Recognizing Wetlands

7/22/2016, reposted from US Army Corps of Engineers -- What is a Wetland? The US Army Corps of Engineers(Corps) and the US Environmental Protection Agency define wetlands as follows:  Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.  

Wetlands are areas that are covered by water or have waterlogged soils for long periods during the growing season. Plants growing in wetlands are capable of living in saturated soil conditions for at least part of the growing season.

Wetlands such as swamps and marshes are often obvious, but some wetlands are not easily recognized, often because they are dry during part of the year or "they just don't look very wet" from the roadside.

(click HERE for the full 4 pg Informational Pamphlet in pdf format; view more photos here.)  ###


New Management Method for Japanese Knotweed Infested Soils 

7/25/2016, by Larry Day, reposted from the Delaware County Action Plan Newsletter -- Most of us are familiar with the broad-leaved invasive plant Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum, among other Latin names), locally known as “bamboo.” And most of us know that applications of compost tend to help plants grow better. So who would expect that compost could be used to kill Japanese Knotweed roots in soil?

In the September 2016 edition of the journal Ecological Restoration Larry Day (DC SWCD) and Susan McIntyre (DC DPW) explain how they found an unconventional method of using compost to treat soil infested with knotweed. Efforts to control the spread of this plant are important because of its tendency to dominate stream bank vegetation while increasing stream corridor instability.

Their study began out of necessity after a 2015 stream / road bank failure along East Brook Road in Walton, which some readers may recall as a DPW road project that took months to complete. In this complex project some 60 cubic yards of knotweed-infested soil was removed from the site to allow for stream and road bank stabilization. The unwanted soil material was trucked to Delaware County’s Solid Waste Management Center, which is also where large volumes of compost are continually created from a mixture of municipal solid waste and biosolids residuals from wastewater treatment plants.

To produce a safe and marketable finished product, the temperature of the County’s composting process is maintained high enough and long enough (131+ °F over three consecutive days) to kill pathogenic bacteria in biosolids as well as any weed seeds from plants. Knowing this, Ms. McIntyre and Mr. Day decided to try completely enclosing the infested soil with layers of compost in an outdoor setting. By the time the trucks stopped rolling and the dust settled, a 20 -ft by 200-ft long pile was created of compost-encapsulated soil.

For the rest of the details interested readers will need to look for the research article, currently in press, at https:// journals/er.html. But in brief, after four months of treatment all tested samples of knotweed were found to be lifeless. Now in its second growing season, the original pile has subsided or shrunk in size as the compost oxidized and stabilized, yet not a single knotweed plant has sprouted from it.

This study offers hope for improved Japanese knotweed management and a new avenue of research for its control in the field. It also shows how local efforts towards watershed management continue to pay dividends within and beyond the borders of Delaware County.

(see Delaware County Action Plan Newsletter here)  ###


Susquehanna River’s branches have a vocal defenderphoto by R Inglis, Daily Item

1/4/2016, by Rick Dandes, reposted from The Daily Item -- LEWISBURG — Her selection as the first Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper culminates a lifetime spent enjoying, studying and caring for the 444-mile waterway, Hershey native Carol Parenzan says.

The board of the Waterkeeper Alliance in New York City approved the Penn State graduate to the post with a mission of helping to keep the North and West branches north of their confluence in Sunbury clean and free of pollution.

Her task, she says, is what she’s wanted to do all her life.

"I spent many days as a kid paddling the river. I know the river," she said. "I have always been drawn to water. Besides being an avid paddler, I was a competitive swimmer as a child and am now an open water distance swimmer as an adult. I have navigated hundreds of miles of the Susquehanna River and her tributaries by canoe. Because of my love of water, I looked for a college program that would combine my interests in the river, her expanded watershed, math and science."  (read full article here)


Upper Susquehanna Coalition Receives NY State Environmental Excellence Award

12/7/2015, reposted from PACD Front Page e-newsletter -- In November, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced New York State recognized seven organizations at the 12th Annual New York State Environmental Excellence Awards for their state-of-the-art programs and commitment to environmental sustainability, social responsibility and economic viability.

