Friday, May 25, 2018

DEP Environmental Justice Advisory Board To Hear Presentation On Environmental Rights Amendment May 29

On the agenda for the May 29 meeting of DEP’s  Environmental Justice Advisory Board is a presentation on Pennsylvania’s Environmental Rights Amendment by Franklin Kury, the author of the legislation that resulted in the Amendment.
Also on the agenda are updates on the Environmental Justice Program and the Draft Environmental Justice Policy, the Driving PA Forward VW Settlement Funding Program, a presentation on the PA Solar Future initiative and DEP’s update to the Climate Action Plan.
The meeting will be held in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson Building in Harrisburg starting at 9:00. Click Here to register to attend the meeting by Webex.
For more information and available handouts, visit DEP’s  Environmental Justice Advisory Board webpage.  Questions should be directed to: John Brakeall, 717-783-9731 or send email to: jbrakeall@pa.gov.

Nature Abounds Seeking Volunteers For Juniata River Sojourn June 14-17

Nature Abounds is seeking volunteers to be part of the upcoming Juniata River Sojourn to be held June 14 to 17.
Volunteers are needed to help with registration tables, food preparation, and boat safety.  Volunteers receive one day of free paddling, not to mention the benefit of connecting with nature.
Questions about volunteering should be directed to Doug Beri at 814-765-1453 or send email to: doug@natureabounds.org.   
More information on the sojourn, visit the Juniata River Sojourn webpage.
For more information on the programs, initiatives and other upcoming event, visit the Nature Abounds website.

Susquehanna River Rally June 9 In Harrisburg To Highlight Environmental Budget Issues

The Choose Clean Water Coalition and other partners will hold the 2nd Annual Susquehanna River Rally on June 9 in Harrisburg to call attention to environmental budget issues from 1:00 to 3:30 on City Island.
Heading into budget negotiations, Pennsylvania’s waterways need a strong, unified voice to speak up and remind state legislators that the core funding supporting our state resource agencies’ clean water programs cannot afford cuts.
Now is the time to invest more in Pennsylvania’s waterways, not less.
In Pennsylvania, we have world class trout streams, thrilling white water, and tranquil creeks that provide respite, recreation, and wonderful memories for so many of us. Yet, our waterways and drinking water are severely threatened.
19,000 miles of Pennsylvania’s waterways are classified as unfit for fishing, swimming, safe play for children and pets, and in many cases for sustaining life of native aquatic species.
With failing infrastructure, Pennsylvania ranks third in the nation – behind Texas and Florida- for most reported drinking water safety violations. This is unacceptable.
Join the Susquehanna River Rally to raise your voice, your rally signs, and your paddles high with the Pennsylvania Capitol as our backdrop to hold our legislature accountable to addressing our clean water crisis.
We will celebrate the mighty Susquehanna River and leverage its location and abundance to remind our legislators that clean water in Pennsylvania must be a priority.
Click Here to watch highlights from last year’s River Rally.
For more information and to register, visit the Susquehanna River Rally webpage.

PA Highlands Coalition Multi-Functional Riparian Buffer Webinar June 12

The PA Highlands Coalition will host a webinar June 12 on Multi-Functional Riparian Buffers from 10:30 to Noon.
Multi-functional riparian buffers provide opportunities for harvesting products such as berries, woody florals, and nuts in the riparian zone. By combining agroforestry and water protection strategies, these buffers allow for a collaborative solution to water quality and land management questions.
Join DCNR's Agroforesty Coordinator Tracey Coulter and Austin Unruh of Crow and Berry Land Management as they discuss the recent DCNR grants for multi-functional riparian buffers and the realities of utilizing these tools on the ground.
Click Here to register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
For more information on riparian buffers, visit DCNR’s Forest Buffers webpage.
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2019 Pennsylvania State Parks Calendar Now Available

