Tuesday, April 25, 2017

DCNR, Partners Celebrates New Boat Launch On Juniata River In Mifflin County

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Tuesday helped celebrate a new boat launch and riverfront access on the Juniata River in McVeytown, Mifflin County.
“Pennsylvania has 2,100 miles of water trails statewide, and we are continually seeking additional access points for the public so they can get out and have fun on the water,” Dunn said. “This boat launch is the only access point on a 22-mile stretch of the Juniata, so this project is a great accomplishment.”
Mifflin County received a $125,000 DCNR grant for the boat launch at 155 River Road. Partners on the project include the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, municipal governments that will maintain the site, and Raymond and Arlene Byler who leased the launch property to the county.
“The water trail and boat launch have strong potential to increase recreation-related businesses and spending along the Juniata,” Dunn said.
DCNR’s work connected to water quality and conservation includes increasing public access to waterways for recreation through its Community Conservation Partnership Program that supports rivers conservation plans. Increasing the number of river access points also is a goal for the statewide outdoor recreation plan, and for the Chesapeake Bay Program.
The Juniata River is one of 26 designated water trails in Pennsylvania. Secretary Dunn thanked the Allegheny Ridge Heritage Area for managing the trail.
Two more boat launches in Mapleton and Mt. Union along the Juniata are currently in the permitting process.
A water trail is a boat route suitable for canoes, kayaks and small motorized crafts. DCNR works in cooperation with the Fish and Boat Commission, NPS and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council to provide guidance and management for water trails.
For more information on all types of trails in Pennsylvania visit the Explore PA Trails website.

Brandywine Conservancy Hosts Take Care of Your Woods Workshop May 18

The Brandywine Conservancy is hosting a Take Care Of Your Woods For The Future Workshop on May 18 at the Brandywine Museum, 1 Hoffman’s Mill Road in Chadds Ford, Delaware County from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
It may seem unnatural – but it’s true. Woodlands in Southeast PA can’t take care of themselves. Under intense pressure from invasive plants, hungry deer, and environmental changes, our woods are in serious danger.
They need active management to regenerate and thrive – whether your forest goals are for wildlife, timber harvest, water quality or a combination.
At this free workshop, find out
-- Why our forests need human help to survive;
-- How to create and carry out a forest stewardship plan; and
-- Sources of funding and technical assistance.
The workshop speakers include: John Nissen, Service Forester, DCNR Bureau of Forestry and Ryan Davis, Chesapeake Forests Program Coordinator, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
Click Here for more details and to register.  Questions should be directed to 610-388-8386.

Gov. Wolf Announces Drug Take-Back Day To Be Held April 29

Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday announced that April 29 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in Pennsylvania.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its 13th opportunity in seven years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
“Drug Take-Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue and I encourage all Pennsylvanians to check their homes for unwanted and unneeded drugs that they could turn in at a drug take-back box,” Gov. Wolf said.
Pennsylvania now has 584 take-back locations in its 67 counties, making it convenient for people to find a location near them.
The Wolf Administration has worked to expand take-back locations to include more local police departments and pharmacies. Also included are some fire stations and DEA offices. Click Here for a map of locations. The take-back service is free and anonymous.
Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse and studies show that most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets.
“Pennsylvania has an opioid epidemic; one in four families is affected,” said Jennifer Smith, acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a great way to encourage people to get opioids and other unused medications out of circulation, and to bring attention to this crisis.
“We lose far too many people to opioid overdoses,” said Smith. “These people are mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. They leave behind grieving families.”
The number of opioid overdose deaths in 2016 is expected to be higher than 2015 when 3,500 people died from overdoses.
“The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is an important part of the effort to combat the opioid crisis,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Tyree C. Blocker. “Allowing for the safe, anonymous disposal of prescription drugs helps to ensure that powerful narcotics and other medications do not end up in the wrong hands.”
In 2016 across Pennsylvania, 124,335 pounds, or almost 62 tons of unwanted prescription drugs were collected and destroyed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, the Pennsylvania National Guard, and the DEA.
Last October, during its fall National Drug Take-Back Day, the DEA and its partners collected more than 893,498 pounds (about 447 tons) of unwanted prescription drugs at almost 5,400 collection sites.
Since January, Pennsylvania has collected approximately 20,000 pounds of unwanted prescription drugs.
To find a drop-off location for the disposal of prescription drugs or for more information, visit:
-- PA State Police website; or
Related Story:
PRC, PA American Water Host 3 Drug Take-Back Collections April 29 In Allegheny County

