Tuesday, November 24, 2020

New Watershed-Friendly Property Certification Now Available From Penn State Extension

By Meagan Louise Hopkins-Doeer, Master Watershed Steward Coordinator, Chester & Delaware Counties

Master Watershed Steward Program announces the statewide Watershed-Friendly Property Certification. This learning tool recognizes Pennsylvania residents who demonstrate watershed-friendly decisions and behaviors for their property.

The certification program is a collaboration between the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program and The Nurture Nature Center and received funding from the Department of Environmental Protection’s 2020 Environmental Education Grants Program. 

For two years, a team of Master Watershed Stewards volunteered to research and compose the application’s questions, statements, resources, and educational materials. The Nurture Nature Center designed the online application, yard sign, and educational materials. 

The Watershed-Friendly Property Certification program was officially launched on October 22nd with an online webinar presented by Nurture Nature Center staff and the Master Watershed Stewards. 

Both groups continue to increase program awareness and education through presentations, word of mouth, and other outreach methods.

Who can certify their property?

The application is open to all residents, schools, places of worship, municipal buildings, small businesses, and others who manage properties between 0.1-15 acres.

What does a certified property look like?

Certified properties will vary in size, aesthetics, and other aspects. The unifying factor is that all properties include enough best-management practices for reducing stormwater runoff and pollution, conserving water, and providing beneficial habitats for wildlife and pollinators to reach the qualifying 85 percent score.

Why should you certify your property as watershed-friendly?

The goal of the Watershed-Friendly Property Certification program is to unite land owners, both within individual watersheds and across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to improve and maintain the quality of water resources, as well as improve and maintain habitat for wildlife and pollinators. 

Residents, communities, educational institutions, and businesses will simultaneously be educated about the value of a healthy watershed and best practices for improving water quality. Healthy landscapes make healthy communities. 

Your property certification has many benefits, including:

-- Recognizing your commitment to make a positive difference and improve/maintain the quality of water resources in your watershed, for your family, your community, and wildlife.

-- Raising awareness with others how they can improve water resources within the watershed and the need to include wildlife and pollinator habitat on their property.

-- Supporting the Watershed-Friendly Yard Certification and Master Watershed Steward Program.

-- Providing you with tools and resources to continue improving your watershed-friendly status.

-- Giving you “bragging rights” for all your hard work.

How can you certify your property?

To certify your property, complete the online application for review. The recorded webinar, additional information and resources are provided throughout the process.

 If your application meets the requirements, you will be notified upon submission and receive an email with a certificate verifying that your landscape is watershed-friendly.

There is no cost associated with the application or certificate. However, successful applicants will be eligible for the Watershed-Friendly Property sign. 

The certificate and the sign show your commitment to making a difference, improving the quality of water resources, and maintaining habitat for wildlife and pollinators in your watershed.

For more information, visit the Penn State Extension Watershed-Friendly Property Certification webpage.

[How Clean Is Your Stream?

[DEP’s Interactive Report Viewer allows you to zoom in on your own stream or watershed to find out how clean your stream is or if it has impaired water quality using the latest information in the draft 2020 Water Quality Report.

[Other Certification Programs

[Here are just a few of the other landowner certification programs available--

-- Penn State Dept. Of Entomology Pollinator Garden Certification

-- Audubon Pennsylvania Bird Habitat Recognition Program

-- Audubon Society Of Western PA Certified Backyard Habitat Program

-- Manada Conservancy Habitat For All Certification Program

-- National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat

-- PA Sustainable Forestry Certification Initiative]

(Reprinted from the Nov. 24 Penn State Extension Watershed Winds newsletter.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

Related Articles - Extension:

-- Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program Accepting Applications For 2021; Jan. 20 Open House

-- Riparian Buffer Professionals Available + New Training Opportunities In PA; DCNR Buffer Workforce Survey

-- Master Watershed Stewards In York County Plant Riparian Forest Buffer In Park

-- Storm Drain Art Brings Awareness To Stormwater Pollution In The City Of York

-- Master Watershed Stewards From 4 Counties Help Purge Plastic From The Susquehanna River

-- Water Tests For Households Using Public Water Supplies

Related Articles - Water:

-- DCNR Highlights $400,000 Investment To Improve Recreation, Help Restore Codorus Creek In York County; New Grant Round Opening Soon 

-- Trout Unlimited: Protecting Streams From Assessment Through Regulation

-- PA Park Maintenance Institute Hosts Online Benefits Of Including Green Stormwater Infrastructure Into Parks & Recreation Facilities Shop Talk Dec. 3

-- Trout Unlimited Offers Online STREAM Girls Outdoor Ed For COVID Times Training For Girl Scouts Program Dec. 3

-- PAEE: Meaningful Watershed Education Experience In PA Accepting Nominations For 2 Award Programs

-- EPA Awards PA $4.8 Million For Section 319 Grants To Cleanup Water Quality Across The State

-- Bay Journal: EPA Fights Lawsuit Forcing It To Act On Pennsylvania, NY Cleanup Plans

[Posted: November 24, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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