Archive for the ‘Current Projects’ Category

Posted by   on: December 7th, 2011

Eastern Delware County Stormwater Colaborative Members

On Thursday, December 1, 2011, Eastern Delaware County municipalities celebrated an exciting milestone.  The Boroughs of Collingdale, Sharon Hill, Yeadon and Upper Darby Township were recognized for signing on Eastern Delaware County Stormwater Collaborative Inter-governmental Agreement.  Elected Officials formally adopted the agreement at public meetings in November.  The four municipalities were recognized by the Southeastern PA Resource Conservation and Development(RC&D) Council, Project Sponsor, the County and other partners for their joint initiative across municipal boundaries to manage stormwater and comply with Pennsylvania’s stormwater permit requirements.

The Collaborative municipalities will be able to more efficiently and economically address stormwater problems and comply with DEP stormwater permit requirements.  Through this partnership, the four municipalities will work together to conduct required training programs for municipal staff and contractors, host education and outreach events, enlist involvement from residents and other constituents, take advantage of economies of scale for educational publications and other permit related activities.

Collectively, these practices and programs will help prevent water pollution and protect streams like the Darby Creek from Degradation that can result from uncontrolled and polluted stormwater runoff.  The four municipalities are the first members to sign the agreement and formalize their commitment to work together to undertake regulatory requirements to prevent water pollution in the Darby Creek Watershed.

Southeastern PA RC&D Council has led this effort over several years. The project focused on urbanized communities in Delaware County to formalize joint municipal stormwater management activities.Karen Holm, Southeastern PA RC&D Board Member and Delaware County Planning Department Manager said “I am encouraged by the dedication shown over the many months of working together to prepare and inter-governmental cooperative agreement; it signals readiness among municipalities to work together to more efficiently address the challenges of storm water management.  Starting in 2012, the Collaborative will be well positioned to conduct combined training events and education projects for the four partners.  This collaboration will help member municipalities meet their permit goals and obligations in a more cost -effective manner, avoid inefficiencies that can occur under the municipal permit, and present a more unified and consistent educational messages to communities and constituents.”

Funding for this innovative project has been provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and The William Penn Foundation. The Southeastern PA Resource Conservation and Development Council, a regional nonprofit organization helped organize the collaborative and obtained the grant funding for this unique project. The Delaware County Planning Department and the Delaware County Conservation District have been actively involved in organizing and assisting the Collaborative with assistance and participation from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

 

 

 

Posted by   on: November 16th, 2011

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Resource Conservation and Development Council held a free Organic Transitions Farm Workshop for small farmers at the Greener Partners Longview Center for Agriculture in Collegeville, PA on Tuesday, November 15 from 1:00 to 5:30pm. The event focused on teaching growers how to implement organic, low-input, sustainable techniques in their operations, and includes a tour of the center and series of lectures.

Participants had the opportunity to see farmland conservation practices being implemented, including those benefiting soil, water, and pollinator habitat preservation. Participants toured  the Longview Center for Agriculture, a 90 acre certified organic farm, which showcases how a wide array of conservation-oriented techniques, such as cover crop rotations, seasonal high tunnels, integrated pest management, and organic orchard management, can be utilized to holistically address a wide range of natural resource concerns.

Andrew Frankenfield, Penn State Extension Educator for Montgomery County, provided participants with a dynamic presentation on expert cover crop management techniques, including cover crop species selection and rotation as it relates to improving overall soil health. No till systems, as they relate to sustainable practices, were also be addressed.

Information about the financial and technical resources available to growers interested in adopting conversation practices which support organic agriculture systems were presented by Austin Drager, Natural Resource Specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Additionally information was provided by Rick Fonda, Production Manager for the Longview Center for Agriculture.

Ian Phelps Longview 11.15.11

Ian Phelps speaking about Transitioning to Organic Practices

 

Posted by   on: August 1st, 2011

Thursday November 17, 2011 – Thursday November 17, 2011

11:00 AM – 3:30 PM

Lehigh County Agricultural Center

View MapMap and Directions | Register

Description:

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Resource Conservation & Development Council is sponsoring a Grants: Researching grants and preparing a quality proposal Workshop for regional watershed volunteers, staff and board members.