99 Streams Added To List Of Wild Trout Streams By Fish & Boat Commission

The Fish and Boat Commission added 99 streams and stream segments to the list of Wild Trout Streams and removed one stream from the list at its Board meeting Tuesday.  Click Here for a list of the streams.
Another 41 stream sections were added to the list of Class A wild trout streams. Click Here for a list of streams added.
Both list changes were subject to a public comment period.
A more complete summary of actions taken at the meeting is available online.

Air & Waste Management Assn. Annual Conference In Pittsburgh June 5-8

The 110th Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Air and Waste Management Association will be held in Pittsburgh at the LEED-certified David L. Lawrence Convention Center on June 5-8.  The theme this year is Bridging Environment, Energy and Health.
The connections that link environment, energy and health are as historic and direct as the 446 bridges that crisscross Pittsburgh, the city with more bridges than anywhere else in the country.
The 2017 Air & Waste Management Association's 110th Annual Conference & Exhibition (ACE) will examine how leaders in industry, government, academia, and non-governmental citizen groups work together to improve community health and protect the environment.
With an unmatched technical program, courses, a packed exhibit hall and events, ACE 2017 is the most comprehensive event on environmental technology and regulation and has something for everyone looking to learn, share, connect, and grow.
The Conference will include--
-- Technical Information— A visionary Keynote session, historical Critical Review, plus 42 panels, and 300 technical presentations
-- Regulatory Direction— Hear first-hand about the latest regulations, changes, and solutions for the future from high level panels and platform sessions
-- Valuable Connections— A packed exhibit hall, equipment showcase, and plenty of networking time to connect with the people and companies that can help you move ahead
-- Educational Events— 11 professional development courses on modeling, compliance, EHSS, and more that can earn you CLE, PE, and CEU credits  
Don't miss the most valuable week in the environmental industry. Visit the 110th Annual Conference and Exhibition webpage for all the details and to register.

Center for Responsible Shale Development Recertifies Shell, CONSOL Drilling Operations

The Center for Responsible Shale Development Tuesday announced both Shell’s and CONSOL Energy’s Appalachian operations have been recertified to the Center’s 15 Performance Standards focused on responsible stewardship of air and water resources.
Both were certified in the spring of 2015 for an initial two year term, and now have demonstrated ongoing conformance with the Performance Standards for a second term.
“We commend both CONSOL Energy and Shell for their dedication to operating responsibly and willingness to advance the conversation on what ‘best practice’ for shale development means,” said Susan LeGros, President and Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Shale Development. “Their recertification is a testament to the value of voluntary performance standards and transparency.”
“As a company with deep local roots that stretch back over 150 years, being a good neighbor is a key component of our corporate culture,” commented Nick DeIuliis, President and CEO of CONSOL Energy Inc. “Shale development under CRSD standards represents an unparalleled opportunity to drive progress in our region for generations to come. CONSOL is firmly committed to responsibly developing these resources, and our recent recertification by CRSD clearly demonstrates that vital commitment.”
“Shell strives to conduct operations in a transparent manner working with groups like the Center for Responsible Shale Development to bring about improvements in the sector,” said Michael De Witt, General Manager for Shell’s operations in the Appalachian basin. “Through collaboration and innovation, Shell has continued to reduce potential impact to the environment.”
The audits were independently conducted by a team of environmental management experts contracted through Bureau Veritas, a global leader in testing, inspection and certification.
The verification and evaluation process included documentation and record reviews, field and office personnel interviews, and field inspections of operations through Shell’s and CONSOL’s operations in the Appalachian Basin.
The auditor’s report and recommendations are reviewed by a Certification Decision Committee made up of individuals not affiliated with an oil and gas company or an environmental organization, who make the final certification decision.
The Center’s performance standards are developed in collaboration with both industry operators and environmental organizations.
All shale producers operating in the Appalachian region are eligible to apply for certification and encouraged to pledge their commitment to operating in a responsible manner.
The standards, criteria used by auditors and audit results are publicly available on the Center for Responsible Shale Development website.  Questions should be directed to Susan LeBros, President of the Center, at 412-804-4170 or send email to: spl@responsibleshaledevelopment.org.  
The Center is an alliance of energy producers and environmental organizations working together to define the most responsible way to deal with the challenges presented when shale resources are developed.

