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Friday, January 17, 2014

Numerous Projects Updated For Water Quality Work Group

Numerous Projects Updated For Water Quality Work Group

water_quality-icon1Monitoring of local streams and rivers has been stepped up in the region, according to information reported at this month’s Potter County Water Quality Work Group meeting. Jason Childs from the Potter County Conservation District and Bob Volkmar from Trout Unlimited demonstrated the data chart that has been created from one of 16 remote monitoring stations placed at strategic locations in the county. Water depth, conductivity, temperature and other conditions are logged.

Frank Weeks, from the Upper Allegheny Watershed Association, reported that his group has begun installing separate monitors that will measure the acidity of precipitation. It’s part of a larger project to analyze the Allegheny River headwaters and a tributary, Mill Creek, to develop a conservation plan.

Volkmar and Mary Anne Heston from the Potter County Water Dogs updated the group on training and recruitment activities for volunteers who are taking regular measurements of designated streams to establish a database and document the impact of any disturbances. They also reported on a plan to partner with local 4-H clubs to assist.

Potter County Conservation District Manager Chris Mitterer was designated to review the list of illegal dumpsites recently made public in a statewide report and chose several of them to receive priority for cleanup. Jim Clark of Penn State Extension confirmed that a certified Cleanways organization in McKean County would be willing to partner with Potter County in the remediation work if certain conditions are met.

John McLaughlin, chairman of the Potter County Planning Commission and Triple Divide Watershed Coalition, reported on a recent meeting with the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) regional administrator in Williamsport. He said the local delegation was pushing its case to have DEP require notification of public water suppliers when oil or gas permits have been requested in close proximity to drinking water sources.

Members also heard reports on requests for grants to cover streambank restoration and habitat improvement projects, as well as replacement of culverts in Kettle Creek that are impeding fish migration.

Also attending were Commissioners Paul Heimel and Doug Morley, Potter County Conservation District Board Chairman Earl Brown and Potter County Education Council Executive Director Bob Veilleux. Next Potter County Water Quality Work Group meeting will be held at 8 am on March 10 at the Gunzburger Building. Meetings are open to the public.

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