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December 19, 2016

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has placed four more counties on drought warning status following a meeting today of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force. While recent precipitation over the past few weeks has helped dry conditions in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, the central part of the state still has persistent 90-day precipitation deficits of up to 4 inches from normal as well as low groundwater and stream levels.

December 19, 2016

A new online interactive mapping tool provides summaries of decadal-scale changes in groundwater chemistry across the Nation.

Photo: Bryan Swistock, Penn State
December 19, 2016

Over half of Pennsylvania residents rely on groundwater for at least part of their drinking water. Groundwater is also the predominant source of water used for agriculture, commercial and mining activities in the state. While Pennsylvania has abundant groundwater resources, it is critical that they be properly protected from pollution associated with land use activities. Use of pesticides represents one such groundwater threat.

Master Watershed Stewards at Cabin Creek Day Photo: Jodi Sulpizio, Penn State Extension
December 19, 2016

The Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program was established to help address non-point source pollution, which remains one of the biggest challenges facing surface water quality in Pennsylvania.

December 19, 2016

Chesapeake Bay Program partners are welcoming the review of new high-resolution land use data for all 206 counties in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The data will inform the partnership’s next generation of models used to estimate nutrient and sediment loads and to credit efforts to reduce those pollutants from draining into the nation’s largest estuary.

December 19, 2016

Study finds life under the ice is vibrant, complex and surprisingly active - As long as ecologists have studied temperate lakes, the winter has been their off-season. It's difficult, even dangerous, to look under the ice, and they figured plants, animals and algae weren't doing much in the dark and cold anyway. But an international team of 62 scientists looking at more than 100 lakes has concluded that life under the ice is vibrant, complex and surprisingly active. Their findings stand to complicate the understanding of freshwater systems just as climate change is warming lakes around the planet.

December 19, 2016

Agricultural businesses and pesticide applicators in 15 counties can dispose of unwanted pesticides safely and easily in 2017 through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s CHEMSWEEP program. The program is offered in different counties each year. In 2017, it will be available in Bedford, Berks, Bradford, Butler, Columbia, Cumberland, Fulton, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Warren and York counties.

Volunteers plant trees in the City of Lancaster Photo: Kristen Kyler, Penn State Extension
December 12, 2016

Penn State’s Greening the Lower Susquehanna volunteer corps had a successful 2016 filled with tree plantings, litter pickups, maintenance days, and other exciting volunteer events.

December 12, 2016

Short-term laboratory exposure of adult fathead minnows to the human contraceptive progestin, gestodene (GES), at environmentally relevant concentrations induced rapid and negative effects on reproductive health and suggests that wild fish may be similarly affected.

December 12, 2016

Changes in the regulation and use of some organic chemicals have caused environmental concentrations to stabilize or decline during the past 35 years coincident with a rebound in the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) population of the Chesapeake Bay.

December 12, 2016

A U.S. Geological Survey study published today combines climate change and invasive species research by examining how native Brook Trout interact with non-native Brown Trout under rising stream temperatures.

December 5, 2016

Future climate change scenarios predict warmer and wetter conditions across Pennsylvania which raises concerns for increased occurrence of flooding. Pennsylvania Sea Grant and a host of partners have been helping coastal communities along the Delaware River to prepare for the flooding and extreme heat expected with future climate change.

December 5, 2016

Following a meeting Wednesday of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced no changes in county drought declarations, despite recent precipitation. Conditions will continue to be monitored, with drought declarations reassessed when the task force meets again in two weeks

December 5, 2016

Water and atmospheric processes are inseparable. Now, there is a supercomputer model that couples climate and hydrodynamic factors for the Great Lakes region. The new model will be useful for climate predictions, habitat modeling for invasive species, oil spill mitigation and other environmental research.

Photo: Bryan Swistock, Penn State Extension
December 5, 2016

The Penn State Extension Water Resources Team has released a new “LearnNow” video on Protecting Your Water Well. LearnNow videos are short, narrated PowerPoint presentations that are new learning tool being utilized by Penn State Extension.

December 5, 2016

Naturally occurring chemicals found in road salts commonly used to de-ice paved surfaces can alter the sex ratios in nearby frog populations, a phenomenon that could reduce the size and viability of species populations, according to a new study.

December 5, 2016

For years, public health experts have warned against eating certain kinds of fish, including tuna, that tend to accumulate mercury. Still, tuna consumption provides more mercury to U.S. consumers than any other source. But recently, as industry cuts down on its mercury emissions, research has found mercury concentrations in some fish are dropping. The latest study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, reports that this is the case for prized Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Photo: Jennifer Fetter, Penn State Extension
November 28, 2016

About one third of the households in York and Lancaster Counties are served by a private water system (wells or springs). Penn State Extension held Home Water and Septic System Workshops to assist homeowners in understanding, testing and maintaining these important systems.

November 28, 2016

Researchers who work in wetlands in Michigan are taking a new approach to invasive plants. Instead of removing plants like phragmites and switchgrass, they’re harvesting them. They say these plants are a threat to biodiversity, but they can benefit farmers and even power homes.