CCPaSEC logoCentre County Pennsylvania Senior Environmental Corps

at ClearWater Conservancy

 

2007 Meeting Highlights

February 21, 2007 - Annual Meeting: The Annual Meeting was held after being postponed due to adverse weather conditions on February 14. Election of officers took place. Results are as follows:

* President: Doug Macneal
* Vice President: Mick McKay
* Secretary: Genie Robine
* Treasurer: Ellen Perry

A budget was adopted and revisions of the Constitution and Bylaws were approved. View the revised Constitution and Bylaws. The 2007 meeting schedule was presented with meeting places confirmed. Several coordination events were announced: a Stream Bank Stabilization Class by the Fish and Boat Commission, the Volunteer Technical Coordinators Annual Training by EASI, the Confluence 2007 Stormwater Conference, and the Fourth Statewide Summit for Volunteer Water Monitors.

Team 4 Photos - Team 4 members who monitor Bald Eagle Creek in Milesburg and at Site 1024 were accompanied by two members of the QC Team in January. The QC Team took a team photo for our Teams/Trainers Page. Team 4 also submitted photos of the streams and their team at work. The photos can be viewed on Photo Gallery Pages 12 and 13.

Team 9 Photos - Team 9 members who monitor Sinking Creek near Barton and the Ramsey property were accompanied by two members of the QC Team in December. The QC Team took some great photos for our Teams/Trainers Page as well as Photo Gallery Page 11.

March 14, 2007 - General Meeting: Centre County PaSEC members met at the Willowbank Building in Bellefonte. A report was given by a committee for scheduling tests by independent labs and about developing protocols for sample collection. The committee will meet with an independent lab to discuss arrangements for independent lab testing. Kit inventories requested by RSVP were done and circulated. Ordering chemical replacements in the future was discussed. The following tasks were assigned:

* Membership List Maintenance - Doug Macneal
* CALL Class on Water Monitoring Instructor- Doug Macneal
* Store and Order Supplies - Bill Kephart
* Host for EASI MonitorAnything Database - Paul Bartley

The meeting at Stackhouse on April 11 will be a Quality Control Standardization session. All members are encouraged to attend and each team must bring its testing kit. The May 16 meeting at Laural Haven will be a Macroinvertebrate Recognition Class. It was decided to reimburse registration fee and expenses for any member who attends the Statewide Summit for Volunteer Water Monitors in Gettysburg on May 4-5.

March 15-16, 2007 - Volunteer Technical Coordinator(VTC) Training: Four Centre County PaSEC members attended VTC Training Sessions in Burnham. The training was sponsored by EASI, PaSEC, and the Pennsylvania DEP(DEP). The importance of Quality Assurance/Quality Control(QA/QC) and the Quality Assurance Project Plan(QAPP) was discussed. Training on how to teach QA/QC and QAPP to groups was given. A presentation on ways the DEP can partner with PaSECs to integrate data use into a variety of DEP programs was also given. Each PaSEC chapter represented shared "Make a Difference" type projects in which their chapter was involved.

April 11, 2007 - Quality Control Standardization Session & General Meeting: 22 Centre County PaSEC members met at the Stackhouse at Fisherman's Paradise. Genie Robine and Steve Lupis lead the workshop. Teams checked monitoring kits for missing equipment and out of date chemicals. LaLa Hall assisted team members in testing meter batteries with her battery tester, replacing weak ones. Shirley Lupis helped with meter calibration. NitraVer 6 chemical powder pillows, batch #A6299, were replaced with pillows having other batch numbers. They were subject of a notice from EASI for yielding possible low nitrates measurements. Each team conducted the following tests on standard solutions: pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, and sulfates. The workshop provided an opportunity for meters to be calibrated, kit chemicals to be assessed for effectiveness, and testing techniques using standard solutions to be assessed. Photos of the workshop can be viewed on Photo Gallery Pages 14 and 15.
The Fourth Statewide Summit for Volunteer Water Monitors - The Summit sponsored by EASI/PaSEC/DEP-CVMP) to be held Friday-Saturday, May 4-5, 2007 at the Eisenhower Conference Center in Gettysburg has been postponed to 2008. For more information visit: www.easi.org/summit or contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone: 717-244-6248.
May 16, 2007 - Macros Collection and Identification Workshop & General Meeting - 14 Centre County PaSEC members met at Laurel Haven Environmental Center. Geoff Smith, Water Resources Coordinator from ClearWater Conservancy and Becky Dunlap, project Manager for West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative of Trout Unlimited, conducted a Macroinvertebrate Collection and Identification Workshop along with Genie Robine and Ann Donovan. Members were educated on the proper protocols for sample collection and counting. Members collected macroinvertebrates with kick nets which were then placed along the stream side. Identification of specimens was done using magnifying glasses and identification sheets. Geoff, Becky, Genie, and Ann also aided members in identification of macros. Following the identification process, macro counts were recorded on Biosurvey Field Data Sheets. Next, using some of the macros collected, Geoff gave a macro identification presentation using a Digital Blue QX5 Computer Microscope at 10X magnification.The microscope's images were projected onto a wall so members could see specimen details. Photos of the workshop and sample specimens collected can be viewed on Photo Gallery Pages 16, 17, 18, and 19.
June 13, 2007 - General Meeting - Becky Dunlap, project Manager for West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative of Trout Unlimited, presented a program on restoration and remediation of Acid Mine Drainage(AMD) affected streams. She noted the composition of AMD and explained how it is formed. She discussed passive and active treatment options and their benefits and drawbacks. Passive treatments include diverting stream flow through filtered limestone drains or ponds consisting of water, organics, and limestone layers. Active treatments include pumping lime directly into streams and remining to remove all the sulfer-laden coal while revegetating the affected areas. The impact of AMD and agriculture on stream quality was detailed with 36,800 acres of lands being affected. She spoke on funding for reclamation efforts as well as what our PaSEC chapter can do to help. She suggested we can help promote grass-roots efforts to increase AMD awareness, participate in the Surface Mining Control Reclamation Act Roundtable discussions which will be held in the Clearfield area, and fill in the data gaps for water quality at additional sites in coordination with Trout Unlimited and possibly Clearfield County PaSEC.

