Thursday, October 31, 2013

Help Wanted: Berks County Agriculture Resource Conservationist

The Berks County Conservation District is looking for a person who is motivated, enthusiastic and a team player to fill an Agriculture Resource conservationist position.  The deadline for applications is November 27.
Successful candidate should have a knowledge of soils, hydrology, land use, geography, stream morphology and ecology, has Bachelors Degree in Agronomy, Environmental Resources Management, Environmental Science, Agricultural Engineering, or related subject. An Associates Degree in Agronomy with extensive agricultural experience may qualify at the discretion of the BCCD.
All applicants are required to have one to three years combined knowledge and experience with agriculture and be able to pass and maintain the Department of Agriculture certification in accordance with the Nutrient Management Act.
Primary responsibilities of an Agricultural Resource Conservationist will be:  assisting landowners and farmers in determining their needs, design, layout and installation of Agricultural Best Management Practices.
The position also provides assistance in conservation planning and nutrient management programs and conduct status review as required by Act 38, NRCS standards and/or as per Chapter 102 regulation.
Starting salary - $31,000.00
Interested applicants should submit a resume to the Berks County Conservation District either by mail to 1238 County Welfare Road, Suite 200, Leesport, PA 19533 or by email to No phone calls please.

PA Resources Council Presents Leadership Awards To 4 Companies Nov. 14

The PA Resources Council will present its 2013 Environmental Leadership Awards to four outstanding companies and organizations during the Annual Wine Tasting & Awards Dinner November 14, at the Radisson Valley Forge Casino Resort, 1160 First Avenue, King of Prussia, Pa.
This year PRC will recognize and award the accomplishments of:  
-- Leadership in Environmental Education: The Hershey Company.
-- Leadership in Sustainability: Liberty Property Trust.
-- Innovative Recycling: NOVA Chemicals.
-- Leadership in Environmental Health: Crozer-Keystone Health System and Chester Home Asthma Prevention Program.
This year's dinner will highlight "Innovative Sustainability" and feature keynote speaker Marla Thalheimer, Director of Sustainability, Liberty Property Trust.
Please join us for an exciting evening of exceptional networking, a delicious dinner and, of course, wine and beer tasting. Be sure to reserve your tickets early as there are a limited number of seats.
For additional information on tickets and a full description of sponsorship opportunities please visit the PRC Awards Dinner webpage or contact Carol Butler at 610-353-1555 ext. 230 or send email to:

Inaugural Issue Of DEP’s Online Newsletter Published October 31

The first issue of DEP News was published by the Department of Environmental Protection October 31 and featured stories on an innovative mine drainage treatment project in Cambria County, the PA Brownfields Conference in December and a new video on DEP’s laboratory services.  Click Here to read this edition.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.

PA Water Works Association Student Scholarship Opportunity For PA Colleges

The PA Section-American Water Works Association announced this week college students can apply for a Charles Roberts Scholarship in the amount of $5,000 for those pursuing undergraduate degree programs in the water science field.  Click Here for the application and details on the scholarship.

Corbett: $1 Million In Solar Rebates Still Available For Homeowners, Small Businesses

Gov. Tom Corbett and the Department of Environmental Protection Thursday urged residents and small businesses to act now to take advantage of the remaining $1 million in rebates available through the agency's Sunshine Solar Program, ending December 31 or when funds are exhausted.     
"Last January, Gov. Corbett brought back the Sunshine Solar Program, and since then, the state has invested more than $6 million into local economies in the form of solar rebates," DEP Acting Secretary Chris Abruzzo said. "We encourage Pennsylvania's residents and small business owners to not delay in taking advantage of this funding before the program expires."
The $1 million in remaining funds will be disbursed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Homeowners are eligible for rebates of up to $7,500 for solar electric projects; and small businesses of 100 or fewer employees are eligible to receive up to $52,500. Homeowners are eligible for rebates of up to $5,000 for solar hot water projects, while small businesses are eligible to receive up to $50,000.
As required under the Alternative Energy Investment Act, eligible applicants must select and work with a DEP-approved installer. The installer applies for the rebate on behalf of the homeowner or business once the project is completed.  A list of approved installers is available on DEP's website.   
The balance of remaining funds will be updated weekly on the Sunshine Solar webpage.

