Friday, October 27, 2023

Chesapeake Bay Foundation: As Miles Of Water Quality Impaired Streams Increase, CBF Sees Opportunities And Momentum In Pennsylvania

On Saturday, October 28, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will open for public comment its
Draft 2024 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring Report that identifies 28,820 miles of waterways in the Commonwealth that have been damaged by pollution. 

That is an increase of 930 miles since its last report in 2022. 

To put that in perspective, 34 percent of Pennsylvania’s 85,568 miles of rivers and streams do not meet water quality standards for water supply, aquatic life, recreation, or fish consumption.

Agricultural activities were cited as the leading source of water quality impairment with 8,212 miles, an increase from 6,432 miles in the 2022 report. 

The legacy of coal mining in the form of acid mine drainage was the second major source with 5,607 miles, down from 5,536 in 2022; and impacts of polluted urban and suburban stormwater runoff from cities, subdivisions and strip malls are third at 3,828 miles, compared to 3,507 in 2022.

Nearly 48 miles of streams were identified as being restored back to health since 2022. 

While it is disappointing that impaired stream miles are increasing, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Pennsylvania notes the increasing momentum in the Commonwealth to get back on track to meeting its commitment to cleaner rivers and streams.

In response to DEP’s report, Harry Campbell, CBF Science Policy and Advocacy Director in Pennsylvania said:

“This latest report indicates that the Commonwealth still has a long way to go toward restoring and protecting our lakes, rivers, and streams. With the passage of key legislation, coupled with recent state and federal government investments, the state is poised to accelerate momentum toward clean and healthy waters. 

“The Clean Streams Fund is designed to help address the state’s leading sources of impairment. The hallmark of the Fund is the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP), which directs investments locally to support Pennsylvania’s farmers to leave a legacy of healthy soils and clean water for future generations through conservation practices like streamside forests. 

“Sustained, long-term investments in ACAP and the other Clean Streams Fund programs are vital to restoring and protecting the health of lakes, rivers and streams across the state.

“Just as the Fund and ACAP provide critical support for cleaner waters in Pennsylvania, so do recent investments at the federal and other state levels add momentum, and those should not go unnoticed.

“These investments will be more cost-effective and successful when applied in priority places, focus in on high-impact practices, and leverage the knowledge and expertise and support of partners on the ground.”

For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA webpage.  Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column).  Click Here to support their work.

Also visit the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership to learn how you can help clean water grow on trees.

CBF has over 275,000 members in Bay Watershed.

Check Streams Near You

The draft 2024 report has an interactive report viewer that allows you to zoom in to your own address to see if the streams near you are impaired and why.

Click Here to check out your streamsClick Here for a tutorial on using the viewer.

Visit DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed webpage to learn more about cleaning up rivers and streams in Pennsylvania's portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates on Pennsylvania’s progress.

NewsClips - Watersheds:

-- WNEP: Watershed Specialists In Susquehanna County Raising Awareness Of Riparian Stream Buffers 

-- Wilkes-Barre Times: Earth Conservancy Receives $17.5 Million DEP Federal Abandoned Mine Lands Grant For Restoration Of Nanticoke Creek

-- Wilkes-Barre Times Editorial: Thumbs Up To Nanticoke Creek Watershed Restoration Project

-- LancasterOnline: Conewago, Conowingo, Pequea Creek Watersheds Gain State Funds For Pollution Cleanup

-- Reading Eagle: Native Trees Given Away In Berks County As Part Of 10 Million Trees Project

-- LancasterOnline: Lancaster County Nonprofits Expand Tree Planting Efforts 

-- TribLive: Youngsters From Monroeville School Contribute To Greenway Reforestation In Allegheny County 

-- Public News Service: Halfmoon, Pequea Creek Restoration Projects Aim To Restore Watershed Health

-- LancasterOnline: 80 PA Farms Eligible For Conservation Practices Grants, Including Lancaster County Poultry Farms 

-- Lancaster Farming: Perdue Partners With Alliance For Chesapeake Bay On Conservation Grant

-- The Daily Review: Dairy Farm Checkoff Partners With Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay, PA Dairy Farm

-- WHYY: DCNR Program Helps Residents, Businesses Convert Lawns To Meadows

-- Republican Herald: DEP Awards Grants To 2 Projects In Schuylkill County For Restoring Health Of Local Watersheds

-- Chesapeake Bay Foundation Blog: Challenges Of Tackling Water Pollution Hotspots In Lancaster County 

-- The Daily Review: Dairy Farm Checkoff Partners With Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay, PA Dairy Farm

-- Inside Climate News: Can Latest $10 Million In EPA Grants Make A Difference In Achieving Chesapeake Bay Restoration Goals?

-- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Terry Cosby Visits 2 Farms In Pittsburgh As Part Of PA Visit 

-- Middle Susquehanna RiverKeeper: 500+ Learn About River Thru 2023 Floating Classroom Programs

-- Middle Susquehanna RiverKeeper Blog: Partnership Can Foster New Opportunities At Montour Preserve For Those Willing To Get Creative

-- Williamsport Sun: Final Middle Susquehanna RiverKeeper Floating Classroom Focused On Raptors

-- Wilkes-Barre Times: Collaborative Emergency Flooding Solution For Spencer Lane Announced, Including ‘Beaver Deceiver’

-- Scranton Times: Scranton To Carry Out Stormwater Improvements Across 9 Sections Of East Mountain

-- Inquirer Guest Essay: Pennsylvania Leaders Must Protect Our Wetlands

-- York Dispatch: Chesapeake Bay Faces Water Quality Setback Following Recent Lawsuit Settlement

-- Delaware RiverKeeper Oct. 27 RiverWatch Video Report

Related Articles - Watersheds:

-- DEP 2024 Water Quality Report Shows 28,820 Miles Of Streams With Impaired Water Quality In PA (34%) - An Increase From 27,886 In 2022  [PaEN]

-- Deadline Change: DEP Accepting Applications For Next Round Of Local Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project Grants Until Nov. 8  [PaEN] 

-- Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership Announces 12th Annual Watershed Milestones Award Winners  [PaEN]

-- Bay Journal: Accepting Leadership Gavel, Maryland Governor Vows New Approach Toward Chesapeake Bay Watershed Cleanup - By Jeremy Cox, Chesapeake Bay Journal  [PaEN]

-- Middle Susquehanna RiverKeeper, Partners Establish ‘Vernal School’ To Support The Montour Preserve In Montour County  [PaEN] 

-- Buffalo Creek Coalition: Dec. 7 One Day Hybrid Summit - Buffalo Creek Confluence: Coming Together For Shared Solutions  [PaEN] 

-- Lancaster Clean Water Partners Share Wetland Restoration, Streamside Forest Buffer Success Stories  [PaEN] 

-- Lebanon County Conservation District Hosts Successful Swatara Creek Water Quality Field Day  [PaEN] 

-- ​​Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust Cuts Ribbon On New Education & Research Field Station In Montgomery County  [PaEN]

-- Penn State Extension Watershed Winds: What To Flush Or Not To Flush Into Your Septic System; Brooke Meets A Stream Doctor; More Education Opportunities  [PaEN]

-- USGS Pennsylvania Water Science Center Newsletter: PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals;’ Orphan Oil & Gas Wells; Hurricane Ida Impacts; More!  [PaEN]

[Posted: October 27, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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