CCPaSEC logoCentre County Pennsylvania Senior Environmental Corps

at ClearWater Conservancy

 

2016 Meeting Highlights

January 13, 2016 - Board Meeting - 9:30 AM at Wegman's Cafe in State College

The slate of officers was discussed. All current Officers and Committee Chairs have agreed to continue in their respective offices, however, Ken Johnson would like to step-down from Quality Control Chair and continue in a supportive role on the committee.

Jake Lemon, the Eastern Shale Gas Monitoring Coordinator for Trout Unlimited, and Lock Haven University professor, Dr. Khalequzzaman (Dr. K) want to place flow and temperature monitoring equipment in waters near drilling activity. Dan will be going with them February 19th or 20th to assist with the placement on Council Run or Big Run. Dr. K’s group will handle the equipment and data following the placement.

Outreach & Inter-generational Activity: The project to assist the class of Heather Gall, Assistant Professor in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Penn State, was a success. Ann Donovan along with several CCPaSEC members helped the class gather real-time data on water quality and macro-invertebrates in Buffalo Run.

There has been interest from another professor at Penn State in possibly doing collaborative work with our group. President, Lynn Hutcheson, will invite her to our February meeting. Future opportunities may arise from contacting Michelle Halsell of the Sustainability Communities Collaborative (SCC). She works to connect University Park faculty, student and staff with the local community to jointly participate in academic programs addressing sustainability.

Ralph Locklin offered to write a quarterly newsletter to supplement his Hot Training Tips emails.

The new CCPaSEC website was hacked and all files encrypted and held for ransom. It was decided to move to a new hosting provider to rebuild the new site rather than to pay the ransom.

Treasurer, Rob Fugate, gave a financial report for 2015. Known and potential expenses for 2016 were listed which led to a discussion of potential fundraising activities. Among those were the Centre Gives campaign, Hoss's Community Fundraiser, creation of member dues, and an appeal for member donations. Lynn Hutcheson volunteered to draft a letter to the membership asking for their donations

Quality Control Issues: It was recommended that duplicate testing provided by the QC Team be done only once per year due to scheduling issues and lack of time. Team members will organize a meter check in January. pH meters, their cost, and ease of use was discussed with Dan DeLotto volunteering to contact Jim Wert of Nature Abounds regarding his recommendations.

The next meeting will be on February 10,  9:30 a.m., at the Willowbank Building, Room 317.

February 10, 2016 - General Meeting - at Willowbank Building, Room 317, 9:30 AM

Election of officers was held for 2016:

President: Lynn Hutcheson

Vice President: Betsie Blumberg

Secretary: Ella Bashore

Treasurer, Co-Webmaster: Rob Fugate

Co-Webmaster, Data Manager: Joyce McKay

Macro invertebrate Collection Chair: Genie Robine

Membership and Training Chair: Ralph Locklin

Quality Control Chair: Ken Johnson

Supplies Chair: Dan DeLotto

There will be a Volunteer Fair sponsored by the Bellefonte Intervalley Area Chamber of Commerce on March 5 from 10 AM to 2 PM at the Match Factory in Bellefonte. It was decided that representatives from CCPaSEC will participate.

Rob Fugate reported that our new website had been hacked. He and Joyce McKay worked quickly to change the website hosting service and rebuild the site. It is now available at ccpasec.org. A brief description of the new site was given. Members were encouraged to login and also check out the site pages for their monitoring team.

Nature Abounds is working on their website to have incident reporting forms available to use if needed.

The Spring Creek Watershed Association requested Betsie Blumberg speak at one of their meetings. Also, they have an Atlas project in development which will be available online. CCPaSEC may have a mention in it.

By the March General meeting the Quality Control Team will have a proposal to present on how to proceed with QC duties for 2016.

Dan DeLotto sent a request for two new pH meters to Nature Abounds. Our chemical supplies are sufficient for 2016.

