Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Stroud Water Research Center Honors Dr. Michael E. Mann, Climate Scientist & Author, At The Water's Edge Gala On Nov. 3

Stroud Water Research Center announced Dr. Michael E. Mann, climate change scientist, author and Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State, and Director of the Earth System Science Center, is the 2022 recipient of the Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence.

Dr. Mann will be honored at The Water's Edge Gala on November 3 at the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science in Wilmington.

Click Here for tickets and more information on this special event.

Speaking Truth and Science About Climate Change

Michael E. Mann, Ph.D., has spent his career investigating climate change, communicating about its reality, and highlighting the politics that seek to undermine action against it.

Mann’s research on climate variability and extremes has been at the forefront of climate change science. 

In 1999, he and his colleagues examined 1,000 years of temperature changes that produced the hockey stick graph, so named because of its pronounced upward curve. 

The data, which combined decades of work by paleoclimate scientists, and its stunning visual presentation served as a smoking gun in the case proving human-induced climate change.

Writing about this work, Mann has said, “Although scientific revolutions in how we see the world do occur, the bulk of our scientific understanding comes from the cumulative impact of numerous incremental studies that together paint an increasingly coherent picture of how nature works.”

To share his knowledge and warn the public about climate change, he has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed and edited publications, numerous op-eds and commentaries, and five books. 

His most recent work, The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet, examines the thirty-year campaign launched by fossil fuel companies to delay action on climate change and offers a battle plan for how to save the planet.

For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Stroud Water Research Center website, Click Here to subscribe to UpStream.  Click Here to subscribe to Stroud’s Educator newsletter.  Click Here to become a Friend Of Stroud Research,  Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter and visit their YouTube Channel.

The Chester County-based Stroud Center seeks to advance knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems through global research, education, and watershed restoration.

Related Articles:

-- Stroud Water Research Center Honors Dr. Michael E. Mann, Climate Scientist & Author, With 2022 Stroud Award For Freshwater Excellence

-- Northeast PA Environmental Partners Announce Award Recipients, Recognition Dinner Nov. 3  [PaEN]

-- Sand County Foundation Announces PA Finalists For Leopold Conservation Award  [PaEN]

[Posted: September 27, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Delaware Highlands Conservancy 2022 Photo Contest Winners

Delaware Highlands Conservancy is pleased to announce the winners of its fifth annual juried photo contest for the Upper Delaware River region, that was open to professional and amateur photographers.

The theme of this year’s contest was “Confluence: Land, Water, Wildlife” which invited photographers to capture striking nature photos in five categories: landscape, wildlife, macro, water, and the Van Scott Nature Reserve (new this year), plus a youth category for photographers under age 18.

The winners were--

-- Landscape: Laurie Lobbregt

-- Wildlife: Peter Kolesar

-- Macro: Williams Brown

-- Water: Roger Gottlieb

-- Van Scott Nature Reserve: Jeffrey Sidle

-- Youth: Anna Brown

-- People’s Choice: Eileen Chorba

-- Staff Pick: John Butler

Click Here to view winners on Facebook.

For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Delaware Highlands Conservancy website or call 570-226-3164 or 845-583-1010.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Conservancy, Like on Facebook and Follow on Twitter. Learn about the Green Lodging Partnership initiative.  Click Here to support their work.

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy is committed to sustaining our rural quality of life and focused on the connections between local citizens, a healthy environment, and a strong local economy.  It has permanently protected over 18,000 acres of working farms and forests, clean waters and wildlife habitat in the Upper Delaware region.

(Photo: Landscape Winner - Laurie Lobbregt; Youth Winner - Anna Brown.)

[Posted: September 27, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Pocono Heritage Land Trust: It's About Keeping Promises, Harry Texler's Legacy Under Threat In Monroe County

By Carol Hillestad

Harry Trexler was a man of many interests.

Starting in the late 1800s, he founded or ran huge operations in and around Allentown: a nationally-known lumber company, one of the largest cement producers in the world, enormous farms and orchards. He was even a founder of Pennsylvania Power and Light.

Harry Trexler was an industry giant, extremely wealthy … and at the same time, a dedicated, conservation-minded man.

He was the father of Allentown’s public park system, owner of a trout hatchery, creator of the Trexler Game Preserve, and an avid outdoorsman who devoted huge sums to conserve land for the public to use and enjoy. 

