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A monthly Update from the Water Resources Education Network
 a project of the League of Women Voters of PA - Citizen Education Fund 

January 2014
In This Issue
January Feature: Mount Joy Borough Cultivates Community Pride through Rain Garden
Reminder: WREN Grant Proposals are Due March 21
Will West Virginia Water Crisis Sound Alarm Bells for Drinking Water Protection in Pennsylvania?
Schuylkill River Rises to the Top as Pennsylvania's 2014 River of the Year
Governor Corbett Pumps Over $80 Million into Water Protection
River Network and Coca-Cola Urge You to Register your Rain Barrel
DEP Launches New Interactive Online Oil and Gas Well Mapping Tool
Sherene Hess named to Water Resources Advisory Committee
Policy Updates and Public Comments Requested
River Rally 2014 Coming to Pittsburgh!
EPA Awards Nearly $5 Million in Grants to Support Green Infrastructure Research in Urban Areas
Share with Teachers - Youth Water Educator Summit
WREN January
Feature

Mount Joy Borough Cultivates Community Pride through Rain Garden 

Nominations Requested
Applications Open for Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators 
Due: February 28, 2014

Webinars
March 4, 2014
  
  
2014 Webinars by Center for Watershed Protection
  
Reports

 

The Housing Market Impacts of Shale Gas Development

 Results indicate large negative impacts on nearby groundwater-dependent homes, while piped water-dependent homes are positively impacted by proximity.

 

 

Chesapeake Bay Trust Report details the problems created by suburban and urban runoff pollution. Offers steps that local, state, and federal governments can take to reduce pollution and achieve clean water for local streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay.

Videos to Watch
Quick Links

Rising sea levels torment coastal U.S.

 

"Where Does Water Come From? Where Does Water Go?" video has received a 2013 Aurora Gold Award

 

EPA Releases Chemical Screening Data on 1,800 Chemicals

 

State launches drug drop-off program

 

Website Tracks Neighborhood Toxics

 

  
  

 

Wildlife notebook: Groups take sides on endangered species bills

 

 Flood Related Articles

 

Pa. lawmakers discuss solutions to flood insurance crisis

 

Rethinking Flood Insurance

 

The Flood Next Time 

 

Oil &  Gas Links
  

 

Washington County, PA used as example
  
  
PA Supreme Court Act 13 Decision
  
Read text of 12/19/13 Court Decision
  
Grants
Inland rivers and green infrastructure projects are eligible! 
Due: January 31, 2014
 
Due: February 5, 2014
  
Starting February 5, 2014
  
 Up to $40,000
Due: February 24, 2014  
  
Up to $5,000
Due: February 14, 2014
(or when they receive 1,500 applications) 
  
Due February 28, 2014
  
Due February 29, 2014
  
Pennsylvania American offers Student Scholarships:
Due March 14, 2014
  
Two Tracks: Watershed Education - up to $5,000 and Source Water Protection Collaborative Grants - up to $7,000
Due: March 21, 2014
 
Due: April 30, 2014

Other Funding:
 
    Resources   

"How to Create a Meadow in Southeastern Pennsylvania" brochure

Presentations from Recent Conferences  


Facing the Challenges:Research on Shale Gas Extraction Symposium
Conference Videos
Save the Date
February 5, 6, 19, 20, 25, 26, 2014
  
Water Withdrawal Requests
February 6, 2014  2:30 pm

  

(rescheduled from 12/14)
8:30am-4pm 

  

February 10, 2014
Troy High School, 150 High St., Troy, Bradford County, PA 
6:00 p.m.

  

February 11, 2014
Room 105 Rachel Carson Building, Harrisburg, PA
10:00am 

 

Storm Water Management

Exton, PA

February 11, 2014

8:30am-3pm

 

Triple Divide Watershed Coalition (TDWC) Meeting

Gunzburger Building

Coudersport, PA

February 12, 2014

9:00 am

  

February 12, 2014
10th Floor Conference Room Rachel Carson Building, Harrisburg, PA
10:00 am
 February 12, 2014
Warren County Courthouse, 204 4th Ave., Warren, PA
6:00 p.m.

