Monday, June 1, 2020

PA Trout Unlimited: Keystone Coldwater Conference Put Focus On Conservation, Education

The following article appeared in the Spring PA Council of Trout Unlimited newsletter and was written by Rachel Kester, PATU Program Director--
The 14th biannual Keystone Coldwater Conference was held on Feb. 28-29, 2020 at the Ramada Conference Center in State College. One hundred fifty-three participants took part in the two-day conference.
The theme for this year’s conference was Coldwater Conservation and Education: Resiliency in a Changing Environment.
Friday, February 28, professional conservationists from the PA Fish and Boat Commission, Trout Unlimited’s Pennsylvania Coldwater Habitat Program, the Penn State Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies, and the US Forest Service led a workshop on Aquatic Organism Passage.
They educated workshop participants about the resources available for AOP projects and how replacing undersized culverts can benefit fish and other aquatic species while also benefiting human health and safety by reducing flooding impacts. An additional benefit is reducing maintenance costs for municipalities.
The AOP workshop was followed by a student mentoring dinner, student poster session, and an evening reception. Thirteen students representing four colleges and universities across the state participated in the poster session.
While all the students did an excellent job presenting their research, three students were recognized for their exemplary research and poster presentations.
First place was awarded to Meredith Bennett of Duquesne University for her poster titled Two Approaches for Aquatic Environmental DNA Surveys: Advantages and Concerns.
Second place was awarded to Sara Mueller of Penn State University for her poster
titled Phenotypic Variation in Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) Among Pennsylvania Drainages.
Third place was awarded to Rachel Kim of Juniata College for her poster titled Standardizing Methods for environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling in stream water: Examining the role of filter material, pore  size, and water volume on brook trout eDNA recovery.
The keynote address on Saturday was given by Tim Schaeffer, executive director of PFBC.
During his address, Schaeffer talked about the various ways that his agency is working to help our coldwater ecosystems be more resilient in the face of climate change. He then moderated the plenary session which was focused on resiliency in a broad sense.
Panelists spoke about how organizations can be more resilient, how conservationists can help coldwater ecosystems and trout populations to be more resilient, and how organizations can continue to advocate for coldwater resources and raise funds for conservation projects.
The remainder of Saturday was filled with concurrent sessions focusing on coldwater conservation and education.
Links to the presentations can be found on the Keystone Coldwater Conference website.
Council would like to thank all the sponsors, speakers, students, exhibitors and
participants for making the 2020 Keystone Coldwater Conference another successful event. 
A special thank you to the conference planning committee for their dedication and hard work to bring the conference to fruition.
[Note: PA Environment Digest was a proud sponsor of the Conference.]
Other Articles
Among the other articles featured in the Spring PATU newsletter are--
-- Delaware Named River Of The Year
-- Coldwater Heritage Partnership Awards $80,000 In Conservation Grants
-- What Does The PATU Council Actually Do?
-- PA Council Award Nominations Are Due July 31
-- Join TU’s Social Distancing Fishing Effort
-- Updates From Chapters
-- Moving Forward Column By PATU President Greg Malaska
For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the PA Council of Trout Unlimited website.
Related Articles:
Op-Ed: Strong, Local Economy Depends On Investing In Our Natural Resources By Rachel Kester, PATU PA Coldwater Habitat Program
[Posted: June 1, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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