American Farmland Trust: Federal Shutdown Has Not Ended For Many Farm Bill Programs, Conferees Begin Work

Congressional Conferees began work Wednesday on resolving differences between the Senate and House provisions in the Farm Bill, but Andrew McElwaine, President and CEO American Farmland Trust, noted the federal shutdown has not ended for many farm programs because the existing Farm Bill expired on September 30.
        “Farmers have been stuck in limbo since September 30 when the Farm Bill expired.  They haven’t been able to sign up for several important farm conservation and other programs because the federal law authorizing them has expired,” said McElwaine.  “This lack of action is causing significant confusion in the farm economy and uncertainty among farmers who rely on these programs to operate efficiently and economically.
        “Conferees began work Wednesday to hammer out their differences,” said McElwaine.  “One provision we believe is critical to include in the final bill is conservation compliance, restoring the decades-old link between federal crop insurance assistance and the need to comply with conservation practices.
        “Throughout its 25-year history, conservation compliance has annually reduced soil erosion by 295 million tons,” explained McElwaine. “We think this is a fair exchange: farmers protect fragile soil from erosion, important wetlands are preserved and taxpayers' investments are protected through the combination of sound agricultural and conservation policy.”
American Farmland Trust signed on to a letter from 278 other national, regional and state farm and conservation groups supporting a conservation compliance provision and a national sodsaver in the final Farm Bill.
“AFT looks forward to working with conference committee members to craft a Farm Bill which protects and conserves farmland across the nation,” said McElwaine.
Click Here to tell Congress to keep conservation compliance in the Farm Bill.
The American Farmland Trust is the nation’s leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land.
For more information on the policies and programs of AFT, visit the American Farmland Trust webpage,  follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Dan Devlin Appointed Acting DCNR Deputy For Parks And Forestry

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Thursday announced Dan Devlin has been named acting Deputy Secretary for Parks and Forestry effective November 4.
This position is responsible for managing and directing the activities, initiatives, and operations of the Bureaus of State Parks, Forestry, and Facility Design and Construction.  
This includes providing executive leadership and strategic planning for these key program areas: executive leadership in the design, development and delivery of key initiatives for the Department; developing policy and executive positions on a variety of issues, including Marcellus Shale oil and gas development; ensuring the ongoing maintenance of the infrastructure in the State Forests and State Parks; and maintaining working relationships with members of the legislature, other state agencies, private organizations, and individuals involved with the operations of the Bureaus of State Parks, Forestry, and Facility Design and Construction.  
At present, Devlin will also continue to serve as the State Forester and Director of the Bureau of Forestry, the role he has been in since 2007.
Devlin has a wide variety of experiences functioning in different roles throughout his 33 year career with the Bureau of Forestry.  
Before being appointed to the State Forester and Director of the Bureau of Forestry position, Devlin was the Director of Forest Resource Planning and Stewardship.  He also served as a Forest Program Manager, overseeing resource planning, and as a Wildlife Biologist.  
Devlin has a B.S. in Forest Science from the Pennsylvania State University, and a M.S. in Wildlife Management, also from the Pennsylvania State University.

Lamonte Garber Offers Chesapeake Bay Farm Restoration Lessons Learned Presentation

Lamonte Garber, Agriculture Program Manager for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Pennsylvania, offered a Lessons Learned In Chesapeake Bay Farm Restoration presentation at the October 29 session of the William Penn Foundation’s two-day Accelerating Action: The Delaware River Watershed Forum.
Garber outlined how CBF and many other partners worked with Amish and Plain Sect farmers in Lancaster and Chester counties to encourage them to install best management practices on their farms.
Garber also noted the date of his presentation-- October 29, 2013-- was the official deadline for all farms in Pennsylvania to have manure management plans.
Click Here to watch this video.
Read about these initiatives in two new CBF-PA fact sheets--
-- Lancaster County Plain Sect Farms As Clean Water Stewards-- provides a snapshot of the Buffer Bonus initiative from CBF to encourage the installation of stream buffers by Amish and Plain Sect farmers in Lancaster County.
In 2009, CBF and a host of other groups launched a program to encourage Amish and Old Order Mennonite farmers to implement projects to reduce runoff from fields and barnyards while at the same time using the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) to restore forested stream buffers.
Since the inception of the program, more than forty Plain Sect farmers have used this “Buffer Bonus” option to achieve a level of conservation needed to restore the health of local streams, the Susquehanna River, and the Bay.
-- Amish and Old Order Mennonite Farms Protect Streams And The Bay-- provides an overview of a CBF initiative to work with Plain Sect farmers in Lancaster and Chester counties to install best management practices under federal Farm Bill Programs like the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).
Project results include 367 BMPs installed, 126 acres of forested buffers planted, and 48 conservation plans developed. Base funding totaled $1.5 million, but the project leveraged significant additional federal and state funding that, taken together, increased water quality benefits and cost effectiveness.
Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Fact Sheets
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation PA Office just completed a series of fact sheets outlining the water quality problems and solutions being implemented in the Pennsylvania portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed--
-- A Primer On Pollutants Of Concern-- outlines the contributions Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed makes to nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution to the Bay.
-- Nearly 20,000 Miles Of PA Streams Are Polluted-- details the fact there are thousands of stream miles and hundreds of acres of lakes all across Pennsylvania that are considered “impaired” under the federal Clean Water Act that either have or will require what is known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).
-- Cost Effective Solutions Are Known, Documented For The Chesapeake Bay-- notes cost effective pollution solutions have already made significant progress in reducing pollution going to the Bay, particularly in Pennsylvania.
In addition, Dr. Beth McGee, Senior Water Quality Scientist at CBF, gave a PowerPoint presentation on October 16 on the status of the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup in Pennsylvania and the challenges that remain.