The 2019 Pennsylvania State Parks Calendar is now available featuring award winning photographs from the PA Parks and Forests Foundation.
The Calendar will no doubt put you in the mood to get outdoors!  And as an added bonus, there are four extra months so you can start using it in 2018.
The cost, with shipping is $12.26.  Proceeds from the sales directly support maintenance at Pennsylvania’s State Parks.
Click Here to order yours online.  Click Here to see all the photos in the Calendar.
For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
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DCNR Announces More Smoke-Free Beaches At State Parks, Enhanced Reservation System

With the Memorial Day holiday weekend kicking off the traditional start of the camping season, DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Friday announced that the 2018 camping and swimming season will usher in new “Smoke Free Beaches” at six state parks in Pennsylvania.
“Success of our initial goals, as well as feedback from park visitors across the state, encouraged us to continue expanding the ‘Smoke-Free’ Beach areas this season,” Dunn said. “With addition of the six, we now have smoking restrictions at 48 of our 54 state parks with swim beaches.”
Latest state park additions are: Clear Creek, Jefferson County; Presque Isle, Beach No. 11, Erie County; Pymatuning, Jamestown Campground Beach, Crawford County; Raccoon Creek, Beaver County; Yellow Creek, Indiana County; and Shawnee, Bedford County.
Surveys, feedback to park managerial staff, and reservation information all played a key role in the department’s decision to continue expanding a policy that began in 2013. Beach restrictions consistently have been hailed by visitors for significantly improving air quality and reducing cigarette-butt litter, Dunn said.
“It was this same ongoing bid to gauge the pulse of the public that led our Bureau of State Parks to also expand its ‘pet-friendly’ camping policy,” Dunn noted. “From the outset of this program in 2001, with nine parks participating, we now have included campsites and cabins to the point where all of our state parks that provide camping now have sections designated for pets.
Dunn also said park campers can expect improved RV accessibility, new facilities, and other major improvements at many state parks. An online, enhanced reservation system helps them find exactly what they are seeking.
Park beach visitors are reminded smoking constraints at designated parks eliminate smoking on beaches and at swimming areas. For visitors who smoke and still want to use these beaches, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided.
Restrictions include cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and the increasingly popular e-cigarettes. Staff at newly affected parks have been preparing for the change by purchasing and installing butt disposal units; installing new signage; establishing designated smoking areas with seating; and informing park user and support groups.
Visit the Bureau of State Parks' Rules and Regulations page for more information on pets and smoking regulations, as well as participating parks. Reservation information is also available.
For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
(Photo: Shawnee State Park, Bedford County.)

UGI Energy Efficiency Program Saves State Prison In Luzerne $16,000 In Annual Electricity Costs

UGI presented an Energy Efficiency and Conservation rebate check Thursday to the Department of Corrections for installing new lighting equipment at State Correctional Institution-- SCI-Retreat, located in Hunlock Creek, Luzerne County.
SCI-Retreat received the rebate, totaling $17,341.68, through the Custom Program provision of UGI’s Electric EE&C Program. SCI-Retreat converted 47 of their perimeter security lighting stations to LED lighting.
The project is expected to save SCI-Retreat more than 144,500 kilowatts of electric usage annually, with a reduction of nearly $16,000 on their annual electric bill.
“UGI is pleased to provide this check to the Department of Corrections for the investment made at SCI-Retreat,” Robert Stoyko, UGI vice president of customer relations, said.
“Installation of innovative, energy efficiency technology at this government facility and other similar projects at state facilities across UGI’s service territory translates to taxpayer savings.”
This LED project is the second phase of SCI-Retreat’s lighting retrofit. The first phase converted 21 perimeter security lighting stations to LED lighting in 2016.
“Energy Incentive projects like this are very helpful in an environment of operating budgets that are constantly scrutinized,” Kip Tutorow, Corrections Facility Maintenance Manager II, said. “The long-term savings coupled with the rebates that are provided strengthens the justification for the purchase of modern energy-efficient equipment. The lighting upgrade at SCI Retreat not only reduces our energy consumption but creates a safer and more secure work environment. It was a pleasure working with UGI throughout this project. Their staff was very helpful and made the application submittal process very easy.”
The UGI EE&C program is designed to achieve lower energy usage and lower overall costs for customers.
The program includes residential customer rebates for fuel switching from electric to natural gas for space heating, water heating and clothes drying and a recycling program for older refrigerators and freezers.
Residential and commercial customers are eligible for rebate programs that include fuel switching from electric to natural gas water heaters and the installation of high-efficiency electric appliances.
Commercial customers are eligible for rebates for combined heat and power projects, as well as custom projects such a lighting retrofits.
UGI also offers an EE&C program focused on natural gas efficiency. UGI’s Gas EE&C program is available for customers of UGI Utilities Inc. – Gas Division and UGI Penn Natural Gas.
For more information on this and other energy savings programs for homes or businesses, visit UGI’s Save Smart webpage.
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Winners Of Western PA Environmental Awards, Lifetime Award Celebrated

