Friday, June 23, 2017

Profile: Stroud Water Research Center 50 Years Of Fresh Water

The Stroud Water Research Center in Chester County has a simple mission, but one that’s hard to accomplish-- “To advance knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems through global research, education and restoration.”
This is how it all began 50 years ago.
The story of one of the world’s foremost freshwater research institutions began in the salt waters of the Pacific Ocean.
In 1956 W. B. Dixon Stroud joined a snail-collecting expedition from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and spent two months off the coast of New Guinea diving for live shells.
This was not Dick Stroud’s first immersion in Pacific waters. Eleven years earlier he had been officer of the deck when the USS William D. Porter was hit by a kamikaze pilot during the Battle of Okinawa.
The ship sank in 90 minutes. None of the crew was killed in the attack, but, as second in command, Lieutenant Stroud was the next-to-last man off.
His subsequent Pacific voyage left a better memory. It also introduced Dick Stroud to the scientific research efforts of the Academy.
That introduction bore fruit nine years later when he and his wife, Joan, met Ruth Patrick, the head of the Academy’s limnology department. The three quickly became friends, and Dr. Patrick urged the Strouds to build a small laboratory dedicated to freshwater research along White Clay Creek on their farm in southern Chester County.
Dr. Ruth Patrick conceived the idea of the Center and urged the Strouds to build it.
They made a special team.
Ruth was a relentless worker and one of the country’s foremost scientists. Dick had a head for business, a fascination with science and a love of the outdoors.
Joan brought a deep commitment to education, a drive to get things done and an unquenchable curiosity.
“I remember an early trip to a forestry conference at Oregon State,” said Robin Vannote, the Center’s first director. “Joan was studying every inch of the way.” Perhaps above all, she had an unsurpassed ability to turn an empty building into an inviting and inspiring place.
In the summer of 1966 the Stroud Water Research Center began its existence as a field station of the Academy in a hastily cleared space above the Stroud’s garage. Hot, dusty and dark, the attic made the cool streams, where the real scientific work was to be done, look inviting indeed.
Robin Vannote works in the Center’s indoor stream, which he designed and built.
Dr. Patrick’s first act was to hire Vannote, a young scientist working for the Tennessee Valley Authority. By early fall his experimental leaf packs had become a familiar sight in the local streams.
In a letter dated June 30, 1966, Academy President John Bodine outlined the first year’s budget to Dick Stroud. Because the $46,100 total included $15,000 for equipment, Bodine estimated a figure of $36,250 for subsequent years. It was up to the Strouds and the Center staff to come up with the money.
The forecast was on target. The Center’s expenditures for its first fiscal year were $46,126.29. It is one measure of how much has happened in the intervening years that the Center now has a multi-million dollar budget.
But while the Center has grown, its essence has not changed.
“Ruth and Robin set the tone,” said Bern Sweeney, the former director. “They were constantly challenging, asking hard questions, never satisfied, always demanding another experiment. It’s the same now. It’s an intense and focused place.”
The scientists continue to ask fundamental questions. They work as a team, and their sights are still set on the long term.
In a world where clean water is no longer taken for granted, they remain determined to make a difference.
Click Here to watch a short video about Stroud’s work.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Stroud Water Research Center website, Click Here to learn how you can support their work,  Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, include them in your Circle on Google+ and visit their YouTube Channel.  
50 Years Of Fresh Water, Stroud Water Research Center Builds Clean Water Legacy