"These organizations make clear that by using innovative green programs, we can achieve strong environmental goals while growing the economy," Governor Cuomo said. "They are a role model for businesses across the state looking to reduce their environmental impact, and I encourage everyone to learn more about what they can do to help protect our beautiful natural resources for generations to come."

The State Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos honored the recipients at the Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany.Winners this year include the Upper Susquehanna Coalition’s (USC) Stream Team Flood Response Training Program. Upper Susquehanna Coalition was honored for its Stream Team Flood Response Training Program. The Coalition is a unique collaboration of 16 New York Soil and Water Conservation Districts and 3 PA Conservation Districts (Bradford, Susquehanna and Tioga). The training program takes an innovative and hands-on approach to teach local and agency officials and personnel, contractors and landowners how to effectively address stream management issues in post storm situations which will prevent or lessen unnecessary environmental and economic damages. This sustainable, statewide training campaign is enhancing New York’s capacity to respond to increasingly common extreme weather events. As a result, there are more local communities using sustainable stream work practices. In addition, more local and agency officials and personnel, contractors and landowners are trained to effectively address stream management issues in post storm situations.

The Bradford County Conservation District has been a significant part in leading the USC Stream Team effort with Mike Lovegreen (former Bradford Manager) serving as the Team Leader and Joe Quatrini (Bradford Technical Team Leader) serving as one of the lead designers and quality assurance leaders.


Photo for Penn State Extension by Sanford SmithThe Importance of Forests to Clean Water

November 2015, Bryan Swistock, a water resources extension associate with Penn State Extension, discusses "forest hydrology" or the movement of water within forested watersheds and how that ensures clean water.

The importance of forests in providing clean water and reduced stormwater in comparison to other landscapes is also illustrated along with the critical processes of infiltration and groundwater recharge.  
Recorded Webinar at
PDF Copy of Slides  at PDF, (6.3 MB)


Wyoming County Fairgrounds Clean Water Initiative


9/9/2015 The Wyoming County Conservation District, in partnership with the county fair board, have worked hard to see their “Clean Water Initiative Project” come to fruition. Click on below image to see their photo/report:





Stream Health Management Strategy

3/31/15, shared by EMRC&D Watershed Committee chair Mike Lovegreen -- The Chesapeake Bay Program has released a number of strategies for addressing natural resource needs.  Of particular interest to the EMRC&D area is the Stream Health Strategy.  Copies of the strategies and where to provide input can be found at .


WNEP 16 Features Susquehanna County Conservation District's Stream Restoration Project

3/25/15, -- Video interview with Jim Garner, Susquehanna County Conservation District Director:






"How's the Chesapeake Bay doing?"

1/12/15, reposted from CBF  -- The health of the Chesapeake relies on intricate natural systems that filter water and provide habitat for diverse and abundant life. The State of the Bay report is a comprehensive measure of the Bay's health. CBF scientists measure its health by examining the best available historical and current information for 13 indicators in three categories: pollution, habitat, and fisheries. CBF scientists then assign each indicator an index score between 1 and 100. Taken together, these indicators offer an assessment of the Chesapeake's health. CBF issued its first State of the Bay report in 1998. (rest of article:   Directly to 2014 State of the Bay Report :


Living With Pennsylvania Streams - Effecting Cultural Change

5/14/14, Wysox -- “Effecting Cultural Change” may sound a bit presumptuous and a bit ambitious, but that is exactly what the Endless Mountains Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council is attempting to do through their ongoing efforts, the most recent being a publication entitled Stream Processes Guide: Living with Pennsylvania Streams.  Through information comes knowledge and understanding, and how our northern tier PA streams are formed, function and are best managed is the focus of this publication.

cover of Living with Pennsylvania StreamsWe often hear the term “best available technology” used in describing how we deal with managing issues and situations.  That technology is based on our knowledge and understanding of the system we are working with, and what the components are and how they all work together.  Our streams are no different.  For centuries, we have worked with these systems that are both complex and sensitive to modification.  Development in the watersheds that provide both the quantity and quality of water that feeds these streams and the methods by which we managed the streams as they responded to those changes have been largely based on our “best available technology” or understanding of them.  That understanding has come a long way in the last generation and sharing that information, knowledge and technology is the goal of the watershed efforts of the Endless Mountains RC&D.

