Thursday, December 31, 2015

DCNR Community Conservation Partnership Grant Webinars Jan. 21, Feb. 11

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has scheduled two webinars to help applicants apply for Community Conservation Partnership Grants--
-- January 21: This webinar is designed for applicants who were unable to attend one of the in-person grant workshops held last fall.  It will be held from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Click Here to register; and
-- February 11: This webinar is designed for those interested in grant funding to support public recreation, conservation or heritage initiatives across a statewide or regional landscape.  It will also be held from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Click Here to register.
For more information on the webinars, contact Linda Manning at 717-783-4736 or send email to:
The application period for DCNR’s C2P2 Grants opens January 20 and closes April 13.  Visit Here for more information and to apply.

Op-Ed: There Are Billions Of Reasons Why PA Parks Are Good For Us

By Tim Herd, Executive Director, PA Recreation and Park Society

Parks draw people. We visit for recreation, refreshment and renewal. We go to play sports or cheer our teams. We breeze through to walk our dogs and improve our health. We drop in to swim, bike, eat, golf, watch birds, sail, sled, read, ride, hunt, ski, paddle, snorkel and a thousand other important reasons.
But the full value in our parks isn't found in our fun and games alone. Parks are vital contributors to our livability and civic connectedness, our personal and environmental health, as well as our collective bottom lines.
In fact, we have more than a billion reasons why Pennsylvania's parks are good for us.
In a recently released study, researchers at George Mason University documented that the economic impact of Pennsylvania's local and regional parks annually produces more than $1.6 billion in economic activity, generates nearly $600 million in salaries and wages, and supports more than 12,000 jobs.
And when we also consider consumer spending for tourism and outdoor recreation product manufacturing in Pennsylvania, that economic impact dramatically compounds to include 219,000 jobs, $7.2 billion in wages and $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenues, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.
Nationally, America's local and regional parks generated nearly $140 billion in economic activity and supported almost 1 million jobs from their operations and capital spending in 2013.
That's no chump change.
Such an economic driver in the private sector would be well-prized for its contributions to the public good. But because parks aren't usually recognized for the jobs and goods they create, they're often underappreciated for the indispensable value they afford the community.
"Parks are often patted on the head and people think they are nice things to have," says Barbara Tulipane, president and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association. "But the reality is that they are drivers of economic activity in their communities."
This is the first time a definitive economic impact has been documented in the local and regional public park industry. The findings add to the growing body of evidence that the impacts of local parks extend well beyond their role as taken-for-granted public spaces.
The study focused exclusively on the direct, indirect and induced effects that local and regional park agencies have on economic activity, with analysis based on data compiled from both the U.S. Census Bureau and National Recreation and Park Association.
What the study definitively shows is that spending at local and regional park agencies ripple to all areas of their communities beyond the actual spending of the agencies themselves. This is important for the public, lawmakers and other leaders to realize as they consider priorities, legislation, funding and other ways to invest in local parks and recreation, and in turn, the prospering of their own communities.
"We're not just providing playgrounds or places to play, or a swimming lesson or class," declares Neelay Bhatt, National Recreation and Park Association treasurer, of recreation and park providers, "We're making a difference in the lives of a generation and impacting communities everywhere we are."
Undeniably, the power of our local parks extends far beyond their mere property lines. Pennsylvania cities, boroughs, townships and counties with strong, vibrant park and recreation systems benefit from improved health, a closer connection to nature and a greater civic engagement. This leads to lower healthcare costs, higher property values, thriving communities and an overall boost in our standard of living.
Find your personal connection to more than 5,600 local parks in Pennsylvania at through an interactive statewide map, searchable by name, county or distance — and start exploring more of the billions of reasons that parks are good for you and good for all.
For more information on issues, programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Recreation and Park Society website.  Visit Here to sign up for regular updates from the Society.

Op-Ed: Sneak Attack On Environmental Protection In Fiscal Code Bill

By Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware), Minority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee

Several provisions tucked in a budget related bill would set back environmental protection in Pennsylvania. One would cancel regulations related to natural gas drilling. Another would delay the Commonwealth’s effort to address climate change and a third would take money earmarked for energy conservation and direct it towards natural gas development.
The Fiscal Code is one of several bills necessary to effectuate the commonwealth budget. The bill’s contents should be limited to directing how budget money should be spent. Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania Senate has inserted three environmentally troublesome provisions in this year’s Fiscal Code (House Bill 1327 (Peifer-R-Pike).
The first would cancel regulations relating to conventional gas drilling (Chapter 78 surface regulations). These regulations would, among other things, provide stricter standards for spill reporting and clean up and require pre-drilling investigations to ascertain the existence of active or abandoned wells. Drilling into existing wells can result in groundwater contamination and other environmental damage.
These drilling regulations have been three years in the making, subject to twenty-four thousand public comments and twelve public hearings.
The second troublesome provision would delay the Pennsylvania implementation plan to reduce greenhouse emission from coal and gas fired power plants. This state implementation plan is required by recent EPA regulations designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by about 32 percent by 2030. Power plants are the largest single source of greenhouse gas pollution in Pennsylvania.
A third troublesome provision in the Fiscal Code would transfer $12 million from the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Investment Fund earmarked for high-efficiency buildings to natural gas infrastructure development.
The recent Paris climate agreement underscores the urgency of moving away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy and conservation. These Fiscal Code provisions would do just the opposite.
Not only is this bill bad public policy but it is also unconstitutional as violative of the single subject requirements of the Pennsylvania Constitution (Article III, Section 3).
House Bill 1327 has already been approved by the Senate and is poised to be considered by the Pennsylvania House. The House should reject this bill and Governor Wolf should veto it should it reach his desk.
Related Story:
Commonwealth Court Upholds Ability Of A Governor To Line-Item Veto Fiscal Code Bill