Senate Lawn Fertilizer Application Bill To Be Considered By Committee June 26

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee is scheduled to consider Senate Bill 792 (Alloway-R-Adams) that would regulate the application of lawn fertilizer on June 26.
The bill was introduced Wednesday by Sen. Richard Alloway (R-Adams), one of Pennsylvania’s representatives on the Interstate Chesapeake Bay Commission.
“The health of Pennsylvania’s streams and rivers is of critical importance to our economic future and quality of life,” said Sen. Alloway.  “Unfortunately, thousands of miles of streams in the Commonwealth are impaired due to excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. Excess levels of these nutrients are also significant contributors to the impairment of the Chesapeake Bay, whose watershed covers 50 percent of our state.
“For decades, Pennsylvania’s farmers have led the way to implement erosion and sedimentation controls, nutrient management plans and other best management practices on farms,” explained Sen. Alloway.  “More recently, wastewater treatment plants have begun to implement upgrades to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus emissions. Both sectors should be commended for their successful efforts.
“Unfortunately, as these sectors continue to implement nutrient reductions, the loads from urban and suburban stormwater continue to grow,” noted Sen. Alloway. “In the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, acres of turf now outnumber acres of corn.
“This legislation will reduce the environmental impact of fertilizer applied to turf areas, such as lawns, golf courses and athletic fields, while ensuring that all turf areas within the Commonwealth will be able to receive adequate nutrients so that adverse turf health will not result as an unintended consequence,” said Sen. Alloway.
“In addition to setting clear standards for the application of fertilizer to turf, the bill will also require all professional fertilizer applicators to be certified in proper application techniques and best management practices,” said Sen. Alloway.  “This legislation is specifically focused on the lawn care industry and will not apply to agricultural production.
Similar legislation has already been enacted in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey, and the industry has expressed a strong desire for consistency across the region and state.
A sponsor summary of the bill is available.
The meeting will be held in the Rules Room of the Senate Off the Floor, which means there is no set time for the meeting.  It could be called any time after the Senate convenes Monday.
Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver) serves as Majority Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and can be contacted by sending email to:  Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by sending email to: Exelon Notifies NRC It Will Close TMI In September 2019 Friday published a story by Wallace McKelvey saying Exelon formally notified the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission on June 20 it will close the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Station in Dauphin County in September 2019.
The letter, signed by the company's general counsel J. Bradley Fewell, is the next step in a years long shutdown process that will result in the storage of spent fuel at the Londonderry Township facility for potentially decades to come.
"Exelon certifies to the [NRC] that it has decided to permanently cease power operations at TMI, Unit 1 on or about September 30, 2019," Fewell wrote.
A separate letter sent by Exelon Generation's Senior Vice President Bryan Hanson on May 30 to electrical grid operator PJM went into further detail.
"Safe shutdown of the facility may require the units to coast down from maximum output as fuel is depleted resulting in an actual shutdown date that varies slightly from the target date," Hanson wrote.
He noted that once the plant is completely shut down, it cannot be reopened.
The reasons for the shutdown are fairly obvious but Hanson made them explicit.
What happens if Three Mile Island nuclear power plant closes?
"Unit 1 is unprofitable and has lost more than $300 million over the past five years despite being one of Exelon's best-performing plants," he said. "The energy market in PJM has not adapted to the evolution of the fleet, which has caused the devaluation of resources."
Click Here to read the entire story, plus visit the related links in the story for much more detail.

Attention Weekly PA Environment Digest Subscribers!

Due to a change in policy at the website service hosting the weekly PA Environment Digest newsletter, the weekly Digest will be emailed out in segments of 1,198 subscriber emails starting Friday night and on Saturday morning.
The website service adopted a policy that websites cannot send out more than 2,000 emails an hour.  We now have 5,559 confirmed email subscribers.
This change should also help eliminate instances of subscribers not receiving the Digest since some emails were no doubt caught in the recent website hosting service policy change.
Thanks for subscribing!

June Environmental Synopsis From Joint Conservation Committee Features Oil & Gas Industry

-- Importance of Oil and Gas Industry In Pennsylvania, Sen. Hutchinson (R-Venango)
-- Role, Impacts Of In-Ground Pools - 129,776 in PA
-- More Milkweed Needed To Restore Monarch Butterflies
-- Nuclear Waste Treatment And Disposal Still Contentious
-- Shrinking City of Detroit Provides Habitat For Bumbees
-- Water Efficiency Lagging In Rural Areas
-- Click Here to sign up for your own copy.
Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) serves as Chair of the Joint Conservation Committee.
For more information, visit the Joint Conservation Committee website, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.
(Photo: Drake Well, in Venango County near Titusville, Crawford County, visit the Drake Well Museum and Park.)

Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks And Forests Foundation

The June 23 edition of Take Five Fridays with Pam is now available from the PA Parks & Forests Foundation.   For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Foundation,  Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.  Click Here to become a member of the Foundation.
(Photo: Forbes State Forest, Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties.)

Big Spring Watershed Assn Unveils Native Plant Habitat Project In Cumberland County

The Big Spring Watershed Association recently completed the first phase of a Native Plant Habitat Improvement Project along the Big Spring Creek in Newville, Cumberland County.  
The project is part of the Cumberland County Conservation District’s pilot program to assist Watershed Associations with improving water quality.  
This first phase included developing  a bird and pollinator habitat area near Big Spring Creek by the Nealy Road parking lot.
The area provides food and cover for many of the creek’s year-round residents, summer nesting, wintering and migratory birds.  Pollinators will also benefit from the new habitat by having an area to feed and reproduce.
Initial planning for the habitat began in November 2016 by BSWA members and became a reality on June 15 and 16, 2017.  
Volunteers removed nearly 600 square feet of invasive plants from the area, replacing it with Side Oats Gramma grass, Butterfly Weed, Purple Coneflower and Sweet Goldenrod plugs – all native plants.  
Volunteers from BSWA and local gardeners will maintain the area. A second planting of 150 Little Bluestem grasses will take place in late July.
Partnerships with various agencies and individuals made this project possible, including the Fish and Boat Commission (owner of the property where the habitat is located) and financial support from the Cumberland County Conservation District’s Unconventional Gas Well Fund 2016 Watershed Mini-Grant Program.
More than 14 volunteers, including BSWA members, worked together to make this habitat a reality.
Experienced local gardeners, Master Gardeners from Washington, DC, and Watershed Coordinators from the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring at Dickinson College, worked together to install the 350 plants planned for the habitat.  
The second phase of the project involves the creation of a rock vane, to enhance the flow of the spring for fish habitat. It is anticipated this phase will be completed later this summer.
For more information on the Cumberland County Conservation District’s Watershed Program webpage.
Related Story:

DEP Published 50 Pages Of Permit Actions In June 24 PA Bulletin

DEP published 50 pages of public notices related to proposed and final permit and approval/ disapproval actions in the June 24 PA Bulletin - pages 3501 to 3553 (minus 2 blank pages).

