Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Intern Wanted: Cumberland County 4-H Educators Assistant/Intern

Cumberland County Penn State Extension seeks to hire a Summer 4-H Assistant/Intern who will work directly with the 4-H Educators to provide support in the general 4-H youth development program.
The summer assistant will also assist in planning, implementing and/or evaluating 4-H events, activities and projects with youth at local, area and state 4-H events, as well as various day camps and overnight camp. 
The assistant will also provide support at traditional 4-H events by recording registration, chaperoning, conducting workshops and assisting with the management of shows and contests. Assistant will write news releases, social media posts and assist with general marketing to increase public awareness and participation. 
This job opportunity introduces students to career opportunities within Penn State Extension.
[Posted: December 31, 2019]  www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com

Month-Long Anthracite Mining Heritage Month Observances Start Jan. 4 to 31 In Lackawanna, Luzerne Counties

A regional observance of Anthracite Mining Heritage Month will take place from January 4 to 31 with a wide variety of programs will be featured in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Pittston, Plymouth, Nanticoke, Bethlehem, and Port Griffith. 
The annual event focuses on the history and culture of the anthracite region of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
The public programs include--
-- January 9: A Treasure Of Anthracite Mining Photographs, Wilkes-Barre;
-- January 10: Greater Pittston’s Public Monuments, Markers and Murals;
-- January 14: Huber Breaker Documentary, Nanticoke;
-- January 16: As Coal Mining Went Down, Garment Making Went Up, Wilkes-Barre;
-- January 17: The Nottingham Mine Disaster of 1947, Plymouth;
-- January 18: The Annual Knox Mine Disaster Memorial Tribute, Scranton;
-- January 19: Annual Knox Mine Disaster Memorial Mass; Annual Knox Mine Disaster Public Commemoration; Annual Walk to the Knox Mine Disaster Site along the Susquehanna River in Port Griffith;
-- January 19: The Knox Mine Disaster Documentary, Pittston;
-- January 23: Historical Studies of the Anthracite Region, Scranton;
-- January 24: Telling and Understanding Anthracite’s Unique Story, Dunmore;
-- January 25: An Evening of Anthracite Region Music, Pittston;
-- January 26: Contemporary Anthracite Photography, Bethlehem;
-- January 26: An Industrial History Tour of United Kingdom Sites; and
-- January 31: The Knox Mine Disaster Documentary, Dallas.
(Photo: Breaker boys picking rocks from coal on conveyor belts.
[Posted: December 31, 2019]  www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com

Tuesday PA Environment & Energy NewsClips 12.31.19

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[Posted: December 31, 2019]  www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com

Monday, December 30, 2019

PA Township News: Unique Army Corps Programs Help Communities Become More Resilient

By Sarah Lazo, U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers, Baltimore District

