Monday, November 30, 2015

Brodhead Watershed Assn. Winter Stroll Along Brodhead Creek Dec. 13, Monroe County

Welcome winter with an easy, scenic stroll along Brodhead Creek, Stroud Township in Monroe County. The hike, leading from Brodhead Park to Pinebrook Park, will be held 1 to 4:30 p.m. December 13.
Brodhead Watershed Association and Pocono Heritage Land Trust naturalists Don Miller and Bill Sweeney will guide participants in exploring this section of the Brodhead Greenway – part of a system of linked parks and trails which organizers hope will someday stretch from Skytop in northern Monroe County to the confluence of Brodhead Creek with the Delaware River.
The trail is flat and easy, and suitable for families. The entire hike will be less than 3 miles. Meet at the Brodhead Creek Park entrance on North Fifth Street, Stroud Township.
Suggested donations are $5 for members, $10 for non-members; children 12 and under walk for free.
To register for the stroll, contact PHLT at 570-424-1514 or send email to:

Senate Cancels Dec. 2 Voting Session

PLS: The Senate canceled voting session for Dec. 2.  As of now, the Senate returns to session Dec. 7.  The House schedule remains the same.

PEC Describes Its Work On Environmental Policy & Advocacy

John Walliser, PA Environmental Council Senior Vice President for Legal and Government Affairs, outlines PEC's recent policy initiatives, ranging from longwall mining and implementation of the EPA Clean Power Climate Plan to methane emissions in a new PEC video.
Throughout the month, PEC has provided updates pertaining to the core areas of our statewide work: water resource protection, energy and climate, and trails and recreation. In today's fourth video update, we spotlight PEC's efforts in the policy sector.
Click Here to watch the Environmental Policy & Advocacy video.
For more information on policy initiatives, visit the PEC Environmental Policy webpage.   Click Here to sign up for monthly email updates on PEC activities.  Click Here to read PEC’s Blog.

Drone To Help Assess Beaver County Asbestos Superfund Site Dec. 7

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a routine inspection of the Ambler Asbestos Piles Superfund Site in Ambler, Beaver County on December 7 using a drone mounted with a camera.
This is the first time that the agency is using drone technology to inspect areas of the piles that are difficult to access on foot. The images taken by the drone will be used by EPA to determine if the remedy at the site continues to be protective of human health and the environment.  
The drone will be limited to flying over the Superfund Site only, and will not fly over or photograph private property.  The Site, about twenty-five acres, is bordered on the west by Wissahickon Creek; on the northwest by Butler Pike; on the north by Locust Street; and on the southeast by Church Street.
The inspection will be conducted on Monday, December 7, and the drone is expected to take photos between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.  The camera is owned, and operated by, the US Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District.  The drone is approximately two feet long and one foot high with a two-foot wingspan, and is silver-white in color.  
EPA will conduct outreach to nearby residents on December 1 to help answer any questions or concerns.
For more information, visit EPA’s Ambler Asbestos Piles Superfund Site webpage.

Pennsylvania Society To Help Fund $800,000 In Student Scholarships Over 4 Years

The Pennsylvania Society Monday announced a new scholarship program with the Maguire Foundation. The two organizations together are funding a new annual scholarship program to cultivate and retain Pennsylvania's best and brightest students.
The Pennsylvania Society Scholarship Fund with the Maguire Foundation is scheduled to distribute at least $800,000 in scholarships over the next 4 years to Pennsylvania students attending Pennsylvania colleges and universities.
"Attendees at this year's dinner won't just get to enjoy another uplifting celebration of Pennsylvania, and to hear the inspiring remarks of our Gold Medal recipient, former Gov. Ed Rendell," said PA Society President Nicholas DeBenedictis. "They also will know their tickets are helping to fund an important new scholarship program."
Funded jointly with the Maguire Foundation, the new program will award scholarships to Pennsylvania high school students attending a Pennsylvania college or university. The scholarships will go to residents with a GPA of 3.0 or better with demonstrated financial need and records of community service.
The Maguire Foundation – a Pennsylvania nonprofit dedicated to improving quality of life through investment in education, arts and humanities and hunger and homelessness – has made a four-year commitment to match PA Society.
"We couldn't be more proud to partner with a philanthropic foundation like the Maguire Foundation, and we thank them for helping to advance The Pennsylvania Society's noble mission and their own by improving the lives of Pennsylvania students through scholarships," said DeBenedictis.
The December 12 black-tie dinner will be held at the Waldorf Astoria New York.
For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Society website.

