and Mike completed counting all the chestnuts along the Appalachian Trail in PA, between Route 61 (Port Clinton) and the Delaware River, a distance of more than 75 miles. They found a total of 4,631 chestnut trees three feet or more in height within 15 feet of the Appalachian Trail.
The Appalachian Trail MEGA-Transect Chestnut Project is a long-term plan to provide information about trends in chestnut survival including characteristics of locations that support chestnut survival. The ultimate goal of the project is to inform eventual restoration of the American chestnut to its pre-blight role in the Appalachian forest.
Mike and Kieu received their training for the project from TACF Regional Science Coordinator Sara Fitzsimmons in 2011 at Hawk Mountain. As active trail maintenance volunteers they brought a wealth of skills and knowledge of the trail to the task of collecting American chestnut data, and their first data collection report revealed their dedication and creativity via careful documentation, beautiful and informative photos.
Subsequent years have found the Manes organizing and leading trainings to engage new volunteers in counting American chestnut along the trail. John Stempa, another experienced trail maintainer, was one of the Manes’ trainees this year. In discussing his training, John stated, “[I] never knew what an American chestnut even looked like, until Mike and Kieu introduced me to the American Chestnuts along the AT. Since then, it’s been a lot of fun for me to help educate others. My son has learned how to identify the American chestnut and has taught others since then.  In fact, our dogs know more about the American chestnut than most of my neighbors.”
Heather Housekeeper, another 2014 recruit, offered similar praise for the work Mike and Kieu do for TACF. She states, “It was such a pleasure to join Mike and Kieu in their surveying of the American chestnut. I am an AT thru-hiker (08') as well as an herbalist and author who is regularly educating the public on our local plants. Now that I have a better knowledge of the American chestnut, I plan to incorporate it into my plant walks whenever possible! And I'd like to echo John Stempa in remarking on my ignorance of the American chestnut the whole while I was hiking the I can educate other hikers I come across in my travels. Much thanks to Mike and Kieu and the American Chestnut Foundation!”
Mike and Kieu Manes have been avid members of The American Chestnut Foundation since 2011.
For more information, visit the PA Chapter-The American Chestnut Foundation website.

PA Parks & Forest Foundation To Showcase Photo Contest Winners Nov. 12

The PA Parks and Forest Foundation will showcase the winning entries in its Through The Seasons Photo Contest on November 12 at the Roy Pitz Brewing Company, 140 N. 3rd St. in Chambersburg on November 12 at 4:00.  Click Here for more information.
Photo is from Kettle Creek State Park by Scott Hafer, Best In Show-People’s Choice winner.

DEP Publishes Notice Of Proposed Agreement To Clean Up Parts Of Dunkard Creek

On November 1 the Department of Environmental Protection published notice of a proposed consent order and agreement with Dana Mining and AMD Reclamation, Inc. to collect and treat acid mine drainage discharges from abandoned underground coal mines in the Dunkard Creek Watershed in Greene County.  (PA Bulletin page 6994)
Under the proposed agreement, AMDRI and Dana will continue to collect and treat the Shannopin Mine pool at the Steele Shaft treatment facility.  In addition, they will also capture and collect four additional discharges from the Maiden Mine pool.
Public comments are due on the proposed agreement by December 1.
Copies of the proposed agreement can be reviewed or obtained by contacting Joel Koricich, District Mining Manager, California District Office, 25 Technology Drive, Coal Center, PA 15423. Phone: 724.769.1100, Fax: 724.769.1102 or sending email to:

Friday NewsClips

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Government Officials Celebrate Success Of Bucks County Flood Mitigation Program

Government officials, partners and homeowners gathered along the Neshaminy Creek in Langhorne, Bucks County this week to celebrate the completion of a 12-year, $27 million flood mitigation project made possible through the cooperation of local and federal governments.
Flooding has historically been a problem in Bucks County. To help reduce the impact of severe flooding that was repeatedly occurring in the lower part of the Neshaminy Creek watershed, causing destruction and ruining people’s homes and belongings, the Bucks County Commissioners and local Conservation District decided to initiate a voluntary program in 2001.
After working with Bucks County for over 50 years, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service was able to provide funding to improve safety and reduce flood damages to homes and businesses in the lower 18 miles of the watershed.
Over the past 12 years, NRCS has provided almost $26 million for the project, $10 million of which came from the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Bucks County was also able to provide around $1 million.
These funds were used in several ways. People who wanted to move out of the flood-prone areas could voluntary have their home purchased at fair market value. There were 32 purchased, removed, and properties were restored to natural conditions of grass and trees.
For people who loved where they lived and wished to stay, their homes were elevated to get them and their belongings above 100-year flood elevation. 71 homes were elevated, including one that was raised 14 feet high.
During the ceremony, Congressman Fitzpatrick noted, “as each of these homes were elevated and during the course of those repetitive flooding events, fewer and fewer families were affected, and the flood insurance payouts were less and less.”
In other situations a room was added to get utilities and critical living space out of flood prone basements. There were 29 room add-ons.
“Altogether, we had an impact on 183 homes, and the cost benefits to those homes were significant,” said Denise Coleman, NRCS State Conservationist.
“This project has created better living conditions and created a lot of work in the community,” Coleman added. “A flood warning system was developed, environmental restoration of the riparian areas was done, and it reduced dangerous situations for many of the residents.”
Sam Smith, the first homeowner to have his house elevated agrees that there have been many benefits for him and his family. Most importantly, the impact of flooding has been reduced; and he experienced this with Hurricane Irene.
“There was four feet of water in my basement, which is now called my new crawl space, and it was a matter of just taking a hose and washing it out.” Sam recalls the angst and anxiety that he and his family went through before the mitigation, “watching weather reports and thinking here it comes again, what are we going to do, and throwing your couches and furniture into a dumpster and you’re out of your home for a long period of time. This program really does take a lot of that away.”
As a federal agency, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service’s mission is to help people at the local level solve natural resource problems.
“We work through partnerships to find solutions that can be voluntarily implemented,” said Coleman. “Projects like this are excellent examples of how we try to help people and local communities.”