Several new members were welcomed into the membership. Discussion followed about how to integrate the new members into our teams. It was decided to place new members on teams for a 3-monitoring-events training period before assigning them to permanent teams. We also decided to form a new team to monitor some of our previously inactive sites, most likely on Spring Creek. The new team would include an experienced member as team leader as well as some of the new members.

The next HOT Training Tip will concern keeping the pH and Oakton meters out of the streams. They are to be used with a water sample in a container or beaker instead. Members, watch your email for the next HOT Training Tip!

Quality Control Committee conducted the annual equipment check. Results were very consistent. The latest CCPaSEC QC Assurance Project Plan is now on the Quality Control page of the website.

Teams were encouraged to complete their Macroinvertebrate Surveys in April or May. Waiting until June will not result in good results.

Saturday, April 23 will be the 2016 Spring Creek Watershed cleanup day.

It was reported that in 2015, CCPaSEC members logged 2396.5 volunteer hours with a 2014 valuation of $55,287.26. ($23.07/hour)

The next meeting will be on March 9,  9:30 a.m., at the Willowbank Building, Room 317.

March 9, 2016 - General Meeting - 9:30 AM at the Willowbank Building, Room 317, Bellefonte

4 members attended the Bellefonte Intervalley Chamber of Commerce's Volunteer Fair on March 5 with our display board. Several attendees expressed an interest in joining our group. Ralph Locklin (Membership Chair) will contact them.

A new meeting location was discussed. A room at the Match Factory Building in Bellefonte may be available for us to use. The pros and cons of moving to this new location were discussed. Lynn Hutcheson and Joe Kowalski will look into the room further.

Adrienne Gemberling from ClearWater Conservancy will be asked to speak to us on the Water Resources Monitoring Project's water monitoring in the Spring Creek Watershed.

There was a lengthy discussion on our Quality Control (QC) Program. We are in need of several QC volunteers to do duplicate testing with our non-Marcellus teams so that each team would be visited once/year. These volunteers would not need to stay with their current team unless they wished to do so. Ken Johnson would like to step-down from Quality Control Chair and continue in a supportive role on the team, so we also need a new QC Chairperson. An email will be sent to all active members asking for volunteers for the QC Team.

There are several more people who are interested in joining our group. A discussion of training for new members ensued as well as placement on new teams. To help new members learn the procedures, Ralph will write a separate page describing each test that we perform, to be posted on the website for new members (and the rest of us) to download.

The Red Cross has some mobile apps for First Aid and Emergency Preparedness which can be downloaded to mobile devices. A link was placed on the ccpasec.org website's Quality Control page to the Red Cross web page for the mobile apps.

Mick McKay announced the eighth annual West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Coalition Symposium at Toftrees, April 14-15. Registration is $35 for April 15. See http://www.wbsrc.org

CCPaSEC website is in need of up-to-date photos of streams and teams. Teams should send their photos with a file including photo descriptions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Joe Kowalski will look into having photos of CCPaSEC published in the Centre Daily Times newspaper.

The next meeting will be on April 13,  9:30 a.m., at the Willowbank Building, Room 317.

April 13, 2016 - General Meeting - 9:30 AM at the Willowbank Building, Room 317, Bellefonte

3 PSU geoscience students gave a slide presentation of "Understanding the Water Quality of Spring Creek". The students analysed water quality data from CCPaSEC (2004-2016) as well as other sources to find trends in the data as well as hypothesize on the relationship of the surrounding geography to the data obtained. Many questions were asked and the presentation was well received.

Adrienne Gemberling from ClearWater Conservancy will be asked to speak to us on the Water Resources Monitoring Project's water monitoring in the Spring Creek Watershed.

There was another discussion on our Quality Control (QC) Program. Lou Mayer and Mick McKay have volunteered to help Ken Johnson with the QC duties. There is still a need for another volunteer to assist.

3 new members were present and were welcomed to the group. A discussion of training for new members ensued as well as placement on new teams.