Building upon a publication developed by their neighbors to the north, the Chemung County Soil and Water Conservation District, a collaboration of effort by the six county RC&Ds, PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Lycoming County Planning Commission, an educational resource was developed that serves as a primer for landowners, municipal officials, resources managers and just about anyone who lives with and interacts with our stream resources.  The Guide walks readers through sections that include: How Do Streams Work?; Living in Watersheds; Assessing the Condition of a Stream; Challenges to Managing Streams; Stream Management Strategies; Legal Issues; Self –Assessment; and Additional Resources.

The Endless Mountains RC&D has historically maintained a focus on the challenges of living with and managing the region’s streams.  Flooding and unstable stream channels are cited almost universally by municipalities and the general public alike as the top natural hazard of the region.  The RC&D Council recognized that one of the solutions to begin turning the corner of comprehensive management of these hazards is to foster a better understanding of just how these stream systems work.  Too often, the landowners and officials that deal with the interaction with the region’s streams view them as “maintenance liabilities” as opposed to “valuable natural resources”.   Determined to help change this perception, the RC&D was most recently able to secure and complete a PA Growing Greener grant to sponsor a number of outreach efforts, one of which is the Guide.  Other efforts included a series of workshops and conferences aimed at municipal officials to further the sharing of information and knowledge of stream function and flooding hazards, regulatory guidelines for managing stream corridors,  and an opportunity to discuss what additional tools and information was needed.  The outcome for this series of outreach efforts was the development of a “Flood Management Toolbox” that contained a broad sample of available resources for local officials; a series of demonstration sites of low-impact development practices that are featured in a regional guide; and the “Living with Pennsylvania Stream” guide itself.

For more information regarding this newest set of tools produced and available through the Endless Mountains RC& D, visit our project page (click here) or contact our Program Manager at

 (by Mike Lovegreen, Watershed Committee Chair)




Pennsylvania Continues to Reduce Water Pollution in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

April 3, 2014 - (HARRISBURG, PA) - The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced that efforts to reduce pollution in Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed continue to yield progress. The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) released its annual Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model progress run results for 2013. These numbers represent the estimated amounts of phosphorous, nitrogen and sediment conveyed to the Chesapeake Bay.

“Pennsylvania’s hard work in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed has continued to decrease water pollution,” DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo said. “I believe we can achieve even greater results by partnering with stakeholders, helping them develop plans unique to their watershed needs, and engaging local property owners to do their part. The bay watershed is a vital resource, not only to Pennsylvania, but to all watershed states, and it is our job to protect it for generations to come.”

Pennsylvania has continued to successfully reduce nutrient and sediment loading into the bay watershed. DEP efforts include updating nitrogen and phosphorous limits in permits for wastewater treatment plants, issuing municipal stormwater system permits with nutrient planning requirements, fostering a successful nutrient credit trading program that incentivizes best management practices (BMPs) and conducting 10,842 farm visits in the bay watershed from July 2011 through December 2013.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model analyzes three main pollutants: phosphorous, nitrogen and sediment. According to the model results released today, Pennsylvania has exceeded the Watershed Model Milestone for phosphorous reductions by approximately 5.1 percent. Although continued reductions have been achieved, the results also indicate that the state narrowly missed 2013 milestones for nitrogen by 1.8 percent and sediment by 4.8 percent.

Also according to the results, Pennsylvania has continued to see a downward trend for all three pollutants. Since 1985, the watershed model indicates that Pennsylvania has reduced phosphorous loadings by 25 percent, nitrogen by 10 percent and sediment by 15 percent, while experiencing significant growth in the Chesapeake Basin.

This trend is supported by data like the long-term monitoring conducted by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, which indicates positive, downward trends in phosphorous, nitrogen and sediment at Pennsylvania monitoring stations in the bay watershed.

