Monday, February 1, 2016

Penn State Extension Water Resources Monthly Webinars In 2016

The Penn State Water Resources Extension Team Monday released its initial schedule of monthly webinars on emerging water resources for 2016.
Penn State Extension has been conducting water resources webinars 2010 and typically offered live on the last Wednesday of each month from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The upcoming webinars scheduled so far include--
-- February 23: The Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing on Property Values of Nearby Homes Using Public and Private Water Sources, Dr. Charlies Abdalla, Penn State University. The use of unconventional methods (hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling) to extract oil and/or natural gas from deep shales has produced positive and negative (e.g., nuisance, environmental) impacts at the local level. Quantifying local economic benefits (e.g., income from royalties) has received greater attention from researchers than work documenting negative economic impacts. This webinar will review peer-reviewed studies that have used real estate transaction data to quantify negative impacts that hydraulic fracturing has been found to have on property values of nearby residences. This research also has revealed that a home's water source (public vs. private) influences buyers' perceptions of the environmental risk of hydraulic fracturing to the value of the property. The webinar will describe the methods and results of this research and will identify the studies' strengths and weaknesses. Implications for stakeholders and policy options that could address local positive and negative economic impacts will be discussed.
-- March 30: Buying a Home with a Private Well and Septic System, Amy Galford, Penn State Extension. Homes in rural and suburban areas often rely on private wells for the household water supply and on-lot septic systems for wastewater management. A buyer may not notice problems with these essential systems when purchasing a home, or problems with them can derail a mortgage and closing. This presentation will cover some basics about how these systems work, inspection and testing options, and examples from Pennsylvania
-- April 27:  Empowering Virginia's Well and Spring Users: The Virginia Household Water Quality Program, Erin Ling, Virginia Tech University. About 1.7 million Virginians (22%) use private water supplies such as wells, springs and cisterns. This presentation will provide an overview of a Virginia Cooperative Extension program, the Virginia Household Water Quality Program (VAHWQP), which provides affordable water testing and education to these individuals. We will summarize impacts, key partnerships, lessons learned, and provide an overview of water quality analysis results
-- May 25:  First Investigation of Stream Health- A New Citizen Science Activity, Jennifer Fetter and Kristen Kyler, Penn State Extension. Would you like to learn how to spot the evidence of good things happening in nature? The webinar on May 25th will explore how a new citizen science protocol, First Investigation of Stream Health (FISH) can be used to engage landowners and volunteers about the good that comes from installing streamside improvement projects. FISH is a simple, family-friendly activity that asks easy-to-answer questions about what you see around a stream. The webinar will cover how FISH can be used to monitor positive changes in the environment and how it can be used to show landowners how important their actions are locally and regionally.
-- June 21: Harmful Algae Blooms in Pennsylvania Ponds and Lakes – Results from a Penn State Extension Project, Bryan Swistock, Penn State Extension. Nuisance algae growth is one of the most common problems reported by pond and lake owners in Pennsylvania. Of greatest concern are algae blooms that are caused by microscopic blue-green algae which are capable of producing toxins. These toxins can sicken animals and humans that contact the water and may cause the death of fish or other aquatic life. This webinar will discuss a recent project completed by Penn State Extension to survey the occurrence of harmful algae blooms in inland ponds and lakes and provide outreach to pond and lake owners.    
-- July 27: Analysis of Ecosystem Service Valuation, Law and Policy Drivers, and Potential Policy Design of Water Quality Improvements Associated With Perennial Grasses and Cover Crops, Katherine Zipp, Assistant Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics, Penn State University. Water quality benefits associated with biomass crops (specifically grasses like switchgrass and winter crops like winter rye and winter oilseeds like canola and potentially pennycress) can be conceptualized as an environmental co-product for biofuel. Payments for these water quality services (e.g. through water quality incentive programs) can reduce biomass feedstock prices and overall system costs, making biofuel refining more affordable. Our preliminary work aims to: (1) quantify the water quality benefits associated with perennial grasses and winter energy crops; and in future work to (2) use potential policies to leverage the water quality benefits of certain biomass crops to help support the costs of converting those crops into alternative fuels.
-- August 31: The Little Conestoga Partnership: A Community Watershed Approach to Stormwater Management, Matt Royer, Penn State University. In an impaired watershed in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  A dynamic, locally- led partnership known as the Little Conestoga Partnership worked collaboratively over a three year period from 2013-2015 to assist municipalities and suburban/urban landowners with innovative, cost-effective tools and approaches to achieve and maintain reductions in stormwater pollution. This case study explores the methodology and accomplishments of the Partnership, and provides lessons learned to guide municipalities considering working together to address stormwater obligations.
To register for these webinars and for the latest webinar schedule and to watch archived copies of previous webinars, visit the Penn State Extension Water Resources Webinars webpage.
(Written By: Bryan Swistock, Water Resources Specialist, Renewable Natural Resources, Penn State Extension, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management and reprinted from the February 1 Watershed Winds newsletter from Penn State Extension.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

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