Friday, February 23, 2018

DEP Releases Information On Maintaining Streams To Assist Flood Recovery Efforts

The Department of Environmental Protection Friday released a resource for understanding what landowners can do to work in or adjacent to streams impacted by flooding.
The full-color booklet, Guidelines for Maintaining Streams in Your Community, is an easy-to-use resource for understanding the DEP regulations that apply when working in Pennsylvania streams.
“With 86,000 miles of streams and rivers in Pennsylvania, DEP receives many inquiries about stream work from municipalities, landowners, businesses, and communities affected by flooding, or by those simply wishing to perform stream restoration to protect property and infrastructure and prevent future flood impacts,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Our new booklet and accompanying poster, with ‘Red/Yellow/Green Light’ guidance, takes the guesswork out of the most common actions.”
DEP regulates activities in watercourses to protect public health, safety and the environment. Activities that change, expand or diminish the course, current or cross-section of a watercourse are regulated.
The guide is a first step in determining what regulatory requirements may apply before beginning a project. It contains a helpful “green, yellow, and red light” list of potential stream activities to indicate whether permits are likely to be required.
The booklet contains additional sections on myths and rules of thumb, and was reviewed by local government officials who typically are the first stop for landowners seeking guidance.
Just a few of the “green light” actions that can be done without DEP notification include removing non-native material, such as litter and construction debris from the stream, banks, and riparian areas; or removing woody debris with the use of hand-held equipment.
A typical “yellow light” action, which could require DEP notification and/or an emergency permit, is rebuilding a road or bridge across a stream, or removing gravel bars using heavy equipment.
A “red light” action, which definitely requires review and a permit, includes dredging, damming, or redirecting the flow of a stream.
Stream work that is not properly designed and permitted can inadvertently cause conditions to worsen in the next flood event, also impacting downstream neighbors.
The booklet is intended to help guide stream work to be done in an environmentally sensitive manner, and in a way that reduces the likelihood of future problems.
The posters, which include the cautions and regional contact information, and are suitable for downloading, can be found here. Additional fact sheets, with details on regulations, emergency authorizations, and assistance, can be found here.
“When in doubt, the first step should always be to contact your regional DEP office,” said McDonnell. You can find your DEP Regional Office.
For more information on these resources, contact Megan Lehman, Community Relations Coordinator, DEP Northcentral Regional Office, at 570-327-3659 or send email to:
Additional information to deal with the immediate aftermath of flooding is available on DEP’s Flood Recovery webpage.
Important Link:
Noon NWS Middle Atlantic River Forecasting Center Flood Event Briefing: Click Here to download

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