While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may be best known for its large-scale, multi-year construction projects like dams and levees, it is also able to partner with townships through unique programs to address diverse water resource issues.
These efforts are typically completed in less than two years and range from a 50 percent cost share to full federal investment. Partners can include states, local governments, Native American tribes, and other nonfederal entities.
“Through the Floodplain Management Services and Planning Assistance to States programs, the Army Corps provides technical guidance, planning expertise, and products to local partners,” says Amy Guise, Planning Division chief in the Corps’ Baltimore district.
These programs include flood modeling and floodplain mapping, flood hazard vulnerability analysis, hurricane preparedness and evacuation studies, evaluation of flood risk management options, flood proofing studies, public education, watershed planning, stream assessments, stormwater mapping, EPA’s total maximum daily load-related analysis, and comprehensive plans for the development, use, and conservation of water-related resources.
“Through these innovative programs and financing, we provide the manpower, state-of-the-art tools, and engineering expertise to fill gaps in local resources and capabilities,” Guise says.
Floodplain Management Services 
Many communities throughout southcentral Pennsylvania are vulnerable to flooding, most of which were significantly impacted during Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011.
Through the Floodplain Management Services Program, the Army Corps has performed technical flood risk management analyses and developed flood risk management alternatives for communities in this region.
Over the last decade, the Baltimore district has conducted bridge surveys and developed hydrologic and hydraulic models for the Buffalo Valley Run watershed in York County; completed a flood risk management analysis for Middle Creek in Hamiltonban Township, Adams County; developed flood modeling and mapping for Tom’s Creek, also in Adams County; and conducted a hydrologic analysis for the Upper Swatara Watershed in Schuylkill County, among other projects.
The floodplain program also funds project proposals through the Pennsylvania Silver Jackets, an interagency team that addresses flood hazards in the Commonwealth. The Army Corps and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency jointly lead this team.
In 2019, the Silver Jackets held ice jam trainings in Bloomsburg and Oil City, as well as flood proofing workshops in Lebanon and Bucks counties and at the Pennsylvania Association of Floodplain Managers Conference.
Planning Assistance To States
The Army Corps has recently partnered with several local agencies through the Planning Assistance to States (PAS) Program to address water resource concerns.
The Corps partnered with the York County Planning Commission to collect baseline stormwater data and address TMDL [nutrient reduction] and MS4 [stormwater pollution prevention] goals for the county.
It also developed a database for water resources management and mapped stormwater infrastructure for the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority. 
In another project, the Corps worked with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission to develop models and evaluate alternatives for enhancing flood resiliency in the Chiques Creek Watershed in Lebanon and Lancaster counties.
Unique Partnerships
Through the PAS program, the Corps is undertaking a flood risk management study of buildings and infrastructure in the Borough of Muncy and Muncy Creek Township, Lycoming County. 
The Corps is analyzing the potential extent and depth of flood waters based on various storm scenarios and preparing structural and non-structural solutions to reduce nuisance flooding.
Project costs are split evenly between the Corps and a nonfederal sponsor:
Lycoming County, in this case. Muncy Bank and Trust Company has also provided money to support the project.
“We attempt to defray project costs as much as possible through the use of cash and in-kind services from various interested partners,” Guise says. “Along with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, the bank as a partner and financier turns this project into a true public-private partnership — one that is rare. To our knowledge, this is the first time a bank has contributed to this type of federal project.”
The Corps hopes this collaboration can be replicated nationwide.
“We are optimistic that this unique partnership with the bank will open the door for similar involvement in the future,” Guise says. “There are plenty of solutions in our region that can support business and economic vitality and help protect our watersheds and people.”
Design & Construction Support
While the floodplain and planning assistance programs provide critical guidance and products to support local communities, they do not lead directly to the physical construction of projects.
The Continuing Authorities Program (CAP), however, allows the Corps to partner with local sponsors to study, design, and construct smaller water resources, flood risk management, and environmental projects without congressional authorization.
The federal government funds the initial feasibility study phase up to $100,000. Any remaining costs are shared evenly.
If the project is found to be economically feasible and environmentally acceptable in the study phase, it may move into design and implementation at a cost share, with the government typically paying more than half of the costs. 
For the majority of projects, the federal construction costs must be less than $10 million to proceed through the CAP program.
The Corps can also provide design and construction assistance to non-federal partners in the Chesapeake Bay watershed at a cost share through the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Restoration and Protection Program
Typical projects include sediment and erosion control, ecosystem restoration, protection of critical public works infrastructure, and the beneficial use of dredged material. Projects are limited to a total cost of $10 million and require a 25 percent nonfederal partner cost share.
“We continue to try to revolutionize the way we do business to best meet the needs of our taxpayers,” Guise says. “Performing more work through these programs provides one example of how we’re getting there.”
For more information on these programs, contact info, and sample assistance request letters, go to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Technical Service Program webpage.
[Note: Three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Districts cover Pennsylvania-- Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Philadelphia.]
(Photo: Corps staffers analyze conditions in the Swatara Creek.)