The  cost to attend is $25. Lunch is included.  Come early to network and enjoy light refreshments.

This step by step, user friendly guide will walk novice grant seekers through the proposal planning, research, writing and submission process. Discussion will include how to define funding needs, what types of grants exist and how they differ, how to conduct funding research, steps in writing a proposal, and how to approach different funders. Emphasis will be on determining which grant opportunities best match your organization’s programs so that you can focus your
energy on preparing clear and persuasive proposals that are most likely to succeed.

Allison Trimarco  of The Nonprofit Center at LaSalle University School of Business will be presenting the workshop.
Allison Trimarco is the founder of creative Capacity, LLC which works with nonprofits of all types to increase their management capacity.  Her practice focuses on strategic planning, fundraising, communications, and non-profit development projects.
Allison is an affiliated consultant and trainer with the Nonprofit Center at LaSalle University, where she has handles fundraising and strategic planning projects  for arts, education, and social service organizations. Allison earned a Master’s degree in Arts Management with highest distinction and Carnegie Mellon University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Theater cum laude at Smith College.
Posted by   on: May 25th, 2011

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Resource Conservation and Development Council (SEPA RC&D) is assisting municipalities in Eastern Delaware County, Pennsylvania by helping them to work as a group on stormwater management issues such as the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) Program.

Currently, many municipalities in Pennsylvania are faced with implementation of a number of federal and state program requirements associated with watershed-related permits and issues.  Each of them is separately responsible for undertaking much of the same work, often within the same watershed boundaries. Southeastern PA RC&D recognizes that stormwater management issues could be better addressed in a more holistic planning forum.

The municipalities involved in this project are MS4 municipalities. They are older, highly urbanized, mostly very small, and have serious technical and financial constraints in dealing with stormwater-related regulatory requirements and and implementation of other stormwater-related activities identified in regional watershed plans.

Funding for this innovative project has been provided by US Environmental Protection Agency and the William Penn Foundation.

The results of this project will provide the Darby-Cobbs Watershed municipalities and neighboring watershed municipalities with a model program for dealing with stormwater management issues, and specifically assist them with implementation of stormwater-related programs and activities such as those identified in the Cobbs Creek Integrated Watershed Management Plan (CCIWMP). It is hoped that this project will be duplicated in other areas of Pennsylvania, as well as the nation, where there is no centralized entity (i.e., city or county) responsible for undertaking stormwater issues in a coordinated fashion.

Expected outcomes of the project include:

  1. The creation of  a multi-municipal collaborative to address stormwater management in the project area communities
  2. Initiation of joint programs and common stormwater practices under the guidance of a stormwater manager
  3. Municipal officials and residents thinking beyond their political boundaries
  4. Better implementation of common stormwater management practices by the study area communities
  5. Long-term implementation of a self-sustaining funding mechanism
  6. Joint/common public education and outreach plans and programs
  7. State and federal environmental officials using this project as a model
Posted by   on: May 25th, 2011

The purpose of this project is to establish a rain water harvesting system at Spring-Ford Intermediate School in Royersford, Montgomery County, PA. This project provides hands-on lessons in environmental conservation to all Spring-Ford Intermediate School students.  Capturing rainwater to maintain the garden habitat creates true self-sustainability and reduces the need for chemically-treated traditional water sources.

The proposed water feature will integrate beautifully into the courtyard landscape and become a focal point for fifth and sixth grade lessons on watersheds and wetlands, sustainability, conservation, water management facilities and water treatment versus rainwater.

Project Goals include:

  1. Develop specific lessons for each grade level that will utilize the outdoor learning center and will meet Pennsylvania’s Environmental and Ecology, and Science and Technology Standards as well as Pennsylvania State Standards in other content areas
  2. Retain a Complete Aquatics Certified Professional to design and oversee the construction of the rain water harvesting system in the interior courtyard of Spring-Ford Intermediate School 5/6 Center
  3. Provide opportunities for student service learning projects. (such as researching and planting self-sustaining gardens as well as PA native shrubbery around the perimeter of the courtyard, testing and maintaining water from the rain water harvesting system, creating habitats for specific species, etc.)
  4. Develop a plan for ongoing maintenance of the courtyard area and surrounding gardens

The Southeastern PA RC&D Council has assisted the school by securing grants to build the rain harvesting system. Two grants have been awarded for the project.  One grant from the Trustees of Robert L and Agnes Cook Bard Foundation and a second grant from PA American Waters.

