The majority of streams in the Chesapeake Bay region are warming, and that increase appears to be driven largely by rising air temperatures. These findings are based on new U.S. Geological Survey research published in the journal Climatic Change.
From the poorest slums to the most affluent suburbs, recycling wastewater into drinking water is becoming a reality. As the water cycle tightens, concern is escalating over the effects of residual contaminants on human health and aquatic ecosystems.
Changing water temperatures, rainfall patterns and seasonal river flows linked to global warming may give invasive wetland plants a slight but significant competitive edge over less adaptable native species, according to a groundbreaking three-year field study conducted at 24 riparian wetland sites in the US Southeast.
Across the nation, water is vital to every household and every community; to agriculture, energy production, and a productive economy; to wildlife, forests, and a healthy environment. America’s water resources are generally abundant but they are not limitless. It is vital as well that we have a comprehensive understanding of how much water is being used across the country so we can make wise choices in managing our water resources.
The Penn State Master Well Owner Network (MWON) recently added 24 new volunteers who completed the Fall 2014 online training courses. These volunteers join over 600 others who are dedicated to providing unbiased, research-based education on the proper management of private water wells, springs and cisterns.
By assessing the impacts of a range of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, research has shown that the growth of edible crops can be affected by these chemicals -- even at the very low concentrations found in the environment.
The drop in fuel prices this winter may cause many homeowners to think about finding ways to store more fuel at home. If you decide to do this, be sure to research all of the ramifications and possible pitfalls of this activity.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists studying a midwestern stream conclude that pharmaceuticals and other contaminants in treated wastewater effluent discharged to the stream are transported into adjacent shallow groundwater. Other mobile chemicals found in wastewater are expected to have similar fates.
A team of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MCPA) scientists measured 127 organic chemicals in groundwater underlying urbanized areas in Minnesota. These chemicals include ones commonly used and consumed in our daily lives, in products such as human–use and veterinary pharmaceuticals, fragrances, surfactants, plastic components, and fire retardants.
Conserving nature can improve human lives. From forest watersheds that perform natural filtration of drinking water to coral reefs that break tsunami waves before they flatten seaside villages, intact ecosystems provide innumerable services to human society. Might biodiversity be healthy for the ecosystem and also protect people against infectious diseases?
As part of a continuing education curriculum for Penn State Master Well Owners, Penn State Extension presented a pair of webinars on November 6, 2014 on Water Corrosivity and Lead/Copper Contamination of Private Water Supplies in Pennsylvania.
The Groundwater Foundation has developed a variety of educational resources for students and teachers that can be easily adapted to school and community education programs. The Awesome Aquifer: Advanced Hydrology Kit is available for $36 and is an affordable alternative to those who cannot afford the cost of a large groundwater model.
The Green Infrastructure Collaborative consists of more than 20 organizations committed to advancing the adoption of green infrastructure as a means of supporting water quality and community development goals. This broad group of signatories includes academia, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.
Several public water supply coalitions recently met with the North Central Regional DEP Office Director, Marcus Kohl, in Mansfield, PA. Kohl praised the coalition’s work on source water protection and answered questions and concerns of those who attended.
Earlier this year (2014) the Chesapeake Bay Program approved a credit for the use of on-site wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) for nutrient reduction in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Join us for a webcast to find out what this means for local jurisdictions in meeting their Bay TMDL allocations! Thursday, 20 November 2014, 12:00 pm EST - 1:30 pm EST; Cost: FREE; Registration is open and required.
The “Empowering Educators” grant program directs focus toward science, technology, engineering and math projects to encourage action in schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey near company facilities. Through these competitive grants, teachers can receive up to $2,000 funding for educational projects that focus on energy issues like renewable energy demonstrations, energy efficiency and the greening of schools.
Coldwater Conservation Plans are useful in building local awareness and support for the long-term stewardship of coldwater streams and their surrounding watersheds. The plans are meant to identify potential problems and opportunities for stream conservation, and may often also lead to more detailed watershed studies or projects, ultimately improving the health of coldwater ecosystems.
