Wells can be protected from contamination by bacteria and chemicals through good management practices. A sealed well cap prevents insect entry along with any bacteria they are carrying. Hazardous materials can be kept out of the well's recharge area. Water testing verifies the success of these protective practices.
The Marcellus Shale has been underneath Pennsylvania for centuries, but the extraction of natural gas began only recently. The gas boom is changing the landscape of northeastern and southwestern Pennsylvania. Use this tool to learn which operators are drilling, and where. Find gas-producing wells in your county or municipality — and see whether the drillers have been cited for violating state environmental regulations.
Share information on your organization and find partners on Watershed Central, EPA's social network for water professionals, and Adopt Your Watershed, EPA's database of citizen-based watershed groups. Look under "Act" to find information for professionals, citizens and watershed groups.
With all of the rain that we have had over the last several months, many homeowners have had to deal with an excess of stormwater. How clean is that stormwater that runs off of your property or off of your neighbors?
Invasive species have been identified by the Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service as one of the four significant threats to our Nation’s forest and rangeland ecosystems. In response to this identified threat, a multidisciplinary team of specialists, managers, and researchers has worked together to produce a National Strategy and Implementation Plan for Invasive Species Management. The U.S. Forest Service announces the publication of its first-ever national-level direction on the management of invasive species across aquatic and terrestrial areas of the National Forest System.
In 2010, youth in Pennsylvania’s Dauphin, Lebanon, and Lancaster Counties were invited to be part of a unique opportunity: a chance to learn, hands-on, about the water in their own community and how their daily lives impact that water.
A new publication from North Carolina Extension offers guidance for North Carolina communities in the use of conservation design for land use planning. The publication presents great information for Low Impact Development.
Explore Shale is a public service media project by Penn State Public Broadcasting and was funded by the Colcom Foundation. The website is designed to enhance public understanding of the basic science surrounding the Marcellus Shale by providing a fact-based interactive learning experience.
You recently had your private water supply tested, hoping to gain valuable information about the quality and condition of your water. Upon receiving the water analysis report, you find yourself looking at confusing columns of decimal numbers, abbreviations, and contaminants that are difficult to pronounce. What does this all mean?
Autumn is a beautiful season as the leaves begin to change and people start pulling out their brightly colored sweaters. However, all of those falling leaves can be a headache for any of you that have large ponds on your property.
If your well was flooded after the recent visit by Hurricane Irene or Lee - or any other high water event, you should be concerned about the safety of your well. There are a number of potentially harmful substances that could be in your water supply – specifically coliform bacteria.
November 2, 2011 – Norcross, Georgia USA – NuGIS (Nutrient Use Geographic Information System) is a web-based nutrient balance model that predicts partial nutrient balance and nutrient removal to use ratios for the U.S. at county, state, and watershed scales. Harvest removals of N, P and K are estimated from USDA-NASS crop production data and the latest crop removal coefficients. Fertilizer use and recoverable manure nutrients are estimated from AAPFCO fertilizer sales data and Agricultural Census information for the five Census years from 1987 through 2007 with annual estimates since 2007 available in the near future. Balance estimates and the component data layers can be viewed via an interactive graphical interface or exported in tabular form.
NuGIS can be accessed by logging in at >http://nugis.ipni.net/login/<.
The Triple Divide Watershed Coalition was formed this year in Potter County, Pennsylvania, and is comprised of the nine public water supplies in that county, with assistance from the County Commissioners, Penn State Extension, Potter County Education Council, and the PA DEP. Inspired by water quality concerns from natural gas well drilling, the group is identifying some new ways to do business that they hope will prove to be good for water quality.
So what’s the deal with bottled water? Is it safe? Is it better than my tap water? Is it worth the high cost? The last question will have to be answered by you. However, here are some facts about bottled water to help you in determining that answer.
The storms and floods we have experienced this past summer have damaged many properties across Pennsylvania. As a private land owner, your storm damage management should involve a quick assessment to determine the extent of the damage and what management efforts are needed to restore your land.
The Pennsylvania NRCS office has developed an outstanding compilation of conservation guidance that is a crossroad between all that is conservation planning assistance – and that which is regulatory in PA for working lands.
Recent flooding in Central Pennsylvania has brought a lot of attention to the various safety issues associated with flood waters. Even with all the warnings issued, it’s not uncommon to see images of children and families wading in flood waters, exploring flooded creeks and streams, and taking chances with their health and safety.
The central and eastern parts of the state were saturated by frequent heavy rains in early August before being drenched by Hurricane Irene and then inundated by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. The resulting flooding could have contaminated many private water wells.
As many Pennsylvania residents are in the midst of significant flooding, there will be exceptional demand for credible information. Extension can provide science based information for homeowners and businesses that are affected by flooding.
A lot of citizens in the Marcellus Shale Region of Pennsylvania are concerned about the streams that run through their watershed or on their property. The first step is to identify the "Aquatic Life Use Designation" for that stream.
When you’re visiting a nature center, local park, or even driving on the highway you often see signs that identify the name of the local watershed that you are in. However, when you return home that same sign doesn’t hang at the entrance to your neighborhood or at end of your driveway. So how do you know what watershed you live in?
"Forty years ago, the federal Clean Water Act set the ultimate goal of achieving water quality improvements that would allow people to fish from and swim in our rivers, lakes and streams. The quality of our water is directly related to the quality of our life. It is a vital resource for human health, but water quality is often taken for granted. Forty years after the passage of the Clean Water Act, we must continue the work of enforcing the Clean Water Act while raising awareness about the activities that pollute our waterways." according to the EPA report just released. Combined sewer systems collect sewage from buildings and stormwater from street drains and transport the wastewater to a treatment plant. When the volume of wastewater exceeds the capacity of the sewer system or treatment plant, the systems are designed to overflow and discharge directly to nearby streams, rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.