Steve Senn along with Roger Sears and volunteers will be installing the Complete Aquatics rainwater harvesting system on Tuesday, July 19th.

 

Posted by   on: May 19th, 2011

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Resource Conservation & Development Council is sponsoring a Guide to Finding and Getting Grants Workshop for regional watershed volunteers, staff and board members.

Allison Trimarco  of The Nonprofit Center at LaSalle University School of Business will be presenting the workshop.  The  cost to attend is $25. Lunch is included.  Come early to network and enjoy light refreshments.
Allison Trimarco is the founder of creative Capacity, LLC which works with nonprofits of all types to increase their management capacity.  Her practice focuses on strategic planning, fundraising, communications, and non-profit development projects.
Allison is an affiliated consultant and trainer with the Nonprofit Center at LaSalle University, where she has handles fundraising and strategic planning projects  for arts, education, and social service organizations. Allison earned a Master’s degree in Arts Management with highest distinction and Carnegie Mellon University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Theater cum laude at Smith College.

To register click here. More information can also be obtained by sending an email to chairman@separcd.org, or calling the office at 215-453-9527 Ext. 5. Space is limited, so register early.

Posted by   on: May 13th, 2011

Pennsylvania American Water announced that seven watershed initiatives across the state have earned financial support through the company’s 2011 Environmental Grant Program. The recipients will receive a share of grant funds totaling approximately $35,000 for their community-based projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds.

A panel of judges selected the winners from approximately 50 grant applications, which were evaluated on such criteria as environmental need, innovation, community engagement and sustainability.

Pennsylvania American Water awarded its 2011Environmental Grants to Marywood University (Lackawanna County), Southeastern Pennsylvania Resource Conservation and Development Council (Montgomery County), Pittsburgh Botanic Garden (Allegheny County), Dauphin County Conservation District, Brandywine Valley Association (Chester County), Clarks Summit Shade Tree Commission (Lackawanna County), and Buffalo Creek Watershed Association (Washington County).

“In our seventh year of the Environmental Grant Program, I’m very proud of how we have partnered with so many community groups that share our dedication to the stewardship of Pennsylvania’s water resources,” said Pennsylvania American Water President Kathy L. Pape. “The 2011 grant recipients especially deserve our support for their innovative projects to protect our watersheds.”

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Resource Conservation and Development Council will establish a rainwater harvesting system at the Spring-Ford Intermediate School in Royersford to provide students with hands-on environmental lessons in water conservation with the funding. The proposed system will capture rainwater to operate the schoolyard pond and stream, as well as irrigate the plants in the school’s garden. The project will also serve as a focal point for fifth- and sixth-grade lessons on watersheds, wetlands, sustainability, conservation and water management.

 

Posted by   on: May 12th, 2011

The Southeastern PA RC&D Council is sponsoring capacity building workshops for local watershed organizations on:

Allison Trimarco  of The Nonprofit Center at LaSalle University School of Business will be presenting. Each workshop costs $25 to attend. Lunch is included in the registration cost. Click on the workshop name above to register for the event with our secure online registration.

Posted by   on: March 25th, 2011

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Resource Conservation and Development Council’s GeoTrail will consist of a series of geocache sites in the Southeastern Pennsylvania counties of Bucks, Berks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, and Philadelphia.   These unique geocache sites will provide local residents as well as tourists the opportunity to visit, enjoy, and learn about natural, cultural, historical, and other locally significant places in the region. The SEPA RC&D GeoTrail is an activity that can be enjoyed for an afternoon, a weekend, or through a series of day trips. This project will expose people to some of the region’s lesser known tourist attractions, but equally interesting and unique sites. This project is expected to generate an additional $800,000 for the region’s economy over a three year period.