He bought and preserved the land that would become Hickory Run State Park, one of the jewels of our state park system, welcoming 300,000 visitors a year.

In 1928, he — helped by neighboring families — donated 755 acres of springs, wetlands, wildlife and woodlands in Polk Township in Monroe County to be a wilderness camp, run by the Boy Scouts, for the benefit of generations to come.

Camp Trexler still exists, one of the last stretches of pristine woodland in the township. But its founders’ vision is under threat.

After 94 years, the place where thousands of Scouts made lifetime memories — hiking, fishing, learning to “be prepared,” to tell the truth and keep promises — may be going up for sale.

It could become a housing development. A trash transfer station. It could be clear-cut and timbered, instead of remaining the beautiful, wild land Harry Trexler and neighboring farmers intended.

There is another option.

Pocono Heritage Land Trust is working to acquire this property, conserve it permanently, and keep it open to the public.

No McMansions. No industry. Just the priceless land itself, a legacy of natural beauty for generations to come, as the donors envisioned.

Minsi Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America makes the decisions about this land. It is up to the board members to choose the path to the future.

Will they be true to the principles of Scouting and keep faith with the givers of this special place? Will they honor all those whose lifelong memories of camping here consecrate this land? Will the promise of Camp Trexler be kept?

Or not?

You Should Know

If Camp Trexler land were converted to housing, dozens of homes could be built there under current zoning. In addition to traffic, road damage, sewage, and water issues, each school-age child would add $22,000 to the school district’s costs. Property taxes on the new construction would fall far short of that; shortfalls would be made up by other taxpayers.

If Camp Trexler land were converted to industrial use, such as a transfer station, heavy equipment like trash haulers would burden traffic and roads, create noise and air pollution, and damage quality of life for everyone.

For more than 30 years, Pocono Heritage Land Trust has helped landowners protect their property for the future. The land trust itself also holds more than 4,000 acres, protected in perpetuity. Camp Trexler adjoins land that the land trust has already conserved. Join us. Help protect this rare and beautiful place!

Your Voice Counts!

Tell the Boy Scouts Minsi Trails Council: Keep your promise!

Work with Pocono Heritage Land Trust to protect Camp Trexler for good.

Email richardd.christ@scouting.org or call 610-264-8551.

For more information on land conservation, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Pocono Heritage Land Trust website.  Explore Our Nature Preserves.   Follow them on FacebookClick Here to sign up for email updates (bottom of page).

Founded in 1984, Pocono Heritage Land Trust is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the natural heritage of the Pocono Mountains region by conserving land and inspiring people to care for, enjoy, and explore their natural world.

Related Article:

-- Gov. Wolf Celebrates Creation Of 3 New State Parks In Chester, Wyoming And York Counties  [PaEN]

[Posted: September 27, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

Gov. Wolf Celebrates Creation Of 3 New State Parks In Chester, Wyoming And York Counties

On September 27, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the locations for three new parks in Chester, Wyoming and York counties to be developed with $45 million provided by the General Assembly in the current state budget.

The investment will create new recreational opportunities to meet the Commonwealth’s high demand and conserve nearly 3,500-acres of vital natural and cultural resources.

The new state parks are Big Elk Creek in Chester County, Vosburg Neck in Wyoming County and Susquehanna Riverlands in York County.

The names are temporary, as final names for the state parks will be decided during the planning process.

“Our beautiful state parks are among the finest in the nation,” said Gov. Wolf. “I’m proud to have secured funding in my final budget to make this investment in our park system which will not only preserve invaluable natural resources and habitats for wildlife but provide in-demand access for Pennsylvanians to enjoy the beauty of nature and recreational opportunities.”

Including the addition of Washington Crossing to the state park system in 2016, Gov. Wolf has added four parks to the system during his eight years in office. This is more than any governor has added in the past 40 years.

In keeping with the state park selection process, each of the new locations has criteria that warrants conservation. 

The Vosburg Neck site will be Wyoming County’s first state park, while the Big Elk Creek location is under significant pressure from residential and commercial development. 

In York County, the Susquehanna Riverlands site adjoins and builds on large tracts of already preserved open space. 