Chesapeake Conservancy Releases Vision Document For Susquehanna River Conservation

The Chesapeake Conservancy recently released Envision the Susquehanna: A Vision for the Susquehanna Watershed in partnership with the National Park Service, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies, the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, and the Wildlife Management Institute.
This “Vision Document” maps out the recommendations of the Envision the Susquehanna (ETS) initiative, a coalition among many partners across the watershed to identify local conservation priorities and develop locally supported recommendations for future action.
Launched in 2013, ETS has encouraged individuals, community leaders, and organizations to describe their vision for the Susquehanna River watershed. Using interviews, surveys, and workshops to solicit input from the Susquehanna River community, the ETS team developed a shared vision for the river and its watershed.
“This Vision document is a tremendous milestone for the citizens and communities in the Susquehanna Watershed. It represents the input of more than 1,000 individuals and organizations collected through three years of community engagement and data analysis, all of which is focused toward a common vision for the future of the river,” Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn said. “The community vision builds upon existing partner-driven conservation initiatives and will improve the health of the Susquehanna River to the benefit of everyone who lives, works, and plays in the watershed.”
The creation of the Vision document required four phases to gather and analyze information. Data collection was carried out in 19 of the 22 counties that are contiguous to the Susquehanna River in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. \
This work included Interviews with 63 key land use stakeholders, reviews of 36 open space, greenway, and comprehensive plans, a phone survey of 965 residents, and input from more than 250 practitioners and community members through workshops and meetings in 17 communities.
In addition to this focused research, the information in this Vision document was also informed by other activities carried out by ETS Advisory Council members. These include direct input from nearly 40 members of the Council, informed directly by partners’ engagement in a variety of community-based efforts.
Using this information, the ETS partnership has the divided the Susquehanna into three watershed sections and will focus projects on five themes, which include: American Indian Heritage and History, Recreation and Public Access, Working Lands, Stormwater and Flooding and Wildlife Habitat.
The ETS partnership has cited a number of steps following the completion of the document, designed to engage the public and potential future partners by raising awareness of environmental issues in the Susquehanna River watershed, developing and delivering better data for evidence-based decision-making, and increasing funding for conservation efforts.
One example of how the Conservancy and its partners plan to address cross-sector goals identified in the Vision is through a three-year project in Clinton and Centre Counties with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The project aims to pilot a new approach to conservation combining technology with working lands restoration activities on the ground to help local partners in Pennsylvania best leverage public and private dollars to manage stormwater runoff, improving water quality and wildlife habitat.
The partnership is led by the Conservancy and includes Susquehanna University, Bloomsburg University, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The goal of the project is to create a model to use throughout the Susquehanna River watershed.
“It is impossible to separate Susquehanna University from the river that shares our name," said Susquehanna University President L. Jay Lemons. "We are committed to ensuring the good health of the river through our work with the Chesapeake Conservancy and we look forward to working with the Conservancy and its many partners to secure a robust future for the Susquehanna River.”
A copy of Envision the Susquehanna is available online.
For more information, visit the Envision The Susquehanna website.
Related Story:
Partnership Will Improve Stream Mapping For The Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Senate Environmental Committee OKs Bills Extending Recycling Fee, Creating Lead Task Force