Genie Robine passed around a sign-up sheet for members to participate in representing CCPaSEC for ClearWater Conservancy's Watershed Clean-up Day, April 23 at 8:00 AM. Volunteers will meet at the Benner Township Building. If you haven't signed-up but would like to, please contact Genie. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

We will be receiving an additional colorimeter from Nature Abounds shortly. It will be used by a new team to be formed soon. We would still need to purchase another DO meter and flowmeter in the long run.

The CCPaSEC Mini-Manual is available on the website. It has been greatly expanded to include a reference for many meter issues, macro-invertebrate identification, flow data collection and water quality information in general. Due to it's size, no physical copies will be distributed. It can be accessed in the field or anywhere on cell phones or tablets from the Forms and Manuals webpage.

Ken Johnson will make a presentation at Penn State's Shale Network Workshop about our two Marcellus Teams' monitoring efforts on May 20, 2016.

There will be an Expo on Monday, April 25 at the State College Municipal Building from 5-7 PM. The presentation will include information on sites on Spring Creek that CCPaSEC may consider for additional monitoring.

The next meeting will be on May 11,  9:30 a.m., at the Willowbank Building, Room 317.

May 11, 2016 - General Meeting - 9:30 AM at the Willowbank Building, Room 317, Bellefonte

Adrienne Gemberling, Water Resources Coordinator for ClearWater Conservancy presented concerning the Water Resources Monitoring Project (WRMP) within Spring Creek Watershed. The WRMP report focused on Chloride levels in the ground and surface water of the watershed.

Lou Mayer, Mick McKay, Ralph Locklin, and Betsie Blumberg have volunteered to help Ken Johnson with the QC duties. Duplicate tests will be conducted at exactly the same time as a team is monitoring allowing for reviews of instrument use and procedures. Duplicate testing will begin this summer for 2016.

A discussion of training for new members ensued as well as new member placement on new teams. One new member was welcomed to the group. Some of the new members have been assigned to teams on a temporary basis to receive training.

Each team should have at least one member present at the monthly meetings to report information to their team.

We will be receiving two additional colorimeter kits from Nature Abounds shortly. They will be used by new teams to be formed soon. We would still need to purchase additional DO meters and flowmeters in the long run.

The next meeting will be on June 8,  9:30 a.m., at the Willowbank Building, Room 317. Joyce McKay and Rob Fugate will give a demo of the new website..

June 8, 2016 - General Meeting - 9:30 AM at the Willowbank Building, Room 317, Bellefonte

Joyce McKay and Rob Fugate presented the new CCPaSEC website: ccpasec.org. Members were encouraged to login to the new site to view content only visible to members when logged in.

Ken Johnson's Quality Report on the duplicate testing indicated most measurements are within our goal. Nitrates testing, however, continues to show the most variation. There was a lot of discussion on possible causes. The Quality team will continue working to discover a solution.

Ann Donovan and Genie Robine investigated several possible new sites for a new Team 16 led by Fred and Viqui Gildow. Two sites on Moose Run were chosen. Ron Kanagy, Dave Bechdel, Gary Moorman and possibly Marni Hennessey will join this team.

We have received two additional colorimeter kits from Nature Abounds. They will be used by Team 16 and new teams to be formed soon. We would still need to purchase additional DO meters and flowmeters in the long run. Team 16 will share a flowmeter with another tean until a new one is purchased or funded.

Clearfield County SEC invited us to a joint picnic on September 14 at the Elk County Visitors Center in Benezette, Pa. We will discuss our attendance and details at our July meeting.

A vial of specimens of the New Zealand Mud Snail, which is now being found in Spring Creek, was passed around. These are members of an invasive species. Members going into different streams are encouraged to clean equipment and boots before changing streams so the snails are not transported to other areas.

A new poster was created highlighting CCPaSEC’s monitoring efforts in the Marcellus region of Centre County and was presented at the Shale Network Poster Session on May 19 sponsored by Penn State and the Shale Network. Several students from State High's participation in the Teen Shale Network attended also and presented a poster on their monitoring efforts.

The next meeting will be on July 13,  9:30 a.m., at the Willowbank Building, Room 317.

