DEP and PACD Hold Chapter 102-105 Annual Training

Ramez Ziadeh, Director, DEP Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands, presents opening remarks and a welcome to a packed house on the second day of the Chapter 102-105 Annual Training. Photo by Terry Fisher.

Ramez Ziadeh, Director, DEP Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands, presents opening remarks and a welcome to a packed house on the second day of the Chapter 102-105 Annual Training. Photo by Terry Fisher.

More than 350 PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and conservation district staff participated in the Annual Fall 102-105 Meeting on October 25-27, 2016 in State College, PA. The training this year focused on agriculture on day 1, Chapter 102 on day 2 and Chapter 105 on day 3.

In addition to the topic-focused sessions, each day began with a New Technician Orientation Session designed to give technicians with less than two years’ experience an overview of the program that would be covered that day.

DEP and PACD work together to coordinate and plan this event.

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Columbia County Conservation District Shows Students that Good Water = Good Life

High school students are shown at a drama station during Water Education Day playing “Darth Water.” Photo by Nicole Karr Photography. Used with permission.

High school students are shown at a drama station during Water Education Day playing “Darth Water.” Photo by Nicole Karr Photography. Used with permission.

Middle school students in Columbia County learned all about water at the Columbia County Conservation District’s 2nd annual Water Education Day: how it is cleaned, how it is distributed, how it gets polluted, how streams and development impact each other, how to better understand its movement in landscape, how to value public water systems, how to identify macroinvertebrates and fish and their relationship to water quality, and how objects in nature can make beautiful art. There were 540 students this year at Briar Creek Lake and over 50 presenters and volunteers, in addition to area high school students who gave a dramatic music and dance performance highlighting the importance of good water quality. Other participants included representatives from county watershed groups, the PA Department of Environmental Protection, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Larson Design, SUEZ, PA American Water, PA Rural Water, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Children’s Museum, and Bloomsburg University. The event was sponsored by the Columbia County Conservation District, PA American Water, and Roaring Creek Valley Conservation Association. Check out more pictures from the day here!

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Free Communications Webinars Set for November, December, January

PACDwebinar and Water Words That Work, LLC are partnering on four upcoming environmental communication trainings starting in November 2016 and ending in January 2017. How do we get more participation at our programs? How can we effectively reach our target audiences and the general public? What are the most cost-effective means to get the word out about our programs? Find out answers to these questions and more during these webinars. The dates are (all webinars will be held 1-2:30 pm): Click here for a detailed description of the training. Financial support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection through the Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant, the Clean Water Fund and the Chesapeake Bay Regulatory and Accountability Program (CBRAP).  

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16th Annual Watershed Specialist Meeting Concludes

Group photo

Group photo of the Watershed Specialists taken by Molly Burns.

The annual Conservation District Watershed Specialist Meeting was held October 4-6, 2016 in State College. Sixty-four watershed specialists from conservation districts across the state attended the meeting, which was sponsored by the PA Department of Environmental Protection and facilitated by PACD. Presentation topics included: attracting and engaging adult learners; Pennsylvania’s Wildlife Action Plan; how to deal with Hydrilla (an invasive species); Pennsylvania’s State Water Plan; how to address harmful algal blooms, and much more.

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New Grant Round: Manure Management and Chapter 102 Compliance Seminars/Plan Writing Sessions

$99,000 in Mini-grant Funds Available for Conservation Districts Through a grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), each conservation district is eligible for a mini-grant (up to $1,500 initially per conservation district) to hold local Manure Management Manual and/or Agricultural Erosion & Sedimentation Plan workshops. These sessions would assist farmers in understanding requirements and lead to development of a complete manure management plan and/or agricultural erosion & sedimentation plan. Applications will be approved on an ongoing basis. You should hear within a week if your project is okay or if it needs fine tuning. These are non-competitive grants — we have $1,500 earmarked for your district. Grants pay for eligible expenses on a reimbursement basis. The Mini-grant application and guidelines are available here.  The deadline to apply is December 30, 2016. Mini-grant activities must be completed and final reports must be submitted by May 5, 2017. Contact Shannon Wehinger with questions about the mini-grants. Two free trainings on the Manure Management Manual will be held this winter. These “train the trainer” events are for new conservation district staff or those who want a refresher from when the same training was held in previous years.  More information to follow. DEP left-rgbFinancial support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection through the Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant, the Clean Water Fund and the Chesapeake Bay Regulatory and Accountability Program (CBRAP).

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Annual Fall 102-105 Training Meeting – REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN

Register On-Line Now button Registration is now open for the Annual Fall 102-105 Training meeting to be held October 25-27, 2016 at the Ramada Conference Center in State College, PA. Click here for more information, to register, and to see the draft training agenda for this meeting. Project Spotlight:  Table space is available in the conference center lobby for districts and others to highlight projects and to share ideas and techniques.  Display pictures, drawings or other information on projects relating to Chapters 102 and 105.  Contact Terry Fisher to reserve a table. Questions about the meeting can be directed to Jill Whitcomb at the PA Department of Environmental Protection, jiwhitcomb@pa.gov or 717-772-5668 or Terry Fisher at PACD, tfisher@pacd.org or 717-238-7223.

