Monday, October 31, 2016

Wildlands Conservancy Conservation Connections Newsletter Now Available

The Fall edition of Conservation Connections newsletter from the Lehigh Valley’s Wildlands Conservancy is now available featuring articles on--
-- Does Endangered Flying Squirrel Call Thomas Darling Preserve Home?
-- Trexler Nature Preserve: Stewarding The Health Of Jordan Creek
-- Nitschmann Teacher Inspiring Future Environmental Stewards
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Wildlands Conservancy website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Conservancy, Like on Facebook, Follow on Twitter and Join on Instagram.

100 Elected Officials, Nearly 100 PA Organizations Support EPA Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power PA Coalition Monday submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency featuring strong  statewide support of the agency’s proposed Clean Energy Incentive Program.  
Over 100 elected officials and nearly 100 organizations, businesses, academics and health professionals from across Pennsylvania signed a letter urging EPA to finalize a CEIP that can bring clean energy investments to the Commonwealth’s low-income communities. The coalition also called on Gov. Wolf to ensure Pennsylvania opts into the program.
“It is exciting to see the number of elected officials, public health experts, clean energy businesses and environmental organizations across the state who all believe Pennsylvania can be a leader by investing in clean energy,” said David Masur, Executive Director of PennEnvironment, a grassroots environmental advocacy group that is a signatory to the letter. “A properly implemented Clean Energy Incentive Program will fight climate change while lowering utility bills, improving public health and stimulating Pennsylvania’s economy.”
Under the CEIP, states will be permitted to submit plans to expand renewable energy and energy efficiency projects as a way to meet a portion of their greenhouse gas reduction targets under the federal Clean Power Plan, which targets power plant emissions.
The signatories called on EPA to design a program that maximizes clean energy investments in both urban and rural low-income communities that would not otherwise occur.
Clean power and energy efficiency initiatives targeted for low-income communities will reduce energy bills, providing economic relief and expanding financial resources for other costs of living and discretionary spending.  
Such initiatives also generate health benefits by reducing dangerous air pollution and reducing the risks of heart disease and asthma faced by families living in housing with poor heating and cooling systems.
“Carbon pollution emitted by power plants is fueling climate change and threatening public health and safety,” said Joseph Minott, Esq., Director of the Clean Air Council. “Low-income communities and those living closest to such sources of pollution are most vulnerable and bear the brunt of its negative impacts. The CEIP will bring clean energy to the communities who need it most and who deserve environmental justice.”
“Implementing EPA's Clean Energy Incentive Program will greatly enhance the growth of solar jobs and expand the solar capacity in Pennsylvania, with needed focus on the low-income market place - and the solar industry is eager to get started," said Ron Celentano, President of the PA Solar Energy Industries Association.
Support for a strong CEIP was expressed by a bipartisan group of elected officials who realize that expanding renewable energy and efficiency will stimulate our economy and build healthier communities.  
From township commissioners to state representatives and congressmen, Pennsylvania’s elected officials endorsed the potential of the CEIP to help advance a clean energy future for the Commonwealth.
“Pennsylvania’s elected representatives have a responsibility to advocate for programs that can provide economic opportunity and better health for our constituents,” said Blondell Reynolds Brown, Councilwoman At-Large for the City of Philadelphia.  “I am proud to join my colleagues on Philadelphia City Council in the unanimous support of the Clean Energy Incentive Program for the benefit of our communities.”
The letters supporting the CEIP were submitted to EPA as part of the agency’s public comment period collecting feedback about program design elements. The comment period is open through November 1, 2016.
A copy of the letter is available online.
The Clean Power PA Coalition includes: the Natural Resources Defense Council, PennFuture, Clean Air Council, Moms Clean Air Force, PennEnvironment, NextGen Climate America, Conservation Voters of PA, Clean Water Action, Voces Verdes, Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Audubon Pennsylvania, Physicians for Social Responsibility- Philadelphia , Climate Parents, Partnership for Policy Integrity, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, Sustainable Pittsburgh  and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).
For more on Pennsylvania’s climate initiatives, visit the DEP Climate Change webpage.
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Kleinman Energy Policy Forum: Business Case For Sustainable Shale Fracking Nov. 7

