Media Day Highlights Project in Northumberland County

It took a joint effort to improve stream conditions and aquatic habitat along this unnamed tributary which discharges directly into the Susquehanna River. Installing fish habitat structures will reduce sediment inputs at the source, stabilize streambanks, and add diversity to the aquatic ecosystem. Photo provided by Northumberland County Conservation District.

It took a joint effort to improve stream conditions and aquatic habitat along this unnamed tributary which discharges directly into the Susquehanna River. Installing fish habitat structures will reduce sediment inputs at the source, stabilize streambanks, and add diversity to the aquatic ecosystem. Photo provided by Northumberland County Conservation District.

During a media day on August 12, a site in Northumberland County was highlighted. The Northumberland County Conservation District and partners worked with two landowners to address 4,342 linear feet of stream. The project includes approximately 90 structures, bank regrading, gravel bar removal, stabilized livestock crossing, and streambank fencing. The district worked for 3 weeks in August on the project and will finish in October. This project is part of a larger effort. The PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener grant program awarded $354,972 to the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy for project implementation. This is the seventh year of stream restoration work. The partners have completed 85 projects in almost seven miles of agriculturally impaired streams in north-central Pennsylvania and won a Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in 2014. Project partners included: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, Clinton County Conservation District, Columbia County Conservation District, Lycoming County Conservation District, Montour County Conservation District, Northumberland County Conservation District, Snyder County Conservation District, Tioga County Conservation District, and Union County Conservation District. Click here for a press release on the project, here for photos, and here for a short video.

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Over $17,000 Awarded to Conservation Districts to Promote CREP

PACREP_FullColor_HorizCROPPED Pennsylvania’s County Conservation Districts were awarded more than $17,000 for eight projects in eight counties for the 2016-17 Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Mini-Grant Program. Conservation districts will use these grants to work with landowners to prevent pollution in our streams, lakes, and rivers. Projects will take place over the next nine months. The following projects were awarded up to $2,500 each as a part of the 2016–2017 CREP Mini-grant round:
County Conservation District Amount Awarded
Allegheny $2,500
Armstrong $2,500
Beaver $2,050
Berks $2,500
Chester $1,500
Columbia $2,500
Jefferson $1,500
Lebanon $2,300
Click here to learn more about CREP. DEP left-rgbThe CREP Outreach Program Office Mini-grant Program is provided by PACD through a Growing Greener Watershed Protection grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Additional support is provided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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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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Thompson Testifies on Progress and Challenges in Cleaning Up Chesapeake Bay

cbprogramPennsylvania’s conservation districts voiced their concerns about the Chesapeake Bay “reboot strategy” during the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) to the Chesapeake Executive Council. The CAC held their quarterly meeting on September 8, 2016 in Lancaster, PA. Lancaster County Conservation District Manager Christopher Thompson addressed the Committee on behalf of the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts. Thompson briefed attendees on the issues conservation districts are now facing as a result of the reboot strategy. Conservation districts have had meetings with the DEP in regards to the farm inspections conservation districts have been asked to conduct. This has been a step forward since many concerns the conservation districts have were addressed by DEP. “Although many of the conservation districts’ concerns have already been adequately addressed by DEP, there are still two outstanding issues – the discrepancies between the Statement of Policy, the inspection form, and the contract, and privacy concerns when a district employee obtains information generated by federal entities,” said Thompson. Click here to read the full testimony and here to read the press release.

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Multi-District Adventure in Southwest PA

Submitted by Allegheny County Conservation District
Staff from Allegheny, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland Conservation Districts came together for an outdoor adventure. Photo taken by Kelly McLaughlin and used with permission from Allegheny County Conservation District.

Staff from Allegheny, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland Conservation Districts came together for an outdoor adventure. Photo taken by Kelly McLaughlin and used with permission from Allegheny County Conservation District.

Staff from Allegheny Conservation District organized a team building challenge at Go Ape Treetop Adventure in North Park. Eighteen staff from Allegheny, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland Conservation Districts participated in the event. Go Ape is an exhilarating journey through the forest canopy on suspended obstacles including aerial crossings, Tarzan swings, and 5 zip lines. Team members provided support and encouragement to each other as they completed each obstacle while getting to know some of their neighboring conservation district counterparts a little better. The course took just over two hours to complete and was certainly a unique and challenging experience for all. It offered an incredible, extraordinary, view of North Park and certainly tested our strength and nerves, especially those of us who are uncomfortable with heights! Thanks to all who participated and made it a great outing!

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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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Snyder County Conservation District Holds CREP & Stream Buffer Field Day

Frank Rohrer, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Restoration Specialist (third from right, white shirt, wearing blue hat), points toward a grassed riparian buffer along Susquehecka Creek for the tour group. Photo provided by Snyder County Conservation District.

Frank Rohrer, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Restoration Specialist (third from right, white shirt, wearing blue hat), points toward a grassed riparian buffer along Susquehecka Creek for the tour group. Photo provided by Snyder County Conservation District.

The Snyder County Conservation District held a Stream Buffer and CREP Field Day event on July 28, 2016, in which thirty-five visiting and host farmers, landowners, a legislative aide, state government officials participated. The event included a tour of three farm sites. Representatives from Pheasants Forever, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, PA DCNR-Bureau of Forestry, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, and USDA-Farm Service Agency, relayed information about buffers, weeds, grass plantings, and CREP procedures. Click here to read more about the event.
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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Conservation Districts Reach Thousands through CREP Mini-grant Program

PACREP_FullColorCROPPEDThe 2015-16 round of Pennsylvania Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) mini-grants for conservation districts recently concluded. Thanks to the conservation districts and their partners, the program was a success! Some of the outcomes include:
  • 20 projects were conducted
  • 2,458 farmers and landowners were reached
  • 11 field days/walkabouts were held
  • 23 workshops were held
  • 149 one-on-one visits were held
  • 109 participants indicated they plan to enroll in CREP in the future
  • 137 participants indicated they plan to re-enroll in CREP when their contract expires
Applications for the 2016-17 round of mini-grants were due August 19. Notifications of the projects funded in the new round will be made by August 31. Questions about the mini-grant program should be directed to swehinger@pacd.org.

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Westmoreland Conservation District Hosts CREP Tours

Tour participants learn about the native plants grown at the Friendship Farms nursery.  Photo provided by Westmoreland Conservation District.

Tour participants learn about the native plants grown at the Friendship Farms nursery. Photo provided by Westmoreland Conservation District.

The Westmoreland Conservation District hosted the first of two tours highlighting the benefits of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).  Participants visited Friendship Farms to see how they have protected streams on their property using riparian buffers, fencing, and stream crossings. To read more about the tour and CREP, click here.
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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