On October 8th, EPA’s Green Infrastructure Program and the White House Council on Environmental Quality launched a broad collaborative of external stakeholders to advance green infrastructure implementation. The Green Infrastructure Collaborative will leverage efforts from the federal family, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and academia to advance green infrastructure as a means of supporting water quality and community development goals.
While there have been several notable dry spells in Pennsylvania since the era of warming began in the 1980's, a sustained drought has been rare compared with the decades prior. Climate models predict more frequent droughts over the continents in decades to come, but virtually none of these models forecast that precipitation would increase by 10% during the last century.
The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) has teamed with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to offer this special funding program. This assistance is available to eligible homeowners who do not have access to a public sewage system and need to repair or replace their individual on-lot septic system.
The changing of the color of the leaves and the advent of falling temperatures at night along with pumpkin, broccoli, potato and apple harvest signals to me that cooler weather is just around the corner. Having worked many years with irrigation systems and drip irrigation systems in particular, I thought that this would be an appropriate time to share with you some tips on winterizing irrigation systems so that your system will be ready for next spring.
President Obama has made it clear that we have a moral obligation to our children and future generations to leave behind a planet that is not polluted and damaged. That is why, as part of his effort to combat climate change, the President launched a Climate Action Plan last year to cut carbon pollution, prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced its commitment work with bay partners and interested stakeholders to develop to an action plan to reach the goals outlined in the recently signed Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.
Do you enjoy bird or wildlife watching out your windows? Why not add some features and resources to your property to attract them? Although backyard feeders are a popular way to attract birds, providing a source of water is equally important for creating a wildlife friendly yard.
Using Best Management Practices (BMPs) that effectively control urban stormwater runoff flow and reduce levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment in stormwater runoff is integral to meeting water quality goals in local streams and downstream in the Chesapeake Bay.
Fall in Pennsylvania is a beautiful time with all of the changing colors of foliage. When those leaves finally do fall from their trees, we are left with an abundance of leaves on the ground that we may be responsible for cleaning up.
EPA's Office of Environmental Justice announces the opening of its Request for Applications (RFA) for the 2015 Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) Program. The EJSG Program provides funding for eligible applicants for projects that address local environmental and/or public health issues within an affected community.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today invited schools, colleges and universities, county conservation districts, nonprofit organizations, municipalities and businesses to apply for Environmental Education Grants to develop environmental education programs and projects. The application period will begin Monday, Oct. 6. Deadline to Apply Is Dec. 19
An interactive documentary project designed to promote awareness of the role that green infrastructure can play in creating a sustainable water future. Water Blues Green Solutions tells stories from across the country of communities that are adopting new ways of thinking about how to protect, restore, and preserve our rivers and sources of drinking water.
The Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday urged Pennsylvania students, ages nine to 14, to enter a national radon poster contest designed to help raise awareness about the dangers of radon. The deadline to enter is October 31.
The PA Environmental Council Friday urged members of the Pennsylvania Senate to pass House Bill 343 (Miller-R-York) designed to help protect rural water supplies by requiring the adoption of construction and decommissioning standards for private water wells.
Pennsylvania remains one of the few states lacking statewide regulations on the location or construction of private water wells. There have been numerous legislative attempts to pass statewide regulations in the past.
During SepticSmart Week, the EPA encourages homeowners to get SepticSmart and take action. A few small, simple steps of proper care and maintenance of your septic system can lead to a big pay off in terms of keeping you and your neighbors healthy and protecting the environment. For homeowners, proper care can also prevent costly repairs or replacement of systems, protect property values, and save water.
In the first broad-scale estimate of air pollution removal by trees nationwide, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms.
By the end of 2015, this roadside spring in Fox Township, Elk County, may be the most talked about spring in the state of Pennsylvania. On September 3, 2014, the Township Supervisors of Fox Township voted unanimously to cooperate with Penn State Law Students, under the direction of Ross Pifer, Director of the Rural Economic Development Clinic, to examine the legal issues for the municipality concerning the spring.
