Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Center For Watershed Protection September Science Bulletin Now Available

The September issue of the Watershed Science Bulletin from the Center for Watershed Protection is now available featuring four perspectives on the primary drivers of stream restoration, design approaches and techniques and restoration potential.
One of the featured perspectives is an interview with Drew Altland, Manager of Water Resources with Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, LLP, a York-based engineering firm.
Click Here for a copy of the Science Bulletin.
For more information about programs, training opportunities and upcoming events, visit the Center for Watershed Protection website.

DCNR Continues To Aid Other States In Wildfire Fighting, Hurricane Relief

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reported Tuesday Pennsylvania has mobilized eight 20-person crews so far this year to fight wildfires in California, Montana and other states, marking it as one of the busiest in the history of the Wildland Fire Crew Program.
Since the mutual support program began in 1973, there have been nine years in which that number was exceeded, topping out at 11 crews in1994 and 2000.
In addition, DCNR had two fire engines on assignment to eastern Montana from late July through early September. Each engine crew is staffed by four persons, and three crews cycled through each engine during that time.
There were also 56 highly-trained and specially-skilled personnel that were ordered as “single resources” to fill logistical, operational, and command positions. This is one of the highest numbers of single resources ever sent out of Pennsylvania in a single year.
Between crews, engines and single resources, Pennsylvania has deployed 241 personnel to assist other states, one of the highest on record, and the year is not over.
Many years, like last year, the southern United States has an active fall fire season, and DCNR will send resources to assist our southern neighbors as needed.
The total number of personnel continues to rise as DCNR and PEMA send incident management teams (IMTs) to various locations supporting hurricane relief efforts. DCNR has been working with PEMA to send IMTs to New Jersey, Florida, and now South Carolina, bumping that number up to 259.
For more information on wildfires in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s Wildfire 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.
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Monday, October 16, 2017

DEP Project Provides Drinking Water To 148 Homes, Businesses In Clearfield County Affected By Abandoned Mine

Department of Environmental Protection Monday announced funding for an Abandoned Mine Land project to construct a public waterline to serve 148 homes and businesses with public drinking water.
“The Pine Grove Waterline Project will eliminate health and safety hazards to the community and provide a safe, reliable public drinking water supply,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Residents here have struggled with diminished water supply and degraded water quality for too long.”
Existing water supplies in the area do not meet minimum state and federal drinking water standards due to impacts of legacy underground and surface coal mine operations.
The project will include the construction and installation of a pump station and water storage tank, and construction of approximately 69,300 linear feet of waterline. The tank and pump station will facilitate future expansion of the waterline service.
“This project not only promotes public health by providing safe drinking water to residents, but it also promotes economic development by providing vital infrastructure to support businesses, making future development in the area possible,” said McDonnell.
The Pine Grove Waterline Project is part of the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Pilot Program, funded by $30 million from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, U.S. Department of Interior. Projects were chosen for their strong potential for combined community, economic, and environmental outcomes.
Joining Secretary McDonnell in discussing the importance of this project at the event and touring the waterline route in Lawrence Township, Clearfield County, were Congressman Glenn Thompson and representatives from OSMRE, the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, the Clearfield Municipal Authority, and Bee Kind Winery.
For more information on abandoned mine reclamation, visit DEP’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation webpage.

Western PA Conservancy Accepting Applications For Canoe, Kayak Access Grants

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is now accepting applications for 2018 Canoe Access Development Fund Grants, which supports projects that will improve canoe and kayak access to the region’s waterways.
The deadline for applications is November 17.  Recipients will be notified by December 15.
WPC’s Canoe Access Development Fund helps make the region’s rivers and streams more accessible for outdoor recreation by providing grants to watershed organizations or other community groups to develop rustic access sites for canoers and kayakers. Currently, 45 fund-supported projects are completed and open to the public.
“When we started canoeing, access to some of the streams in Western Pennsylvania was problematic,” said Roy Weil, co-founder of the fund. “We established the CADF with the Conservancy to help organizations improve primitive walk-in access sites in their local communities. We hope that making it easier for people to canoe the streams will get them involved in preserving the great natural heritage of the area.”
Proposed new access sites should be located along a stream or river featured in Canoeing Guide to Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia, a similar guidebook or resource, or be recognized as a paddling waterway in Western Pennsylvania.
Qualified grant recipients will receive up to $4,000 per site for the construction and enhancement of canoe and kayak access locations. Grant funding could be used in multiple ways, including stabilizing access areas to rivers or streams, adding nearby parking areas or purchasing riverside access.
“Thanks to this fund, we assisted several organizations with more than 45 projects over the past seven years,” said Eli Long, a watershed manager and the fund’s coordinator at the Conservancy. “It’s great to see these groups planning and creating new paddling trips for the public by connecting other funded access sites.”
To apply and for all the details, visit the WPC’s 2018 Canoe Access Development Fund Grants webpage.  Questions should be directed to Eli Long at WPC’s Watershed Conservation office by sending email to: elong@paconserve.org or call 724-471-7202, ext. 5105.
More information is available on programs, initiatives and special events at the Western PA Conservancy website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Conservancy, Like them on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter, add them to your Circle on Google+, join them on Instagram, visit the Conservancy’s YouTube Channel or add them to your network on Linkedin.  Click Here to support their work.