Following the presentation, Mick McKay reported on progress with laboratory duplicate testing, and gave an overview of the Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) which all PaSECs are expected to follow. View the QAPP Overview Handout. Joyce McKay presented a draft version of the 2006 Annual Report (4.1 Mb) for group review. To view or download the report including photos, click the previous link or click the following link for the 2006 Annual Report - text only (56 kb). It was announced that Ann Donovan, Genie Robine, and Doug Macneal conducted a stream testing workshop on June 7 for 5th graders from Marion-Walker Elementary school. Also, our members will offer a Community Academy for Lifelong Learners(CALL) class on "Stream Monitoring" on July 31 at Laurel Haven in Julian.

August 8, 2007 - Annual Picnic - Our picnic was held jointly with the Clearfield County PaSEC Chapter. A stream macroinvertebrate identification 'contest' was held. Teams were formed from members of both chapters and made their best guesses as to the identity of the approximately dozen specimens. Becky Dunlap, Project Manager for the Trout Unlimited West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative, identified each of the macroinvertebrates. Prizes were awarded for those with the most correct identifications, and all received prizes for participation. Art Kempf invited the group to participate with the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited in a riparian habitat improvement project on Spring Creek near the PSU sheep farm off Puddintown Road, August 20th through the 23rd. Regarding the PaSEC Funding Crisis, Doug Macneal presented a sample letter (with contact infomation for our local legislators) in support of PaSEC funding for 2007-2008. Doug suggested that each team leader send support letters for PaSEC funding to the Secretaries of DEP and the Department of Aging and to local senators and representatives. Both chapters shared in a wonderful potluck picnic lunch and a pontoon ride around the Black Moshannon Bog. posted 9/11/07 View Minutes of the August Meeting.

Team 11 Photos - Team 11 members who monitor Spring Creek & Bald Eagle Creek near the ERPA site were accompanied by two members of the QC Team in June. The QC Team took some great photos for our Teams/Trainers Page as well as Photo Gallery Page 20.


September 12, 2007 - General Meeting - Fourteen members of our PaSEC and one guest attended the meeting at Laurel Haven Environmental Center in Julian. As part of our Quality Control Series, Mick McKay gave an excellent report on the pH of streams. It included a data summary showing pH changes for April-September 2004-2007 for Lick Run. Also, the State College Borough Water Authority and the University Area Joint Authority labs, serving as external checks, conducted tests, including pH, on selected samples. Data comparisons were done with samples from Teams 1,4,8,10, and QC. Overall, the relative percent difference, (RPD), was an average of 7.2%. The RPD target is 20% for measurements on the same sample. To improve accuracy, Mick recommended that all teams calibrate meters before each outing and advised that standard solutions should not be reused. View the pH Info Sheet.

A discussion of the funding crisis for PaSEC was held. An email was shared from Peggy Knight, EASI Executive Director, and Beth Grove, EASI/PaSEC Statewide Coordinator, regarding the status of PaSEC's funding for the 2007-2008 fiscal year. A Fact Sheet from PaSEC giving the history and clarification of the current and projected financial information was circulated and discussed. Recommendations from Peggy and Beth were to make contact with local legislators to encourage their support for continued PaSEC funding. Members will contact the offices of Senator Jake Corman, Representatives Scott Conklin, Kerry Benninghoff, and Mike Hanna and perhaps Governor Rendell and request meetings on PaSEC's behalf. Steve Lupis led a brainstorming session on "Talking Points" for information emphasis during these meetings. The "Talking Points" include:
PaSEC members

* Monitor streams monthly/ make observations /note changes in physical/chemical/macroinvertebrate characteristics
* Enter data in publicly accessable database for physical/chemical results and biannual macroinvertebrate surveys
* Educate ourselves about the quality of our environment and share what we learn with others in our community
* Volunteer our time and expertise - These services should be appreciated
* Make a positive difference, ensure good quality streams for future generations


It was suggested that we approach DEP to allocate funds from their Growing Greener budgets for PaSEC. This may be done if needed following the funding crisis resolution.

