Friday, July 28, 2017

PSU: Farmers, Homeowners Can Learn To Protect Water Quality At Ag Progress Days Aug. 15-17

Pennsylvania has 86,000 miles of rivers and streams, which flow through farms and backyards, cities and towns, forests and fields. This means that no matter where Pennsylvanians live, virtually all citizens have a role to play in protecting the state's critical water resources.
Visitors to the College of Agricultural Sciences Exhibits Building and Theater at Penn State's Ag Progress Days, August 15-17, can learn how they can contribute to keeping water clean, safe and abundant.
Through educational displays and presentations, Penn State Extension educators and faculty specialists will cover a variety of water-related topics of interest to a broad spectrum of audiences.
Water quality is a prominent issue in Pennsylvania, especially for agriculture, according to Matt Royer, director of Penn State's Agriculture and Environment Center.
"Farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have done much to improve water quality by implementing conservation practices on their farms, much of it with their own dollars," he said. "But more needs to be done. Penn State is helping to lead a coalition of agriculture and environmental leaders to advance innovative, farmer-led solutions to our water quality challenges."
But it's not just farmers who have a role, Royer noted. "Everyone, whether they farm 200 acres or have a small backyard lot, can take management steps to protect our water quality," he said. "We'll be highlighting those steps in the College Exhibits Building during Ag Progress Days, with experts on hand to talk about what farmers, homeowners, forest landowners, private well owners and city dwellers can do to ensure clean water in Pennsylvania."
The building will feature a flowing stream landscape, with "tributaries" to four program displays aimed at helping visitors identify specific things they can do to help protect Pennsylvania's water resources. Exhibits will cover the following topics:
-- Drinking Water Protection: If you're one of the 3 million Pennsylvanians who gets your water from a private well, what should you do, and not do, around your well head to help ensure that your drinking water stays safe for your family? Well owners can learn about Penn State's Ag Analytical Lab and how to test and treat private wells that provide water for households, livestock and other uses.  Also learn about Penn State’s Master Well Owner Network.
-- Stormwater and Green Infrastructure: How can you better manage stormwater at your home to reduce flooding, erosion and other water-quality problems on your property and downstream? Learn about the "Homeowner's Guide to Stormwater" and online mapping tools you can use to make a plan for your home. This exhibit also will feature Penn State's Master Watershed Stewards Program, which enlists volunteers to help educate communities across Pennsylvania.
-- Agricultural Water: What are the best practices for farmers to protect local water while raising livestock and field crops? This display will spotlight streambank fencing, proper manure management and other conservation practices. Also, visitors can explore the results of a recent Penn State survey on best practices that Pennsylvania farmers already are implementing to protect local water resources.
-- Forest Buffers: Why are streamside forests so important, and what resources are available to help get them planted? Whether you have a stream running through your farm or your suburban backyard, streamside buffers — also known as riparian buffers — are one of the most important practices to protect Pennsylvania's water. Visitors can learn about the many programs available to help with installing a forest buffer on their property.
Also, organizers encourage youth and families to visit the College Exhibits Building at 1 p.m. each day, when 4-H State Council members will lead kids in the new, award-winning "Rain to Drain — Slow the Flow" 4-H activity.
Young people will get hands-on experience learning how water moves on Earth and how we can reduce flooding, maintain groundwater supplies and prevent water pollution.
In addition, presentations in the College Exhibits Building Theater will address water quality issues and other topics:
-- Ag Forum: State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Dean Rick Roush will address high-priority issues facing Pennsylvania agriculture, with a focus on water quality. Aug. 15, 10:30 a.m.
-- Pennsylvania Farm Conservation Survey. Learn the results of a survey that documented, for the first time, the self-funded conservation measures adopted by Pennsylvania farmers to protect water and soils. Aug. 15, 11:30 a.m.; Aug. 16, 2 p.m.; Aug. 17, 11 a.m.
-- It Takes a Watershed: Restoring Pa. Streams. Aug. 15, noon.
-- Antibiotic Resistance on Farms: What's the Issue? Aug. 15, 12:30 p.m.
-- Trees for Trout: Opportunities for Installing Streamside Forest Buffers. Aug. 15, 1:30 p.m.; Aug. 16, 1 p.m.; Aug. 17, 1 p.m.
-- Cheap and Easy Stream Restoration with Live Stakes. Aug. 15, 2 p.m.
-- House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee informational meeting on Chesapeake Bay Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan. Aug. 16, 9:30 a.m.
-- On-Farm Animal Composting. Aug. 16, noon.
-- PA Ag and Chesapeake Bay: What's on the Horizon. Aug. 16, 1:30 p.m.
-- Keeping Pesticides out of the Ground Water. Aug. 16, 1 p.m. (to be held at the Farm Family Learning Center)
-- Barnyard Discussion: Policy Issues and the State of Pennsylvania Agriculture. Congressman Glenn "GT" Thompson will host this forum to hear directly from stakeholders representing various sectors of Pennsylvania agriculture. Aug. 16, 3:30 p.m.
-- Investigating Stream Health Using FISH — New Penn State Citizen Science Tool. Aug. 17, 9:30 a.m.
-- Preparing Your Produce Farm for Food Safety. Aug. 17, 10 a.m.
-- PA Aquatic Invasive Species. Aug. 17, noon.
Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, 9 miles southwest of State College on Route 45.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 15; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 16; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 17. Admission and parking are free.
For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can share information about the event using the hashtag #agprogressdays, and find Ag Progress Days on Facebook.
(Photo: Students from the Steelton-Highspire Elementary School near Harrisburg perform a Rain to Drain - Slow the Flow experiment.)

