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May 2001
Water Policy News
Newsletter of the Water Resources Education Network

In this Issue

Wren Awards 28 Grants
Water Forums Seek Public Views
Groundwater Foundation Seeking Presenters For Groundwater Technology Conference
Students Report On Study Of Standing Stone Creek To Municipal Officials
Creek Week Celebrates Watersheds
Resources


Wren Awards 28 Grants

Fifteen communities will learn more about the source of their drinking water and 13 will take steps to protect and improve their watersheds with the help of $110,000 in funding from the Water Resources Education Network. Funds for the WREN grants program are provided by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Competition was stiff for this round of WREN grants. 73 proposals were submitted, totalling over $322,000 in funding requests. The proposal review focused on those projects that best meet the grant criteria: would a coalition of community groups carry out the project, was the project educational, were municipal leaders involved, and, in the case of drinking water projects, was the water supplier involved?

The community projects will be carried out from July 2001 to July 2002. Project leaders will meet on June 14-15 to learn about resources available to them and to network with leaders of successfully completed projects. For a list of the sucessful projects,

Water Forums Seek Public Views

Water - Is Our Future Draining Away
Has the spring weather convinced us that our weather, and rainfall, are capricious things? Can we continue to rely on having the water we need, where and when we want it, as population grows and spreads out across the countryside?

The Department of Environmental Protection is sponsoring a series of public meetings to hear your views on how we manage (or don't manage) our water resources. Should we continue to pursue water conservation initiatives? Are in-stream flows important to maintain? How should competition between water users be addressed? (Right now, the biggest pump and deepest well wins.)

The forums outline basic water resource challenges and opportunities and seek residents views on the biggest water issues in their communities.

Although most of the meetings are past, you can still give your thoughts on water issues on the DEP website: http://www.dep.state.pa.us, directLink "Water Forums."

DEP, and its partners in this effort, the departments of Community and Economic Development, Conservation and Natural Resources and Agriculture, will be analyzing the comments received over the summer and proposing policy initiatives to deal with concerns expressed in the fall.

Groundwater Foundation Seeking Presenters for Groundwater Technology Conference

The Groundwater Foundation is seeking papers for presentation at its annual fall conference to be held November 14 -16, 2001 at the Hilton Pittsburgh and Towers Hotel in Pittsburgh, PA. The conference theme is "Today's Technology Protecting Tomorrow's Groundwater." The goal of the conference is to explore how technology can assist communities with assessment and protection of drinking water sources.

Presentation topics will include but are not limited to: application of Internet-based technology in diverse communities; mapping software; funding for technology; remote sensing; aquifer computer modeling; using GIS and GPS effectively. Preference will be given to presentations that have a groundwater protection focus.

In addition, the conference will offer a technology fair featuring displays and demonstrations by Groundwater Guardian National Partners and Conference Co-sponsors. These displays will focus on the practical use of technology for communities.

For more information about the conference or to learn how to become a presenter, Groundwater Guardian National Partner, or conference co-sponsor, please contact the Groundwater Foundation at 402-434-2740 or cindy@groundwater.org.

Students Report On Study Of Standing Stone Creek To Municipal Officials

Huntingdon Borough Council recently heard a report on the health of the Borough's drinking water source, Standing Stone Creek, from students from the Huntingdon Area Middle School (HAMS). The sixth grade students reported to the Council on their assessment of four sites on the Creek at which studies were done on macroinvertebrates, water chemistry, land use around the area and in-stream habitat. The students also studied the water treatment operations for the Borough's water supply.

After analyzing their data and data collected in previous years, the students recommended to Council that a full-scale watershed assessment be completed, nitrates and phosphates entering the watershed should be decreased, Best Management Practices to reduce streambank erosion should be implemented, public education should continue and a Standing Stone Watershed Association should be established.

Margo Wilson, one of the students, reported in a summary of the project that, "the objectives of the study were to educate people about events that impact the watershed, to help start a plan to protect its water quality, and to educate people about conservation planning and environmental protection."

Partnering with the students in this WREN funded project are the Huntingdon County Conservation District and Juniata College's Environmental Science and Studies Department.

The Borough Council plans to use the study to apply for future grants and as a pre-assessment in their source water assessment program. The report can be accessed at the Juniata Clean Water Partnership website at http://www.jcwp.org/web frame.htm. For more information on the students' project, contact Fred Wilson, fwilson@dns.tiu.k12.pa.us

Creek Week Celebrates Watersheds

For nine days in May, residents and visitors to the Chester, Ridley and Crum creeks watersheds, in Delaware and Chester counties, celebrated their streams with a variety of activities, walks, demonstrations and displays.

Organized by the Chester-Ridley-Crum Creeks Watershed Association (CRCWA), Creek Week is in its fourth year of raising awareness about the importance of the region's water resources. The program grew out of the development of the Ridley Creek Conservation Plan and a recognized need to connect residents to their watershed.

The "week" kicked off on May 5 with a Stream Clean Up led by the CRCWA. A day-long program at Ridley Creek State Park offered displays and programs by many regional organizations. Among the organizations at the State Park were, Stroud Water Research Center, Pennsylvania Resources Council, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and many others. Nature walks, wildflower and birding identification programs and cultural events are some examples of other events held during the "week".

For more information contact Eunice Alexander, Chester-Ridley-Crum Creek Watershed Association, 610-692-0923.

Resources

Water is Life
(PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, 2001, 20 pp)
A collection of essays on water topics. Available online at www.dep.state.pa.us (directLINK "Water Resources")

Stream Restoration In Pennsylvania: Ten Case Studies
(Delaware Riverkeeper Network, 2000, 70 pp) describes a variety of restoration strategies. Available from DRN, 215-369-1188 or www.delawareriverkeeper.org

The Practice of Watershed Protection, Techniques for protecting our nation's streams, lakes, rivers and estuaries. (Center for Watershed Protection, 2000, 742 pp) An extensive collection of articles and technical notes reprinted from the past seven years of the CWP's journal, Watershed Protection Techniques. Available from CWP, 410-461-8323, emailcenter@cwp.org or order online: www.cwp.org

Drinking Water And Waste Water Handbook For Local Officials (College of Southern Maryland, October 2000 49 pp)
Local officials are almost always those considered ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the water and wastewater systems operated by their communities. This handbook provides an overview of the "need to know" information for local officials. Available from Karen Brandt at the College of Southern Maryland, 301 934-2251 or www.mcet.org

A Small Town Source Water Primer: Building Support For Protection Programs (National Center for Small Communities, 2000, 36 pp) and From Assessment To Action: Protecting Small Town And Rural County Public Water Sources (National Center for Small Communities, 2000, 36 pp) Information to serve the unique needs of small and rural community leaders. Both of the publications from the National Center for Small Communities can be ordered through Robert Neidlinger at 202 624-3555, email: rneidlinger@sso.org

Water Infrastructure: Water-Efficient Plumbing Fixtures Reduce Water Consumption and Wastewater Flows
(US General Accounting Office, GAO/RCED-00-232, 2000)
examines the impact water efficient fixtures have had on water consumption and wastewater flows. Available from GAO at 202-512-6000, or online at http://www.gao.gov

Public Notification Handbook
(US EPA, Office of Water, EPA 816-R-00-010, 2000, 133 pp)
handbook for water suppliers on new pubic notification regulations.

Preparing Your Drinking Water Consumer Confidence Report (US EPA, Office of Water, EPA 816-R-01-003, 2001, 36 pp) guidance for water suppliers. "Working Draft for Public Review"

EPA pubs are available from:
Water ResourceCenter(WRC), email: center.water-resource@epa.gov,
(202)260-7786 and
National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP), email: ncepimal@one.net, (800) 490-9198

This newsletter is a project of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund - WREN.   Funded by a grant from the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection

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