Thursday, October 18, 2018

York Master Watershed Stewards Plant Rain Gardens, Hold Youth Fishing & Conservation Day

The Master Watershed Stewards of York County recently completed 2 rain gardens to help control stormwater pollution and hold a youth fishing and conservation day in York City.
Rain Gardens
Before the colder temperatures arrived, Master Watershed Stewards in York County finished up planting two rain gardens in York County. One in Stump Park in York Township and one at Miller Park in Shrewsbury Township.
Rain gardens are bowl-shaped gardens built to capture stormwater runoff so it infiltrates back into the ground. They slow and reduce runoff from roofs, driveways, parking lots, sidewalks and other impervious surfaces that would otherwise run off the land into streams, carrying pollutants with it.
Rain gardens are rather simple to build and can help beautify your landscape. They provide the following benefits: reduce flooding, filter pollution, protect and replenish drinking water supplies and provide pollinator and wildlife habitat.
Master Watershed Stewards collaborated with the municipalities, planned the layout of the rain gardens, selected native plant plugs from native plant nurseries, enjoyed planting and are working on education signage.
By working together, Master Watershed Stewards can help municipalities meet some of their stormwater obligations.
Many communities in Pennsylvania are designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) based on their population density. These urbanized areas must follow a number of regulations making sure stormwater runoff does not degrade water quality in local streams.
The Master Watershed Steward Program was created to educate and connect citizens from communities to water resource concerns in the area.
Meeting obligations of the MS4 Program can be challenging for municipalities who may have staff with little or no training in this area. Partnering together can be an effective step using the resources of trained citizens to help meet these EPA obligations.
Building rain gardens, developing educational materials and installing signage are a few of the many ways Master Watershed Stewards can help municipalities.
For more information on rain gardens and stormwater, visit the Penn State Extension website.
Youth Fishing & Conservation
After heavy rains two days prior, the sun was shining the afternoon of September 29th as about eighty youth from the city of York dangled fishing rods into the swollen, muddy Codorus Creek in hopes of catching a hungry fish.
The goal of the Youth and Family Fishing and Conservation Day was to not only introduce youth to fishing, but to also teach them about conserving and protecting the waterway meandering through the city.
Thanks to previous and continuous conservation efforts and tougher regulations on big polluters, the Codorus Creek’s water quality has drastically improved over the last 20 years.
The water quality can still improve, but it is once again home to quite a variety of wildlife ranging from smallmouth bass and sunfish to great egrets, great blue herons and bald eagles.
The Master Watershed Stewards in York partnered with the Mid-Atlantic Youth Angler and Outdoor Partners and the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association to offer this event at downtown York’s Codorus Boat Basin in Foundry Park.
Program partners and volunteers introduced youth to fishing and stations were set up so they could practice fly casting and spin casting.
Fish printing and face painting were a hit and participants learned all about watersheds, aquatic invasive species and macroinvertebrates-- both important water quality indicators.
Throughout the evening, State Representatives Keith Gillespie and Kristin Phillips-Hill, Mayor Michael Helfrich, the Fish and Boat Commission and the Penn State Nittany Lion stopped by and could be found baiting a hook, measuring a fish or pausing for a photo.
It was a fantastic day and participants stayed throughout the evening, catching a variety of species from the once heavily-polluted Codorus Creek.
By educating youth today, our hope is they will have a greater appreciation for the waterway and will help protect it in the years to come!
Forming and maintaining partnerships is key to building a successful Master Watershed Steward Program.
Many thanks to the Mid-Atlantic Youth and Outdoor Partners, the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association and especially to the York County Community Foundation for grant funding that helped make this event possible.
Go to the York County Master Watershed Steward Program webpage or contact Jodi Sulpizio, Natural Resources Educator by sending email to: or call 717-840-7429.
There are Penn State Extension Master Watershed Stewards Programs in Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Wyoming and York Counties.
Interested in becoming a Master Watershed Steward in your area?  Visit Penn State Extension’s Master Watershed Steward Program webpage.  Questions should be directed to Erin Frederick at 610-391-9840 or send email to:
Other Citizen Science Training Opportunities:
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