Bill Allowing The General Assembly To Kill A Regulation By Doing Nothing Was Reported For Referral To Another House Committee

The House Commerce Committee Monday reported out House Bill 1237 (Keefer-R-York) which amends the Regulatory Review Act requiring the General Assembly to specifically approve “economically significant” final regulations approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.
The bill was reported out with a recommendation to re-refer the bill to the House State Government Committee which has been working on the regulation efform issue.
The bill requires the Senate and House to each pass a concurrent resolution approving a final regulation which has an estimated direct or indirect cost of $1 million or more to the Commonwealth, political subdivisions and to the private sector.
While not specifically referenced in the bill, Section 9 of Article III of the state Constitution requires a concurrent resolution to be presented to the Governor for his action to sign or veto.
If the Senate and/or House fail to each pass a concurrent resolution, a final regulation would be deemed disapproved and could not go into effect.  
Since there was no action needed by the General Assembly to kill a regulation, the Governor would not have an opportunity to sign or veto their action in the usual checks and balances established in the state Constitution between the Executive and Legislative branches of government.
The bill also requires estimates of cost impacts to the verified by the Independent Fiscal Office prior to submitting a proposed regulation to the IRRC for review.  There is no similar requirement for final regulations.
All other provisions of the Regulatory Review Act requiring a review at the proposed and final regulations by Senate and House Committees and the IRRC and follow-up actions of an IRRC-approved final-form regulation are not changed by the bill.
This legislation is similar to a bill-- Senate Bill 561 (DiSanto-R-Dauphin)-- passed on June 13 by a party-line vote (Republicans supporting) also allowing the General Assembly to kill regulations by doing nothing.  This bill is in the House State Government Committee.  Click Here for more.
A 2013 study by Rutgers University presented to the House State Government Committee found Pennsylvania’s regulatory adoption process is already more complex and has more “veto points” than the federal government does.  Click Here for more.
Rep. Brian Ellis (R-Butler) serves as Majority Chair of the Committee and can be contacted by sending email to: bellis@pahousegop.com. Rep. Curtis Thomas (D-Philadelphia) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by sending email to: cthomas@pahouse.net.

Senate Environmental Committee meeting TUESDAY is now Off The Floor in Rules Room

Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee meeting TUESDAY is now Off The Floor in Rules Room.  Click Here for details.

Montour Run Watershed Assn. Receives $100K S. Kent Rockwell Foundation Maintenance Grant For Mine Drainage Treatment Projects

The Montour Run Watershed Association Monday announced it has been selected to receive a $100,000 grant by the S. Kent Rockwell Foundation which will allow the MRWA to perform necessary maintenance on its passive water treatment systems.
The S. Kent Rockwell Foundation Inc. is dedicated to working with others in finding solutions to the problems that exist with our natural resources and wildlife areas.  
A goal of the S. Kent Rockwell Foundation is to continue to help the world provide resources to continue to fight against its own self-inflicted flaws and obstruction.  
The foundation believes that it is important not only to protect the existing resources that we have, but to also continue to work together to repair the damages that have occurred as our world has continued to develop.
“It is our hope to continue to help spread awareness in the importance of promoting Conservation, Community, Education, and Innovation so that our goals for continued improvement can also be seen by others,” explained Rockwell Trustee Kris Rockwell.  
“And this grant to the MRWA falls squarely within our mission.  We are pleased to be able to help the MRWA maintain a viable fishery with improved water quality.  Because of the MRWA efforts, the Pennsylvania Fish Commission now stocks the stream with trout annually,” he said.
Mark Fedosick, President of the MRWA, expressed his gratitude to the S. Kent Rockwell Foundation and explained “Our passive treatment systems are in need of repair after being in place for as much as 15 years.  Without the Foundation’s generous grant, pollutants of iron and acid would be coming back into Montour Run and would jeopardize its clean water and fishery status.  We plan to use the funding to clean out and repair the North Fork, McCaslin Road, Boggs Road and Clinton Road projects.”  
Click Here for more on these projects.
The Montour Run Watershed is located in the southwest corner of Allegheny County approximately 12 miles from downtown Pittsburgh and is comprised of portions of six communities, Coraopolis, Imperial, and Findlay, North Fayette, Moon and Robinson Townships.  
Established in April 2000, the Montour Run Watershed Association was incorporated  as a nonprofit organization in order to protect the Montour Run, to remediate threats to the stream and its environ, and provide long-term stewardship of the Montour Run Watershed.
This includes land, water, and biological resources of the watershed, as we strive to make the Montour Run valley healthier for all its residents.
We accomplish our goals through formal and informal partnerships with citizens groups; businesses; local, regional, state and federal governmental agencies; elected officials; the general public; and foundations such as the S. Kent Rockwell Foundation.
The MRWA actively conducts watershed assessment projects, public outreach and education projects, and stream improvement projects.  
For more information, visit the Montour Run Watershed Association website.
(Photo: North Fork Project.)

