Thursday, October 21, 2021

Knouse Foods Cooperative, Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay, DCNR Partner On Riparian Buffer Planting In Adams County

On October 21, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined
Knouse Foods Cooperative officials, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and a host of partners for the kickoff of a streamside forest buffer planting at the fruit grower owned cooperative operations in Biglerville, Adams County.

The planting is designed to improve the water quality of an unnamed tributary to the Conewago Creek, and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.

“This streamside forest buffer and meadows project sets an example for large landowners and customers that sustainable practices are good for business, our environment, and our communities,” Dunn said. “By involving students and volunteers, Knouse Foods is getting people engaged and empowered to work on solutions for water quality and resiliency.”

Statewide, Pennsylvania has a goal of planting 95,000 acres of forest buffers along waterways. 

The Knouse project includes planting 3.25 acres of forest buffers and 13 acres of lawn converted to native meadow habitat at four different locations.

“Among their many benefits, streamside buffers and native meadows help address and offset the impacts of climate change by holding and storing carbon, slowing down flooding caused by severe weather, requiring less mowing, cooling the water as summer temperatures reach new levels, and providing food and shelter for pollinators and wildlife,” Dunn said.

During the Wolf Administration, DCNR is leading the work with many partners to plant trees and shrubs along streams for water quality, with accomplishments including:

-- Creating a watershed forestry team, an advisory group with more than 60 members and partners, and holding an annual summit;

-- Providing almost $7 million dollars in grant funds for streamside forest buffers;

-- Conducting Buffer My Stream landowner outreach;

-- Attracting more than $4.45 million in federal grants and allocating more than $2 million in federal funds for projects;

-- Collaborating on a reporting and tracking tool that allows the commonwealth to report successes to the federal government; and

-- Working with the corrections system and other partners to train workers to plant and maintain buffers.

The Secretary’s visit to Knouse Foods Cooperative is part of the 2021 Sustainability Tour, which also included an announcement that new solar arrays will take Presque Isle State Park in Erie to net zero energy, and a demonstration of battery-powered and efficient chain saws, string trimmers, and leaf blowers now in place at 20 state parks.

More information for property owners about Buffering Your Stream and Sharing Your Backyard With Nature is on the DCNR website.

  For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, 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.

October Is Buffer Month!

Penn State Extension is joining the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council, who declared October as Riparian Buffer Month, as an opportunity to build awareness and familiarity of forested riparian buffers while sharing the applicability of these sustainable practices in a variety of settings.  Read more here.

PA Chesapeake Bay Plan

For more information on Pennsylvania’s plan, visit DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Office webpage.

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:

-- Going, Going, Gone... Senate, House Have Little Time To Act On Funding For Local Flood Prevention, Watershed Restoration, Recreation Projects 

-- DCNR: Since 2015 Green Energy, Sustainability Initiatives Will Save $30 Million, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 5,110 Tons A Year 

-- Nominations Now Being Accepted For 2022 Pennsylvania River Of The Year

-- DCNR: Nominate Your Favorite Trail To Be The 2022 Pennsylvania Trail Of The Year 

-- PA State Parks Offer Dozens Of Ideas For Using Halloween As A Teaching Opportunity For Students 

-- Chapman State Park Hosts Local Master Watershed Stewards In Warren County

[Posted: October 21, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

Rep. Webster Resolution To Study Use Of Abandoned Underground Mines As Geothermal Energy Source

On October 18,
Rep. Joe Webster (D-Montgomery) announced plans to introduce a resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study on the feasibility of using abandoned underground mines as geothermal energy sources.

"Since Pennsylvania has a rich history of mining and is now home to many abandoned mines, I believe we should investigate whether geothermal technology could be utilized as a meaningful resource in our former mining communities," said Rep. Webster.  "Therefore, I will be introducing a resolution that would direct the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study on the feasibility of using geothermal technology to create an alternative energy source in the Commonwealth through the utilization of abandoned mining locations and operations."


There are already examples of buildings and projects using water from abandoned underground mines as a geothermal energy source, including Marywood University in Lackawanna County and the John Wesley A.M.E. Zion church in Pittsburgh. Read more here

Click Here for a great introduction to this opportunity by Michael C. Korb, P.E.


-- Minepool Geothermal In Pennsylvania - Michael C. Korb, PE


-- PennBizReport: House Resolution Would Address Geothermal Technology

Related Articles:

-- Leadership Opportunity: Pennsylvania Should Make Mine Water Geothermal A Key Part Of Its Clean Energy Transformation

-- Spotlight - Mine Water Powers Energy-Saving Geothermal System For Pittsburgh Church

[Posted: October 21, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

DCNR’s 4th Fall Foliage Report: Coming Week ‘Optimal’ For Widespread, Vivid Fall Colors!

On October 21, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources issued its
fourth Fall Foliage Report that gives a preview of the leaf viewing season.  