 

Premier of Documentary from Penn State: 

Water Blues Green Solutions - Working with Nature to Create a Sustainable Water Future    
State College, PA
 
February 18, 2014
Room 105 Rachel Carson Building, Harrisburg, PA
9:00 am
 
February 18, 2014
Room 105 Rachel Carson Building, Harrisburg, PA
11:00 am 
  
Blue Bell, PA
February 20, 2014
10am-Noon

  

Feb. 21 - 22, 2014

 

Pocono Source Water Protection Collaborative Meeting

Lords Valley, PA

February 25, 2014 1:00pm

  

Penn State Extension Safe Drinking Water Clinics:

  

February 27, 2014
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  
March 12, 2014
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  
March 12, 2014
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  
March 27, 2014
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
 
March 27, 2014
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

  

24th Annual PA Lake Management Society Conference: Healthy Lakes, Healthy Communities

State College, PA

March 19, 2014

  

Celebrating

World Water Day: 

 Pocono Source Water Protection Forum

"Protecting Your Own Drinking Water: Our Most Important Resource"

Pike County Training Center, Lords Valley, PA 18428

March 22, 2014 

 

2014 PA Rural Water Association Annual Conference

March 25-28, 2014

State College, PA  

 

Pond Home Study Online Course - Deadline to sign up March 29, 2014

 

7th West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Symposium

Apr 10 - 11, 2014

State College, PA  

 

Earth Day with the Erie Explosion

April 13, 2014

Doors open at 1pm
Game time is at 2pm

Contact: Jake Moore

814.217.9634

 

9th National Water Quality Monitoring Conference

April 28 - May 2, 2014

Cincinnati, OH

 

12th Annual PA Land Conservation Conference

May 1 - 3, 2014

Reading, PA

 

2014 EAC Network Conference

May 3, 2014

Reading, PA

 

PA Chapter American Water Works Association Annual Conference

May 6 - 8, 2014

Bethlehem, PA

 

2014 Pennsylvania Groundwater Symposium

"Building Groundwater Knowledge through Monitoring"

May 7, 2014

State College, PA

 

 HydroMania 2014

May 8, 2014
Cedar Crest College

Allentown, PA

  

River Rally 

May 30-June 2, 2014 
Pittsburgh, PA 
  
WREN Grantee Meeting
June 10-11, 2014
By Invitation
  
Dive Deeper II - Penn State Extension
Sept. 25, 2014
Harrisburg, PA
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January Feature: Mount Joy Borough Cultivates Community Pride through Rain Garden

Mount Joy Borough Public Works Director Tom Strubel assists a Girl Scout in adding some plants to the rain garden.

"We wanted to make something that was hands-on that the community could participate in from start to finish. It was a great way to engage the community, and that's what we achieved,"

-- Stacie Gibbs, Zoning and Code Officer, Mount Joy Borough.

 

A blank canvas can become a thing of beauty for the environment. In the second of two articles spotlighting current WREN projects, we take a look at a Watershed Education Project developed by a coalition of officials and community members in Mount Joy Borough, Lancaster County, resulting in a rain garden that is changing the way residents look at protecting their community's water supplies now, and into the future. 

 


Reminder: WREN Grant Proposals are Due March 21

Boy with Frog Stream The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund (LWVPA-CEF) through its WREN Project (Water Resources Education Network) has funding available to help launch or strengthen community partnerships that raise awareness and educate citizens about ways to keep Pennsylvania water resources clean and healthy.

 

For 2014, WREN offers two grant programs to help local community partnerships raise awareness about threats to their water bodies and water supplies -- and promote solutions. If your proposal meets our criteria, we'll work together with you to help make your project a success.

 

A Watershed Education track with awards up to $5,000 to help foster local community partnerships that raise awareness, implement demonstration projects and encourage behavior change that will reduce polluted runoff.