The winners of this year’s Western PA Environmental Awards and Lifetime Achievement Award were celebrated at a special awards ceremony in Pittsburgh Thursday.
Five environmental programs from throughout Western Pennsylvania will share $25,000 from Dominion Energy and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council for innovation and effectiveness in making a positive impact on the environment--
-- Allegheny County Conservation District (Pittsburgh, Allegheny County)
-- Allegheny Outfitters Warren (Warren County)
-- Casselman River Watershed Association (Somerset, Somerset County)
-- Edinboro Lake Watershed Association (Edinboro, Erie County)
-- Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail Shelters Restoration Project
In addition to these five organizations, the PA Environmental Council presented a lifetime achievement award to Dr. Jared Cohon, the former president of Carnegie Mellon University.
These winning programs reflect many of the environmental priorities of the region as they address watershed conservation and stewardship, urban land contamination, and public park conservation.
With these awards, each winner will designate a $5,000 cash prize to be used in support of a nonprofit environmental program of their choice.
Here is more on each of the winners--
-- Allegheny County Conservation District: There are thousands of vacant and abandoned parcels in Pittsburgh and the outlying municipalities and many are contaminated with lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals. So the Allegheny County Conservation District launched an Urban Soils program that works with resource-strapped Pittsburgh communities to address the significant environmental concerns around urban soils.
To date, ACCD has offered over $150,000 in testing services and hundreds of hours in free technical assistance, towards community and greenspace projects. ACCD has also raised awareness of soil health and contamination issues in communities around the county and given guidance on sustainable practices to improve environmental and public health.
In addition to providing free services that allow for environmental project funds to be used efficiently, ACCD has begun conducting its own mapping and research efforts, seeking to better understand the nature and extent of legacy contamination across the urban environment. Contact: Jessie Albright jalbright@accdpa.org,  412-241-7645 (ext. 8009)
-- Allegheny Outfitters (Warren County): In the Allegheny National Forest in northwest Pennsylvania, Allegheny Outfitters is serving as public advocate and conservation educator to mitigate the impacts of increased human traffic on waterways and forest land.
Allegheny Outfitters formed the Allegheny River Clean-Up, a week-long annual event that draws hundreds of volunteers and community sponsors each year to clean up 30-plus miles of the Allegheny River and two of its tributaries. Since then, nearly 3,000 volunteers have donated almost 23,000 hours in support of this effort.
Additionally, Allegheny Outfitters has adopted a stretch of the North Country National Scenic Trail in the Allegheny National Forest, and regularly hosts volunteer staff trail work events. It also provides financial support for conservation of public land and waterways and has created commemorative trail posters of land and water trails in the region with a portion of each sale going back to the organization that maintains it. Contact: Piper VanOrd, piper@alleghenyoutfitters.com,  814-730-2428 cell.
-- Casselman River Watershed Association (Somerset County): Over the past 30 years, volunteers of the Casselman River Watershed Association, Inc., have dedicated countless hours to seek grants and construct treatment systems to address the water quality issues resulting from abandoned mine drainage degradation that the Casselman River suffered after the Industrial Revolution devastated the once, pristine watershed.
CRWA has partnered with local, state, federal agencies, along with other non-profit organizations on a number of projects.
Water quality in the river and tributaries improved through the use of innovative lime dosing and AMD treatment systems. And the CRWA works with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to secure easements along the Great Allegheny Passage and the Casselman River to preserve the aesthetics of its breathtaking landscapes.
