Friday, September 25, 2020

PA Environmental Professionals Recognize John E. Childe, Jr. And Len Lichvar

On September 25, the
PA Association of Environmental Professionals recognized John E. Childe, Jr., PA Environmental Defense Foundation, with the Karl Mason Award and Len Lichvar, Manager of the  Somerset County Conservation District, with the Walter Lyon Award.

John Childe

The Karl Mason Award honors an individual who demonstrated exemplary leadership in the field of environmental management.

John Childe is an attorney that has represented citizen groups, individuals, and state and local governments to stop the degradation of streams and other public natural resources in Pennsylvania, as well as Florida, and to obtain funding for projects to restore these resources. 

His efforts have helped restore some of Pennsylvania’s streams devastated by pollution to thriving fisheries and is currently working to ensure our State Forests remain places where current and future generations of Pennsylvanians can enjoy the beauty of Penn’s Woods.

Childe graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a degree in English literature in 1965. After being drafted, he joined the Army, trained as an officer and served in combat in Vietnam as a forward observer in an artillery battalion first with the 173rd Airborne Division and then with the 4th Infantry Division. 

Upon returning from Vietnam, Childe was accepted to the law school at Duquesne University and graduated in 1974. At that time, he worked for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General first as chief counsel for the Department of Agriculture and then as an attorney at the PA Department of Environmental Resources (DER).

Childe has represented many environmental groups, municipalities and individuals, to successfully prevent or halt pollution discharges into some of Pennsylvania’s most pristine streams and to obtain funding for projects to restore them. 

Early projects in Dauphin County included the treatment of acid mine drainage into Stoney Creek and an agreement guaranteeing adequate discharge from the DeHart Dam into Clarks Creek during low stream flow to support the trout fisheries on these high-quality streams.  

Childe represented Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation, a nonprofit foundation, in various efforts to address pollution from acid mine drainage, including a project to treat such pollution in Babbs Creek, a headwater stream to Pine Creek. Water quality in Babbs Creek has significantly improved due in part to this project and now supports a trout fishery.

Childe, representing the PA Environmental Defense Foundation, was lead attorney in the landmark 2017 PA Supreme Court case declaring the state, local governments and public agencies and officials have a trustee responsibility for natural resources in the Commonwealth under the state’s Environmental Rights Amendment to the constitution.

Childe continues to work diligently with Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation and its members on multiple cases and other litigation involving the management of our State Forest to ensure the Commonwealth and the Department of Conservation manage these important public natural resources consistent with their fiduciary duties as trustees.

Len Lichvar

The Walter Lyon Award honors an organization, project or program that made a unique, creative, or significant contribution toward maintenance or restoration of Pennsylvania’s environmental quality or to the field of environmental management.

Somerset County Conservation District Manager Len Lichvar is deeply involved in conservation matters in his county, region and statewide.  

Over the past 30 years, the Somerset Conservation District has planned and developed large scale projects to ensure that clean water is available for residents and visitors.  

Just a few of the  projects include: Stonycreek River Watershed AMD treatment; Oven Run AMD treatment sites; Quemahoning Creek and Reservoir; Benscreek and the Rock Tunnel Site AMD treatment; Lamberts Run AMD treatment; and Mallards Rest AMD treatment.

These projects have been planned and managed through the District with funding secured through federal, state and local programs and grants.  

Through the startup efforts by the District along Stonycreek River, Quemahoning Creek and reservoir, over $5 million was granted to other local watershed or conservancy groups and numerous projects were planned and completed to the betterment of the overall water quality across the region.  

The District has spent decades working to flip the river’s quality from acidic to net-alkaline, and were so successful that fish (smallmouth bass and trout) were introduced back into the river and fish habitat structures were added to the Quemahoning Reservoir, creating improved recreational angling and boating opportunities.  

Stonycreek River was named the River of the Year by the DCNR and PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.

As the Somerset Conservation District Manager, Lichvar was instrumental in Somerset County’s Chesapeake Bay Implementation Strategy, Oven Run Rehabilitation, and Lamberts Run stream improvements.  

Working with the Middlecreek Township Supervisors in Somerset County he helped secure transportation enhancements funding for the rehabilitation of the Kings Covered Bridge, built in the 1860’s.   

Lichvar is also a freelance outdoor writer and photographer whose works have been published in local, state and national publications. Twice he has won recognition from the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association for the best published article on trout and coldwater conservation. 

He is presently an outdoors correspondent for the Somerset Daily American and produces a monthly outdoors page for the newspaper.  

The Somerset Conservation District and District Manager Len Lichvar have worked tirelessly over the past 30 years to better the streams and rivers of Somerset County for residents and visitors alike.  

The progress shown in Somerset County over the past 30 years and continuing into the future can serve as examples for private and public conservancies and watershed groups across the Commonwealth. 

Click Here for more information on the Karl Mason and Walter Lyon Awards and past winners.

For more information on programs, initiatives, workshops and other special events, visit the PA Association of Environmental Professionals website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates on PAEP activities or Like them on Facebook.  Click Here to become a member.

(Photo: John Childe, Len Lickvar.)
[Posted: Sept. 25, 2020] 
PA Environment Digest

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