(Reprinted from the January PA Township News published by the PA State Association of Township SupervisorsClick Here for information on how to subscribe to this award-winning information resource.)
[Posted: December 30, 2019]  www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com

PA/NJ Chapter - American Chestnut Foundation Highlights Upcoming Spring Growers Meeting, Greenhouse Planting Days, PA Farm Show

The PA/NJ Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation recently highlighted several important upcoming events, including the March 21 Growers Meeting, Penn State Greenhouse Planting Days and the Pennsylvania Farm Show display.
PA Farm Show Display - Jan. 4 - 11
Check out the PA/NJ Chapter’s display at the 2020 PA Farm Show in Harrisburg from January 4-11.  The display is in the Main Hall - West of the Farm Show Building right next to the Christmas Tree display.   Click Here for more information.
Penn State Planting Days - Jan. 9 & 10
On January 9-10 the Penn State Chestnut Orchard will hold a seed planting from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Forest Resource Lab Greenhouse at University Drive and Hastings Road in State College.
Come take a break from the cold and help restore the American Chestnut!
Growers Meeting - March 21
The Spring Growers Meeting will be held March 21 at Penn State Harrisburg in Middletown, Dauphin County from 8:30 to 2:30 at the Education Activities Building North on College Avenue.
Featured speakers include--
-- Marc McDill, Associate Professor of Forest Management, Penn State University, on Climate Change and Pennsylvania’s Forests: This talk reviews how Pennsylvania’s climate is changing and how it is projected to change in the future. It discusses how Pennsylvanians in general, and Pennsylvania’s forests in particular, are likely to be affected in the coming decades. Finally, it discusses the role forests can play in mitigating climate change and how we can help Pennsylvania’s forests increase their ability to adapt to the changing climate.
-- Jason Delborne, Associate Professor of Science, Policy and Society, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University - Forest Health and Biotechnology: Possibilities and Considerations: The American chestnut, white bark pine, and several species of ash in the eastern United States are just a few of the North American tree species that have been functionally lost or are in jeopardy of being lost due to outbreaks of pathogens and insect pests. 
Biotechnology has the potential to help mitigate threats to North American forests from insects and pathogens through the introduction of pest-resistant traits to forest trees. 
However, challenges remain: the genetic mechanisms that underlie trees’ resistance to pests are poorly understood, the complexity of tree genomes makes incorporating genetic changes a slow and difficult task, and there is a lack of information on the effects of releasing new genotypes into the environment. 
The report recommends research and investment to improve the utility of biotechnology as a forest health tool.  Click Here to download free PDF.
Dr. Delborne served on this committee as a social scientist who focuses on public and stakeholder engagement about emerging biotechnologies. He has also conducted research funded by the National Science Foundation on the specific case of the genetically engineered American chestnut tree. 
In this presentation, he will review the major findings of the NASEM report and provide a summary of his research on the social, political, and ethical aspects of the GE American chestnut tree.
-- Jared Westbrook, Director of Science The American Chestnut Foundation - The Evolving Effort to Restore the American Chestnut: For 30 years, The American Chestnut Foundation has pursued backcross breeding to generate hybrids that have the blight resistance of Chinese chestnut and the timber-type form of American chestnut. 
The backcross strategy is based on the hypothesis that blight resistance is conferred by few genes. Recent genomics research has revealed that resistance is controlled by many genes. As a consequence, blight resistance is has been partially diluted through backcrossing. 
Based on these results, TACF is advancing additional backcross lines through fewer backcross generations to balance blight resistance with American chestnut characteristics. 
Pending U.S. regulatory approval, we also plan to breed transgenic blight-tolerant American chestnut trees to wild American chestnuts over three to five generations to diversify the transgenic population for restoration. 
Third, we are pursuing genomics research to identify genes that underlie blight resistance in Chinese chestnut with the intent of introducing or modifying corresponding genes in American chestnut with CRISPR technology. 
With these approaches, pursued independently and in combination, we remain hopeful about prospects of creating a genetically diverse, blight resistant population of American chestnut for restoration in eastern forests.
Click Here to register or for more information on the Spring Growers Meeting.
For more information on programs, initiatives, other upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the PA/NJ Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation website.  Like them on FacebookClick Here to sign up for the Chapter newsletter.

(Reprinted from the latest PA/NJ Chapter newsletterClick Here to sign up for your own copy.)
[Posted: December 30, 2019]  www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com

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