Friday, January 22, 2021

PA State Team Guiding The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Meets Jan. 26 To Hear Update On State, County Water Cleanup Efforts


The
PA State Team helping to guide the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting on January 26 to hear an update from state agencies and counties about Pennsylvania’s water quality cleanup efforts in the Pennsylvania portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

On the agenda is Jill Whitcomb, Director of DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Office will provide highlights from the State Progress Report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on January 14.

Representatives of eight counties-- Adams, Bedford, Centre, Cumberland, Franklin,  Lancaster, Lebanon and York-- are scheduled to provide progress reports and an overview of their planned activities for 2021.

Earlier in the week, DEP’s most recent January WIP newsletter provided an update on recent Chesapeake Bay-related activities by state agencies and counties.

The PA State Team meeting is scheduled to be held from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m..  Click Here to register to join the meeting via WebEx.  Join the meeting by phone by calling 1-415-655-0003  Access code: 132 373 9422.

For more information and available handouts, visit DEP’s PA State Team webpage.

PA Chesapeake Bay Plan

For more information on how Pennsylvania plans to meet its Chesapeake Bay cleanup obligations, visit DEP’s PA’s Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan webpage.

Click Here for a summary of the steps the Plan recommends.

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.

Related Articles:

-- DEP Provides $1 Million To 26 Counties Developing Local Clean Water Action Plans In PA Portion Of Chesapeake Bay Watershed

-- DEP, Partners Provide Progress Report On First Phase Of Chesapeake Bay Implementation Plan To EPA; New DEP Guide To Permitting For Watershed Projects 

-- Bay Journal: Can Chesapeake Bay Region Dredge Its Way Out Of Conowingo Dam Problem? 

-- CNH Industrial-New Holland Ag Partners With Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay On Riparian Buffer Project In Lancaster County

-- $178 Million Invested In 14 Water Infrastructure Projects In 11 Counties By PennVEST

[Posted: January 22, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

DEP Provides $1 Million To 26 Counties Developing Local Clean Water Action Plans In PA Portion Of Chesapeake Bay Watershed


On January 22, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has awarded approximately $1 million in grants to support 26 counties in the upper half of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in developing
Countywide Clean Water Action Plans to improve local water quality.

The counties join eight others in the lower half of the watershed who developed Countywide Action Plans in 2019 and 2020. 

All 34 counties that were asked to create and carry out plans to reduce local nutrient and sediment pollution as part of the state Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan have now signed on.

“This is an exciting first in Pennsylvania’s longtime work to improve the health of the watershed,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Having all counties on board demonstrates a new level of community commitment to improving local waters and protecting the benefits they bring to our lives. It also reflects the effectiveness of new partnerships by state agencies and the agriculture, forestry, wastewater, and business sectors to support this local work. DEP will do everything we can to sustain this action for healthy waters.”

DEP awarded $1 million in grants from the Environmental Stewardship Fund to support local development of planning teams and Countywide Action Plans of best management projects to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution. 

These pollutants are building up in streams, rivers, and lakes as a result of human activities such as applying fertilizers, plowing and tilling agricultural fields, and stripping away trees and vegetation, increasing streambank erosion.

To make the most of limited funding, the 26 counties have formed groups to develop 10 Countywide Action Plans. Each group applied for and was approved for up to $100,000 in grant funding.

-- Group 1: Chester, Berks, and Schuylkill counties

-- Group 2: Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Susquehanna counties

-- Group 3: Lycoming and Northumberland counties

-- Group 4: Tioga, Potter, and Bradford counties

-- Group 5: Snyder and Union counties

-- Group 6: Montour, Columbia, and Sullivan counties

-- Group 7: Clinton, Clearfield, and Cambria counties

-- Group 8: Blair, Huntingdon, and Fulton counties

-- Group 9: Dauphin and Perry counties

-- Group 10: Juniata and Mifflin counties

The DEP grants are part of multiyear agreements to support counties’ participation in Pennsylvania’s Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan to meet federal obligations to improve the health of the bay.

The state plan takes a Healthy Waters, Healthy Communities approach, giving county teams control of local water quality improvement, while providing as much data, technical assistance, funding, and other support as possible. 

It encourages and equips counties to develop strategies and determine project sites and types that will benefit their communities and farmers, municipalities, businesses, and other landowners while restoring the environment.

Adams, Franklin, Lancaster, and York counties completed their Countywide Action Plans in 2019 and began to enlist partners, pursue funding sources, and break ground on projects in 2020. 

Bedford, Centre, Cumberland, and Lebanon counties submitted their draft plans to DEP in December and are in the process of finalizing them.

All or part of 43 Pennsylvania counties are in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The remaining nine counties have low levels of nutrient and sediment pollution and are not requested to develop Countywide Action Plans.

Next State Team Meeting Jan. 26

The next meeting of the State Chesapeake Bay Implementation Team meeting is January 26 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.  Read more here.

PA Chesapeake Bay Plan

For more information on how Pennsylvania plans to meet its Chesapeake Bay cleanup obligations, visit DEP’s PA’s Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan webpage.

Click Here for a summary of the steps the Plan recommends.

