Watershed Winds Newsletter
As we enter into the first few days and weeks of the 2013-2014 school year and the last few days and weeks of summer, don’t forget to include water as part of a complete educational experience for youth. There are many excellent resources that may be helpful as you engage youth in water-related educational experiences throughout the year.
Keep PA Beautiful (KPB) County Representatives and PennDOT Adopt a Highway County Coordinators, recently held a joint meeting in State College, PA. These two groups do a tremendous service for all PA residents in the effort they put forth in cleaning up litter.
The Chesapeake Watershed Forum is a three day/two night conference that brings together representatives from local watershed organizations and local governments to learn the latest restoration science and direction, network with other groups facing similar challenges, and be inspired to continue the work of preserving and restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The 2013 Forum will run from Sept 27-29, 2013 and is held at the USFWS National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV.
At the request of local environmental planners and stormwater program managers, three two-hour webinar trainings on CAST, MAST, and VAST will be presented in September.
Just in time for the new school year, NRCS unveiled its new Teachers and Students webpage, home to age-appropriate scholastic resources. These tools are designed to help students learn about soil, water, air, plants and animals and what we can all do to protect those resources.
Penn State Extension Watershed Youth Development Educator, Jennifer Fetter, who is based in Dauphin County, and Extension Specialist, Sanford Smith, who is based in State College, are national winners of the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (ANREP) 2013 Silver Award in the Innovative Program Category.
Penn State Extension Water Specialist, Bryan Swistock, based in State College, and Extension Educator, Jim Clark, based in McKean County, are national winners of the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (ANREP) 2013 Silver Award in the Innovative Program Category.
This report summarizes a national assessment of the ecological health of streams done by the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA). Healthy functioning stream ecosystems provide society with many benefits, including water purification, flood control, nutrient recycling, waste decomposition, fisheries, and aesthetics. Continued monitoring and assessment of the Nation’s streams is needed to support informed decisions that will safeguard this important natural and economic resource.
Penn State Extension and the Master Well Owner Network are pleased to announce a variety of educational efforts and resources in recognition of the National Ground Water Association’s Protect Your Groundwater Day on September 10, 2013.
Has your community effectively addressed urban stormwater – a major impairment to water quality that continues to hamper efforts to comply with Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits? ICMA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are hosting a 90-minute webinar to explain common problems that inspectors encounter, along with examples of how operators have overcome them. The webinar will take place on September 10 from 1 – 2:30pm EST. The webinar is FREE to the first 250 registrants!
Have you ever experienced strange colors or smells in your pond or seen them in a lake? Have you ever wondered what might have caused them? Cyanobacteria, often called blue-green algae, are bacteria that are found naturally in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams.
Cover crops can slow erosion, improve soil, smother weeds, enhance nutrient and moisture availability, help control many pests, and bring a host of other benefits to farms across the country. For more than 20 years, NCR-SARE has supported projects by researchers, producers, and educators who are using this time-tested method of revitalizing soil, curbing erosion, and managing pests.
Polluted stormwater runoff is commonly transported through Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), from which it is often discharged untreated into local waterbodies. To prevent harmful pollutants from being washed or dumped into an MS4, operators must obtain a NPDES permit and develop a stormwater management program. An increasing number of municipalities in Pennsylvania are being designated as having to meet MS4 requirements. Learn about MS4s and how this can affect your community.
With the rain that occurred over the past month, many of us have had to mow our lawns more often. These heavy rains can also contribute to grass clippings ending up in storm water runoff. Grass clippings that are blown into the street eventually enter the street storm drain.
The Department of the Interior has just released an online tool called Streamer. The interactive map allows you to trace a stream in either direction—upstream to its source or downstream to where it ultimately empties. It also shows statistics for the stream, such as its length, political jurisdictions it passes through (states, counties, and cities), origin elevation, and other information. A more detailed report also shows all the US Geological Survey’s stream gages for that stream. Streamer is an easy way to demonstrate where local rivers eventually end up, and what’s upstream that might be influencing your local water quality. This tool provides an easy visual way to help demonstrate the concept of a watershed. You can also use the map to show tributaries to a particular stream or river.
What are two things that could prevent your well from becoming contaminated? Pennsylvania is one of only two states that do not have mandatory statewide construction standards for private water wells. As a result, some important components of a properly constructed drinking water well are often not installed in an effort to reduce the cost of the well to the homeowner.
As part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the National Stormwater Calculator, an innovative addition to the administration's virtual climate resilience toolkit. EPA's new calculator will help property owners, developers, landscapers and urban planners make informed land-use decisions to protect local waterways from pollution caused by stormwater runoff. Preventing stormwater runoff, which can impact drinking water resources and local ecosystems, protects citizen health and the surrounding environment.
All the jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay region are making progress meeting pollution reduction goals, but no jurisdiction is on track to implement all the pollution reduction practices they committed to achieve by 2013. The analysis of selected interim 2012-13 milestone goals was conducted by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and Choose Clean Water Coalition (CCWC). This analysis is designed to ensure that commitments are being met, and if not, that actions will be taken to compensate for any shortfall.
Parking-lot sealcoat is the black liquid you see sprayed or painted on many parking lots, driveways, and playgrounds. Intended as a barrier to protect paved surfaces from the elements, which can cause cracking during freezing weather, they contain extremely elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). A recent joint study shows they can affect the quality of downstream water resources.
After confirming the presence of the invasive aquatic algae known as didymo, or “rock snot,” in Pine Creek, Lycoming County, anglers and boaters are reminded that cleaning their gear is the easiest, most effective means of preventing its spread to other waters.