PA Aggregates & Concrete Assn Issues Statement On Proposed DEP Permit Fee Increases

The PA Aggregates and Concrete Association Monday issued the following statement on proposed DEP permit fee increases to be considered at the Environmental Quality Board meeting Tuesday--
“The natural aggregates industry (crushed stone and sand/gravel) in Pennsylvania is the bedrock of our society. It is fundamental to modern life and drives economic prosperity.
“Natural aggregate production is utilized as inputs in commercial products, public transportation projects, residential products, engineered products in asphalt and concrete, snow and ice control, golf courses, railroad ballast, roofing granules, and a myriad of other uses. Industrial minerals are mined in each and every county in Pennsylvania, and because the cost of transporting aggregates is extremely high, the majority of aggregates are consumed within a relatively small radius of where they are extracted. Unlike some industries, the aggregates industry cannot pick up and move its operations.
“Pennsylvania is currently rated second in national production of crushed stone, according to the U.S. Geologic Survey, and consistently ranks in the top five producing states. Together with Texas and California, Pennsylvania produces over 25 percent of the nation’s crushed stone needs. The natural aggregates industry’s largest customers in Pennsylvania are PennDOT, the Turnpike Commission and local governments.
“In Pennsylvania, the natural aggregates industry itself has a $2.1 billion total economic effect and a total natural aggregates industry jobs impact of 15,112.
“Safety is of prime concern and there have been no fatal accidents in the noncoal industry since March 2015, according to the PA Department of Environmental Protection and the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
“On the agenda of the October 17, 2017 Environmental Quality Board meeting is proposed rulemaking for increasing fees for the noncoal mining program. The members of the Aggregate Advisory Board (AAB) worked together in good faith with the Department of Environmental Protection in developing a fee package that supports nearly 100 percent of the noncoal mining program.
“The fee package, approved by the AAB, is based on the Department’s financial information and is a three-phase package over six years, followed with a pricing adjustment every two years.
“The AAB-approved package also included a written commitment by the Department to resolve ten industry issues.
“As an industry, we do not agree with DEP’s business model and related costs, but we do understand the value of an efficient complement within the mining program to support industry’s needs to do business.
“We understand the need for accurate, focused training for new and transferred employees. We are willing to explore with the Department an expedited review process that would include higher fees under specific circumstances.
“We support the Department’s move to electronic permitting to allow for easier review of permit applications.
“We look forward to resolving two issues with the proposed rulemaking and moving forward in working together with the Department.”
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the PA Aggregates and Concrete Association website.

PA's Square One Markets, Rutter's, Sheetz Stores Featured In National KAB Recycling, Litter Reduction Guide

Keep America Beautiful and the National Association of Convenience Stores have partnered to produce the new resource, “Being a Good Neighbor: A Guide to Reducing Litter, Managing Trash and Encouraging Recycling.”
The guide provides quick and easy tips for convenience stores to improve their customers’ experience, help the environment and, ultimately, enhance their reputation and bottom line.
It includes information from Keep America Beautiful’s landmark “Litter in America” research from 2009—comprised of the “National Visible Litter Survey” and “Litter Cost Study”—as well as from jointly developed consumer and retailer surveys and audits conducted this year by NACS and Keep America Beautiful.
The guide includes a checklist to examine litter management practices at convenience stores as well as practical tips to help retailers reduce and ultimately eliminate litter in and around their stores.
It also provides recommendations for recycling bin and trash receptacle placements to help make proper disposal of packaging items easy and accessible. And retailers also share techniques to engage employees, customers and the greater community.
“With convenience stores comprising 34 percent of all retailer business, convenience store operators can play an instrumental role in providing customers with convenient trash and recycling containers to lessen litter and improve recycling at their locations,” said Brenda Pulley, Keep America Beautiful’s senior vice president, recycling. “Keep America Beautiful is pleased to team up with the NACS to provide best practices for managing trash and recycling with the new ‘Being a Good Neighbor’ guide.”
According to Keep America Beautiful research, the most people properly dispose of trash in receptacles. But nearly one in five disposals (17 percent) ends up as litter. Packaging, including fast food, snack, beverage and tobacco packaging, comprises nearly half (47 percent) of items in the “visible” litter stream, according to Keep America Beautiful research.
Meanwhile, NACS research shows that consumers overwhelmingly say that convenience store appearance is important: 84 percent of consumers fueling up say cleanliness of the store is an important factor when considering whether they will shop at a particular store.
The new resource guide shares best practices that help retailers manage waste to keep their properties clean, including placement and design of trash receptacles.
“Litter impacts how people perceive your brand, even if they litter a cup with your logo on it somewhere else,” said Lisa Dell’Alba, one of the many retailers surveyed for the guide. Dell’Alba is president & CEO of Square One Markets (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) and a member of the NACS Board of Directors.
Also highlighted in the Guide are Rutter's Farm Stores and Sheetz stores.
Click Here for a copy of the Guide.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website. Click Here to become a member.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from KPB, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, Discover them on Pinterest and visit their YouTube Channel.
Also visit the Illegal Dump Free PA website for more ideas on how to clean up communities and keep them clean and KPB’s new Electronics Waste website.

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