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.

Related Articles:

-- PA State Team Guiding The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Meets Jan. 26 To Hear Update On State, County Water Cleanup Efforts

-- DEP, Partners Provide Progress Report On First Phase Of Chesapeake Bay Implementation Plan To EPA; New DEP Guide To Permitting For Watershed Projects 

-- Bay Journal: Can Chesapeake Bay Region Dredge Its Way Out Of Conowingo Dam Problem? 

-- CNH Industrial-New Holland Ag Partners With Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay On Riparian Buffer Project In Lancaster County

-- $178 Million Invested In 14 Water Infrastructure Projects In 11 Counties By PennVEST

[Posted: January 22, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

Susquehanna Greenway Partnership: Small Communities Becoming More Desirable In COVID Pandemic


COVID-19 was the juggernaut of 2020. Not only did it fundamentally transform our daily lives, but it also shifted where we work, how we educate, and what we do with our spare time.

True, the majority of impacts have been negative, but amidst all this upheaval, there is one shift that offers a unique opportunity to our region, especially within our small towns.

Following the travel restrictions and hot spots of COVID-19, more and more people have begun looking to smaller communities outside of populated city centers as oases from pandemic life.

These small communities, like our Susquehanna Greenway River Towns, offer a variety of benefits that are not currently available in ‘big city living.’ 

Add to that the increased flexibility afforded by remote work and learning environments, and the recipe is right for our Susquehanna communities to see an uptick in interest from not only visitors, but also those seeking new places to live.

Why the growing attraction to these smaller communities? In short, it’s their amenities.

King among these is access to space, especially outdoor opportunities.

City dwellers are trading city bars, museums, and theaters for parks, trails, and other easily accessible recreation that is available in small towns.

In addition to the elbowroom afforded to those by living in small towns, nearby state forests, parks, and game lands also open up an additional source of opportunity to engage with one another and keep within COVID-19 regulations. 

As a result, being located within a community that has access to these public outdoor spaces has risen as a desired community commodity. Plus, the simple act of recreating and exercising in the outdoors has provided a much-needed boost to an individual’s mental and physical health in a time of heightened stress and anxiety.

The rise in demand thanks to this access is already notable. However, factor in the community's unique charm and character, and these small towns’ inviting landscapes become even more desirable for those seeking new environments outside of a stuffy city center.

This retreat to rural towns and suburbia was also made more attractive and feasible thanks to the shift to remote learning and work-from-home environments. While some may be growing tired of remote work, it is actually the thing most driving this opportunity for small towns.

With the boost in remote workspaces, people experienced flexibility that removed the need to commute into big city jobs—a driving force behind city living. People can now work from home amidst the charm of a small-town community and walk right out of their front doors to enjoy all it has to offer.

According to the New York Times, Jonathan Dingel and Brent Neiman of the University of Chicago estimate that almost 40 percent of the nation’s jobs can be done from home. 

Should permanent remote positions continue to catch on, this migration towards small towns will likely continue to gain momentum across Central Pennsylvania.

And the current market is poised for this migration.

A study by the Outdoor Industry Association, found that 5 percent of the American real estate market is fueled by outdoor recreation. Being located near spaces for outdoor activity is becoming a valued asset.

Before we worry about an invasion of city dwellers, cities have been historically resilient following times of crises and they are far from a thing of the past. 

However, the current rising interest in small communities may prove to be a timely boom for the places that need it most.

Small communities like our beloved Susquehanna Greenway River Towns may be in position to positively benefit from this rising interest if we can begin to see their unique character and access to outdoor opportunities as economic resources.

In the face of COVID-19, many small businesses of our river towns may just profit from this rising interest as a bolster to their longevity through the pandemic and beyond.

Businesses, especially those who cater to both local and visiting outdoor enthusiasts, have already benefitted from the newfound boom in outdoor recreation that has followed on the heels of the pandemic.  

Industries associated with outdoor pursuits saw record numbers and interest in 2020. For example, NPD Group Market Research recorded a percent increase in U.S. sales from March/April 2019 to March/April 2020 by +85 percent in kayaks and +121 percent in bicycles, with that trend only continuing into the summer season.

According to another study by the Outdoor Industry Association, consumer spending on outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania soars to about $887 billion annually.

It is not just the outfitters who profit. The small businesses that line the streets of our downtown communities have become hubs for people to convene (at a social distance) after their adventures at the nearby parks and trails. 

People are attracted to their charm, stay to enjoy the amenities, and boost the local economies as a result.

Only time will tell if this trend continues, but for now, it is proving to be an opportunity for our treasured river towns to shine through a global crisis.

The Susquehanna Greenway is a corridor of connected trails, parks, river access points, and communities, linking people to the natural and cultural treasures of the Susquehanna River. 

The mission of the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership is to continue to grow the Greenway by building connections along the Susquehanna River, inspiring people to engage with the outdoors, and transforming communities into places where people want to live, work, and explore.

For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Partnership or  Like them on FacebookClick Here to support their work.