Final South Mountain Speakers Event To Focus On Changing Climate Nov. 13

How a changing climate is affecting the region and Pennsylvania will be the topic of the final lecture in the 2014 South Mountain Speakers Series on November 13 at Dickinson College in Carlisle.
"Changing Climate in the South Mountain Region: How a Changing Global Climate is Affecting the Local Landscape," will be held at 7 p.m. in the Great Room, Stern Center, at 208 West Louther St., Carlisle, on the Dickinson College campus.
"This lecture and panel discussion will explore how a changing climate is impacting forests and habitats, agriculture and weather patterns including major storm events and floods in the South Mountain landscape," said Jon Peterson, a planner with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy who is coordinating the committee on the speakers series.
The evening will begin with Shippensburg University earth science professor Tim Hawkins, who will draw upon his own research to describe historic weather and climate patterns and extremes for the region, including trends found along the Appalachian Trail.
The panel discussion that will follow will include: Ben Wenk, grower and partner at Three Springs Fruit Farm, covering fruit grower/agricultural issues; Marc McDill, associate professor of forest management at Penn State University, covering forestry issues; and Jeff Niemitz, professor of geology at Dickinson College covering heavy rainfall events and flooding issues.
This event is supported by Dickinson College, the Greater Carlisle Project and the South Mountain Partnership. The lecture is free and open to the public.
The annual South Mountain Speakers Series is envisioned as a revival of the talks given by Joseph Rothrock in the late 19th century as part of his work to preserve and restore Pennsylvania's forests and natural landscape.
This November event marks the last event in the 2014 Season of the South Mountain Speakers Series. The Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau sponsored this special fifth season. The series will continue in 2015 with an exciting set of events soon to be announced.
The South Mountain Partnership is a public-private partnership between DCNR and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and has grown into a coalition of citizens, businesses, non-profit organizations and government representatives in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties, working together to protect and enhance the South Mountain landscape.
South Mountain is at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Communities in the 400,000-acre region have thrived off fertile limestone agricultural lands, the timber that fed iron furnaces, plentiful game and wildlife, and abundant pure spring water that is captured by the mountains' permeable soils and released into the valleys.
For more information about the speakers series, visit the South Mountain Speakers Series blog or call the Appalachian Trail Conservancy at 717-258-5771.  Some of the earlier lectures in the speaker series can be found on YouTube.

Governor’s Order, Fiscal Code Allowing More Drilling On DCNR Land Challenged Again

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network Thursday filed a petition in Commonwealth Court against Gov. Corbett and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources challenging Executive Order 2014-03 issued May 23, 2014 titled Leasing of State Forests and State Park Land for Oil and Gas Development.
According to the Petition for Review:  “Petitioners challenge the constitutionality of the Commonwealth’s decision to attempt to balance the state budget by leasing state park and forest land for industrial shale gas development.”
“The Governor’s Executive order will invite, inspire and spawn a wave of industrial development both in our state parks and forests and right up to its edges – turning once natural areas and beautiful communities into industrial zones, irreparably harming the water, air, recreation and the natural resources of both present and future generations,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper and a Petitioner on the case.
“The Governor has a constitutional obligation to protect Pennsylvania’s shared natural resources from harm.   By authorizing increased industrial gas drilling of our state parks and forests, Gov. Corbett has violated his constitutional duties.  This legal action seeks to hold him accountable and to protect our precious public assets from further harm.”
As issued, the Governor’s Executive Order and Section 1601.1-E. of the Fiscal Code allow ongoing and increased shale gas development on lands already leased in state park lands and forests as well as allowing drilling beneath the state owned lands to extract gas from shale, including by using horizontal drilling and fracking technology.
The Fiscal Code bill-- House Bill 278 (Baker-R-Tioga)-- passed in July to implement the state budget contained a provision requiring DCNR to do additional oil and gas leasing and transfer $95 million from the Oil and Gas Fund to the General Fund to balance the budget
           Among the legal claims presented is that the Executive Order infringes on the people’s rights under Article I, Section 27 to clean air, pure water, and the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment and breaches the fiduciary duties of the Governor and the Commonwealth to act as the trustee of the people’s public natural resources, including state parks and forests, and the myriad of public natural resources in them.
The Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Delaware Riverkeeper were integral to obtaining the recent Supreme Court ruling in Robinson Township, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al. v. Commonwealth, which reinvigorated Article I, Section 27 and reaffirmed that all citizens have a right to a clean and healthy environment that the Commonwealth and local governments may not unreasonably infringe upon.
The legal action seeks a declaratory judgment from the Commonwealth Court that Executive Order 2014-03 and Section 1601.1-E. of the Fiscal Code violate Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and that further leasing of state forest and park land (including subsurface rights) violates Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.  
The legal action also asks that the Court issue an injunction prohibiting further leasing of state forest and park land (including subsurface rights) and an injunction prohibiting further permitting of wells using the technologies of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling – whether “unconventional” or “conventional” – on, in, under, or through state forests and parks.
Additional drilling on DCNR lands is already being delayed as a result of a Commonwealth Court order in July involving another challenge in PEDF v. Commonwealth to the use of drilling royalties and transfers from the DCNR Oil and Gas Fund.
Commonwealth Court heard arguments in that case earlier in October, but gave no indication when they would rule on the issue.
The petition for review is available online.