Kleinman Energy Policy Forum: Business Case For Sustainable Shale Fracking Nov. 7

The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy will host a lecture by Senior Fellow John Quigley November 7 on the Business Case for Sustainable Hydraulic Fracturing in Philadelphia.
The business case for sustainable shale gas development involves creating a way to fully recognize and account for all of the risks and costs of unconventional natural gas development, and to value water and other ecosystem services in that process.
A bottom-line approach to sustainability can reconcile both society's and industry's goals and could propel advances in technology and best practices - and improve regulators' ability to adequately respond to this rapidly evolving industry.
Putting these principles into practice could minimize most of the current, much-debated risks of the unconventional oil and gas development. It would greatly support the natural gas industry’s social license to operate.
The lecture will be held from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy Forum, 220 S. 34th St., Philadelphia.
Click Here for more information. Click Here to view an archived video of the lecture.
Related Link:
Center For Responsible Shale Development
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Gov. Wolf Attends Groundbreaking For Railroad Viaduct Trail Project In Philadelphia

Gov. Tom Wolf Monday joined Rep. Mike O'Brien (D-Philadelphia) and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney for a ground-breaking ceremony to announce a $3.5 million state grant for the first phase of the transformation of the former elevated Reading Railroad Viaduct into a public amenity and park.
"This transformational project will create a new community space and trail in a neighborhood completely lacking public amenities and green space," Gov. Wolf said. "Additionally, this investment will support the expansion of both the Callowhill and Chinatown neighborhoods, and promote growth in an underdeveloped area near Center City."
The first phase of the project will redevelop both the 1300-block of Noble Street and the elevated portion of the viaduct that runs from 13th and Noble Street to Callowhill Street.
“This project continues William Penn’s vision of urban green space while being mindful of Philadelphia’s industrial past," Rep. O'Brien said.
The Viaduct was built at the end of the 19th century to transport passengers to the northern and western suburbs. It was rendered obsolete through the completion of the Center City commuter tunnel, and carried its last train in 1984. The portion south of Vine Street was demolished to accommodate the construction of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Though the pedestrian bridge that links the renovated Reading Headhouse to the 1993 portion of the Convention Center was the first creative repurposing of the historic asset, the remaining portion north of Vine Street has inspired many design ideas, but has remained a blighted eyesore over the last three decades.
The success of New York City's High Line, however, prompted renewed interest in Philadelphia's elevated tracks both as a public park and as a catalyst for redevelopment of the surrounding neighborhood.
Beginning in 2010, with support from the William Penn Foundation and the Poor Richard's Charitable Trusts, the Center City District began working in partnership with the community-based Reading Viaduct Project, the City's Commerce Department, and the Department of Parks & Recreation to evaluate the options for the abandoned Reading Railroad Viaduct that runs north in two segments: to the 800 block of Fairmount to the east, known as the Main Branch; and from Vine Street to 13th and Noble Streets to the west, known as the SEPTA Spur. The Main Branch is approximately 4/5 of a mile while the Spur is 1/5 of a mile.
"The progress made on Viaduct Rail Park to date has required great cooperation between the City, Commonwealth, Center City District and a number of other partners," said Mayor Kenney. "I look forward to seeing that collaboration continue as the Viaduct Rail Park comes to life, adding more green spaces for our residents and visitors to enjoy."
The $3.5 million state grant will be allocated toward Phase 1 of the project, allowing CCD to finally break ground. Other financial support has been provided by the City of Philadelphia, the William Penn Foundation, the Knight Foundation and a large number of individual and business donors.
"This partnership with the Commonwealth will have a catalytic impact, creating both temporary and permanent jobs," said Paul Levy, President of the Center City District. "In addition to providing a beautiful public space for residents, the Viaduct Rail Park will also stimulate commercial and housing investment in the area immediately north of downtown Philadelphia."
The $10 million project that will be complete in early 2018.
For more information on the project, visit the Philadelphia Rail Park website.