July 13, 2016 - General Meeting - 9:30 AM at the Willowbank Building, Room 317, Bellefonte

Ann Donovan was contacted by Heather Gall, a Penn State professor, to see if we would be open to helping a group of her students with water monitoring as we did last school year. The sites to be monitored would be the two Halfmoon Creek sites and the two Buffalo Run sites. The students will use our data as well as data they gather from real-time data loggers in their project. It was agreed that we will help support the students' efforts.

Ann also will send a link to our website and data to a group that is doing climate change research and is interested in our data..

Clearfield County SEC invited us to a joint picnic on September 14 at the Elk County Visitors Center in Benezette, Pa. We will plan to attend and hold our regular meeting there.

We should emphasize to our new members that they must fill out an RSVP Enrollment Form. RSVP provides accident insurance to those who join.

We are still in need of a Quality Control Chairperson. Romayne Naylor has offered to help the QC team. The Nitrates duplicate testing done by the QC team has shown the most variance from all the duplicate tests. The cause still remains an unsolved issue. It was mentioned that some teams may be using the high Nitrates test chemical reagents to do the low Nitrates test or vice versa. It was recommended that all teams check and make sure that the chemical packets they use for Nitrates testing are for the correct test range.

The new Team 16 led by Viqui and Fred Gildow have selected two sites on Moose Run - one near Milesburg and the other upstream near the Barns property. They have already gone on one monitoring outing at the new sites.

The next meeting will be on August 10,  9:30 a.m., at the Willowbank Building, Room 317.

August 10, 2016 - General Meeting - 9:30 AM at the Willowbank Building, Room 317, Bellefonte

A new potential member was introduced.

Quality Issues: There was a correction to our July Minutes in that Nature Abounds Quality Assurance Project Plan is approved by the Pa DEP. Romayne Naylor and Dave Truesdale volunteered to help with the QC Team. It was suggested to hold a QC meeting soon. The QC Team is working to resolve discrepancies in the Nitrates Testing results during Duplicate testing events. Teams with very low Nitrates readings should be using the Low Range Nitrates Tests. The QC Team Duplicate testing should use the same range test as the team being visited.

Supplies are covered well into 2017. Another Hach H135 mini-lab pH meter has gone bad. We will have to use the Oakton meters as back-ups for now.

Nature Abounds (NA) News:

  • NA wants videos to help promote the SEC program and has enlisted a videographer, Bill Mushrush, with Mush Media, to help. NA requests Bill Mushrush be allowed to shoot some action shots of water quality monitoring or macro invertebrate identification, also interview some members on camera about their experience with the SEC during August.
  • NA needs our cooperation in producing macro invertebrate training materials. The hope is that Carneige Mellon University folks, a partner in a grant from the National Science Foundation, could observe one of our fall macro invertebrate surveys.
Lynn Hutcheson will follow up with Melinda.

Teams should now be preparing to do their fall Macroinvertebrate Surveys. Equipment (nets, etc.) should be shared among the same teams as for monitoring kits.

Clearfield County SEC invited us to a joint picnic on September 14 at the Elk County Visitors Center in Benezette, Pa. We will plan to attend and hold our regular meeting there.

A Picnic RSVP Form will be sent out to our membership for the Clearfield-Centre County PaSEC Joint Picnic on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 11:00 AM at the Elk County Visitor Center in Benezette, Pa. Please RSVP by September 1!

The next meeting will be on September 14,  11:00 a.m., at the picnic described above.

September 14, 2016 - CCPaSEC & Clearfield SEC Joint Picnic and General Meeting - 11:00 AM at the Elk County Visitors Center, Benezette, Pa

13 members and 4 guests attended the meeting and picnic.

