Monday, March 4, 2024

PA Environmental Professionals Host April 24 Webinar On Protecting PA’s Aquatic Ecosystems From Thermal Discharges In An Era of Climate Change

The aquatic ecosystems of Pennsylvania are home to many types of organisms that are sometimes physiologically challenged by external environmental fluctuations, including those from anthropogenic sources. 

While many of us are familiar with ecological risk of exposure to chemical pollutants in our waters and lands, this presentation will focus on the potential impacts of water temperature, or more specifically, the effects of additional heat from single-point discharges of effluent produced by power generating, manufacturing, or other industrial facilities. 

An overview will be given on the water quality standards and water temperature criteria established under the federal Clean Water Act to assure the protection and propagation of a “balanced”, “indigenous” population (BIP) or community (BIC) of shellfish, fish, and wildlife in and on the receiving water body. 

An owner or operator of a facility can exceed one or more of the water quality standards for temperature by obtaining a thermal variance as allowed by §316(a) of the CWA, which requires demonstrating those applicable effluent limits are more stringent than necessary to protect the BIP. 

The approach of the predictive and/or retrospective assessments used in §316(a) demonstrations will be discussed. 

Since the initial guidance from the US Environmental Protection Agency was given in 1977, the concepts, approaches, and criteria for §316(a) demonstrations have not been updated over decades of environmental change. 

Such changes that will be discussed include increasing climate warming, invasive species or stocking programs, habitat improvements and degradation, cumulative effects, and a valid non-stationary baseline.


The webinar presenter will be Chris Gurshin, Vice President and Principal Scientist at ASA Analysis & Communication, Inc

He has extensive background in fisheries research and environmental impact assessments of aquatic ecosystems, with over 20 years of experience related to the Clean Water Act §316(a) and (b), National Discharge Pollutant Elimination System, underwater construction compliance monitoring, and conservation. 

He has delivered cost-effective and data-driven solutions in government and industry sectors, including nuclear power and fossil-fuel power plants, offshore wind projects, port facilities, subsea cable transmission and hydroelectric facilities. 

He has extensive operational leadership experience in fisheries surveys, aquatic compliance monitoring, and benthic surveys. 

His technical expertise includes quantitative techniques in fisheries assessments, fishery acoustics, and statistical programming. 

Dr. Gurshin received his Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and Biology from the University of Tampa, Master of Science in Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures from Auburn University, and Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology from the University of New Hampshire. 

Click Here to register and for more information.  The non-member fee is $20.

For more information on programs, initiatives, workshops and other special events, visit the PA Association of Environmental Professionals website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates on PAEP activities or Like them on Facebook.  Click Here to become a member.

[Posted: March 4, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

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