Also, each site is within a half-hour of heavily populated areas where land for recreation use is often at a premium.

“Each new park site is unique in its value to a great system,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “All of the new parks are steeped in cultural pre- and post-Colonial history, centered around important water resources and represent fantastic natural resource value.”

Including the investment in these three new state parks, Gov. Wolf and the General Assembly made a historic $696 million investment in conservation, recreation, and preservation in his final budget.

Big Elk Creek, Chester County

Big Elk Creek is 1,712 acres acquired through The Conservation Fund with the assistance of the Mt. Cuba Center and Chester County. It features 3.5 miles of Big Elk Creek, a tributary of the Elk River and the Chesapeake Bay. 

Big Elk Creek was an important transportation and natural resource corridor for indigenous people for thousands of years and an important area for freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad to the North.

Vosburg Neck, Wyoming County

Vosburg Neck is 669 acres being acquired with the assistance of the North Branch Land Trust. The park will offer scenic hiking opportunities, including a climb to an impressive westerly oriented vista, pleasant strolls along a former railroad bed, invigorating shared-use trails, and significant public access for water-based recreation to the North Branch of the Susquehanna River.

Susquehanna Riverlands, York County

Susquehanna Riverlands in Hellam Township, York County includes 1,100 acres of natural resources. The largely wooded tract, located where Codorus Creek flows into the Susquehanna River, protects critical water and forest resources. 

The land was acquired with assistance from the Lancaster Conservancy and is adjacent to its Hellam Hills and Wizard Ranch nature preserves. 

Combined, they protect the last large wooded area along the Susquehanna River between the cities of Harrisburg, York, and Lancaster.

“By working side by side with DCNR, we are creating a conservation landscape that future generations will benefit from,” said Phil Wenger, president of Lancaster Conservancy. “Conservation needs both public and private organizations to partner to offset the impact increased development has on water and air quality, as well as ecological decline, to ensure our natural world doesn’t disappear before our eyes.”

Visit Explore PA Trails and Get Outdoors PA for recreation areas near you.

  For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

(Photo: The new Vosburg Neck State Park features an oxbow in the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Journal.)


-- AP: DCNR To Spend $45 Million To Establish 3 New State Parks In Chester, Wyoming, York Counties  

-- Bay Journal: Pennsylvania Creates 3 New State Parks In Chesapeake Bay Watershed - By Ad Crable 

Related Articles:

-- DCNR: Additional State Forest Roads Opening Across The State For Hunting Seasons, Other Outdoor Activities; Use Caution Near Oil & Natural Gas Drilling Areas  [PaEN]

-- DCNR Accepting Letters Of Interest For Openings On 2023 Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee  [PaEN]

-- Health, DCNR, DEP: Protect Yourself From Mosquitoes, Ticks While Outdoors During Fall Months  [PaEN]

[Posted: September 27, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

DEP Issues 2 NOVs Against PA General Energy For Water Pollution Discharges Into The Loyalsock Creek From Gas Pipeline/Water Withdraw Construction In Lycoming County

On September 27, the Department of Environmental Protection reported it has so far issued two formal notices of violations for water pollution discharges occurring at the Pennsylvania General Energy Loyalsock/Shawnee natural gas pipeline and water withdrawal construction site on the Loyalsock Creek in Lycoming County.

The NOVs were issued on August 29 and September 8 for water pollution violations occurring from August 24 through September 6.  Under state environmental law, each day a violation goes on is a separate offense.

The violations included--

-- Discharged substances resulting in pollution of Waters of the Commonwealth.

-- Failure to notify the Department of an accident or other activity or incident, a toxic substance or another substance which would endanger downstream users of the waters, result in pollution or create a danger of pollution of the waters of this Commonwealth, or would damage property.

-- Failed to design, implement and maintain erosion and sedimentation best management practices to protect, maintain, reclaim and restore water quality and existing and designated uses.

-- During construction of water obstruction or encroachment, permittee failed to follow the erosion and sediment control plan prepared in accordance with Chapter 102

-- Person failed to plan and implement earth disturbance activities to minimize duration & extent of earth disturbance, minimize soil compaction, maximize protection of drainage features and vegetation, and utilize other measures or controls that prevent or minimize the generation of increased stormwater runoff.