Follow Carol Collier, NatureConservancyPA On Twitter For UN Climate Conference Updates

Carol Collier, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University’s Senior Watershed Policy Advisor and a Board Member of The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania, is attending the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris.
To get her regular updates, follow her on Twitter at Carol Collier and #drexelcop21 or through NatureConservancyPA on Twitter.
Collier also served as Executive Director of the Delaware River Basin Commission, helped guide Pennsylvania’s 1998 21st Century Environment Commission, was Director of DEP’s Southeast Regional Office and worked for 19 years with BCM Environmental Engineers, Inc.
Related Story:
PA Doesn’t Have Far To Go To Meet EPA Clean Power Climate Plan Emission Limits

PA Doesn’t Have That Far To Go To Meet EPA Clean Power Climate Plan Emission Limits

With the United Nations Climate Conference beginning in Paris this week, it might be a good time to review where Pennsylvania is in reducing climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions and how much more the state has to do to meet the EPA Clean Power Climate Plan.  Just consider--
-- 27 Million Ton Reduction Already: The final EPA Clean Power Climate Plan requires Pennsylvania to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1 million tons annually by 2022 (7 years from now) and another 15 million tons annually by 2030 (15 years from now).
Carbon dioxide emissions in Pennsylvania have already been reduced by 27 million tons annually in just 7 years, a 20 percent from 2007 to 2014, to a total of about 107 million tons annually.
The reductions came primarily as a result of switching from coal to natural gas to generate electricity and additional EPA controls on mercury emissions at coal-fired power plants.
The first milestone in the EPA Clean Power rule is 2022 which requires Pennsylvania to reduce CO2 emissions to 106 million tons, about 1 million tons below where the state is now.  
By 2030, the state must take steps to reduce emissions to 91 million tons, only about 15 million tons more.
-- PA Use Of Natural Gas For Electric Power Generation Still Increasing: From 1997 to 2013 natural gas use to generate electricity increased from 3 percent to 38 percent, according to the Public Utility Commission.  About 10,003 MW of generating capacity is now fueled by natural gas in Pennsylvania with another 11,609 MW of new generating capacity being proposed, although not all of the proposed capacity is typically built.
-- Coal Switch Happening Anyway: In July 2014, DEP acknowledged in a presentation before the Citizens Advisory Council that coal use in Pennsylvania could drop by 75 percent by 2030 anyway, without the EPA Clean Power Climate Plan, due to the switch to natural gas for electric power generation because of market conditions, if natural gas prices remain about the same.
For more information, visit DEP’s Climate Change webpage.
Op-Ed: Climate Change A National Security Threat, Tom Ridge

Monday PA Environmental NewsClips

Click Here for Updated PA Capitol Digest NewsClips & Political News
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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Only 2 Weeks Left To Vote For 2016 PA River Of The Year!

December 14 is the deadline for casting your vote for the 2016 PA River of the Year. Nominated rivers include the Kiski-Conemaugh River, Lackawanna River, Lehigh River, Ohio River and the Susquehanna River - North Branch.
“This is a wonderful and unique opportunity for residents across the Commonwealth to show support for their local river by taking part in the voting process for the 2016 River of the Year,” said Janet Sweeney, PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.
After a waterway is chosen for this annual honor, local groups implement a year-round slate of activities and events to celebrate the river, including a paddling trip, or sojourn. The organization nominating the winning river will receive a $10,000 leadership grant to help fund their River of the Year activities.
The PA River of the Year Program is a project of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.
DCNR and POWR also support the Pennsylvania Sojourn Program, a unique series of more than a dozen river trips on the state’s rivers organized by local sponsors.
Click Here to learn more about each River of the Year nominee.  Click Here to vote.
For more information on initiatives and special programs, visit DCNR’s Rivers Conservation Program webpage or the PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers website.

