Pennsylvania Pipeline Construction Monitoring Program Training


Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper has teamed up with Trout Unlimited to conduct water quality assessments of streams where there is pipeline and other linear construction activities throughout the watershed. Our primary focus is erosion and sedimentation due to earth-moving activities. The first training is Saturday, November 19, at the Montour Preserve in Danville (Columbia County).

Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper is looking to field six (6) teams.

Registration is required and class size is limited. Training includes both classroom work and field experience.

Creek Watch iPod app

Those of you with iPods, as well as those of you without them, might find this very cool free mobile application interesting. Developed by some socially conscious folks at IBM and just launched a few days ago, the Creek Watch app lets you take pictures and quickly – and qualitatively – rate the quality of your stream.

While many of you may be working on much more scientific monitoring of your streams, this could be a cool way to get the word out, and engage more people. Check it out, its free!

Watershed monitoring through Google Earth

For those of you monitoring your watershed closely, you might look into this collaborative website that stores watershed data. While we (POWR) continue to look for a way to improve the Keystone Monitoring Network, we mostly just want folks to find the best solution so they can continue to serve as the front line eyes on water quality.

“The Clean Watersheds Project is an interdisciplinary collaborative watershed monitoring project that uses Google Earth Pro to store and share watershed data. Our main goal is to empower our community of parents, teachers, students and environmental experts to collect, post, and analyze data about our changing watersheds in an effort to improve the health of our national watersheds.”

SRBC sharing real time water quality data online


Water Managers and Public Can Track if Streams Are Impacted by Pollution


CONTACT: Susan Obleski, Director of Communications

Office: (717) 238-0423, x316      Cell: (717) 215-7278

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) today announced that real-time data from six initial remote water quality monitoring stations are now available on SRBC’s web site at  A user-friendly map, graphs and charts are key features for viewing and understanding the data.

SRBC is deploying water quality monitoring stations in regions where natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale is most active, as well as other locations where no drilling activities are planned so SRBC can collect control-data.

SRBC’s remote water quality monitoring network continuously measures and reports water quality conditions of smaller rivers and streams in northern tier Pennsylvania and southern tier New York to track existing water quality conditions and any changes in them on an ongoing, real-time basis.

“The Commission is committed to applying good science to monitor water quality conditions in the Susquehanna basin,” said SRBC Executive Director Paul Swartz.  “The use of advanced technology through these monitoring stations is making it possible for us to generate the data needed to determine whether or not water quality impacts are occurring from various activities, including natural gas drilling.”

Five of the initial monitoring stations are located in Pennsylvania on Meshoppen Creek near Kaiserville in Wyoming County, Sugar Creek near Troy and Tomjack Creek near Burlington in Bradford County, Hammond Creek near Millerton in Tioga County and Trout Run near Shawville in Clearfield County.  The sixth station is located on Choconut Creek near Vestal Center in Broome County, New York.

Each monitoring station is equipped with water quality sensors and a transmitter to continuously report water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity (water clarity), water depth and conductance (ability to conduct electricity).  Elevated levels of conductance in water can be a leading indicator of impacts from natural gas activities if they occur.

SRBC receives the data collected by the network then makes it available to other resource agencies and the public through its web site.  The monitoring network will provide early warnings to help environmental protection officials respond more rapidly and better pinpoint causes if water quality conditions change.  It will also help local public water suppliers, local watershed groups and communities stay informed.

SRBC will continue installing additional stations in Pennsylvania and New York and making data available on the web site.  Thirty (30) total stations are planned by summer 2010.  More stations will follow this fall as a result of additional funding commitments SRBC has received.

The Harrisburg-based SRBC ( was established under an interstate compact signed on December 24, 1970 by the federal government and New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland to manage the water resources of the 27,510-square-mile Susquehanna River Basin.  The Susquehanna River starts in Cooperstown, N.Y., and flows 444 miles to Havre de Grace, Md., where the river meets the Chesapeake Bay.


New smart growth and water conservation tool from EPA

EPA’s Smart Growth Program has developed a new tool to help local and municipal governments promote green infrastructure practices through codes, ordinances and incentives that protect water quality. The Water Quality Scorecard will help local planners evaluate local codes and ordinances, identify barriers to implementing green infrastructure approaches for the protection of water quality and present policy options for improved land use policy and regulations.

Visit for more information on the scorecard.

EPA announces Chesapeake Bay TMDL public sessions

EPA has announced their dates for public meetings on the development of a TMDL for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This is an incredibly important step and anyone who can do so, please consider attending and sharing your thoughts. The dates are as follows:

  1. November 17 — from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Bentleys, 2300 RT. 309, Ashley, PA 18706.
  2. November 18 — from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Genetti Hotel, 200 West Fourth Street, Williamsport, PA 17701.
  3. November 19 — from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Toftrees Golf Resort & Conference Center, One Country Club Lane, State College, PA 16803.
  4. November 23 — from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Franklin and Marshall College, Alumni Sports and Fitness Center, 929 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster, PA 17603.

For more information visit EPA’s Chesapeake Bay TMDL website or the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation water quality campaign

John Page Williams, senior naturalist at CBF was returning from a meeting in Pennsylvania when he decided to collect a series of water samples as part of a larger CBF initiative called “Clean Water for a Change.” The initiative, designed to showcase the strong local demand for improved water quality, involved asking local residents of watersheds to collect bottles of water and send them in to Chesapeake Executive Council. Williams story is below.

Marcellus Shale problems

Here’s a press release from the SRBC (Susquehanna River Basin Commission) in reference to an illegal use of water by an Ohio company drilling in Bradford county. SRBC is tracking the issue closely and you can find more information on their website. Anyone who cares about water quality in Pennsylvania should get themselves up to speed on this issue as it has tremendous potential to impact both water quality and wildlife habitat.

PA’s Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan takes a hit


Here’s an article in today’s Philly Inquirer that talks about the municipalities’ lawsuit against the state’s cleanup plan. Worth your time to get up to speed on this issue that affect a lot of the state’s water.

Pa. towns’ lawsuit over Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan clears hurdle


HARRISBURG – A Pennsylvania court refused yesterday to throw out a lawsuit brought by dozens of municipalities and local sewer authorities that claim the state’s Chesapeake Bay watershed cleanup plan is illegal.

Commonwealth Court’s 5-2 decision denied a state Department of Environmental Protection motion to dismiss the year-old lawsuit. The municipalities and authorities sued after complaining that they would be saddled with at least $1 billion in sewer plant improvements they say they can’t afford.

At issue is who should pay to clean up the wastewater treatment plant discharge and farm runoff that pollutes water running into the Chesapeake Bay.

The court’s majority opinion said more study is necessary to determine whether the state’s cleanup plan acts as a regulation, which has the force of law.

The municipalities and authorities contend that the state’s cleanup plan is an invalid regulation and must be voided because it did not undergo the long approval process required to finalize a regulation.

State officials say the strategy is simply a statement of policy, which is not binding and is typically an agency’s interpretation of law. As such, it has no approval burden.

Pennsylvania contributes more pollutants to the bay than any other state and faces a 2010 deadline for meeting water quality standards that were once voluntary, but were made mandatory in 2005.

Algae feed on the pollutants, including nitrogen, and make much of the bay uninhabitable for fish, crabs and oysters during the summer.