Environmental stewardship can generally be defined as responsible use and management of natural resources through sustainable practices as well as increased understanding and awareness. The latter part of this definition highlights the important linkage between education and stewardship. Good stewards not only take the time to learn and help teach others about how to conserve and protect our land and water resources, but also "practice what they preach."
DRBC along with numerous organizations and agencies are busy with efforts focused on the continued restoration and protection of our watershed. These activities, whether undertaken in collaboration with others or on their own, help maintain the Delaware River as a resource of national significance and educate community members on how they, too, can be good stewards of the entire basin for current and future generations.
This short newsletter highlights several recent accomplishments, as well as offers details on a few upcoming conferences that might be of interest to conservation organizations and watershed associations.
Photo: Folks of all ages stop by the DRBC information table on Lewis Island at the 2009 Lambertville Shad Festival to learn about the Delaware River.
Basin Plan Implementation Progress Report for FY 2012
DRBC's 2004 Water Resources Plan for the Delaware River Basin (Basin Plan) is a 30-year, goal-based framework that serves as a guide for all governmental and non-governmental stakeholders whose actions affect water resources in the Delaware River Basin.
The Basin Plan is organized into five Key Result Areas (KRAs), all of which are connected:
Sustainable Use and Supply (KRA 1)
Waterway Corridor Management (KRA 2)
Linking Land and Water Resource Management (KRA 3)
Institutional Coordination and Cooperation (KRA 4)
Education and Involvement for Stewardship (KRA 5)
Each year since 2004, DRBC staff has compiled a Basin Plan Implementation Progress Report illustrating noteworthy achievements of the commission and river basin stakeholders that advance the goals of the Basin Plan. This report is presented annually to the commissioners at their September meeting.
FY 2012 marks the eighth Basin Plan Implementation Progress Report. In addition to detailing information about start-up activities, completed projects, significant accomplishments, and findings from research, the FY 2012 report also looks at funding mechanisms for water resource planning and implementation of existing initiatives.
The Basin Plan's KRA 5 focuses on education and stewardship, and DRBC activities in FY 2012 included the completion of the commission's new public web site and ongoing efforts to upgrade its IT capabilities with respect to online application and reporting forms. Examples of achievements by others included St. Joseph University's establishment of an Institute for Environmental Stewardship, the Lehigh Valley Source Water Protection Collaborative, Nurture Nature Center's Focus on Floods campaign, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Resource and Conservation Development Council's Conservation Planting Trailer. Each of these projects helps educate the public on water-related issues, be it stormwater management, pollution sources, flood awareness, or the importance of riparian buffer plantings, and demonstrates how groups are finding various, unique ways to pool dollars and resources for the betterment of the Delaware River Watershed.
The Schuylkill River Restoration Fund (SRRF) provides grants to government agencies and non-profit organizations for projects that improve water quality in the Schuylkill River Watershed. The Schuylkill is the Delaware River's largest tributary. The SRRF supports efforts to mitigate stormwater run-off, agricultural pollution, and abandoned mine drainage. Funds also are now available to assist with costs associated with property purchases and conservation easements to facilitate preservation of high priority lands for water quality and habitat protection.
In 2012, a total of nearly $240,000 was awarded to five water quality improvement projects and four land protection transaction projects. The awards ceremony was held on August 23, 2012 at the Russell Guntz Farm in Oley, Pa., a 2009 SRRF grant recipient. DRBC staff provided remarks at the grant announcement ceremony, along with State Rep. David Maloney and officials from Exelon, Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), and the Schuylkill River Heritage Area (SRHA).
The SRRF was initiated in conjunction with a 2004 DRBC docket issued to Exelon for its Limerick Generating Station, which is located on the east bank of the Schuylkill River in Montgomery County, Pa. The SRRF was previously known as the Exelon Schuylkill River Watershed Restoration Fund, but was renamed to indicate the expansion from a solely Exelon-funded initiative. Additional contributors have included PWD, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE), and Aqua PA. Since 2006, the fund has collected more than $1.9 million and funded 30 projects.
Projects that receive money from the SRRF are selected by a committee comprised of representatives from Exelon, DRBC, PWD, U.S. EPA, PADEP, PDE, and SRHA. SRHA administers the fund.
Photo (courtesy of SRHA): SRHA Executive Director Kurt D. Zwikl gives remarks at the 2012 Schuylkill River Restoration Fund grant announcement event.
October 29-30, 2012: The Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, William Penn Foundation, and the Richard King Mellon Foundation will hold the Conservation Landscape Summit in Harrisburg, Pa. on Monday and Tuesday, October 29-30, 2012. The summit will bring together state and local government officials, business leaders, tourism agencies, and conservation organizations to discuss land protection, community planning, and economic revitalization with regard to parks, trails, forests, etc. For full information, including the summit agenda and details on how to register, please visit the above link.
November 7, 2012: The Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin (WRADRB) will hold its annual fall conference on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Themed Energy, Water and the Environment in the Delaware River Basin, the conference will be held at the Rutgers EcoComplex, 1200 Florence-Columbus Rd., Bordentown, NJ 08505-4200. DRBC staff will present the session titled Water Use Trends of the Energy Industry in the Delaware Basin. The conference costs $40, which includes continental breakfast and lunch, if registered by November 2; the cost increases to $45 thereafter and is subject to seating availability. The conference agenda and registration form can be found at http://www.wradrb.org/events.asp.
November 16, 2012: The Schuylkill Action Network (SAN) will hold its annual meeting on Friday, November 16, 2012 at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa. to discuss ongoing efforts and accomplishments in the Schuylkill River Watershed. Additional details are forthcoming and will be linked from the SAN home page.
January 27-30, 2013: The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary will hold its 5th Science and Environmental Summit January 27-30, 2013 at the Grand Hotel and Convention Center in Cape May, N.J. Themed Weathering Change - Shifting Environments, Shifting Policies, Shifting Needs, this conference will seek to create more effective partnerships and sharing information among scientists, outreach specialists, resource managers, and others with an interest in the prosperity of the Delaware Estuary. For more details, please visit http://www.delawareestuary.org/news_pde_science_conference.asp.
For More Information
Please feel free to visit these sections of DRBC's web site (www.drbc.net):
Ed Web: http://www.drbc-edweb.net (includes listings of upcoming opportunities, educational lesson plans, field trip ideas, and more)
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In some cases, information is being provided to the DRBC by various sources and is compiled here as a public service. A listing does not necessarily imply endorsement by the DRBC. Since the information is subject to change, you are encouraged to contact the person(s) listed for the most complete information.