Autumn is less than a month away and DEP would like to remind citizens about important precautions to take as they are closing their pools and filling their home heating oil tanks. Pool wastewater, if not disposed of properly, can contaminate local waterways, while poorly maintained home heating oil tanks can leak.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists report that glyphosate, known commercially by many trade names, and its degradation product AMPA (aminomethylphosphonic acid) are transported off-site from agricultural and urban sources and occur widely in the environment. This study is the largest and most comprehensive assessment of the environmental occurrence of glyphosate and AMPA in the United States conducted to date.
Penn State Extension Water Resources Extension Educator, Jim Clark, put together a riparian buffer water message that he is displaying at the county fairs in North Central Pennsylvania this summer. The message is simple, “Find a Stream and Plant a Tree”.
Pharmaceuticals, personal-care products, and other contaminants are widespread in water that has passed through landfill waste. The samples of this liquid, also known as leachate, were collected from within each of the studied landfills. This study by the U.S. Geological Survey is the first national assessment of these chemicals of emerging concern in landfill leachate in the United States.
Air pollution affects each of the 17.7 million people who live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. But it doesn’t just cloud the air we breathe. Airborne pollutants can also harm our land and water, fueling the growth of harmful algae blooms that create oxygen-depleted dead zones in the Bay.
To help comply with the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, which reduces the lead content allowed in drinking water system and plumbing materials by changing the definition of "lead-free" in Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA has developed a quick reference for identifying lead-free certification marks for drinking water systems and plumbing materials.
PA CleanWays of McKean County, an affiliate of Keep PA Beautiful, completed a successful tire recycling program at the Smethport Borough Sheds on Route 6 in Smethport, PA, on July 19, 2014. Fourteen volunteers worked to remove 2,000 tires from the McKean County landscape.
July and August often bring numerous calls and emails to Penn State Extension from pond owners about nuisance growth of algae. While long strands of filamentous algae are unappealing and have little value to the pond ecosystem, some other types of pond algae can actually provide important benefits to a pond.
USDA has recently noticed that some growers are using bleach (Clorox TM) as a disinfectant in post-harvest washing systems. Disinfectants are regulated the same way as pesticides and unless the label on the bottle indicates EPA approval for washing fruits and vegetables, it is against federal law to use it for that purpose.
Intersex fish have been found in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna, Delaware and Ohio river basins, indicating that the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals are more widespread than previously known. New U.S. Geological Survey-led research published in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment found two fish species, smallmouth bass and white sucker, exhibiting the effects of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Intersex characteristics caused by hormones and hormone-mimicking compounds include immature eggs in male fish.
A workshop designed to educate municipalities, engineers, watershed groups and students about the value of trees and green infrastructure in water quality was held on June 9, 2014 at the York Water Company Employee Center in York County.
The farmers on this website have been identified by the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and EPA for implementing specific best management practices to reduce pollution while also improving or sustaining their profits, soil quality and/or yields. We celebrate these farmer heroes who are making a difference to improve America’s water resources and invite you to read their stories.
The 6th grade classes of Dutch Ridge Elementary in the Beaver Area School District culminated their Trout in the Classroom Project at the end of April by releasing 160 fingerling trout into Brady’s Run.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has sent orders to 85 municipalities in north central and northeast Pennsylvania requiring improvements to their programs for managing stormwater.
Penn State Extension, as part of the Greening the Lower Susquehanna project, has developed a new citizen science monitoring tool. It is designed for families that have recently made stream side improvements on their property and would like to measure the valuable changes in wildlife habitat that take place as a result.
Marinas can help reduce pollution and protect the local environment by efficiently using materials and energy, and making changes to water or land operations. Get ideas related to fuels management, boat maintenance, stormwater runoff, dredging, and much more.
Ailanthus, the so-called tree-of-heaven, is probably the most famous invasive tree in the United States. It’s the title tree in Betty Smith’s classic 1943 novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, where it is used as a metaphor for persistence and toughness in the face of adversity. However, that toughness makes this tree— Ailanthus altissima (aka ailanthus, tree-of-heaven, stink tree, and Chinese sumac)—a serious problem wherever it grows.
Groundwater professionals from across Pennsylvania gathered on May 7, 2014 at the Ramada Inn Conference Center in State College, PA for the 2014 Pennsylvania Groundwater Symposium. The symposium was again held during National Drinking Water Week in recognition of the importance of groundwater to both public and private drinking water supplies across Pennsylvania.