Chesapeake Bay Commission: What Is Expected From Agriculture, Nov. 10-11

The Chesapeake Bay Commission meets November 10-11 to hear a special presentation on the what will be expected from agriculture in the next round of state watershed implementation plans and an assessment on meeting clean water goals by 2025.
Pennsylvania’s representatives on the Commission are Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming), Vice-Chair, Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Franklin), Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York), Rep. Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster) and Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
The meeting will be held at Westmoreland State Park, 1650 State Park Road, Montross, VA.
For more information, visit the Chesapeake Bay Commission website or contact Marel King by calling 717-772-3652 or send email to:

Op-Ed: More Resources Means More Farmers Can Help Cleanup PA’s Rivers And Streams

By Harry Campbell, PA Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Farming in Pennsylvania is the backbone of our culture, economy, and communities. Considering there are roughly 33,600 farms in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, it’s no wonder most of the polluted runoff entering our rivers and streams comes from agriculture.
A large number of farmers are driven by a culture of stewardship and have taken steps to reduce pollution by doing things to keep nitrogen and phosphorus, and soils on the land where they can do good, instead of in the water where they pollute.
Things like planting streamside forests, cover crops, and installing other practices reduce water pollution while increasing farm productivity. Streambank fencing can help improve herd health because livestock aren’t standing in streams and drinking fouled water.
Some farmers and landowners can afford to pay for these practices out of their own pockets. About 7,000 farmers responded to a Penn State survey earlier this year and follow-up verification will show the scope of voluntary and independently-funded efforts.
Many other landowners need assistance. Some are fortunate to qualify for limited financial and technical assistance in the form of state and federal cost-share and grant programs. CBF works to connect landowners with available funding.
But about two-thirds of farmers who apply for assistance each year don’t get it because of a lack of resources.
With assistance, Bob and Maggie Cahalan were able to plant a streamside buffer of 300 native trees and shrubs to trap and filter pollutants that would otherwise flow into Ebaugh and Shaw streams on Many Streams Farm in York County.
Ed Wilkinson, partner of Getty Acres in Adams County, says, “We make our living off of the topsoil, the last thing we want is it washing down to the Chesapeake Bay.”
Through state and federal programs, Wilkinson has installed grassed waterways, terraces, a stream crossing, more than 5,000 feet of fencing to keep livestock out of the stream, and planted cover crops.
Linn Moedinger’s Lancaster farm dates back to the early 18th Century. Through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), the Moedingers were able to plant 12 acres of trees, plants and shrubs to protect Mill Creek, the Conestoga River, Susquehanna River, and Chesapeake Bay.
With CREP and USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) assistance, Matt Meals will be planting 1.4 acres of forest buffer, and fencing its border to protect the Conodoguinet Creek in Cumberland County. Meals has a 20 cow/calf operation.
In Franklin County, West Branch Farms landowner Dennis Koons planted nearly 10 acres of riparian forest buffers and stabilized 3,000 feet of streambank in the West Branch Antietam Creek Watershed. Stabilizing streambanks controls erosion and reduces sediment runoff.
The benefits of state and federal assistance extend beyond the farm.
Charles “Chip” Brown is maintaining a maturing 450-tree streamside buffer along Elk Creek on his Fox Gap Rod and Gun Club property east of State College in Centre County.
Reaching Pennsylvania’s clean water goals requires wise use of additional funding and technical assistance.
Toward that end, CBF analyzed federal data and found that Lancaster, York, Franklin, Cumberland, and Adams counties contribute the greatest amount of pollution from agriculture.
New investments, focused on people, places, and practices in these priority counties can accelerate pollution reductions from agriculture and jumpstart the Commonwealth’s lagging cleanup efforts.
After CBF called for an immediate commitment of new, targeted restoration funds, federal and state partners announced they would collaborate on an infusion of $28.7 million for clean water.
It is important that pollution reduction efforts continue in the Keystone State beyond the priority counties, from the Bennett farm in far northern Susquehanna County, where funding made fencing, forested buffers, and barnyard improvements possible, to the good work the Cahalans are doing in York County.
Meanwhile, the stream of financial and technical assistance must reach high tide, if farmers in Pennsylvania are going to do all they can to clean up our rivers and streams.
More information is available on programs, initiatives and special events on the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Alliance, Like the Alliance on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter, add them to your Circle on Google+ and visit the Alliance’s YouTube Channel.
For more information on Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay efforts, visit DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Office webpage.
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Senate Hearing: More Resources Needed To Meet Water Pollution Cleanup Obligations