(Reprinted from the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership website.)
[Posted: January 22, 2021] 
PA Environment Digest

Applications Now Being Accepted For Next Penn State Extension Master Well Owner Course


By Bryan Swistock, Water Resources Coordinator

Interested in learning more about the proper management of private water wells, springs and cisterns and sharing what you learn with others? Apply for the Penn State Extension
Master Well Owner online course being offered by Penn State Extension!

The Master Well Owner Network (MWON) will provide free, online training for the first 20 volunteers who apply and meet the following criteria:

-- You must not be employed by any company that provides paid services to private water supply owners (i.e., water testing companies, water treatment companies, water well drillers, etc.) and

-- You must be willing to pass along basic private water system management knowledge to other private water system owners.

The deadline to apply for this online course is February 19 or whenever 20 applicants are accepted into the course.

Each volunteer who applies and is accepted into the program will receive details on how to access the online MWON course at no cost. 

Successful applicants will be able to start the course on February 22 and the course will end on March 22. 

The course includes six chapters covering private water system basics, well and spring construction, water testing, water supply protection, water treatment, water conservation, and outreach strategies. 

Each chapter includes a mixture of short videos and text along with links to additional resources and a short quiz. Volunteers must answer 70 percent of the online quiz questions correctly to be certified as a volunteer. 

A computer with a high-speed internet connection is recommended to view all the course materials and videos. 

To fill out an application for the MWON program, visit the online form.

Volunteers who successfully complete the training course and pass a short exam will receive a free copy of the 80-page publication - A Guide to Private Water Systems in Pennsylvania, discounted water testing through the Penn State water testing lab, and access to various MWON educational materials. 

In return, MWON volunteers are asked to pass along what they have learned to other private water supply owners and submit a simple, one-page annual report of their educational accomplishments.

Pennsylvania is home to over one million private water wells and springs, but it is one of the few states that do not provide statewide regulations to protect these rural drinking water supplies. 

In 2004, Penn State Extension and several partner agencies created the Master Well Owner Network (MWON); trained volunteers who are dedicated to promoting the proper construction, testing, and maintenance of private water wells, springs, and cisterns throughout Pennsylvania. 

Since its inception, hundreds of MWON volunteers have provided education to over 60,000 private water supply owners throughout the state.

Volunteers who recently completed the online course stated:

-- I liked the course. It was very informative, and I will use the information I learned myself and to reach others.

-- I have had water wells for over 35 years and had found it difficult to get GOOD information on care and maintenance of existing wells.

Visit the Master Well Owner Network webpage for more information.


(Reprinted from the January 22 Watershed Winds newsletter from Penn State Extension.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

Related Articles:

-- Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program Now Accepting Applications For 2021

-- Penn State Extension Hosts Jan. 27 Installing & Maintaining Forest Buffers Webinar

-- Penn State Extension 5-Part Backyard Stream Repair Webinar Series Registration Now Open

-- Penn State Extension, DEP To Host 8-Part Farm Energy Day Webinars; Offer New Farm Utility Bill Analysis Service

-- Penn State Extension Offers 50% Off 75 Online Courses If You Register In January

[Posted: January 22, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

Jan. 22 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation


The
January 22 Take Five Fridays With Pam is now available from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation featuring articles on--

-- Check DCNR’s Calendar Of Events For Virtual Events Happening Near You!

-- See All 121 State Parks, 20 Forest Districts Challenge

-- Plan Your Vacation Day With Parks & Forests Passport

-- Recreation-themed COVID Masks Back In Stock

-- This week's online Photo Jigsaw Puzzle

Click Here to read the entire Take Five.

For more information on programs, initiatives, special events and how you can get involved, visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Foundation,  Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter or tune in to their YouTube ChannelClick Here to become a member of the Foundation.

The Foundation and their 46 chapters mobilize 65,000 volunteers annually to steward YOUR state parks and forests.

(Photo: Tucked Away in Parker Day, Parker Dam State Park, Clearfield County.)

Related Articles:

-- DCNR Now Accepting Applications For Community Park, Recreation, Conservation, Rivers, Riparian Buffer Grants

-- Applications Now Being Accepted For PA Sojourn Grants By PA Organization For Watersheds & Rivers

-- Start Applying For DCNR ATV, Snowmobile Project Grants Feb. 1

-- DCNR Conservation & Natural Resources Advisory Council To Hear Presentations On Historic Park, Forest Visitation Numbers, PA Wilds Jan. 27

-- DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Joe Graci, Fmr DCNR Director Of Legislative Affairs 

-- DCNR: State Parks, Forests Offer Abundance Of Activities During Winter Months

-- Earth Conservancy Hosts Feb. 11 Virtual Public Meeting On Potential Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area In Luzerne County

[Posted: January 22, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

DEP Posts 48 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In Jan. 23 PA Bulletin


The Department of Environmental Protection published 48 pages of public notices related to proposed and final permit and apprval/ disapproval actions in the January 23 PA Bulletin -
pages 451 to 499.
Sign Up For DEP’s eNotice: Did you know DEP can send you email notices of permit applications submitted in your community?  Notice of new technical guidance documents and regulations?  All through its eNotice system.  Click Here to sign up.
Related Article:

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner