We are dedicated to providing a series of informational materials designed to give the public the tools to successfully address the organizational and technical issues facing watershed groups throughout the state. POWR partnered with GreenTreks, as well as the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Canaan Valley Institute, and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council to produce accompanying videos for two of the five fact packs.

  • Fact Pack 1: How to Form Your Own Watershed Organization in Pennsylvania (pdf | video)
  • Fact Pack 2: Communicating Your Message: Tools for Building Partnerships and Sharing Your Watershed Success Stories (pdf | video)
  • Fact Pack 3: The Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, Partnerships, and Future Challenges (pdf)
  • Fact Pack 4: Small Dam Removal in Pennsylvania, Free-Flowing Watershed Restoration (pdf)
  • Pack 5: Make “IT” Work for Your Watershed Organization (pdf)

To order a paper copy email info@pawatersheds.org or call 570-718-6507.

1. How to Form Your Own Watershed Organization in Pennsylvania

This informative booklet details the steps needed to take a group of concerned citizens and turn them into an actual watershed conservation organization. The topics addressed in the booklet are as follows:

  • What is a Watershed Association, and do you need one?
  • What is an Organizing Committee?
  • How do you Become Incorporated?
  • Recruiting Board Members
  • Holding a public meeting
  • Finding and Maintaining Volunteers
  • Strategic Planning

This Fact Pack also provides a complete resource contact list, which will assist you and your supporters in becoming a viable watershed organization in your community. In addition, it includes a 20-minute video that is narrated by Janie French of The Canaan Valley Institute and produced by Kelly Meinhart of GreenTreks.

2. Communicating Your Message: Tools for Building Partnerships and Sharing Your Watershed Success Stories

Local watershed restoration and protection are group efforts and are built on partnerships. To fully realize the potential of a watershed approach, participants in a project need to constantly reach out to new partners to educate them about the benefits of their work. They need to communicate their message.

Potential audiences include new volunteers; funders, such as foundation staff; local businesses; educators and researchers; and elected and appointed municipal, state, and federal officials.
Local groups are often so busy with their project work that they do not take the time to tell others about what they are doing. Even if they want to tell the community about their work, groups may not understand just how easy it can be to promote their successes, highlight existing needs, and reach out to new partners.

POWR and Greenworks.tv have produced a free instructional fact pack to help watershed groups and other citizen organizations engaged in local environmental protection realize the value of reaching out to new partners and provide tips for how to do so. The fact pack features an easy-to-read 24-page booklet and accompanying video.

3. The Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, Partnerships, and Future Challenges

The Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund (AMRF) is an interest accruing account held by the United States Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to address the adverse impacts created by old coal mining operations. Title IV of the Federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) established the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund to reclaim abandoned sites mined before the passage of the Act – before modern environmental standards requiring mine operators to reclaim surface mines to their pre-mining condition.

Income to the fund is generated by today’s mine operators on every ton of coal they mine – 35 cents/ton for surfaced-mined coal, 15 cents/ton for deep mine coal, and 10 cents/ton for lignite coal. Money from this fund is funneled back to the coal mining states, including Pennsylvania, to support abandoned mine reclamation programs. Congress determines the amount of money that will be appropriated from the fund. The Office of Surface Mining then delegates the money to state reclamation programs using a formula that takes into account each state’s present and historic coal production. In Pennsylvania, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) uses this money to fund projects to reclaim abandoned mines and clean up watersheds polluted by abandoned mine drainage (AMD). Pennsylvania has been able to leverage this money with state and private funds and the work of dedicated volunteer groups to maximize the reclamation of abandoned mines, improve the environment, and make a positive impact in communities throughout the Commonwealth’s coalfields. In addition, OSM uses money from the fund to complete emergency reclamation projects.

The fund is currently operating with a substantial balance. Average income for the AMRF ranges from $300-$350 million each year. The usual expenditures from the fund are about $150 million each year. Under-spending continues to leave a balance in the fund that grows at a rate of about $125-$150 million each year. As of March 31, 2001, the total unspent balance sitting in the fund was $1,376,671,498.

The total collected from its first collection date (January 30, 1978) until March 31, 2001 amounts to $6,385,249,759. In addition, collection to the fund is set to expire on September 30, 2004. The discontinuation of this program would eliminate the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, transferring any leftover money to general government revenue and severely hampering Pennsylvania’s efforts to reclaim its abandoned mine legacy.

4. Small Dam Removal in Pennsylvania, Free-Flowing Watershed Restoration

There are an estimated 75,000 dams larger than 6 feet in the United States today, and many thousands of smaller dams. With the most stream miles anywhere in the continental United States, Pennsylvania has its share of dams – 3,200 at last count. Many of these dams were built more than 100 years ago on small rivers and creeks to supply power for gristmills. Others were built to provide water for drinking and irrigation, flood protection, hydroelectric power, and recreation. Most of these dams are small, and many of them no longer serve the purpose for which they were built.

As old mills are torn down or stop regular operation, the dams to which they are connected continue to lie across rivers and creeks, blocking the movement of fish and other aquatic species, degrading water quality, and altering the flow of sediment and nutrients critical for stream health. Old farms can also create safety hazards to downstream communities when they fail, to upstream communities when they back up flood waters, and to visitors who fall off of them or boaters and canoeists who go over them and get caught in dangerous hydraulic currents. While some dams continue to serve important functions, many dams in Pennsylvania are good candidates for removal.

This fact pack is designed for watershed organizations, citizen groups, municipalities, and others interested in restoring the many benefits of a free-flowing river or creek through dam removal. While change can be very hard to accomplish and accept – many people love damns for the way they look and sound or simply have gotten used to them being there for many years – the benefits of dam removal are often worth the effort. In this fact pack, we walk you through the ABCs of community dam removal, from the early palling and research states, through permitting, fundraising, hiring qualified contractors to do the removal, and, the kind of hands-on monitoring and restoration projects in which citizen groups can get involved following dam removal.

While removing a dam is not always possible for various reasons, we will give you some information and guidance on how to make that decision and how to go about the process of removing a dam when it is appropriate.

5. Make “IT” Work for Your Watershed Organization

There are five aspects of the Web and technology that are presented in this document.

  • Part I: Finding Resources on the Web (Locate information on watershed related issues)
  • Part II: Using the Web to Convey your Organization’s Message (Online resources to help your organization ‘get connected’)
  • Part III: Technology Planning and Implementation (The process of incorporating technology into your organization)
  • Part IV: Recommendations for Computers (What to look for when purchasing computers for your organization)
  • Part V: Internet Connectivity Options (Different ways of getting your organization online)

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