Get Outdoors Poconos Paradise-Price Preserve Hike Nov. 20

On November 20, Brodhead Watershed Association hike leader Carol Hillestad will introduce participants to an easy, 1-mile trail, and then another trail leading to waterfalls in the Paradise-Price Preserve in Monroe County from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
The Preserve offers 777 acres of woods-walking – some that anyone can do, no matter their fitness level.
Along the way, enjoy a view of open woodlands, blueberry bushes and boulders. A very easy, wide and grassy stroll leads through a sunny forest of mixed hardwoods, to a glacial split-rock boulder as big as an elephant.
After the first walk, a six-minute drive over the ridge reaches the eastern boundary of the preserve, with a glorious stretch of Brodhead Creek. Upstream is the only natural waterfall on the Brodhead, a shining and picturesque horseshoe falls.
A short trail downstream through large white pines leads to trout pools, exposed bedrock, and evidence of beavers in the bank and in the stream. An eagle may swoop by.
In addition, many trails and woods roads crisscross the preserve. Work is underway to link existing trails to form larger loops — including a footpath to a waterfall overlook — and to connect with nearby preserves.
Participants should meet at the parking area on Henry’s Crossing Road in Paradise Township. Take Route 191 to Cranberry Creek Road. Turn onto Henry’s Crossing Road and head north, crossing the railroad tracks. Turn right at a small green sign – “Preserve Parking” – to enter the parking lot.
The hike is free, but registration is required.  IMPORTANT! Paradise and Price townships intend to permit hunting on the preserve. Always wear orange during hunting seasons.
For more information or to register, call 570-839-1120 or 570-629-2727 or send email to:  
For information about other hikes, visit Brodhead’s Get Outdoors Poconos webpage.  The hike series is administered by Brodhead Watershed Association and supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.
More information on programs, initiatives and other upcoming events is available by visiting the Brodhead Watershed Association website.