Gov. Wolf Celebrates Opening Of Shipley Energy CNG Station In York County

Gov. Tom Wolf Friday helped celebrate the opening of a new compressed natural gas (CNG) station at a Shipley Energy fleet fueling facility in Spring Garden Township, York County.
The CNG station, located at the intersection of Interstate 83 and Route 30, is a partnership between Shipley Energy of York and Clean Energy Fuels Corp of California.
The CNG station and five Shipley Energy CNG fleet vehicles received nearly $600,000 in state incentives.
“Using CNG to power vehicles for business fleets is not only environmentally smart, it also makes strong economic sense for the companies that take advantage of this Pennsylvania resource,” said Gov. Wolf at the ribbon cutting. “Projects like this enable Pennsylvanians to benefit from our tremendous natural gas resources which has significant impact on the commonwealth’s economic well-being and creates jobs.”
Shipley Energy, which owns the fueling station, received a $181,000 grant through the Natural Gas Energy Development Program from the Department of Environmental Protection to help with the cost of switching five fleet vehicles to cleaner-burning compressed natural gas.  
The Commonwealth has invested more than $13.8 million to reimburse grantees statewide for the purchase or conversion of 713 heavy duty vehicles, displacing over 8.9 million gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
Fleet vehicles from Shipley Energy and other companies can use the CNG fueling pumps.
“We are excited to be the vanguard of deployment of CNG for fleets to diversify their fuel resources and to be more environmentally conscious,” said Matt Sommer, Shipley Energy President and COO. “CNG is cleaner, less expensive, and locally produced.”
Clean Energy Fuels Corp, which operates similar facilities across North America, received a $409,523 grant through the Alternative and Clean Energy (ACE) Program from the Commonwealth Financing Authority for construction of the pumps.
The authority has approved 46 compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas station projects through the program since 2013 for a total investment of nearly $25 million.
Pennsylvania has 83 open natural gas fueling stations and an additional 40 stations are under construction or proposed.
“As the largest provider of natural gas fuel for the transportation industry, we understand the importance of partnering with companies like Shipley Energy, and states like Pennsylvania, which understand how important alternative fuels are in moving our nation’s freight,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy Fuels. “Natural gas offers significant greenhouse gas reductions over diesel, and because of the significant grant programs offered here, along with the Governor’s commitment to economic development, we believe that natural gas fueling in Pennsylvania is here to stay.”
In addition to the support, the Wolf administration is offering other tools to encourage the use of alternative fuel vehicles.
The Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants, awarded by the Department of Environmental Protections, has provided $10.6 million to 91 awardees to support the purchase or conversion for light and medium duty natural gas vehicles as well as propane and electric fleet vehicles of any size.
The program has disbursed $3.8 million for the purchase or conversion of 563 vehicles, displacing over 1.7 million gasoline gallon equivalents per year.
The Department of Transportation launched an innovative public private partnership mechanism to expand CNG fueling stations for transit agencies. When completed these CNG fueling stations will supply gas to more than 1,600 CNG buses at participating transit agencies, and will be open to the public.
For more information on financial assistance, visit the DEP Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants/Rebates, webpage.
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PA Resources Council: Pennsylvania’s Act 101 Recycling Law Turns 29!