-- The operator failed to maintain the water filter bags so that the BMPs could be effective and failed to implement the plan in accordance with the approved permit is a violation of 102.4(b)5.

Follow-up inspection reports provided by DEP for September 8, September 9September 12, and September 14 show those violations continued.

However, DEP latest inspection reports-- September 21 (8:49),  September 21 (11:44),  September 22, and  September 23 reported no violations were observed.

Watershed Reaction

Friends of the ‘Sock have been monitoring the PGE project for compliance with environmental protection requirements.  Read more here.

The Friends of the ‘Sock issued this statement in response to DEP’s latest update--

“Friends of the Sock is grateful that DEP has issued multiple violation notices to PGE for the company's degradation of the Loyalsock Creek. We also appreciate the fact that DEP continues to keep the lines of communication open with our organization.

“That said, we are frustrated by the need for citizens of the Loyalsock Watershed to continue to fight to protect our public lands and waterways day after day. 

“We question the worth of the "Exceptional Value" waterway designation, when permits for multiple surface water withdrawals (four to date on the Loyalsock Creek) have been issued by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. 

“We believe the Exceptional Value designation demands that monetary penalties be imposed for serious violations like we have seen the past month, not simply paper NOVs.

“We question why DCNR has failed to respond to residents' concerns about the gas gathering line that is also permitted to cross the creek at this location, as well as unanswered questions concerning PGE's use of the steep no-outlet access road to existing and proposed new fracked gas wells on Jacoby Mountain.”

Loyalsock EV Stream

The Loyalsock is classified by DEP as an Exceptional Value stream whose water quality must be protected by law, with no degradation.  The Creek was also named by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as the 2018 Pennsylvania River of the Year and called a “timeless treasure.”  Read more here.

The Loyalsock Creek is home to the Eastern Hellbender, named the state’s official amphibian after a campaign by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation PA Student Leadership Council.  It only thrives in clean water.  Read more here

Surveys of Loyalsock Creek in Lycoming County over the last two summers by Dr. Peter Petokas, from Lycoming College Clean Water Institute, found habitats of the rare Eastern Hellbender salamander are being significantly impacted by sediment plumes from natural gas pipeline crossing and shale gas drilling-related water withdrawal construction projects. Read more here

Project Background

The PA General Energy Loyalsock/Shawnee natural gas pipeline and surface water withdrawal construction site is on both sides of Route 87 and the Loyalsock Creek, approximately 8 miles north of Montoursville in Gamble Township, Lycoming County.

The natural gas gathering pipeline system and freshwater supply pipelines are being built to connect the development of three shale gas tracts leased from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in Loyalsock State Forest that are expected to add up to 80 additional shale gas wells.

The pipelines will connect two leased tracts of state forest land on a plateau on the north side of the Loyalsock Creek, run about a mile down steep hillsides, under the Loyalsock Creek and State Route 87, and 1.5 miles up steep slopes up to a third leased tract on state forest land on the south side of the Creek.

The freshwater pipeline will be constructed above ground.  PGE will attempt to use new underground “micro-tunneling” technology for the natural gas pipeline, down steep slopes on both sides of the Creek.

Public Urged To Report Problems

“Any member of the public concerned about this or other potential environmental issues they may observe at any time should contact their regional DEP office to file a complaint,” said Mary Lehman, DEP’s Northcentral Regional Office.  “Complaints may be filed over the phone or through a web form.”

“DEP investigates all complaints and will keep complainant identities confidential.”

For more information on specific follow-up actions, contact Megan Lehman, DEP’s Environmental Community Relations officer at 570-327-3659.

(Photo: DEP inspection report photo of construction site 9.14.22.)

Related Articles:

-- Exceptional Value Water Quality Designation, State Forest Land, River Honors Were Not Enough To Protect Loyalsock Creek From Natural Gas Drilling & Pipelines In Lycoming County

-- Rare Eastern Hellbender Habitat In Loyalsock Creek, Lycoming County Harmed By Sediment Plumes From Pipeline Crossings, Shale Gas Drilling Water Withdrawal Construction Projects

-- DEP, Fish & Boat Commission Investigate Multiple, Continuing Water Pollution Discharges From PGE Natural Gas Pipeline Construction Site On Loyalsock Creek, Lycoming County

[Posted: September 27, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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