Nature Abounds (NA) News:

  • NA wants videos to help promote the SEC program and has enlisted a videographer, Bill Mushrush, with Mush Media, to help. NA requests Bill Mushrush be allowed to shoot some action shots of water quality monitoring or macro invertebrate identification, also interview some members on camera about their experience with the SEC. Genie Robine will follow up with Bill.
  • NA needs our cooperation in producing macro invertebrate training materials. The hope is that Carneige Mellon University folks, a partner in a grant from the National Science Foundation, could observe one of our fall macro invertebrate surveys.
Lynn Hutcheson will follow up with Melinda.

The installation of 24/7 monitoring equipment at the Buffalo Run and Halfmoon Creek sites has been completed by Heather Gall's environmental class. She is an Assistant Professor in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Penn State. They will be at Buffalo Run on September 20 and Halfmoon Creek on October 2. The class members will participate in the end-of-school year conference and submit a poster.

Membership issues were discussed with Ella Beashore volunteering to work on them.

pH meters were discussed with problems being reported using the Hach Minilab H135 meters. It was suggested that those having problems could use the Oakton 5-function meters for pH. It was suggested that the calibration documents of the Oakton meters could be updated. Using pH test strips was also brought up. No decision was made.

The Moose Run sites (Team 16) are now available to view with their data sheets on the CCPaSEC website. Photos of Team 16 as well as the CCPaSEC group in general were taken at the picnic.

Submitting our volunteer hours is important in order to be covered by RSVP accident insurance for our outings. The volunteer hours reporting serves as documentation for the outings.

Doug Macneal suggested we update our CCPaSEC history. A good starting history is currently available on the CCPaSEC website.

The next meeting agenda will contain an item to discuss potential new sites in Penns Valley on Muddy Creek or Penns Creek.

Following the meeting and picnic were presentations by Jena Lucas - Conservation Education Specialist - on Elk Behavior and Anatomy and the LEED Gold Certified Education Building.

The next meeting will be on October 12,  9:30 a.m., at the Willowbank Building, Room 317, Bellefonte, Pa.

October 12, 2016 - CCPaSEC General Meeting - 9:30 AM at the Willowbank Building, Room 317, Bellefonte, Pa

18 members attended the meeting.

Bill Mushrush of Mush Media had joined Genie Robine and the Wallace Run team during their October 25 monitoring. Bill videoed the macro invertebrate survey and count asking questions of the team members during the process and recording their responses. Bill had expressed interest in getting some of the pictures on our website and indicated he would be amenable to trading pictures.

One new member has been assigned to Team 1.

There was ongoing discussion of our Nitrate Tests results led by Ken Johnson. We have not achieved our goal of 20% on our Relative Percent Difference(RPD) for NO3-N as suggested by Nature Abounds. Ken has been in contact with a HACH tech service for information and clarification of the colorimeter use for NO3-N as to what may be causing the large RPD. No corrective actions have been decided upon yet. More avenues of exploration will be investigated.

5 of our 7 H135 Professional Minitab pH meters have failed. We will go back to using the Oakton meters for pH if necessary. A reminder for those using the Oakton meters is to calibrate them prior to monitoring each time. An information sheet for the meter calibration for pH is on the Manuals page of our website. Also, all meters should be stored in a warn environment. DO NOT store in an unheated garage!

CCPaSEC received a donation from the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited. We wish to thank them for their generous donation!

Ella Bashore has been working with RSVP on an updated membership list for CCPaSEC. People on the current list will be contacted in the next few months by Ella to update their information and membership status.

The Gildows have been looking at potential new monitoring sites. They have volunteered to lead a new team to handle the new sites.

Several members and teams have been working with students last month. One helping Delta high school program students do macros, others with PSU students doing Marcellus monitoring.

Our Holiday Luncheon will be held after our December 14 meeting. It was decided to have the luncheon at the Garden Room at the Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center. Mick McKay will check for availability and report at the next meeting.

The next meeting will be on November 9,  9:30 a.m., at the Willowbank Building, Room 146, Bellefonte, Pa.

November 9, 2016 - CCPaSEC General Meeting - 9:30 AM at the Willowbank Building, Room 146, Bellefonte, Pa

13 members attended the meeting.