Pennsylvania’s 40,000 farmers and 1,200 municipalities in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed have continued to voluntarily install BMPs such as riparian buffers, green infrastructure and cover crops. However, many of these voluntary BMPs can be difficult to track and are sometimes not taken into account when examining Pennsylvania’s efforts to reduce pollution in the bay watershed. DEP continues to work to improve data collection for BMPs, particularly in the rural and urban sectors, so that these important voluntary efforts are accounted for when submitting progress data to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Local initiatives, like the York County Coalition for Clean Waters and the Conewago Creek Initiative in Lancaster County, have also played a big role in pollution reduction in the bay watershed. For example, the York County Coalition for Clean Waters prepared a watershed implementation plan that targets pollutant-reducing BMPs to help municipalities and other stakeholders determine how to efficiently reduce pollutants. The Conewago Creek Initiative has helped create 21 residential stormwater management plans and install 60 acres of forested riparian buffers, 183 acres of cover crops and 4,700 feet of stream bank restoration.

Similar local watershed projects have been made possible by funding from the Marcellus Legacy Fund and Growing Greener Grants. Signed by Governor Tom Corbett, Act 13 of 2012 provided a natural gas impact fee which funds the Marcellus Legacy Fund and provided the first infusion of new money into the Growing Greener Grant Program in over a decade.

Milestones are pollution reduction goals based on EPA-mandated 2017 and 2025 targets for the Chesapeake Bay. Every two years, states in the bay watershed reevaluate to meet their milestones to help ensure continued progress in reducing pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

For more information, or to view the milestones visit, keyword “Chesapeake Bay Program,” or call 717-772-4785.



Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Farmers improve nearly forty miles of streams

Dec 20, 2013 - (HARRISBURG, PA) – The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), our partners, and 41farmers in northern Pennsylvania today celebrate a significant clean water achievement: 36 miles of forest buffers have been planted along streams in Bradford, Susquehanna, Sullivan, Wyoming, and Lycoming Counties. These buffers will improve local and downstream water quality, improve farm viability, provide habitat for fish and other wildlife, and count toward Pennsylvania's Clean Water Blueprint requirements.

The four-year project was funded by a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant, Pa DEP Growing Greener, and by CBF's Buffer Bonus program, and yielded impressive results. In addition to the 36 newly established streamside forested buffers (a total of 430 acres), farmers also installed 219 different on-farm conservation practices for a healthier environment. State-compliant soil conservation and manure management plans were developed for each of the farms, with twenty-eight also receiving Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans.

"These improvements all have positive effects on local water quality, while at the same time help to improve the overall productivity of the farm, said Stephanie Eisenbise, CBF's Pennsylvania Watershed Manager.

"Streams in this northern region of the state are very important because they are the headwaters to the Susquehanna River. So this work not only helps improve water quality here at home, but also nearly 400 miles away in the Chesapeake Bay."

For Bill Houseknecht of Bradford County, and one of the 41 farmers, working with Buffer Bonus meant a new streamside buffer and a much-needed manure storage facility that enables him to store roughly seven months worth of manure.

"We used to have to spread two loads a day throughout the year. Now we store it until we need it, spreading it primarily in the spring and summer, and maybe a little bit in the fall if we've got something growing," Bill said. "It's been a tremendous labor savings for us, especially in the winter when you don't have to worry about spreading it on the snow."

Manure storage facilities are one of several Buffer Bonus supported improvements that can deliver direct water quality benefits. The program focuses first on the pollution-reduction capabilities of forested streamside buffers. In return for establishing a buffer of at least 35 feet in width, participating farmers receive a voucher to help pay for other on-farm conservation practices. This win-win program improves both farm productivity and water quality.

"The Clean Water Blueprint outlines Pennsylvania's goals for meeting pollution reductions from farming," said Eisenbise. "And farm-by-farm those goals are being met. But there's more work to do. That's why we are working with farmers to implement clean water conservation practices that have local and downstream benefits."

Practices supported through the Buffer Bonus program include:
• Planting streamside forested buffers;
• Livestock stream fencing and crossings;
• Constructing manure storage facilities;
• Controlling run-off from barnyards, pastures, & rooftops;
• Constructing containment facilities for milkhouse wastes;
• Improving barnyard areas and livestock lanes;
• And many others.

Additional funding provided by: USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA-Farm Service Agency, Pennsylvania's REAP, PA Growing Greener, the Bradford County Conservation District, and by other generous donors.