Order Now: Berks Conservation District Annual Tree Seedling Sale, And More, April 22

Everyone is welcome to join the Berks County Conservation District at our annual Tree Seedling Sale on April 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Berks County Agricultural Center, 1238 County Welfare Road Leesport, PA 19533.  (Look for signs on County Welfare Road.)
Although winter has just started, it is never too early to begin thinking about spring! The tree seedling sale offers a wide variety of conifers, trees, shrubs, and a growing selection of fruit producing plants.
Other items available include planting bars, fertilizer pellets, wildflower seed, rain barrels, and five foot tree shelters.
New items for this year include the Canadian Hemlock, GoldRush Apple Tree, Flamin’ Fury Peach Tree, and Red Bartlett Pear Tree. All the favorites from last year are still available too.
The deadline for orders is February 22.  
Proceeds from our annual Seedling Sale benefit the Berks County Conservation District’s Scholarship Fund.
These scholarships are awarded to students who wish to continue their college education with the intent of majoring in environmental science, forestry, agriculture, engineering or related studies. Place your order today to plant some trees this spring and send someone to college.
Master Gardeners
During our Seedling Sale event on April 22, 2016 from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm join the BCCD and the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners at ‘Backyard Basics’ as we explore conservation topics and discuss helpful “backyard” tips!
The always popular “Ask a Master Gardener” booth will be answering those tough gardening questions!
New to this celebration includes our first PAINT THE RAIN: Rain Barrel Painting Contest. Preview rain barrels painted by Berks County high school students and vote for your favorite!
Student Poster Contest
Also, on view will be the posters created by our area students to illustrate this year’s theme: We All Need Trees.   There is still time to submit posters; the deadline is April 8.  Click Here for all the details.
To place an order, visit the Berks’ District Tree Seedling Sale webpage for a  catalog and order form or call 610-372-4657 to request your copy.  Excess plant inventory will be available for purchase during pick up on April 22, but supplies will be limited.

Opportunity To Bid On Mine Reclamation Project In Jefferson County

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the January 2, 2016 PA Bulletin (page 66) it is accepting proposals from licensed mine operators for the completion of a mine reclamation project in Union Township, Jefferson County.  Proposals are due January 8.

DEP: Natural Gas, Coal Bed Methane Emission Reports Due March 1

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the January 2, 2016 PA Bulletin natural gas and coal bed methane emissions must be reported for calendar year 2015 by March 1.
This is the fourth year DEP has required natural gas and coal bed methane reporting.
The sources and activities required to report emissions include, but are not limited to, midstream compressor stations, pigging operations, dehydration units, drill rigs, heaters, pneumatic pumps, stationary engines, simple cycle turbines, natural gas-driven pneumatic controllers, pneumatic pumps, fugitive sources, storage vessels/tanks, venting, blowdown systems, well heads and well completions.
Fugitive sources include connectors, flanges, pump lines, pump seals and valves. The storage vessels/tanks category includes storage tanks, pressurized vessels, impoundments and central impoundments.
For more information, contact Karen Gee, Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Air Quality, Air Information Section, P. O. Box 8468, Harrisburg PA 17105-8468, call 717-783-9241 or send email to:
Visit DEP’s Natural Gas/Coal Bed Methane Gas Operations webpage for the results of past emission reporting.

100th PA Farm Show Set For January 9-16 In Harrisburg

The 100th PA Farm Show will be held in Harrisburg from January 9 to 16 again featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits.
Agencies like Agriculture, DEP, DCNR, the Game and Fish and Boat Commissions and more all have informative displays at the Farm Show; and let’s not forget the 1,000 pound butter sculpture!
Learn about agriculture, farm conservation, energy efficiency and how you can protect the environment.
Click Here to plan your visit now.

A 1,000 Stories, On 1,000s Of PA Environmental Stewards Since 2004, 134 Stories In 2015

Since June of 2004, the PA Environment Digest has printed nearly 1,000 stories about thousands of individuals, businesses, farmers, schools, local governments, students of all ages, nonprofit groups and organizations just like you honored for doing great things to protect and restore Pennsylvania’s environment in every corner of the Commonwealth.
Here are the 134 stories we published during 2015.
Will we find YOU on this list in 2016?

PA Parks & Forests Award Winners Announced, Awards Banquet May 5
PA League Of Women Voters Honor Franklin L. Kury April 7
Dinner To Recognize Winners Of Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards
Small Businesses To Be Recognized By Duquesne’s Center For Green Industries

Related Stories:
All Awardees: To view all the stories of those recognized in PA Environment Digest stories since June 2004 when Penncrest High School in Delaware County took top honors in the 2004 PA Envirothon competition, Click on the Search function and then Subject: Awards & Recognition.

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