The abrupt shift to cooler fall temperatures has stimulated a noticeable change across Pennsylvania’s southern half.

Although colors are fading in the northern tier of the commonwealth, the central Appalachians are just beginning to burst with color. 

This week will be optimal for widespread, vivid fall color in Pennsylvania, so don’t miss it!

To plan your fall foliage traveling, visit DCNR’s Prime Locations For Viewing Fall Foliage in PA interactive map and the Fall Foliage VisitPA website.

For more information, visit DCNR’s Fall Foliage Reports webpage.

  For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, 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.

[Posted: October 21, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

PA4R Alliance Hosting 3-Part Webinar Series On Nutrient Management Starting Oct. 26

PA4R Alliance is hosting a three-part webinar series on Nutrient Management on October 26, November 2 and 9 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. each day.

PA4R-- the Right Nutrient Sources at the Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place-- webinars are geared toward conservation and industry professionals.

They will share insights about how to incorporate nutrient management techniques into conversation with farmers you serve.

The topics for each webinar will be--

-- October 26: Crop Planning+: Using 4R Agronomic Practices to Ensure Profitable Regulatory Compliance;

-- November 2: The Evolution of Nitrogen Management (Beyond the Mass Balance Calculation); and

-- November 9: Using Advanced Nitrogen Management Technologies to Move the Needle.

Act 38 Nutrient Management (Soil and Water or Nutrient Management, topic dependent) & Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) CEC's will be awarded.

Registration is required for each of the three sessions. 

Click Here for more information and to register.  Questions should be directed to Brian Campbell at


(Reprinted from the latest PA Conservation District Association newsletterClick Here to sign up for your own copy.)

[Posted: October 21, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

PUC Approves UGI Renewable Natural Gas Pilot Project

On October 21,
UGI Utilities received approval from the Public Utility Commission to purchase renewable natural gas as part of a five-year pilot program. 

The pilot, the first of its kind in Pennsylvania for a utility, is intended to explore how UGI Utilities can integrate renewable natural gas (RNG) into its supply portfolio to produce economic and environmental benefits for its Purchased Gas Cost (PGC) customers. 

The pilot allows UGI Utilities to test adding RNG to its supply portfolio while leveraging certain available economic incentives for renewables to lessen the cost impact of purchasing RNG for customers. 

The PUC Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the pilot program, with all three commissioners issuing statements in support of the program. In a joint statement, Commissioners Ralph V. Yanora and John F. Coleman, Jr. commended UGI Utilities for the pilot program, stating that it “represents an innovative economic model that balances environmental, customer, and gas supply requirements consistent with the Commonwealth’s least-cost gas supply requirements.”

“The approval of this pilot program is a significant step forward as we continue to develop sustainable, environmentally responsible energy solutions for our customers,” said Robert F. Beard, Executive Vice President - Natural Gas, Global Engineering & Construction and Procurement. “UGI remains committed to developing renewable energy sources for the communities we serve.”

Earlier this year, UGI Utilities signed an interconnect agreement with Archaea Energy to accept delivery of RNG into its high-pressure natural gas pipeline that serves its distribution system. 

When fully operational, the system will be designed to take up to 16,000 mcf (thousand cubic feet) per day of RNG supply, making this the largest RNG supply point in the United States to-date.

RNG is a low or negative carbon energy solution that is derived from organic waste including farm, municipal, landfill and industrial waste. It is a sustainable and reliable energy source that is highly compatible with existing infrastructure when blended with natural gas. 

RNG can also be used directly in a manner consistent with natural gas for residential, commercial, industrial and transportation.

Related Articles:

-- The Energy Co-op Opens Renewable Natural Gas Program To All PECO, PGW Customers In Southeast

-- Philadelphia Energy Co-Op: Swarthmore Combats Climate Change By Switching To Renewable Natural Gas

[Posted: October 21, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

Help Wanted: Susquehanna River Basin Commission - Environmental Scientist

Susquehanna River Basin Commission is seeking qualified candidates to fill an Environmental Scientist position.

Apply your knowledge of natural science and your enthusiasm for streams and rivers to help the Commission, our partners, and the Susquehanna Basin’s stakeholders improve aquatic resource conditions by joining the Monitoring & Protection Program as an Environmental Scientist or Aquatic Biologist.

Click Here for all the details.

For more information on programs, training opportunities and upcoming events, visit the Susquehanna River Basin Commission website.  Click Here to sign up for SRBC’s newsletter.   Follow SRBC on Twitter, visit them on YouTube.

Related Articles:

-- Help Wanted: PA Trout Unlimited - Communications & Outreach Coordinator

-- Help Wanted: Manada Conservancy - Executive Director 

[Posted: October 21, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

PAEP Recognizes Marci Mowery With Karl Mason Award; The Wildlife Leadership Academy With Walter Lyon Award

On October 21, the
PA Association of Environmental Professionals announced Marci Mowery, President of the PA Parks and Forest Foundation, was recognized with the Karl Mason Award and the Wildlife Leadership Academy received the Walter Lyon Award.