 

We also offer a Source Water Protection track with awards up to $7,000 to foster regional or County-level Source Water Protection Collaboratives that will educate local officials and residents about ways to protect public drinking water resources from contamination, improve emergency response coordination and ensure the community water supply will be sustainable.

 

Click here to read more.

Will West Virginia Water Crisis Sound Alarm Bells for Drinking Water Protection in Pennsylvania?
The January 6, 2014 leak of industrial chemicals into the Elk River in Charlestown, West Virginia left 300,000 residents in nine West Virginia counties without safe water for weeks.  The tragedy in West Virginia spotlights the need for a robust multi-layered source water protection program for all water suppliers.  

 

Click here to read the article. Click here to listen to an episode of Smart Talk Radio program which inquired about potential for similar chemical spills in Pennsylvania titled, "Many wonder about drinking water protections after West Virginia spill."

Schuylkill River Rises to the Top as Pennsylvania's 2014 River of the Year

Once among Pennsylvania's most heavily-polluted waterways, the Schuylkill River in southeastern Pennsylvania has undergone a dramatic recovery and has been voted the 2014 Pennsylvania River of the Year.

 

Four other rivers were nominated finalists. They were: Kiskiminetas-Conemaugh rivers in the southwest; Ohio in the west; Brodhead Creek Watershed in the northeast; and the West Branch of the Susquehanna in the north central section of the state.

 

The general public was invited to vote online from Nov. 25 - Dec. 27, with a total of 5,527 votes being registered. Final tallies in voting overseen by the Pa. Organization of Watersheds and Rivers (POWR) showed the Schuylkill River receiving 43 percent; Kiski-Conemaugh Rivers, 21 percent; Ohio River, 12 percent; Brodhead Creek Watershed, 12 percent; and West Branch of the Susquehanna,12 percent.

 

This is the second time the Schuylkill has been named River of the Year, having last received the distinction in 1999.

 

To learn more about the River of the Year program, the nominated waterways, and past winners click here.

Governor Corbett Pumps Over $80 Million into Water Projects

$20.65 Million in Watershed Protection Projects

Governor Tom Corbett announced that the Department of Environmental Protection will invest more than $20.65 million in watershed protection projects in 40 counties to improve watersheds, reduce stormwater runoff and acid mine drainage (AMD), and support educational programs, among other environmental efforts.  

  

Funding sources include:

Growing Greener program, $15,120,608 for 97 projects, funded by the Environmental Stewardship Fund, Surface Mining Conservation & Reclamation Grant, $1,953,947 for four projects, AMD Set Aside Program $406,975 for four projects, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program is funding 15 additional projects, totaling $3,174,807.

 

A host of projects will be conducted in these areas: 

  • Stormwater - $2.2 million
    for best management practices, workshops, and research and design.
  • AMD - $4.1 million for assessments and treatment systems
  • Agriculture - approximately $2.4 million for (mostly) BMP installation

To see the complete list of grant recipients click here

  

$60.1 Million Investment in Water Infrastructure Projects in 12 Counties 

Governor Tom Corbett announced the investment of$60.1 million in 13 non-point source, drinking water and wastewater projects across 12 counties through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).   

  • Allegheny
  • Cambria
  • Clearfield
  • Dauphin
  • Forest PENNVEST Logo
  • Greene
  • Lancaster
  • McKean
  • Northampton
  • Northumberland
  • Schuylkill 
  • Westmoreland
Click here to read the press release. 
River Network and Coca-Cola Urge You to Register your 
Rain Barrel

 

The Rain Barrel Registry
 provides a mapping and database tool for public policy makers, educators and the public which offers a visual record of rain barrel use.  

 

You are invited to participate by registering your rain barrel, uploading a photo and completing a short survey. 

 

The website also offers rain barrel information including maintenance and uses for collected rain water.  View the interactive map showing the registered rain barrels to date.

 

The project, app and interactive website were developed in partnership with River Network and IMRivers by Vertices, powered by Mappler.