Thursday NewsClips

DEP Funds 2 Mine Reclamation Projects In Luzerne
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DCNR To Hold Recreation Funding, Management Web Seminars Nov. 14, Dec. 18

With a chance to reach people at their computers without making them travel, DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation will be hosting two web seminars within the next two months.
On November 14 starting at 10:00 a.m., DCNR staff will cover “Funding Opportunities for Recreation and Conservation Projects.”
A second webinar will be held December 18 at 10:30 a.m. Part of the Green and Sustainable Webinar Series, the “Meadows 101 – Establishing and Maintaining native Grass/Wildflower Meadows” will focus on strategies and techniques for creating meadows in green parks.
Click Here for more information on these and other upcoming web seminars and to register (Reprinted from the October 30 DCNR Resource newsletter.)

$9.2 Million In Chesapeake Bay Watershed Cleanup Grants Awarded, $1.6 Million In PA

The Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Wednesday announced the recipients of $9.2 million in grants for restoration and outreach initiatives in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed’s six states and the District of Columbia, including $1.6 million in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania projects are:
— Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Inc. ($285,802) will accelerate the implementation of green infrastructure and stormwater Best Management Practices in Blair County. The project will result in a list of Green Infrastructure Priority Sites for the county and will identify at least one critical project site for each of the 13 MS4 communities in which to incorporate green infrastructure and stormwater BMPs.
— The ClearWater Conservancy of Central Pennsylvania ($300,000) will expand the Riparian Conservation Program to improve water quality and restore forest, riparian, and instream habitats in six watersheds through substantial partner and volunteer involvement.
— Blair County Conservation District ($421,424) will work with MS4 municipalities in Blair County to develop and implement watershed restoration plans to improve water quality in the headwaters of the Juniata River.
— Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc. ($200,000) will demonstrate practical and effective solutions for reducing nutrient and sediment pollution from agriculture operations in the north-central Pennsylvania portion of the Susquehanna River watershed by linking forest buffer implementation with other comprehensive BMP approaches.
— Western Pennsylvania Conservancy ($105,000) will identify the potential, most “at risk” wild trout streams in Pennsylvania. This initiative will sample 3,000 unassessed waters over the next five years, add appropriate, newly-sampled waters to PFBC's Listing of Streams Supporting Natural Reproduction of Trout, and educate the public and promote the project through outreach.
— Mifflin County Conservation District ($102,237) will improve targeted outreach to underserved farming communities in the Juniata River Basin, including the Plain Sect community, who may not participate in State and Federal cost-share programs.
— The Trust for Tomorrow ($200,000) will restore 50 acres of wetlands through two projects, restoration of 3,720 linear feet of stream and 14 acres of riparian buffer, along Polar Run, an important native trout fishery and a Juniata River tributary.
— Fish and Boat Commission ($80,000) will work to restore fish passage in Chickies Creek, located just upstream from its confluence with the Susquehanna River and approximately 45 miles from the Chesapeake Bay.
This year’s 40 projects will use both innovative and well-known ways to create cleaner waters, restore habitat and strengthen iconic species such as brook trout and oysters, and engage homeowners and residents in environmental work supporting their community’s quality of life.
The funding for these environmental initiatives was awarded through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund via the Small Watershed Grants Program and the Chesapeake Bay Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants Program, both of which are administered by NFWF.
The complete list of grants awarded is available online.