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Tuesday unanimously approved bills eliminating the sunset date on the Act 101 recycling fee, creating a task force on lead exposure, exempting steel slag from the definition of waste and allowing the incorporation of alternative on-lot sewage systems in sewage plans.
The bills include--
-- Eliminate Sunset On Recycling Fee: Senate Bill 646 (Killion-R-Delaware) would eliminate the January 1, 2020 sunset date on the $2 per ton recycling fee (sponsor summary);
-- Creating Task Force On Lead: Senate Resolution 33 (Yudichak-D-Luzerne) creating a Task Force on Lead Exposure (sponsor summary) (amended);
-- Exempting Steel Slag From Definition of Waste: Senate Bill 497 (Vogel-R-Butler) eliminating the designation of steel slag as waste (sponsor summary) (amended); and
-- Alternative Onlot Septic Systems: Senate Bill 144 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) amending Act 537 ton include alternative on-lot sewage systems in sewage plans (sponsor summary).
The bills now go to the full Senate for action.
Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) serves as Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Committee and can be contacted by sending email to: gyaw@pasen.gov.  Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by sending email to: yudichak@pasenate.com.

CBF-PA To Help Educate Communities On Causes, Cures Of Polluted Stormwater Runoff

Residents in Harrisburg, Lancaster and York will be able to learn about the problems caused by polluted runoff and have a say in how it is addressed, thanks to a state Environmental Education Grant to be administered by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA.
The environmental justice project will be funded by grant of $42,360 from the state Department of Environmental Protection, and matched by CBF. Capital Region Water is a key partner.
Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell defined environmental justice as “empowering low-income minority communities with better environmental information so they can more fully participate in the kinds of processes we at the department engage in every day; connecting people with their environment and their government to get better outcomes.”
“This project will empower and educate people in urban areas of Harrisburg, Lancaster, and York on how to improve and protect the water quality in their communities,” said Renee Reber, CBF’s staff scientist in Pennsylvania, who worked on the grant. “We look forward to working with community members who will guide how project activities such as rain barrel workshops and watershed discovery trips are tailored to work best for their interests and needs.”
CBF’s environmental justice project will also include a demonstration rain garden in the City of Harrisburg, to be installed in the spring of 2018. The location has not been determined.
CRW’s City Beautiful H2O Program to reduce combined sewer overflows in Harrisburg includes a green infrastructure plan developed with a significant amount of community input. CRW is in the midst of a green stormwater infrastructure project in the Camp Curtin area of the city that will include rain garden.
Urban and suburban polluted runoff is the only source of pollution that continues to increase within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Impervious surfaces like roofs, streets, and parking lots generate polluted runoff that can find its way into the nearest river or stream, threatening drinking water.
“Capital Region Water is proud to partner with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to further engage the Harrisburg community around clean water,” said Andrew Bliss, CRW’s Community Outreach Manager. “Green infrastructure has the power to reduce pollution and beautify neighborhoods, but only if driven by the neighborhood community itself.”
“Prioritizing education about water quality, especially in our disadvantaged communities, builds a stronger community overall,” said CBF’s Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell. “We all have a stake in clean water. Our health, way of life, and economic well being depend on it. That’s why we all should have the knowledge and opportunity to be part of the solution.”
CBF’s environmental justice effort in Harrisburg, Lancaster, and York is one of 79 projects statewide that received almost $1.2 million in Environmental Education Grants from the DEP.
Environmental Education Grants are funded by 5 percent of the pollution fines and penalties collected annually by DEP.
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 for a copy of CBF-PA’s most recent newsletter.
(Photo: The rain garden at the PA Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, has features that may be included in the rain garden to be installed in the city in spring of 2018 as part of an environmental justice project administered by CBF-PA.)

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