Through the efforts of the Casselman River Watershed Association, watersport activities have increased, local businesses have benefited economically, and the potable water quality for local communities has improved.Contact: Susan J. Moon, sue-scd@wpia.net,  814-289-4246 work, 814-233-5238 cell
-- Edinboro Lake Watershed Association (Erie County): The economic and ecological benefits of Edinboro Lake have been compromised by its advanced state of eutrophication, which depletes oxygen in water and impacts aquatic life. A management plan completed by the Edinboro Lake Watershed Association determined that 81 percent of the phosphorus entering the lake is from nonpoint sources with over 27 percent of the total being derived from stormwater runoff from land development.
In 2017 the Edinboro Lake Watershed Association completed a project to design and install stormwater Best Management Practices on the campus of General McLane High School and Middle School in Edinboro. These stormwater methods capture runoff from approximately 38 acres resulting in approximately 24 pounds per year reduction in phosphorus and 10,000 pounds per year reduction of total suspended solids entering Edinboro Lake.  Contact: Brian Zimmerman, edinborolake@edinboro.edu,  814-732-1575
-- Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail Shelters Restoration Project (PA Parks & Forests Foundation): For the 40 three-sided Adirondack shelters of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, the passage of time and harsh ridge winters had taken their toll on the masonry and stonework of the chimneys that are the shelters’ best feature. The mortar began to crumble and the stones to shift.
The shelters are not only an important feature of the trail but they are in essence also historic structures. A mason with a heightened appreciation for the work had to be located. He photographed each stone and disassembled each chimney, numbering the pieces of stone as they were removed, then cleaned and scraped them and put them back together in order.
An initial REI grant of $3,000 to the project was matched by the Friends of Laurel Hill. Thanks to the overwhelming support of REI, the R.K. Mellon Foundation, and individual donors from nine states, funding was secured to complete the project.Contact: Marci J. Mowery, mmowery-ppff@pa.net,  717-236-7644
-- Lifetime Achievement Award - Dr. Jared Cohon: Dr. Jared Cohon served as the President of Carnegie Mellon from 1997 until 2013. Before that he was Dean of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale and on the faculty and in the administration at Johns Hopkins University. He serves on the board of five non-profit organizations and two corporations.
Among his extensive service for the U.S. government and the National Academies, he chaired the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, co-chaired the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Laboratories, and currently chairs the Academies’ Board on Energy and Environmental Systems.
Professor Cohon is interested in environmental systems analysis, especially the development and application of optimization tools for large-scale natural resource and environmental problems.
Most of his theoretical work has focused on algorithms for multi-objective programming problems and systems methods for integrating engineering, economics and policy in public environmental decision making. He has worked most on water resource, energy and waste problems.
Among his many contributions to environmental policy-making in Western Pennsylvania, Dr. Cohon chaired the Sewer Regionalization Review Panel representing local government, foundations, academia, legal, environmental, water  and sewer authorities, nonprofit and private organizations to identify a true regional approach to wastewater and storm water management for Allegheny County.
The Western PA Environmental Awards, are presented annually to local organizations that demonstrate leadership, effectiveness, and results in making an impact on the environment.  The winners were chosen by a group of independent judges, environmental experts, and PEC staff in response to a call for entries earlier this year.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Environmental Council website, visit the PEC Blog, follow PEC on Twitter or Like PEC on Facebook.  Visit PEC’s Audio Room for the latest podcasts.  Click Here to receive regular updates from PEC.
(Photo: Dr. Jared Cohon.)
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