On July 28, 1988 Gov. Bob Casey signed into law the most innovative recycling legislation in the nation, setting the standard for state recycling laws across the country.
As a national leader in waste diversion and recycling in the 1970s and 1980s, PRC was instrumental in the development and crafting Act 101 as a way to fight litter and to protect the environment and Pennsylvania’s scenic beauty.
Act 101 is a Pennsylvania law that requiring free and convenient access to recycling for the majority of Pennsylvanians, establishing a $2-per-ton fee on all waste disposed at landfills and waste-to-energy facilities (incinerators) which pays for grant opportunities for local recycling collections, public education, recycling and composting facilities, equipment and training.
To fulfill this requirements, the legislation mandated the majority of municipalities implement curbside recycling programs and provide recycling drop-off centers at all disposal facilities.
These curbside and drop-off recycling centers had to collect at least 3 of the following materials: glass (clear or colored), plastics, aluminum, steel & bimetallic cans, high grade office paper, corrugated paper, and newspaper.
Businesses, schools, government buildings, and other establishments within mandated municipalities were required to recycle aluminum, high grade office paper, and corrugated paper in addition to materials chosen by the municipality.
Thanks to Act 101, approximately 1,600 municipalities offer recycling programs to over 11 million Pennsylvanians.
Since 1988, the state’s recycling rate has grown from 2 percent to 36 percent!
Recycling now directly employs 66,000 Pennsylvanians and stimulates as many as 110,000 additional jobs in the Commonwealth!
Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption as well as fights deforestation and land degradation through mining!
Act 101 has done so much for the environment and economy here in Pennsylvania, however there is still much room for improvement and growth.
As markets develop and materials that individuals place in recycling bins change, PRC is taking steps to update and modernize this current piece of legislation to make it ready for life in 2017 and beyond.
PRC held its first Environmental Roundtable regarding the future of Act 101 in June 2017, inviting Pennsylvania’s top recycling experts and members of the local community to come together to discuss the future of recycling and Act 101.
PRC is excited to continue this conversation in Pittsburgh at the end of September at Construction Junction! Stay tuned for more details!
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Resources Council website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates, follow PRC on Twitter or Like them on Facebook.  Click Here for PRC’s Events Calendar.  Click Here to support their work.
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DEP Employees Paddle With A Purpose, Joining The Fight Against Invasive Water Chestnut

By Sarah Anderson, DEP Intern, Clean Water

This month, DEP employees from the Southeast and Southcentral Regional Offices joined the fight against invasive water chestnut plants in Bucks County’s Lake Towhee. DEP staff have taken this “Paddle with a Purpose” for the past nine years.
From July 18 to 20, more than a dozen DEP employees volunteered with the Bucks County Conservation District to kayak and canoe around Lake Towhee and manually pull out the plants, which have taken over much of the lake’s surface.
These water chestnuts are damaging to native biodiversity and make large portions of the lake virtually unusable for recreation. Manual removal is currently the only strategy available to fight the invasion in Towhee.
The plant material is then dumped inland in the woods to compost.
Each water chestnut plant can drop up to 20 seeds, and each seed remains viable for up to 12 years. This is why the annual effort is so important, to prevent more seeds from spreading and replenishing the seed bank.
In addition, mature seeds are hard and spiky all over. These spikes are sharp enough to penetrate tires, shoes, and skin, making them a major nuisance to recreation in regions where the chestnut is present, in addition to the damaging environmental effects.
The dense growth of water chestnuts stops light from penetrating the surface of the lake and prevents other aquatic plant life from growing. Water chestnuts also outcompete most other plants for nutrients and space.
Both the reduction of other plant growth and the decomposition that occurs when chestnut plants die decrease dissolved oxygen levels, which is damaging to fish and other aquatic life.
Despite intense heat, volunteers paddled for up to five hours each day on the lake. Volunteers gave a total of 540 hours of service during this year’s pull, and some dedicated Southcentral DEP employees even camped overnight in the park in order to participate in all three days of the event.
These efforts were not in vain. Meghan Rogalus, the event’s organizer, reported that this year, 23 pickup truck loads, or approximately 58 cubic yards, of water chestnut plants were pulled by volunteers. This is equal to about two commercial-sized dumpsters.
Since 2009, when the pull first began,the amounts of plant material removed (measured in tons) and volunteer hours have steadily risen.
Ed Filip, Stream Assessment Biologist in DEP’s Southeast Region, has participated in the chestnut pull for the past eight years, and organizes the volunteer effort for the DEP Southeast Regional Office through email signups and carpools. He feels that the project is well worth the time and physical labor.
“The annual Lake Towhee water chestnut cleanup has been going strong for nine years now.  I’ve been involved in all but one of them, so I’ve seen the difference we’ve been making,” said Filip.  “We’ve cleaned up most of the lower half of the lake and the rate of reemergence there is so much better than when we started.  We’ve even made some inroads to the choked-out upper portion; not just holding the line, but pushing back.  
“If it were not for our efforts, most of the lake would be overrun with water chestnuts.  Native plant populations, fishing, boating, recreation: all of these things have improved,” he said.  “And we are helping to keep this invasive species from spreading to the much larger Lake Nockamixon downstream, where it could become an even bigger problem than it is now.
As Filip mentioned, the other major goal of the pull aside from stewardship of Lake Towhee is to prevent its source population of water chestnuts from spreading further to Lake Nockamixon.
In the nine years that chestnuts have been in Towhee, only a very small patch of the plant has appeared in Nockamixon, and can still be removed by volunteers in one afternoon. Participants in the annual chestnut pull at Towhee are fighting hard to keep it that way.​​​​
Click Here for a DCNR factsheet on the water chestnut.
For more information, visit DEP’s website, Click Here to sign up for DEP’s monthly newsletter, visit DEP’s Blog,  Like DEP on Facebook, Follow DEP on Twitter and visit DEP’s YouTube Channel.
(Reprinted from the DEP Blog)

