Potter County Conservation District directors and staff hosted their annual legislative luncheon at the Susquehannock Lodge, detailing accomplishments and ongoing projects while appealing to state lawmakers for support. This year’s luncheon was significant because it marked the kick-off of the 75-year anniversary observance for the state’s first countywide conservation district. District Manager Chris Mitterer (right) spoke highly of the dedication of staffers Jason Childs, watershed specialist/nutrient management technician; Glenn Dunn II, resource conservationist; Rob Thompson (left), agricultural conservation technician; Adam Causer, low-volume/dirt and gravel road project specialist; and Mary Davis, administrative assistant/Chesapeake Bay technician and farmland preservation coordinator.
Mitterer cited a list of 2015 goals and called on the state legislature to support county conservation districts, which are required to implement state-mandated programs while providing numerous other services to promote environmental stewardship, support for agriculture and public education. Among the projects on the 2015 work plan is a coordinated effort to clean up some of the illegal dump sites that have been discovered in Potter County.
Representative Martin Causer, aides for State Senator Joe Scarnati and Congressman Glenn Thompson, and Potter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Susan Kefover and Paul Heimel expressed their appreciation for the Conservation District’s service. Morley, who serves on the district’s board of directors, said Potter County’s location as headwaters for three major watersheds presents an opportunity to lead by example when it comes to protecting water quality under the motto, “It was clean when it left here.”
Ken Comstock (in foreground at right), vice chairman of the district’s board of directors, emphasized the importance of balancing regulations covering agricultural practices and related activities with a recognition of individual circumstances. Dan Vilello (left), a representative of the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection, said that agency’s approach toward enforcement and compliance has evolved and the level of cooperation across the region is impressive. Pete Ryan, an associate director for the district, said he’s heartened by the professional development of the organization’s relatively young staff, which bodes well for the future of the district’s mission.
Details on the Potter County Conservation District are available on the website, pottercd.com. Directors are Earl Brown (chairman), Ken Comstock (vice chairman), H. Richard Curfman (treasurer), Doug Morley, Leroy White, Phil Lehman and Jon Blass. Associate directors, who serve in an advisory role, are Eric Peangatelli, Ron Angood, Pete Ryan, Kevin Smoker, David Saulter and Sarah Johnson. A volunteer Quality Assurance Board also advises the district. A separate volunteer board is in place to help administer the conservation easement purchases through the Farmland Preservation Program.