Non-Profit Groups Have Until Dec. 2 To Apply For Federal Disaster Aid

The U.S. Small Business Administration is reminding eligible private non-profit organizations in Pennsylvania of the December 2 deadline to submit disaster loan applications for damages caused by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding between June 26 and July 11, 2013.  
Examples of eligible non-critical PNP organizations include, but are not limited to food kitchens, homeless shelters, museums, libraries, community centers, schools and colleges.
These loans are available to PNPs in Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Fayette, Huntingdon, Jefferson, Lawrence, Venango and Wayne counties in Pennsylvania.
The SBA offers low interest disaster loans to private non-profit organizations for physical losses up to its loan limits.  Approved loans can be increased for protective measures to lessen similar future damages.  
Additionally, PNPs can obtain loans for unmet working capital needs.  To be considered for this assistance, PNPs need to apply by the deadline.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA's secure website.
Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to:
Applications can also be downloaded from the SBA's website.
Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is December 2, 2013.  The deadline to return economic injury applications is July 1, 2014.
For more information, visit the SBA Disaster Loan Program webpage.

Analysis: Commitment To Cleaning Up PA Watersheds Changed Fundamentally Before, After 2003

On October 28-29, the William Penn Foundation sponsored a two-day Accelerating Action: The Delaware River Watershed Forum in connection with the Foundation’s announcement it was directing significant funding toward creating a new Vision for the Delaware Watershed.
           I delivered these remarks at one of the breakout sessions outlining the current political landscape in state government in Harrisburg and how Pennsylvania’s commitment to watershed restoration changed fundamentally before and after 2003.  Click Here to read the remarks.

Wednesday NewsClips

A Watershed Moment For The Delaware River Basin
Click Here for PA Capitol Digest NewsClips

William Penn Foundation To Fund Creation Of A Vision For Delaware Watershed

In a major development for the Delaware River Watershed, Laura Sparks, chief financial officer of the William Penn Foundation, announced Tuesday the Foundation is directing significant funding toward impacting the entire watershed and is interested in creating a "Vision for the Watershed."
The Foundation plans to impact the Delaware basin by addressing watershed-wide issues; protecting and restoring places of ecological significance; and building the constituency for the watershed by engaging people.
Sparks was part of a two-day event held October 28-29 at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and hosted by the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed with the generous support of the Foundation.
Coalition partners PennFuture and New Jersey Audubon helped spearhead the event at which well over 200 individuals attended sessions on preserving and protecting the Delaware River Watershed.
In all, over 60 NGOs, eight federal agencies, state and local regulators, academia, and foundations were represented at "Accelerating Action: The Delaware River Watershed Forum."
The Delaware River Basin is an ecological and economic jewel. It encompasses 13,000 square acres and provides 5 percent of the drinking water of the United States. The basin has an annual economic value of $25 billion and its ecosystem services are valued at $683 billion.
It is also the engine for 600,000 jobs. President John Fry of Drexel University noted, "There are few things more important that preserving and protecting our Delaware River Watershed." He added that protection of "watersheds require a commitment to the long-view."
The interactive forum include facilitated discussion to identify current opportunities, obstacles, challenges, priorities and needs for forests, agriculture, and urban and suburban landscapes as well as issues related to monitoring, policy, and restoration.
Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Michael DiBerardinis noted at the plenary, "This is a time of great challenges but also great opportunities," and added that it was vital to develop a conservation ethic while establishing connections between diverse communities and the River.
Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, talked about the significant impact that climate change will have on the Delaware, saying, "We are moving the planet outside the human experience to a time of climate consequence." His comments were particularly poignant in light of the one-year anniversary today of Superstorm Sandy.
During the luncheon keynote this afternoon, Jerry Kauffman, professor of water science and policy at the University of Delaware, declared, "an ounce of prevention or protection of the pristine headwaters is worth a pound of cure by way of restoration after the fact," noting the incredible economic value of a clean Delaware River. He closed the forum by quoting Winston Churchill, noting, "this is just the end of the beginning."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available In Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne Counties

Most private, non-profit organizations and small aquaculture businesses in Pike, Susquehanna and Wayne counties are eligible for federal economic injury disaster loans as a result of excessive rain, related flooding, winds and hail last May.
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced the availability of the loans on Friday.
“This is good news for the eligible applicants in these three counties,” said Pennsylvania Emergency Management Director Glenn Cannon. “Disasters don’t know county lines and that’s why adjacent counties are included by the SBA.”
Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and non-farm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers, or ranchers.
The loan amount can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.875 percent for private non-profit organizations of all sizes and 4 percent for small businesses, with terms up to 30 years.
The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website.
Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to
Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website.  Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than June 2, 2014.

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