DEP Launches New Interactive Online Oil and Gas Well Mapping Tool 

The Department of Environmental Protection announced a new online "Oil and Gas Mapping Tool" on its website.

 

The online mapping tool displays the location of wells across Pennsylvania and allows users to search and view specific types of wells by county, such as conventional gas, unconventional gas, oil or coal bed methane wells. Users are also able to filter search results based on the status of the well by selecting active, plugged or abandoned.

 

To view the recently launched mapping tool, click here.

Sherene Hess named to Water Resources Advisory Committee

Congratulations to Sherene Hess, president of League of Women Voters of Indiana County, on her appointment to the Water Resources Advisory Committee (WRAC) of the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Sherene is the former WREN Project Director before Julie Kollar assumed responsibilities in 2008. While at WREN, Sherene was instrumental in developing the League's Source Water Protection Promotion Program with DEP and other partners.

 

WRAC provides technical advice to DEP on the environmental, economic, and other social impacts of existing, new or proposed regulations, policies, and control techniques or technologies affecting water resources management including but not limited to surface/ground water quality and quantity issues.

 

"The League continues its important tradition of bringing the individual citizen's voice to the discussion of governmental matters by serving on committees that provide DEP with balanced guidance on water resource technical matters," Hess stated.  "I'm honored to represent the League in this important activity that ultimately gives the average citizen a say in their government."

 

We at WREN and LWVPA are proud of all of Sherene's contributions. She is a significant asset and a wonderful source of dedication and knowledge.

 

Click here to read more on WRAC.

Policy Updates and Public Comments Requested

Make your views known. 

 

PA DEP has requested Public Comment on the following:

 

Chapter 78 Environmental Protection Performance Standards at Oil and Gas Well Sites 

To read the proposed regulations click here. View DEP webinars which overview the regulations here.

 

For more information on how to offer comments, visit DEP's Oil and Gas Regulations webpage.  The deadline for comments was extended to March 14, 2014. 
 

The Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled two more public hearings on proposed changes to Chapter 78 drilling regulations.

The two additional hearings will be held on the following dates starting at 6:00 p.m.

  • February 10: Troy High School, 150 High St., Troy, Bradford County; and
  • February 12: Warren County Courthouse, 204 4th Ave., Warren 

In light of the recent PA Supreme Court decision that invalidated portions of the Act 13 oil and gas drilling law, including setbacks, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council urged PADEP to not delay implementing the stronger proposed Chapter 78 changes. Read PEC's testimony here.

 

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Discharges from Small Flow Treatment Facilities.

Public Notice of Draft PAG-04Comments due Feb. 4, 2014.  

 

Current Bills Under Consideration by PA Legislators

  • Senate Bill 411, the "Mine Drainage and Mine Pooling Water in Fracking Bill," was passed by PA Senate Appropriations Committee on January 13, 2014. The bill would amend Pennsylvania's Environmental Good Samaritan Act to limit the liability of mine operators who provide "treated mine drainage from a permitted mining activity site" for reuse in hydraulic fracturing operations in oil and gas development.  The mine operators would be "immune from liability for any cost, injury or damage arising out of the use of the treated mine drainage."

     