Note: All Teams are requested to do a kit check for chemicals counts (with expiration dates) and battery counts. Send Steve Lupis your chemicals counts and battery counts a.s.a.p.

October 10, 2007 - General Meeting - Ann Donovan gave an interesting presentation on Global Warming, produced by the National Wildlife Federation, to fifteen members of our PaSEC. Some key points included:

* Global warming is a natural phenomenon.
* Human activity has increased the rate of Global Warming dramatically.
* The eleven hottest years on record have been recorded in the last fifteen years.
* Waterfowl migrations and cold water fisheries have been greatly affected.

Solutions for reducing global warming impacts were suggested.

Doug Macneal reported that several of our members met with our PA legislators concerning continued PaSEC/EASI funding. Sen. Corman will inquire of the Sec. of PaDEP, Kathleen McGinty, why PaSEC/EASI was not funded in the DEP budget. Rep. Benninghoff will determine state-wide how much contact fellow legislators have experienced on this issue from their constituents. Our group will be informed of their findings. A stop gap measure was passed into legislation, introduced by Rep. Bud George, to fund PaSEC/EASI through the end of November. A supplemental appropriations bill to carry the organization over until the end of the fiscal year has been introduced in the legislature.

As part of our ongoing Quality Control Series, Mick McKay gave a special report on conductivity. Mick noted that conductivity meters may take as much as two minutes to stabilize. This fact should be taken into account when members are testing at stream sites. Also, meters should be calibrated before every stream outing. View the Conductivity Info Sheet.

Please report kit chemicals needed to Steve Lupis a.s.a.p. If solutions for kits are needed, bring the empty containers to the November meeting to be filled.


November 14, 2007 - General Meeting - Mick McKay gave a report on the quality issues involved with nitrates testing. He reported that nitrates are highly soluble in water and easily transported in streams and groundwater. Intensity match on the nitrate color wheel and potentials for error in sample collection, analysis preparation, shaking and settling times may account for differences between field tests and external lab results. Mick suggested that teams should consistently use the same white background when making color wheel readings. He also indicated that the colorimeter will be used in the field QC duplication checks for each team. View the Nitrates Info Sheet.

EASI Funding Update - Rep. Bud George's bill to allow funding for EASI to continue until the end of November has passed. A second supplemental appropriations bill would provide stop gap funding to continue until June of 2008. The latter bill has 34 sponsors. After some discussion, we decided we will write letters to those PaSEC chapters whose representatives do not currently appear as sponsors to encourage those chapters to personally contact their representatives to sponsor this bill.

On October 25th, three of our members attended the House State Government Committee's public hearing on the Rockview lands transfer issue. Rep. Josephs indicated that all information received in the four hours of public input would be taken under advisement.

On November 2, three of our members worked with 130 seventh grade Park Forest Middle School students in macroinverterbrate collection and study at the Laurel Haven Environmental Center. Their station was one of six that students completed as part of a Junior Forestry Stewardship Program.

Standard Solutions for our testing kits were distributed to those teams needing them.


December 12, 2007 - General Meeting - Mick McKay (QC) reported on safety for members during water monitoring. Key points included basic safety measures for entering the water for collecting samples, knowing the locations of the nearest medical services, and body protection while using the chemicals during monitoring. Bill Kephart added that members should consider wearing the orange vests for protection during the hunting seasons. Mick reported on how the identity code for each site is generated for the database. View the Safety Issues Info Sheet.

Termination of our Relationship with EASI - EASI will no longer be providing statewide management to the PaSEC program. Beth Grove's position as Statewide Coordinator of PaSEC ended December 1st. Only technical assistance will be available to us from DEP through Cheryl Snyder. Each PaSEC chapter is encouraged to continue monitoring efforts and participate in specific projects. A CD of our PaSEC data will be provided to us by EASI.

Options for our PaSEC Chapter - Several officers met with Bonnie Everett and Jane Taylor from RSVP and the Office of Aging on Dec. 7 to help clarify options available to our chapter for continuing our monitoring program. These options were presented to members present. A decision was made to pursue an affiliation with an enviromental group or another watershed association, without ruling out the possibility of incorporating and seeking non-profit status. Several members will meet with an environmental group to explore this option. A report of this meeting will be given at January's General Meeting.

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