The Awards will be presented during PAEP’s Virtual Annual Conference on October 29 at Noon.

Click Here for information on joining the virtual Conference.

Marci Mowery

Marci Mowery entered the conservation arena 29 years ago and has served as the President of the PA Parks and Forests Foundation since 2005.  Her passion is to connect people to the outdoors.  

The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation began in 1999 as a statewide nonprofit organization to provide a voice for the Commonwealth’s 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of forest land. 

With PPFF, citizens can donate or bequeath money to state parks and forests, become active and involved volunteers in the park and forest system, and find some fun and educational opportunities. 

PPFF’s status as a registered charity allows chapter friends groups to operate on our state’s public lands for the benefit of everyone.  

Ms. Mowery holds a BS from Penn State University in Education and a MS in Geoenvironmental Studies from Shippensburg University.

Ms. Mowery is responsible for overall organizational leadership of the PPFF including building and continuing to build the Foundation team, providing board support, fundraising, visioning, launching and supporting friends groups, and relationship building.  

She has initiated key programs such as accessibility improvements on public lands, the Great Pennsylvania Outdoor Challenge, funding of key projects in parks and forests, and messaging on the economic, emotional and intrinsic value of public lands. 

She has also completed research for publications, overseen major projects for the PPFF, recruited interns, and mainly serves as a voice for public lands.

The PPFF has four founding principles: Stewardship, Education, Recreation and Volunteerism.  Each of these principles rounds out what the PPFF plans for the future.   

In partnership with parks and forests staff, the PPFF works to provide resources, both human and capital, to ensure the natural, cultural, and aesthetic values of our lands remain for today and future generations.  

PPFF is committed to helping visitors and decision-makers better understand our natural world and the needs of our parks and forests, as well as the physical, mental, and emotional health benefits of spending time outdoors. 

We have long said that our goal is to ensure a place and an experience for everyone in the outdoors. We work to remove real and perceived barriers to “getting out,”,such as our work to place ADA canoe and kayak launches; apply universal design principles to the places we all go for fun and relaxation; to inform and build confidence for outdoor enthusiasts; and improve communication.  

The PPFF works to make volunteerism easy for individuals as well as corporations, and serves as an umbrella to more than 48 friends groups.  Please see their updated 2020 5-Year Strategic Plan.

Wildlife Leadership Academy

The Wildlife Leadership Academy was established in 2007 and Michele Kittell Connolly serves as its Executive Director.  

The mission of the Wildlife Leadership Academy is to engage and empower high school age youth to become Conservation Ambassadors to ensure a sustained wildlife, fisheries, and natural resources legacy for future generations.  

The Academy has graduated 824 high achieving youth from 62 counties across the state as well as students from Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Texas, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, and Vermont.  

To date, the students in the program have reached over 130,000 people across the Commonwealth with their outreach accomplishments. 

Students apply to the Wildlife Leadership Academy and make a year-long commitment to the program.  They start with field school where the program teaches them leadership and life skills and continues with educational materials for their program of choice.  

The Academy has six distinct curriculums: PA Bucktails (deer), PA Bass (Bass and warm-water conservation), PA Brookies (Brook Trout and cold-water conservation), PA Drummers (ruffed grouse and early successional habitat), PA Gobblers (wild turkey), and PA Ursids (black bears).  

Once the students complete summer school, they return to their communities where they conduct a minimum of four field school related outreach projects, in each of the four categories of Education, Service, Media Engagement, Creative Arts, and Outdoor Mentorship.  

This extension of the students’ field school experience allows them to apply what they have learned serving as Conservation Ambassadors to the benefit of the greater community across Pennsylvania and surrounding states, empowering citizens to support a sustainable natural resource legacy.

Ms. Michele Kittell Connolly has been the Executive Director for the Wildlife Leadership Academy since 2012.  Prior to being the director, she was the Program and Outreach Coordinator, hired in 2009.  

Michele received her M.S. in Zoology from Clemson University and her B.S. in Biology from Pennsylvania State University.  

She has a diverse research background ranging from studying the ecological effects of an invasive plant species to fish behavior and genetics. 

She has participated in coral reef surveying in the Bahamas, fish health and husbandry research, and dolphin cognition projects.  Michele has published several scientific manuscripts and has presented her work nationally and internationally.  

She currently serves on the Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation

Michele is an avid conservationist and enjoys traveling, birding, painting, nature journaling, and nature photography.

The Wildlife Leadership Academy is now taking nominations for the 2022 field school season.  Please see their nomination process and additional information on their website at Wildlife Leadership Academy – The Next Generation of Conservation Leaders.

Click Here for more information on the PAEP Awards Program.

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.

(Photos: Marci Mowery and  Michele Kittell Connolly.)

[Posted: October 21, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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