Many Combined Sewer Overflows still remain in Pennsylvania. Learn about CSOs and why this is important to your community in this Environmental Protection Agency report.
The Conewago Creek Conservation Initiative is Pennsylvania’s ‘Discovery Watershed’, a place to target resources and test approaches to improve water quality. This article discusses using surveys as a tool to initially describe the context for conservation efforts, then assess the effectiveness of these efforts and describe preliminary results from the initial survey.
Going green on your horse farm is not difficult or expensive. You may already be doing environmentally friendly methods of horse-keeping and just need to make some adjustments. This is part 2 of a two part series.
Going green on your horse farm is not difficult or expensive. You may already be doing environmentally friendly methods of horse-keeping and just need to make some adjustments. This is part one of a two-part series. Part one: Clean Water and Manure Management
Livestock farms use nutrient management plans to match nutrient application on fields to crop removal of nutrients. This planning effort is an important part of maintaining productivity and environmental quality for these producers.
Adopting watershed-friendly practices in urban and suburban yards is increasingly important because development is the fastest growing land use in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. And it is not the only one.
A riparian buffer is a simple project that even private landowners can do to help preserve their property and water quality. As an awareness of environmental stewardship increases many are using buffers on their own properties.
An online guide to assist homeowners identify and choose plants native to the Chesapeake Bay Region is available. The Native Plant Center is a joint project of The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The guide allows users to search for native plants by name, plant type, sun exposure, soil texture and moisture. Users can even find native plants with the same characteristics as some of their favorite non-native plants. The website also includes a geo-locator feature to identify plants suited to a user’s specific location. Use of native plants is important to restoring the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Native plants require less fertilizer, water and pesticide application, provide critical habitat for pollinators and reduce contaminated stormwater runoff.
The portal uses the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s native plant database, associated with the publication, "Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed."
The Chesapeake Commons is a geospatial data sharing tool that lets users easily upload data,pin it to specific geographical points (i.e. latitude and longitude), then share, rate and discuss the results. The Chesapeake Commons helps people find data, ask questions and quickly test assumptions with easy to use mapping tools. With Chesapeake Commons, users can share their data with others and track how it is used. the Commons is still in its soft-release' phase, but already has some impressive datasets available. As more members grow and data is added, more potential arises for map creation and sharing. All of the data on the Commons is public and the Commons itself is completely open-source. Public information like this helps to ensure that that data is up-to-date, accurate and transparent allowing faster, more impressive updates to the system.
From WAY E-News
Watershed Alliance of York
Gary Peacock, Editor
One of the challenges livestock farmers face is managing the nitrogen needs of their corn crop when applying manure. Farmers have the challenge of maintaining optimum crop yields while minimizing cost and reducing nitrogen loss to the environment.
Studies by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have confirmed that the presence of Escherichia coli pathogens in surface waters could result from the pathogen's ability to survive for months in underwater sediments.
Read about new research from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory.
Improving local water quality and the Chesapeake Bay starts with feeding cows. The amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that goes in the front end of the cow directly impacts how much comes out the back end.
Teaching youth about water is nothing new. Water is part of national academic standards for US school students and a frequent topic of discussion at nature centers, summer camps and other out of school learning opportunities.
Septic tanks are commonly used as a part of onlot wastewater disposal systems for homes. Septic tanks remove solids from the wastewater that is disposed of down the drains including waste from the bathrooms, laundry and kitchen in your home.
“Wherever you are, you are standing in a watershed and your actions have an impact on the water you drink.” This was the take-home message at the "Link to Your Drink" activity presented at the 2011 PA Children’s Water Festival. The festival, a national event was held on Tuesday, May 24 at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA.
Watershed-level management efforts are growing and supported by federal, state, and local policy. The intent of these efforts is to create partnerships among local officials, state and county agencies, community groups, and residents that will address environmental concerns.
On May 16, 2011 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced improvements to the availability and usability of drinking water data in the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) tool.
Each year, Penn State Extension Water Resource Educator, Jim Clark, prepares educational material to help the students who compete in the Pennsylvania Envirothon in North Central Pennsylvania understand the “Current Environmental Issue”.
A scorecard for the health of the Chesapeake Bay, based on the best available information about the Chesapeake for indicators representing three major categories: pollution, habitat, and fisheries is now available from the Chesapeake Bay foundation.
There are many projects that youth can become involved in to help protect and conserve local water resources. Service-learning helps youth gain a better understanding of their communities and how their actions can make a difference.
It’s the middle of winter and temperatures seem to keep dropping, but now is the perfect time to start thinking spring! What better way to survive the rest of this winter than by thinking warm spring thoughts – flowers blooming, butterflies fluttering, and gardens thriving. Time to plan your rain garden.
Throughout Pennsylvania, and indeed, much of the world, people are working collaboratively to understand, monitor, and mitigate water quality problems. What does this collaboration look like, and what can it accomplish?
The York County Planning Commission has embarked on an effort to take the Water Resources Plan component of the County Comprehensive Plan to "the next level." This effort will provide County stakeholders with a resource which will guide the restoration and protection of County's water resources.
Urban and suburban development is the fastest growing land use in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Along with growth comes an increase in impervious surfaces and increased stormwater discharges. Stormwater carries with it nutrients and pollutants from yards, roads, parking lots, roofs – in fact any surface in the watershed that receives rainwater runoff.