Sunday PA Environmental NewsClips

Click Here for Updated PA Capitol Digest NewsClips & Political News
Add Green Works In PA To Your Google+ Circle

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition 20th Anniversary Celebration

One day just wasn’t adequate to mark the 20-year anniversary of the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition (in Butler County).  A celebration was held October 9-10 to highlight the remarkable work by the many dedicated individuals who have worked to address water quality issues impacting Slippery Rock Creek and its tributaries.
Because of these efforts, over 15 miles of streams have been greatly improved due to the environmentally-friendly treatment of billions of gallons of degraded water from abandoned coal mines.
On Friday October 9, the individuals and organizations most involved in restoring the watershed were thanked.  SRWC participant Cliff Denholm of Stream Restoration Incorporated gave a “State of the Watershed” address, sharing water quality data from the 1990s to today, which showed a remarkable improvement in the quality of streams, thanks to the continuous operation of the passive treatment systems.
Co-founder Margaret Dunn was reduced to tears as she recounted and publicly thanked many of the people who have supported the SRWC, most notably through significant public-private partnerships.
Others who spoke at Friday’s celebration included Wil Taylor, Manager, and Dave Johnson, former Manager, Jennings Environmental Education Center; Robert C. Dolence, former DEP Deputy Secretary; Tim Gillen, DEP; Tim Danehy, BioMost, Inc.; Dr. Dean DiNicola, Biologist, Slippery Rock University; Dr. Helen Boylan, Chemistry, Westminster College; Dr. Fred Brenner, Biologist, Grove City College; and Dr. Valentine Kefeli, Biologist, Robert Morris University.
A delicious lunch was provided and several poster displays were set up for folks to learn more about the latest efforts of the SRWC and Clean Creek Products.
After lunch, the group boarded a bus to tour the passive treatment systems at SR114, which has been continuously operational for over 20 years and at Erico Bridge (photo), which was recently rehabilitated after more than a decade of operation.
Saturday October 10 marked Day 2 of the Celebration, as Jennings Environmental Education Center opened its doors to the general public for anyone and everyone interested in joining the festivities.
Dozens of people came to Jenings on a gorgeous autumn day to enjoy hands-on family activities, stream “stomps,” wetland hikes and more.
Beautiful blue skies and all the colors of Fall were a breathtaking site for those who took part in the passive treatment system bus tours and walks around the Center.
A tour of the erico Bridge and McIntire systems were provided, as visitors were given explanations of the history of these sites and all the basics of passive treatment for acide mine drainage.
Cliff Denholm served as the designated tour guide providing educational explanations on the design, construction, monitoring and maintenance of the passive treatment systems.
Stephanie Taylor and Shaun Busler, SRWC, led individuals on a fun kayak sojourn, paddling portions of Slippery Rock Creek.  Shaun shared information on stream bank restoration, data loggers and other projects as they floated by each respective location.
The Watershed Science Lab in the Jennings classroom was opened throughout the day and hosted kids and adults who enjoyed the chance to perform some fun experiments and participate in hands-on learning activities.  Cookies, cake, cheese trays and other goodies were provided to all visitors.
Thanks to all who came out to share in the festivities of our 20th Anniversary.
Thank you to our sponsors the Foundation for PA Watersheds, an anonymous donor and Campbell Bus Company.
A special thanks to the Jennings staff, without whom, the event would not have been possible.
The Slippery Rock Creek watershed is located North of Pittsburgh and is 410-square miles encompassing portions of Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Beaver counties.
For more information on initiative, special events and how you can help, visit the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition website.  
Support mine water treatment efforts by visiting Clean Creek Products for pottery and other unique gifts made with pigments created from mine drainage treatment.
(Reprinted from the November issue of The Catalyst from the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

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