Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Feature: 2014 Ohio River Watershed Celebration A Success!

The Ohio River Watershed Celebration organizing committee provided this summary of activities from the 13th Annual Celebration on September 18. The theme of the Celebration was “Connected Through Our Streams.” Enjoy!

On September 18 the 13th Annual Ohio River Watershed Celebration held a wonderful and encouraging get-together.  This year we tried something new and really shook things up by taking the event onto land at the 3,000-acre North Park in Allegheny County.   We could not have asked for nicer weather!  
A variety of activities were in several locations within the park including the Rose Barn, the pool, the Boat House, and “Lake Lane.” About 40 different displays from local watershed groups, conservancies, nonprofits, governmental agencies, educational institutions, businesses, and industry had the opportunity to explain how we all are working together to make a positive impact on our environment.  
We especially want to thank all of our Sponsors who donated so generously to make this event possible.  We could not have done it without them.
The event, which focuses on both wise energy use and watershed restoration, kicked off with music from “Acoustic by Dale Mangold” followed by a wide range of special guests with very welcoming and encouraging remarks including:  
-- Allegheny County - Rich Fitzgerald, County Executive
-- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Colonel Bernard Lindstrom, Commander, Pgh District
-- U.S. Coast Guard – Lt. Ariana Mohnke & Marine Sci. Tech. First Class Jennifer Haggins, Pgh Waterways Branch
-- Allegheny County Parks Foundation - Caren Glotfelty, Director
-- Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources - Kristen Carter, Econ. Geol. Div. Mgr. & Nathan Flood, Dep. Sec.  
-- Department of Environmental Protection - Ronald Schwartz, Asst. Regional Director, Southwest Region
-- Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds - John Dawes, Executive Director
-- Town of McCandless - Toby Cordek, Manager
In addition, several speakers provided interesting and informative presentations throughout the afternoon in the Rose Barn on a variety of topics including:
-- “The Pine Creek Story” – Bill Moul, North Area Environmental Council
-- “History of DEP’s Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment Efforts” – Pam Milavec, PADEP Div. of Watershed Res.
-- “Progress Toward a Sustainable Southwestern Pennsylvania” – Matt Mehalik, Carnegie Mellon University
-- “Restoration of Heth’s Run” – Bob Haney, Morningside Area Community Council
-- “Microhydropower Facility Utilizing Mine Drainage” – Tim Danehy, BioMost, Inc.
While a few displays were set up at the Rose Barn, most of the displays were located along “Lake Lane” where people could take a nice stroll and visit with all of these great organizations to learn about all of the good work they are doing!  
Other activities along “Lake Lane” included macroinvertebrates with the Kiski-Connemaugh StreamTeam and a demonstration of a water sampling drone hexcopter by Russ Stutzman.  We were honored to host the first-ever public demonstration of the water-sampling drone. (See photo)
At the Boathouse, people could take advantage of free canoeing on the lake thanks to the Fish and Boat Commission.  We heard from several people that it was their very first experience canoeing!  
In the parking lot in between the boathouse and “Lake Lane” were a variety of electric and natural gas, alternative fuel vehicles including vehicles from Peoples Natural Gas, Blue Bird Bus Sales, Veterans Taxi, ProGas Inc., Giant Eagle, and McCandless Sewer Authority.  Star Transportation Group provided a $100,000 Tesla that is part of their limousine fleet.   In addition, the DEP’s Radiation Protection vehicle was on-site.
The propane-fueled Blue Bird Bus was also used for the Pine Creek Watershed Tour which provided the participants the opportunity to learn about the efforts of the Pine Creek Watershed Association and the North Area Environmental Council that are certainly making a difference.  
Highlights of the tour included:  Habitat improvement & streambank restoration at Hampton Sewage Treatment Plant; Natural Stream Channel design for erosion prevention & streambank restoration at Shaler Twp. soccer park Innovative stormwater capture at Etna Borough Rain garden at Shaler Twp. Municipal building
Activities For Kids
Once again this year, there was a special section of the ORWC set-aside just for kids and their families.  The Imagination Station was organized this year by the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania and was held at the pool area.  
There were 13 different activity stations hosted by 11 different organizations providing a variety of educational opportunities and information on topics such as bird walks, native seeds, macroinvertebrates, urban watersheds, littering, green walls, rain barrels, etc.  In addition, there were live animals from the Pittsburgh Zoo and a falconry demonstration by the National Aviary.
Poster Contest
Each year ORWC poster contest highlights the positive efforts and impacts that small local groups are doing to address watershed issues.  Cash prizes (1st place - $500; 2nd place - $250) are awarded to the watershed groups in four categories.  
Andy McAllister and Anne Daymut of WPCAMR announced the following award winners:   