The nomination and election of new officers as noted in our Constitution and Bylaws was discussed. Past practice of the vice president moving into the position of president was noted. Betsie Blumberg as Vice-President is willing to accept the nomination for president. Rob Fugate agreed to accept that of treasurer and Ella Bashore is willing to continue as secretary until a replacement is found. We need to have a nominee for vice-president. Appointees for supplies chairman, membership and training, and macros are willing to continue in their respective positions. Nominations will be accepted at the December meeting for vice-president as well as secretary.

There was ongoing discussion of our Nitrate Tests results. Ralph Locklin agreed to put together a training notice for nitrates testing. Ken Johnson had advised that we do not make changes to our procedures. It was noted that the orientation of the sample cell in the colorimeter can and does affect the readings, so it is very important to place the diamond on the cell facing the observer when inserted into the colorimeter.

Two new members will be contacted by Dan DeLotto and the Gildows to invite them to their monitoring activities until a new team has been formed.

Ann Donovan suggested new potential monitoring sites. These include Muddy Creek, Pine Creek in the Aaronsburg area and Penns Creek.

Andrea Puzycki suggested we establish an "apprentice program" that includes procedures for quickly welcoming people interested in joining CCPaSEC to visit one or more teams until we can make a more permanent placement.

Marnie Hennessey volunteered to be a communication contact and introduce new members to different teams so they can have well-rounded exposure to our members, monitoring techniques and stream conditions. She will follow up with new people to see how things are going.

We will purchase a new FloWatch Flowmeter for the new Team 16.

Our Holiday Luncheon will be held after our December 14 meeting. It was decided to have the luncheon at the Garden Room at the Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center. We will meet at the Garden Room at approximately 11:45 AM.

The next meeting will be on December 14,  9:30 a.m., at the Willowbank Building, Room 317, Bellefonte, Pa.

December 14, 2016 - CCPaSEC General Meeting - 9:30 AM at the Willowbank Building, Room 116, Bellefonte, Pa

12 members attended the meeting.

The Fall 2016 Campus and Community Sustainability Expo was held December 7, 2016, at the State College Borough Building. Penn State Professor Heather Gall and her students who monitored at two of our PaSEC sites on Half Moon Creek and two sites on Buffalo Run had a display on Half Moon Creek on Water Quality Measurement and Monitoring. The display took second place. 4 members from our PaSEC attended.

A new YSI Flowmeter was purchased for Team 16 in November.

Team leaders are asked to check their kits for calibration standards needs.

Ralph Locklin presented his “PaSEC Hot Training Topics December 2016”. The two page printout details (1) Maintenance of the Oakton meter, (2) Important Colorimeter procedure for obtaining the best reading accuracy, and (3) Flow meter care. The Training Tips will be emailed as attachments so that they may be printed for placement in our manuals.

PaSEC Training and Experience Tracker: Ralph developed and presented this as a document to provide a written record of the experience of new members with each of the PaSEC procedures and equipment. Content of the tracker was discussed and modifications were agreed to. Ralph will copy and distribute the Training and Experience Tracker to the new members.

Communication with new members: Marni Hennessey will contact new members and make sure they will be scheduled to train with teams.

Report from the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Coalition: Mick McKay reported that phosphates and nitrates continue to be an issue for the Chesapeake Bay. This creates funding problems for the Coalition and their emphasis on acid mine drainage. Grant monies are being funneled into agricultural areas to deal with nitrates and phosphates excesses in those areas.

Meeting Room for 2017: Room 116 of Willowbank Building will be our new meeting room for 2017. the Meeting Schedule page on our website will reflect this change.

Following the meeting, the PaSEC Holiday luncheon was held at the Gardens Restaurant of the Penn Stater Hotel.

The next meeting will be an Officers and Committee Chairs meeting on January 11,  9:30 a.m., at the Willowbank Building, Room 116, Bellefonte, Pa.

The next General meeting will be on February 8,  9:30 a.m., at the Willowbank Building, Room 116, Bellefonte, Pa. The election of officers will be held.

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