  • House Bill 1576 and Senate Bill 1047 would fundamentally change endangered species protection in Pennsylvania.  Discussion by legislators underway; vote may come soon. Senators consider change to endangered species law       
  • House Bill 1565 (Hahn-R-Northampton)- Riparian Buffer Bill.  Public hearing held by House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on 1/29/14.
    • Bill would prohibit DEP from mandating the use of stream buffers to control erosion and sedimentation in High Quality and Exceptional Value Watersheds under Chapter 102 of DEP's regulations.
    • Rep.Hahn stated: Businesses and landowners alike have expressed their frustration with our 25 Pa. Code, Section 102.14 riparian buffer requirements and the negative impacts they have on development and land use in many areas of the Commonwealth.  It seems to me that this regulation has resulted in a major shift of state policy, which in effect, amounts to a taking of property without legislative oversight or approval. My legislation will allow those seeking erosion and sedimentation approvals to have greater flexibility in protecting water quality in Pennsylvania.    
    • Chesapeake Bay Foundation has urged legislators to defeat House Bill 1565, "which would remove requirements for new developments to preserve or restore forests beside the state's most pristine streams." Read CBF's testimony.
    • Click here for information in PA Environment Digest on the issue.  
  • Pennsylvania General Assembly is currently considering eliminating exemptions in the PA One Call law (Underground Utility Line Protection Act) to include gathering lines - House Bill 1607.  
    • If approved, the bill would transfer enforcement of the One Call Law from the Department of Labor and Industry to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. This would remove all current exemptions in state law, a move opposed by PIOGA, including the current exemption for production and gathering pipelines and systems from compliance with the PA One Call law. 
    • Position of U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA):" PHMSA believes that state one call laws should not include exemptions; however, if exemptions must be included, they should be narrowly defined for specific, low-risk activities, but should not be provided for entire groups or entities.  In addition, rationale for exemptions should be supported with data." 
    • The Pennsylvania One-Call System, Inc. is strongly in favor of eliminating the exemptions and mapping all gathering lines in the interest of public and contractor safety.

PA Legislative Session Schedule 

  • Click here for calendars and committee meeting schedules.
Budget Hearings  - Department of Environmental Protection  
  • Senate Appropriations Budget Hearing February 18, 2014 3:00pm - Hearing Room 1, North Office Building
  • House Appropriations Budget Hearing, February 19, 2014 1:00 pm Room 140 Main Capitol
River Rally 2014 Coming to Pittsburgh!

River Network and Waterkeeeper Alliance are partnering to host the international River Rally 2014 in Pittsburgh on May 30 - June 2, 2014. Over 750 advocates for healthy rivers and watersheds are expected to gather at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers.

 

The popular typically sold-out event will feature educational workshops about strategies for restoration, fracking, tech tools for watershed groups, public outreach, volunteers, water quality monitoring, field tours and networking.

 

Learn from those in the field and be inspired by hundreds of clean water advocates.

EPA Awards Nearly $5 Million in Grants to Support Green Infrastructure Research in Urban Areas

EPA has announced nearly $5 million dollars in grants to five universities to evaluate innovative green infrastructure practices in urban areas, using Philadelphia, Pa. as the pilot area. These grants stem from a cooperative partnership between EPA and Philadelphia's Green City, Clean Waters program that represents a broad, long-term investment in implementing green infrastructure stormwater management practices. 

 

According to EPA, green infrastructure is an approach that communities can choose to maintain healthy waters, provide multiple environmental benefits and support sustainable communities. Unlike single-purpose conventional "gray" stormwater infrastructure which uses pipes to dispose of rainwater, green infrastructure uses plants and soil to manage rainwater where it falls. By putting natural processes back to work in the built environment, green infrastructure provides not only stormwater management, but also flood mitigation, improves air quality, and much more.

 

Philadelphia is a national leader among cities around the country in using green infrastructure to address problems from combined sewer overflows (CSOs). 
 
The EPA is awarding grants to the following universities:

Villanova University, Villanova, Pa.

Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pa.
Temple University, Ambler, Pa.
University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.
 

Click here for more information about the effort that looks to assess early benefits, performance and success of green infrastructure practices in urban communities.

          Share with Teachers - Youth Water Educator Summit

Penn State Extension's Dive Deeper II Environmental Educator's Summit highlights innovative teaching about water in Mid-Atlantic area- Save the Date!

 

Returning September 25, 2014!  

         

Dive Deeper II will feature opportunities for educators to learn new and innovative approaches to teach youth about water, networking among your peers, and updates about important issues effecting water in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

     
Water Policy News is published monthly by the Water Resources Education Network, a project of the League of Women Voters of PA - Citizen Education Fund.  Please send your water education related programs and activities to WREN Project DirectorVisit www.sourcewaterpa.org to learn more about drinking water protection.  Visit www.waterwisepa.org or wren.palwv.org to learn more about WREN and local projects in PA. For events, check the