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Indiana County Conservation District Hosts CREP Workshops and Field Day

Photo provided by Indiana County Conservation District.

Photo provided by Indiana County Conservation District.

This summer the Indiana County Conservation District (District) was awarded a CREP mini-grant to work with and educate landowners about stream buffer planting and weed maintenance on local CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program) land. The ultimate goal is to prevent pollution and improve water quality in our local streams, lakes, and rivers. The District used these grant funds to participate in multiple events as public educational opportunities, in addition to holding two workshops and one field day. These events focused on explaining the financial and environmental benefits of the CREP program. Through this grant, the District reached over 500 landowners with educational materials and hosted nearly 40 attendees at workshop and field day events. Attendees were educated on the identification and maintenance of noxious and invasive weed species, as well as the benefits of stream buffers and how to successfully plant them.
DEP left-rgb Financial and other support for the CREP Outreach Program Office Mini-grant Program is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a Growing Greener Watershed Protection grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and with additional support from USDA-NRCS.
   

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Beaver County Conservation District Holds Soil Health and Cover Crop Event

District Conservationist Andy Gaver digs into a hay field and discusses what healthy soil should look and feel like. Photo submitted by Beaver County Conservation District.

District Conservationist Andy Gaver digs into a hay field and discusses what healthy soil should look and feel like. Photo submitted by Beaver County Conservation District.

Fourteen farmers spent the evening learning about soil health and cover crops at Fischer’s Windy Ridge Dairy in Fombell, Beaver County, on August 12, 2016. The event was hosted by Andy Gaver, District Conservationist at USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Jeff Leindecker, Agriculture Conservationist at Beaver County Conservation District. After a soil health demonstration, attendees were taken to a perennial hay field to see what healthy soil looks like. Several holes were dug and plant/root clumps were passed around for observation. “Healthy soil aggregates should resemble cottage cheese,” commented Andy Gaver. Once attendees had a good feel for healthy soil, the group moved to a 5 acre long-season multi-species cover crop. The field had a history of heavy tillage and the surface soil structure was completely degraded. After two months in cover, improved soil aggregate stability was observed and rainfall infiltration saw an inch of simulated rainfall infiltrate in less than two minutes. Before planting the cover crop, it took more than ten minutes for an inch of simulated rainfall to infiltrate. Financial and other support for this field day provided by: Fischer’s Windy Ridge Dairy, Deerfield Farms Service, Inc., Progressive Dairy Systems, King’s AgriSeeds, Beaver County Conservation District, and USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service.  

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State Level Poster Contest Winners Announced

The 4th-6th grade winner in the state level poster contest was submitted by Sreekethav Vaka of Delaware County.

The 4th-6th grade winner in the state level poster contest was submitted by Sreekethav Vaka of Delaware County.

PACD and the PACD Auxiliary are pleased to announce the five state level winners of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) 2016 “We All Need Trees” poster contest. The winners in each age category are:
  • K – 1st Grade: Sabrina Ibragimova, Berks County
  • 2nd – 3rd Grade: Shricharan Ilayanambi, Delaware County
  • 4th – 6th Grade: Sreekethav Vaka, Delaware County
  • 7th – 9th Grade: Mara Yahner, Cambria County
  • 10th – 12th Grade: Shaianne Perkins, Carbon County
To promote the importance of trees, students from kindergarten through twelfth grades entered posters conveying their thoughts and ideas through original artwork. Submissions were judged based on the entry’s conservation message, visual effectiveness, originality, and universal appeal. PACD thanks all of the participants in the contest for their interest and dedication to conservation. Best wishes to the state level winners in the upcoming national judging competition. For more information about the NACD poster contest, visit http://www.nacdnet.org/general-resources/stewardship-and-education-materials/contests.  

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Susquehanna County Conservation District Hosts Trip to Stroud Water Research Center

Submitted by Susquehanna County Conservation District
Students from Susquehanna County test water quality at the Stroud Water Research Center. Photos provided by Susquehanna County Conservation District.

Students from Susquehanna County test water quality at the Stroud Water Research Center. Photos provided by Susquehanna County Conservation District.

The Susquehanna County Conservation District hosted a trip to Stroud Water Research Center in Avondale, PA, for the Susquehanna County Envirothon’s first, second, and third place students. Students from Blue Ridge and Susquehanna Community High Schools were given a tour of the research center and hands-on interaction in the outdoor classroom. Students used LaMotte kits to measure nitrogen, pH, water temperature, and velocity in the White Clay Creek where they put their knowledge to work. Students got to see one of the longest monitored streams in the United States, the White Clay Creek. Thank you to everyone who came out and made it a great day for the students. We look forward to next year’s trip!

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