DEP Publishes 73 Pages Of Permit Actions In July 29 PA Bulletin

DEP published 73 pages of public notices related to proposed and final permit and approval/ disapproval actions in the July 29 PA Bulletin - pages 4144 to 4217 .
Sign Up For DEP’s eNotice
Did you know DEP can send you email notices of permit applications submitted in your community?  Notice of new technical guidance documents and regulations?  All through its eNotice system.  Click Here to sign up.

Comments Invited On Kishacoquillas, Mifflin County; Whiteley Creek Watershed, Greene County TMDL-Related Plans

The Department of Environmental Protection is inviting comments on the proposed Alternative Restoration Plans (ARPs) developed for subwatersheds within the Kishacoquillas Creek Watershed in Mifflin County.  (formal notice PA Bulletin page 4216)
The PA Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report included impaired stream segments in this watershed. The listings of these waterbodies were due to use impairments caused by excessive siltation and nutrients from agriculture.
There currently are no state or federal instream numerical water quality criteria for siltation or nutrients. Therefore, DEP utilized a reference watershed approach to implement the applicable narrative criteria.
These proposed ARPs set allowable loadings of sediment and nutrients in the impaired Kishacoquillas Creek Subwatersheds. The pollutant loadings were allocated among cropland, hay/pasture land, farm animal and streambank categories present in the subwatersheds.
Data used in establishing these ARPs were generated using a water quality analysis model (MapShed) designed by the Pennsylvania State University.
Comments are due August 27.   Contact ScottHeidel, DEP Bureau of Clean Water, for more information at 717-772-5647 or send email to: scheidel@pa.gov.
A copy of the proposed TMDL is available on DEP’s TMDL webpage.
Whiteley Creek
DEP is also accepting comments on the proposed Total Maximum Load Plan developed to address agricultural impairments in Whitely Creek in Mifflin County.
Comments are due August 28.  Contact Scott Alexander, DEP Bureau of Clean Water, for more information at 717-772-5670 or send email to: salexander@pa.gov.
A copy of the proposed TMDL is available on DEP’s TMDL webpage.

DEP Issues Water Quality Certification For Equitrans Pipeline Project In Western PA

The Department of Environmental Protection published notice in the July 29 PA Bulletin announcing it has issued the final Water Quality Certification for the Equitrans Pipeline Project in Allegheny, Greene and Washington counties.  (formal notice, PA Bulletin page 4214)

RACT II Air Quality Plan Hearing Sept. 6 For Truck Accessories Group, Northumberland County

The Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a hearing on September 6 on the RACT II Plan and amendment to the State Air Quality Implementation Plan for the Milton Plant of the Truck Accessories Group in Milton Borough, Northumberland County.
The hearing will be held at the DEP Regional Office, 208 West Third Street in Williamsport starting at 10:00 a.m.
To request a hearing, to register to speak at a hearing, or to inquire if a hearing will be held, please contact Megan Lehman at 570-327-3659. The last day to pre-register to speak at a hearing, if one is held, will be September 6.  Click Here for updates on the hearing.
Questions should be directed to Muhammad Zaman, DEP Northcentral Office, at 570-327-3648. (formal notice PA Bulletin page 4212)

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