There are currently over 900,000 active geocache sites located in over 200 countries around the world. A similar project in Northwestern Pennsylvania, The Allegheny GeoTrail, has logged over 48,000 individual visits to geocache sites in less than two years and will generate an estimated $400,000 for the local economy.  Avid geocachers plan their vacations around geocaching. Over 5,000 geocachers from 32 countries participated in the 2009 GeoWoodstock in Tennessee. More information about geocaching can be found at www.geocaching.com or by searching the internet

A passport-like booklet will contain tourism information for each county and a page to record the validation stamps of their geocache site visits in each county. The passports can be obtained by visiting or contacting the SEPA RC&D office, county tourism offices, parks, and other local locations. A downloadable version of the passport will also be available on the project website.

The geocache sites will be selected and monitored by local geocache volunteers. They will be located in free, public locations. There will be a mixture of difficulty levels, including some that will be handicap accessible. At each site a SEPA RC&D GeoTrail identified waterproof container will contain a log book for geocachers to record their visit and comments, a unique SEPA RC&D GeoTrail self-inking stamp, and a small exchangeable trinket in keeping with geocache tradition. There will be approximately 15 geocache sites in each county.

Upon visiting at least 10 sites in a county, the geocachers will be eligible to receive a specially minted souvenir coin. The coin will feature a unique county design on one side and the SEPA RC&D GeoTrail logo on the other side. The coins will be individually numbered and trackable on the www.geocaching.com website. Besides a different design, each county’s coin will also be made of a different colored metal.  The county coins will be approximately the size of a silver dollar. To receive a coin, the geocachers can visit one of six planned geocache events.

After visiting geocache sites in all eight counties and obtaining the eight county coins, a geocacher will be eligible to receive the SEPA RC&D GeoTrail coin.

Posted by   on: March 25th, 2011

The Farm Bioenergy Project is an opportunity to support local agriculture, stimulate economic development in the region, protect the environment, and reduce dependency on foreign oil.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Resource Conservation and Development Council is leading a partnership effort that will build and operate a mobile processing unit called the Kwesinator to produce alternative fuels and a valuable soil amendment.

The Kwesinator will convert biomass such as switchgrass hay through a process called fast pyrolysis. The Kwesinator will be built upon a proven research model developed by scientists at the USDA Ag Research Service Center in Wyndmoor (Montgomery County), PA.

Southeastern PA RC&D wants to incubate this new technology because it will create additional sources of revenue for local farmers, lead to the creation of green jobs, and the formation of new businesses in rural communities.

The Kwestinator

By 2020, the US Navy expects 50% of its total energy consumption for ships, aircraft, tanks, vehicles and shore installations to come from alternative sources.

Fast Pyrolysis is a process through which biomass is very quickly heated to a high temperature (greater than 750° F in less than 1 second) without oxygen present and changed into three useable products. They are bio-oil, bio-char, and syngas. The conversion rate is approximately 70% bio-oil, 20% bio-char, and 10% syngas.

Bio-oil is dark brown in color and can be used without processing as heating oil or as a fuel source for the generation of electricity. Bio-oil has approximately half the heating value of traditional heating oil. It can also be refined for use as diesel and aviation fuel.

Bio-char is a graphite looking-like powder. It can be used as a soil amendment to adsorb excess nutrients, pesticides, other potential pollutants, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. This reduces the potential for the leaching of these pollutants into the region’s streams, ponds, and lakes. Bio-char can also help improve soil tilth. It can be used as a fuel source (sort of a “green” coal) to generate heat or electricity.

Air quality in ports and harbors could also be improved if tugboats used the bio-oil for fuel since it is a low-sulfur fuel.

The Kwesinator will go to farms in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Northampton Counties to process switchgrass or other biomass material into bio-oil, bio-char, and syngas onsite.

To promote the technology and encourage others, the Southeastern PA RC&D Council will display the Kwesinator at the PA Farm Show, Ag Progress Days, energy expos, and county fairs. The Council will also make information available through a project website.