Agriculture Expands Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Area In Berks, Bucks, Montgomery Counties

Department of Agriculture officials published notice in the June 24 PA Bulletin announcing the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine has been expanded in Berks, Bucks and Montgomery counties. (formal notice)
The new municipalities in each county now in the quarantine area include: Muhlenberg Township and Laureldale and Temple Boroughs, Berks County; Springfield, East Rockhill and West Rockhill Townships and Perkasie, Sellersville, and Telford Boroughs, Bucks County; and Telford Borough, Montgomery County.
Areas where the pest has been found are now under quarantine. The general quarantine restricts movement of any material or object that can spread the pest.
This includes firewood or wood products, brush or yard waste, remodeling or construction materials and waste, packing material like boxes, grapevines for decorative purposes or as nursery stock, and any outdoor household articles like lawnmowers, grills, tarps and other equipment, trucks or vehicles typically not stored indoors.
All Quarantine Areas
All areas quarantined now include:
-- Berks County: Alsace, Amity, Centre, Colebrookdale, Douglass, District, Douglass, Earl, Exeter, Hereford, Longswamp, Maiden Creek, Maxatawny, Muhlenberg, Oley, Pike, Richmond, Robeson, Rockland, Ruscombmanor, Union and Washington townships and the boroughs of Bally, Bechtelsville, Birdsboro, Boyertown, Centreport, Fleetwood, Kutztown, Laureldale, Lyons, St. Lawrence, Temple  and Topton;
-- Bucks County: East Rockhill, Haycock Township, Richland, Milford, Springfield, West Rockhill townships, Perkasie, Quakertown, Richlandtown, Sellersville, Telford and Trumbauersville boroughs;
-- Chester County: East Coventry, East Pikeland, East Vincent, North Coventry, South Coventry, Warwick townships, Spring City Borough;
-- Lehigh County: Allentown City, Bethlehem City, Lower Milford, Salisbury, South Whitehall, Upper Macungie, Upper Millford, Upper Saucon, Whitehall townships and Alburtis, Coopersburg and Emmaus Boroughs;
-- Montgomery County: Douglass, New Hanover, Limerick, Lower Frederick, Lower Pottsgrove, Marlborough, Upper Frederick, Upper Hanover, Upper Pottsgrove, Upper Providence, Upper Salford and West Pottsgrove Township townships and the boroughs of East Greenville, Pennsburg, Pottstown, Red Hill, Royersford and Telford; and
-- Northampton County: Bethlehem City.
Since receiving additional funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, survey work began May 1, 2016 to identify additional challenges and improvements with the invasive species.
Residents can help with this eradication effort.  Download the “Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Checklist” or contact a local municipality or extension office.
The checklist provides guidelines for inspection of vehicles and other items stored outdoors, each time they move them out of the quarantine area.
Businesses in the general quarantine area need to obtain a Certificate of Limited Permit from the department in order to move articles. Local Department of Agriculture inspection staff can work with businesses to ensure they are complying with quarantine restrictions.
Criminal and civil penalties of up to $20,000 and prison time can be imposed for violations by businesses or individuals.
The Spotted Lanternfly is an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest and is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. It’s an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species which also grow in Pennsylvania.
The pest had not been found in the United States prior to its initial detection in Berks County in the fall of 2014.
Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, attacks grapes, apples, pines and stone fruits. It often attaches to the bark of Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), an invasive species similar to Sumac that can be found around parking lots or along tree lines.
Adults often cluster in groups and lay egg masses containing 30-50 eggs that adhere to flat surfaces including tree bark. Freshly laid egg masses have a grey waxy mud-like coating, while hatched eggs appear as brownish seed-like deposits in four to seven columns about an inch long.
Trees attacked by the Spotted Lanternfly will show a grey or black trail of sap down the trunk.  
All Pennsylvanians are encouraged to watch for the Spotted Lanternfly and offered the following suggestions:
-- During the months of July through December, when the adults are active, conduct a quick inspection of your vehicle any time you move in or near a quarantine area, to find any spotted lanternfly hitchhikers.
-- If you see eggs on trees or other smooth outdoor surfaces: Scrape them off, double bag them and throw them in the garbage, or place the eggs in alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them.
-- If you collect a specimen:  First, place the sample in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container. Then, submit the specimen to your county Penn State Extension office or to the department’s Entomology Lab for verification. Don’t move live specimens around, even within the quarantined area. There are many places under quarantine that do not yet have active populations of spotted lanternfly – you do not want to help them establish a new home base.
-- If you take a photo: Submit photo of adults or egg masses to:
-- If you want to report a site: Call the Invasive Species report line at 866-253-7189 and provide any details of the sighting and your contact information.   
Suspect specimens can also be submitted directly to the department’s headquarters in Harrisburg or to any of its six regional offices. Specimens can also be submitted to county Penn State Extension offices as well.
For more information, visit the Department of Agriculture’s Spotted Lanternfly webpage.

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner