Roadside springs are a common source of drinking water in Pennsylvania but little is known about the quality of these water supplies. Penn State Water Resources Extension Educators Jim Clark and Diane Oleson presented a webinar on October 30, 2013, which included water quality results from a recent survey of 35 heavily used roadside springs across the state. The objective of the survey was to determine the drinking water safety of these springs and to increase awareness about the use of roadside springs for drinking water supplies.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) have developed two important tools targeted to rural and small water and wastewater systems: the Rural and Small Systems Guidebook to Sustainable Utility Management, and the Workshop in a Box. Both draw heavily from the results of four pilot workshops with managers of rural and small systems co-sponsored by EPA and USDA.
In the United States, over 24 million acres of lawn surround our homes. As suburban development continues to spread into open and forested land alike, we lose more and more of our native vegetation and wildlife habitat.
Watershed modeling was conducted in 20 large, U.S. watersheds to assess the sensitivity of streamflow, nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus), and sediment loading to a range of plausible mid-21st Century climate change and urban development scenarios in different regions of the nation. This final report describes the structure ― including methods, models, scenarios, and results ― of this effort.
Do you like to fish or boat? Then this topic is of particular interest to you. Didymo, commonly referred to as “rock snot”, is a species of freshwater algae native to cool-water regions of northern Europe and North America. Since the mid-1980s, it has taken on the characteristics of an invasive species, forming massive blooms that blanket streambeds, choking streams and rivers, and threatening aquatic ecosystems.
Many times things get put down our drains or flushed down our toilets that shouldn’t be because they can harm our septic systems or sewage treatment plants and ultimately our water quality and health. But what do you do with something like unused medication?
Forests play an important role in protecting watersheds from the impacts of development.
Extension Educator, Jim Clark, partnered with the Cameron Conservation District to secure a grant from the Headwaters Research, Conservation & Development Sinnemahoning Stakeholders Group to teach pond owners in the Sinnemahoning Watershed about pond management.
While we still may be wearing our shorts, autumn is knocking at our door. It is a beautiful season as the leaves begin to change but all of those falling leaves can be a headache for any of you that have large ponds on your property. The good news is that there are some steps you can take to winterize your pond including preventing problems caused by falling leaves.
As part of the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program, a study was conducted from 2001 to 2011 to shed light on factors that affect the vulnerability of water from public-supply wells to contamination. The study was designed as a follow-up to earlier NAWQA studies that found mixtures of contaminants at low concentrations in groundwater near the water table in urban areas across the Nation and, less frequently, in deeper groundwater typically used for public supply.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.