EPA's online Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection was recently updated in April 2014 to include the latest information about FY2014 federal funding allocations for programs focusing on watershed protection and restoration. The site houses an easy-to-use, searchable database of 85 programs in which financial assistance sources, including grants, loans and cost-sharing, are available to fund a variety of watershed activities.
Feral swine/wild hogs have been documented in numerous areas of Pennsylvania. USDA-Wildlife Services is looking for information in order to document locations and collect disease samples. Information is also being sought on shooting preserves (past and present).
This May will mark the 24th anniversary of American Wetlands Month, a time when EPA and its partners in federal, state, tribal, local, non-profit, and private sector organizations celebrate the vital importance of wetlands to the Nation's ecological, economic, and social health. It is also a great opportunity to discover and teach others about the important role that wetlands play in our environment and the significant benefits they provide — improved water quality, increased water storage and supply, reduced flood and storm surge risk, and critical habitat for plants, fish, and wildlife.
Stormwater Sentries is a new game that can be accessed on Facebook and is designed to educate the public about how our actions impact local streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay. Game players can take on missions to clean up trash, pick up after their pet, plant native trees, shrubs, flowers, and rain gardens, reduce impervious surfaces, install rain barrels and more. As missions are completed, they will see water quality improve in the local stream and they can take on advanced missions to restore the stream buffer to provide habitat for wildlife. The games was created by Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, in partnership with Timmons Group and SRRN Games.
Twelve York County police departments currently partner with the York County Solid Waste Authority (YCSWA) to host medication take-back boxes in their police department lobbies. Together, they have safely collected and disposed of a total of more than 1.2 tons of unused and expired medications since the start of the program in November, 2012.
Our forests are under attack. And the U.S. Forest Service is hoping that the Nation’s fourth and fifth graders can help fight back. The Forest Service distributed Insects Invade, a teacher’s package to 25,000 teachers nationwide.
Penn State Extension Water Resource Educators Jim Clark and Amy Galford led a pond management workshop for 38 undergraduate students from 11 different states on Saturday, March 29, 2014 in Spring Mills, PA.
Research indicates that both surface and groundwater are showing signs of increased salt concentrations as a result of human activities. Further, the increased salt levels can have an impact on stream dwellers.
Climate change is already having a profound effect on life
in the oceans. Marine species tend to be highly mobile, and many are moving quickly toward the poles to stay cool as average ocean temperatures rise. These shifts can cause ecological disruptions as predators become separated from their prey. They can also cause economic disruptions if a fish population becomes less productive or moves out of range of the fishermen who catch them.
As we look around at ways to improve produce production, one area that offers the greatest return in both fruit quality and decreased fertilizer inputs is in getting the pH of your irrigation solution correct. Every crop has an ideal pH range where it removes nutrients from the soil solution optimally. Getting your soil and water pH right can be the difference between a profitable crop and high field / packing house losses.
On January 9, 2014, newly formed public water supply coalitions had an opportunity to meet with the Regional Director of the North-central PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Regional Office, Marcus Kohl, in Williamsport, PA.
When we think of animal waste being detrimental to water quality, larger, livestock animal operations probably come to mind first as being the largest contributors. While this is true, even our domestic companion animals do their part to add to water contamination.
Easy-to-fix household leaks account for more than one trillion gallons of water wasted each year across the United States, equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes. In the race against water waste, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is urging people to fix household water leaks during the sixth annual Fix a Leak Week, March 17 through 23, 2014.
World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The UN General Assembly designated 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. In 2014, World Water Day will be on "Water and Energy".
Spring is just around the corner, and after this long cold winter, doesn’t it feel great to think about the snow melting, the ground thawing, and getting your hands into the soil to plant something new and green in your community?
This online tool presents opportunities that communities and organizations can use to protect and enhance natural resources, save energy and maintenance costs, improve water quality, connect people to nature, as well as other practices to enhance our public spaces for the benefit of society and the environment.
The Cameron County Conservation District collaborated with Penn State Extension Water Resources Educator, Jim Clark, to secure a seventy-nine hundred dollar grant from the Headwaters Research, Conservation, and Development Council.