Project Partners: Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Bradford County Conservation District, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pheasants Forever, USDA-Farm Service Agency, Red Barn, Inc., TeamAg, Inc., and the Towanda Creek Watershed Association.

To read about the many farming success stories happening in Pennsylvania and throughout the watershed, visit To learn more about the Pennsylvania Clean Water Blueprint visit



Presentations from the Mid-Atlantic Stream Restoration Conference are now on the web!

11/8/2013, Resource Institute, Inc. -- Did you attend the conference?  Thanks so much for making this an incredible event! Did you miss the conference?  That's okay, you can see the  presentations. Please visit the Mid-Atlantic Conference Agenda ( at  to see presentations from the conference.


Water value and competition will rise

11/5/2013 excerpt from EPA Connect, EPA's leadership blog -- Available data does not reflect water’s true worth in the economy. For example, pricing does not usually reflect the marginal value enjoyed by Americans in having safe tap water available from community water systems 24 hours a day, which is a benefit that many citizens in other countries do not enjoy.  As a result of water being undervalued, current use may be inefficient and unsustainable. Also, competition for water will increase as consumption rises, water quality decreases, and the impacts of climate change are felt. (read more at EPA Connect ; also see the Importance of Water Report )


Tour examines wilderness restoration

9/7/13, Williamsport Sun-Gazette, Mark Maroney -- At first glance, the marsh repository for golfers' balls at the 16th hole at White Deer Golf Course, resembles an overgrown, unkept area where weeds have taken over and ground-keepers gave up. read the full article at  (will open in a new browser tab)

The Homeowner's Guide to Stormwater

9/7/13, reposted from Penn State Extension -- If you are looking for a way to help protect or improve your watershed or you are doing a small home improvement project that creates a new impervious area and you need to manage the stormwater that is generated, this guide is for you.  (print and video versions at ; click on pic for pdf version, will open in a new browser tab.)



We’re Still in the Bay Watershed?

8/16/2013, EPA's Healthy Waters Blog, by Tom Damm --  We’re getting ready to take our daughter back to college in Pittsburgh next week.  I remember last year when we took the trip, we were heading west along the Pennsylvania Turnpike – one driver switch and nearly three quarters of the way across the state – when we saw this sign: “Leaving the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.”

Really?  Way out here?   read the full article at  (will open in a new browser tab)


$350K well water study proposed for Bradford County

7/26/2013, Towanda Daily Review, by James Loewenstein --  A group of regional health care providers is seeking state funding to conduct a $350,000 study of the quality of drinking water in private wells in Bradford County, which will investigate, among other things, the effects of Marcellus Shale drilling on well water. .  read the full article at (will open in a new browser tab) 

1st step for private water well testing OK’ed

7/26/2013, Williamsport Sun-Gazette, by Elizabeth Regan -- The Lycoming County commissioners unanimously approved a $250,000 grant application that, if approved by the state, will be a locally unprecedented project to support a countywide groundwater quality monitoring project to establish a baseline for groundwater quality data for private water supplies..  read the full article at (will open in a new browser tab)


Pennsylvania Groundwater Quality: Your Private Well:
What Do the Results Mean?
- Second Edition, 2012
A Drinking Water Guide for Pennsylvania, by Mr. Brian Oram,  Professional Geologist B. F. Environmental Consultants Inc. -  providing guidance on selecting water quality testing parameters for baseline testing from a citizen's perspective and by serving as a tool to help interpret water quality data.


Water Tests: What Do The Numbers Mean – a 28-page detailed publication that explains water test reports and the various parameters that may be tested in water.  



CLEAN STREAMS: Future of Susquehanna River watershed discussed at meeting

January 14, 2013, Williamsport Sun-Gazette, by Savannah Dempsey -- Members of 15 organizations and concerned citizens met to discuss what the future holds for the Susquehanna River watershed at an annual summit hosted by the local chapter of Trout Unlimited last Wednesday.  read the full article at (will open in a new browser tab)




Proactive to Flooding:


Turning Plastic Bags Into Fuel  , 2/25/14, As the debate over whether to ban plastic bags continues, and as many cities have already enacted such bans, researchers may have found an alternative solution: turning plastic bags into fuel.