Friday, April 26, 2019

40% Of Streams In PA Don’t Meet Water Quality Standards, But What Does It Mean To You?

The Department of Environmental Protection last week released its biennial report on water quality which said 40 percent of streams and rivers in the state do not meet federal Clean Water Act standards.  So, what does that mean to you?
You can check what the water quality is in streams near you by using an online interactive map of Pennsylvania developed by DEP with information from their latest report.
You simply zoom in on your area and see where all the red lines show up.  [Red is bad.] Click on the line and it will provide more details on water quality in the stream.
You can also change the information the map is showing you to look for only streams impaired for aquatic life, or recreations uses, for fish consumption or for use as water supplies.
You can also look for specific stream names and other features.
Then What?
1. Join a local watershed or land trust group and learn about the local issues what needs to be done and support those efforts by volunteering, donating and contributing your skills.  To find out which groups are near you, call your county conservation district and ask them how to get involved.
2. Call your legislator.  In the 43 counties making up the Chesapeake Bay Watershed alone there is a need for nearly $260 million a year more in funding to support local projects to improve water quality.  You can easily double that annual need for the entire state.
    -- The Growing Greener Coalition, a broad coalition of environmental groups from all across the state, is fighting to protect the environmental project funding we have [because many in the General Assembly and the Governor want to take some of it away] and asking for more financial support for local projects to improve water quality all across the state.
   -- The PA Parks & Forests Foundation is involved in trying to protect existing funding and advocating for more funding for State Parks and forests and recreation.  They are advocating for $100 million a year in financial support.
   -- Gov. Wolf has proposed the $4.5 billion Restore Pennsylvania proposal to make historic investments in green infrastructure and other projects across the state supported by a severance tax on natural gas.  The Growing Greener Coalition and many environmental groups have supported the kinds of environmental investments proposed by the Governor, but have opposed his proposal to take some environmental project funds away to fund the operating costs of DEP and DCNR.
Learn about these funding issues, then call or visit your local legislator.  The General Assembly has to adopt a state budget for next year by June 30, so learn fast.
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