Monday, April 18, 2022

House Republican Bills Would Address Local Flooding Only Thru Digging Out Stream Channels Year After Year, Not Natural Stream Restoration To Prevent Flooding

House Republicans have recently introduced a package of eight bills to address localized flooding problems by digging out stream channels and not through natural stream restoration techniques designed to prevent flooding and debris build up.

DEP, working with the Bradford County Conservation District and other districts, has developed Guidelines for Maintaining Streams to outline environmentally safe techniques for maintaining clear stream channels and simplified emergency permits they issue for the removal of debris that address short-term, localized flooding problems.

Through the Growing Greener Program, DEP has also been promoting natural stream restoration efforts that not only improve water quality but help prevent flooding and reduce the necessity and expense of repeated stream clearing activities.

DEP has also been working with Villanova’s Center for Resilient Water Systems to update its Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual to emphasize cost-effective green infrastructure solutions to manage stormwater and reduce flooding.

In other words, DEP, working with local partners, is looking at the problem of reducing flood damage in three dimensions and these bills look at only one.

The House Republican bills include--

-- House Bill 2404 (Owlett-R-Tioga): Would allow local government organizations to apply for a permit for continuing maintenance for a period of at least 10 years for the streams within their jurisdiction. This permit would grant an affirmative duty to the local government entity to properly maintain the streams and would not require the local government to get pre-approval for maintenance projects.

-- House Bill 2405 (Pickett-R-Bradford): Would create a program that allows counties to opt in to address hazards within their streams by allowing for emergency maintenance permits in consultation with their county conservation district. This is modeled after a pilot project that has proven successful in Bradford County

-- House Bill 2406 (Fritz-R-Susquehanna): Would create a permit specific to smaller maintenance projects for the mitigation of flood-related hazards of less than 250 linear feet. This permit would be reviewed and issued by the local county conservation district.

-- House Bill 2407 (Hamm-R-Lycoming): Would clarify that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has no authority for permitting or enforcement related to stream clearing or maintenance activities. This authority shall belong solely to DEP and the county conservation districts as appropriate.

-- House Bill 2408 (Armanini-R-Clearfield): Would declare that no permit or authorization shall be required for maintenance activities conducted on a culvert.

-- House Bill 2409 (O’Neal-R-Washington): Would state that no permit shall be required for the removal of flood-related hazards from streams that are deemed to be an emergency by a state or county.

-- House Bill 2410 (Smith-R-Jefferson): Would state that no permit shall be required for stream maintenance activities conducted 50 feet or less upstream or downstream of a bridge or culvert.

-- House Bill 2411 (Hershey-R-Mifflin) requires DEP to issue an annual report on flooding and stream restoration.


-- Warren Times: Stream Maintenance Package Proposed By House Republicans

Related Articles:

-- 71% Increase In Very Heavy Precipitation Events In Last 54 Years In PA: Learn How To Prepare For Emergencies - 30 Days/30 Ways

-- Penn State: Increased Flooding Due To Climate Change Will Be Worse In Small Watersheds; Underestimating Flood Risks Due To Climate Change Can Lead To Poor Infrastructure Design

-- First Street Foundation Resilience Report: 588,804 Properties In PA Have 26% Chance Of Being Severely Affected By Flooding Over Next 30 Years

-- Gov. Wolf: 2021 Climate Impacts Report Projects Pennsylvania Will Be 5.9° F Warmer by Midcentury, Precipitation To Increase, Targets Areas to Reduce Risk

-- The Economic Value Of Green Infrastructure: Calculating A Return On Investments In Parks, Watershed Restoration, Farmland BMPs, Open Spaces

-- Franklin & Marshall College Launches Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative Based On Legacy Sediments Research

[Posted: April 18, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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