DCNR Announces Key Appointments To Forestry Districts, State Nursery

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Monday announced the appointments of two new district foresters to oversee operations of state forest districts in central and western Pennsylvania, and named a new manager at its recently renamed nursery and wood shop in Centre County, according to State Forester Daniel Devlin.
Scott Miller, formerly chief of the bureau's Silviculture Section based in Harrisburg, was named district forester for the Tuscarora State Forest District, encompassing Perry County and portions of  Cumberland, Franklin, Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin counties.
Robert W. Wetzel Jr., former assistant district forester in Rothrock Forest District, headquartered in Huntingdon, Huntingdon County, was appointed district forester for Gallitzin State Forest District.  His district includes Indiana, Cambria and Blair counties, and portions of Somerset and Bedford counties.
Finally, Annetta Ayers, former manager of the Game Commission's Howard Nursery in Centre County, was named manager of DCNR's Mira Lloyd Dock Resource Conservation Center. Also in Centre County, the center formerly known as Penn Nursery and Wood Shop was renamed earlier this month.
(Photo: Scott Miller, Robert Wetzel, Annetta Ayers)
"All three managers bring a wealth of technical and administrative skills to their new positions after having served most admirably in their prior posts with both the bureau and game commission," said Devlin. "Their interpersonal skills will be a strong asset as they work with district employees, residents, and visitors to their state forest districts and nursery."
Heading two of 20 state forest districts across the state, Miller and Wetzel will oversee forest-growth management, personnel coordination, infrastructure maintenance, and fire prevention and suppression. They also will manage service foresters who provide support, direction and technical assistance to private forest landowners.
Dating back to 1908, the nursery headed by Ayers supplies seedlings for reforestation efforts in state forests and state parks across Pennsylvania. Over the years, nursery operations expanded to include state-of-the-art sign and picnic table construction that enhance public visits to more than 2.2 million acres of state forestland and 121 state parks.
Headquartered in Blain, Perry County, Tuscarora State Forest District bears the name of its landmark mountain and the Native American tribe that took up residence in that area in the early 1700s. Comprised of state forest tracts totaling almost 92,000 acres, the Tuscarora district offers a variety of recreational and economic activities.
"Since starting my career, I have always felt extremely lucky at each level to work every day and be a steward of the land and grasp the responsibility of that mission," Miller said. "Now, to be given the opportunity of managing one of the most beautiful state forests and its talented staff, I'd say it's a pretty special responsibility. And I am really looking forward to that opportunity."
Miller, 40, replaces Gene Odato, who retired after serving in that position since 2009.
Tuscarora's new district forester began his career with the bureau in 1997, working as an intern with its Division of Forest Pest Management.  Two years later he was hired as a seasonal forest technician, working in both in Bald Eagle and Susquehannock forest districts.  
In January of 2000, Miller was promoted to forester in the Michaux, and in 2003 he was named assistant district forester in the Forbes State Forest District. Most recently, Miller spent 11 years in the bureau's Harrisburg headquarters central office in the Silviculture Section, the last four as its chief.
Miller holds an associate's degree in forest technology from Penn State Mont Alto, and a bachelor's degree in forest science from the Pennsylvania State University, University Park. He and his wife, Theresa, reside on their farm in Halifax, Dauphin County.
Named in honor of Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin, "Prince-Priest of the Alleghenies," who in 1795 established a mission at Loretto in what is now Cambria County, Gallitzin State Forest district is composed of more than 24,370 acres in northern Somerset, Bedford Cambria and Indiana counties. Much of Gallitzin rests on the Allegheny Front and the Laurel Ridge.
"I am looking forward to working with the district's incredibly talented staff," Wetzel said. "Together with their help, I know we can make the Gallitzin State Forest an even better place for folks to visit."
Most recently serving as assistant district forester in the Rothrock Forest District, Wetzel began his career with the Bureau of Forestry as a forest technician in the Susquehannock District in 1997. He also worked as forest technician in the Bald Eagle District, and as a forester in Rothrock.  
Before joining the bureau, Wetzel was self-employed as a logger and consulting forester.
Wetzel, 44, succeeds Terence Stemmler, who retired.
The new Gallitzin State Forest District manager holds an associate's degree in forest technology from Penn State Mont Alto, and a bachelor's degree in forest science from the Pennsylvania State University, University Park. Originally from Waynesboro, Franklin County, he resides with his wife, Heather, and young daughter, Amelia in Huntingdon.
A native of Apollo, Armstrong County, Ayers succeeds Tina Alban, who retired as manager of the Mira Lloyd Dock Resource Conservation Center in Spring Mills.
"I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with such a dedicated and talented group of people in an organization as diverse as DCNR," Ayers said. "The nursery and wood shop has had a unique role in the shaping of Pennsylvania's state forests and parks, and look forward to continuing to expand the capacity and quality of education, conservation and restoration that we are able to provide."
Looking to reside in the State College area with her husband, Ayers, 41, holds a bachelor's degree in forest science from the Pennsylvania State University.
She had headed the game commission nursery since 2011, and earlier worked as a Pa. Game Commission forester for 11 years. She also worked two years as a forester for the USDA Forest Service in Cumberland, Md., and was employed as a forester and technician in the private sector.
For more information on the resource conservation center, Tuscarora, Gallitzin and Pennsylvania's other 18 districts, visit DCNR’s State Forest Districts webpage.
For more information, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Click Here to be part of DCNR’s Online Community,  Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

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