--Most Innovative Program: Allegheny Cleanways, Cowanshannock Creek Watershed Association
-- Best Overall Display: Crooked Creek Watershed Association, Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center
-- Best Partnership Effort: Roaring Run Watershed Association, Kiskiminetas Watershed Association
-- Community Education & Outreach: Pine Creek Watershed Coalition, 3 Rivers Rain Garden Alliance.
Watershed Group Cash Awards
Thanks to the wonderful, wonderful generosity of our sponsors, special awards were also given this year to recognize the participation of watershed groups in the event.  The amount of the award was based upon the number of years in attendance.  
-- 1 Year ($50): Pine Creek Watershed Coalition; Paint Creek Regional Watershed Association; 3 Rivers Rain Garden Alliance
-- 2-5 Years ($100): Allegheny Cleanways; Kikiminetas Watershed Association; Evergreen Conservancy; Friends of the Riverfront
-- 6-12 Years ($200): Cowanshannock Creek Watershed Association; Crooked Creek Watershed Association; Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center
-- 13 Years - Every Year ($500): Kiski-Conemaugh StreamTeam; Raccoon Creek Watershed Association; Roaring Run Watershed Association; Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition
Thanks to all of our Sponsors and Partners for making this a wonderful and educational learning experience!  Thanks also to all participants, who were very gracious in understanding that this was our first land-based event, and who joined in to work with us to make the day so enjoyable and memorable!  
2014 ORWC Sponsors
We want to again thank all of our Sponsors who donated so generously to make this event possible.  We could not have done it without them.
-- GOLD: Peoples Natural Gas; Foundation for PA Watersheds; Anonymous
-- SILVER: Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh; Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh; Municipal Authority of West View; Former DEP Secretary David E. Hess; Range Resources; Seneca Resources; UPMC
-- BRONZE: American Water Works Assn. - SW PA Section; Lennon, Smith, Souleret Engineering, Inc.; Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities, Inc.; PA American Water; John and Arlene Ham
-- DONOR: PASEC– Indiana County, Robert and Sylvia Danehy; Tim and Annette Danehy, Dr. Joe Porecca; Anne Daymut, Dennis Tubbs, Diana Stares
-- IN-KIND SPONSORS: Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Drainage; Department of Environmental Protection; Blue Bird Bus Sales of Pittsburgh; Stream Restoration Incorporated; Fish and Boat Commission; Mad Mez/Big Burrito Group; Allegheny County Parks; Biomost, Inc.; PlasTie, Inc.
-- SUSTAINER: Charlie Cooper, Barrie Gibbs, Maggie Hall, Jeffrey Pfeifer, Robert Westgren
2014 ORWC Partners
Aerotech Design, ALCOSAN, Allegheny Cleanways, Allegheny Co. Conservation District, Allegheny County Parks, American Waterworks Association, Armstrong County Conservation District, Audubon Center for Native Plants, Audubon Society of Western PA, Beaver County Conservation District, Bidwell Training Center, BioMost, Inc., Blue Bird Bus Sales of Pittsburgh, Chatham University, Community College of Allegheny County, Conservation Consultants, Inc., Cowanshannock Creek Watershed Assoc.,
Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center, Crooked Creek Watershed Association, Dollar Energy Fund, Duquesne University Center for Environmental Research and Education, Etna Borough, Evergreen Conservancy, Fossil-Free Energy Fair, Fox Chapel Borough, Friends of North Park, Friends of the Riverfront, G.A. Wozniak & Associates, Giant Eagle, Group Against Smog & Pollution (GASP), Hampton Township, Harsco Metals & Minerals, Independence Conservancy,
Isagenix, Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team, Kiskiminetas Watershed Association, Latodami Nature Center at North Park, Lawrence & Mercer ALLARM, Lennon, Smith, Souleret Engineering Inc., McCandless Sewer Authority, National Aviary– Pittsburgh, Outdoor Classroom, PA American Water, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry– Forbes State Forest, Department of Environmental Protection, DEP Environmental Education, DEP Radiation Protection, Fish and Boat Commission,
Paint Creek Regional Watershed Association, Pine Creek Watershed Coalition, Pine Township, PITTCON, Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities, Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, Peoples Natural Gas Company, PlasTie, LLC, ProGas Inc., Roaring Run Watershed Association, Saint Francis University, Shale Media Group, Shaler Township, Sharp Edge, Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition, Smicksburg Cheese, Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh, Southwest Planning Commission,
Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh, Stream Restoration Inc., Stutzman Computers, Sustainable Pittsburgh, Tireless Project, Town of McCandless, UPMC, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard Pittsburgh, U.S Environmental Protection Agency, U.S.  Office of Surface Mining, Veteran’s Taxi, Washington County Watershed Alliance, Washington & Jefferson College, West View Water Authority, Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (WPCAMR)
If you want see more fun photos, check out the Ohio River Watershed Celebration Facebook page or on the Ohio River Watershed Celebration website.

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