PEC Q/A With Gov. Corbett, Tom Wolf On Environmental Issues, Now You Decide

Tuesday, November 4 you get to decide whether Tom Corbett (R) or Tom Wolf (D) will be Governor the next four years.
Here are the responses the candidates gave in May to the Pennsylvania Environmental Council to questions on important environmental issues.  They are still very relevant today as voters go to the polls.
Click Here to read the Q/A.
To learn more, visit Gov. Corbett’s campaign website and Tom Wolf’s campaign website.
Senate, House Leadership Fight Could Impact Energy Industry

Stormwater Management Design Training In Harrisburg Nov. 13

The Department of Environmental Protection invites county and city planners, engineers, developers, redevelopment authorities and community leaders to attend a training session about stormwater management control for permitted activities on November 13, in Harrisburg.
The training will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg East, 4751 Lindle Road, Harrisburg. The cost to attend is $150 per person. Lunch and training materials are included in the cost.
The training will focus on explaining the state’s Chapter 102 environmental regulation, specifically the post-construction stormwater management requirements. The training will teach attendees how to identify the appropriate permits for construction and design activities, and how DEP reviews applications for those permits
Participants will also learn about Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory searches and how to consider stormwater management when looking at a site. No prior knowledge or experience working with the Chapter 102 regulation is needed to attend this training.
The training will also include a question and answer session. To submit anonymous questions in advance of the training, participants should contact Brandi Hunter-Davenport, Director of Public Affairs and Education for the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts at the email address below.
PACD is working in partnership with DEP’s Southcentral Regional’s Office’s Waterways and Wetlands Program to provide the training.
Space is limited, so registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register online in advance of the training.
For more information on the training, interested persons should contact DEP Waterways and Wetlands Permits Section Chief Nathan Crawford at 717-705-4798. Interested persons with questions regarding registration should contact Brandi at 717-238-7223 or send email to:

SRBC Holds Hearings On Proposed Rulemaking, Water Project Applications Nov. 6

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission will receive public comment at two separate hearings on November 6. at the Pennsylvania State Capitol, Room 8E-B, East Wing, Commonwealth Avenue, Harrisburg. The times are as follows:
-- Proposed Rulemaking:  1:30-2:30 p.m., or when public testimony ends, whichever comes first.
-- Project Applications:  2:30-5:00 p.m., or when public testimony ends, whichever comes first.
The subject of the first hearing is the proposed rulemaking to clarify the water uses involved in hydrocarbon development that are subject to the consumptive use regulations, as implemented by the Approval By Rule program. The second hearing is on project applications for one diversion of water and several water withdrawal applications.
Both hearings will be held The proposed rulemaking, list of 21 project applications and options for submitting comments electronically are all available on SRBC’s Public Participation Center.
Persons planning to present oral testimony at either public hearing are encouraged to notify SRBC prior to the hearing of their intent to testify and to indicate the subject of their comment. The notices are to be directed to Mr. Jason Oyler, Regulatory Counsel, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, 4423 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110, Telephone:( 17-238-0423, ext. 1312, Fax: 717-238-2436.
SRBC will also accept written comments on the proposed rulemaking and project applications until November 17. Comments may be submitted via the Internet or mailed or faxed to Mr. Oyler.
SRBC is scheduled to vote on these and other action items at its next business meeting on December 5 in Annapolis, Md.
SRBC’s rules of conduct for public hearings include (see full set of rules on the website):
— All persons must sign-in and show photo identification.
— Signage, posters, banners or other display media will be permitted only in designated areas.
— The press is permitted to set up and use video and recording devices in a designated area. The public is permitted to use small, hand-held devices that remain in their possession and are used in a non-disruptive manner.
For more information, visit SRBC’s Public Participation Center webpage.

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