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Archive for June 13th, 2017

Potter County Water Quality Work Group’s Mission Expands

June 13th, 2017 Comments off

A research project of historic proportions is now underway in Potter County. Details were reported at Monday’s meeting of the county’s Water Quality Work Group. A state grant has been approved to cover the bulk of expenses in a detailed study that will document where much of the county’s groundwater comes from, its characteristics, and its movement patterns. The information will be invaluable for public policy-makers, industries, regulatory agencies and many others. Through the testing of between 45 and 50 wells in strategic locations, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will be able to amass and share detailed data. This will be a valuable tool for protecting water when sites are chosen for certain types of development. Well data will be assembled and analyzed in a cumulative fashion, with the identity of individual well owners protected. Confidential findings from the analysis will be provided to each owner. Groundwater can contain a variety of suspended and dissolved substances such as bacteria, minerals and gases. These substances are often naturally occurring, but can also be influenced by activities occurring on the land surface. A comprehensive list of water quality parameters will be analyzed for each well.

Justin Boatwright

In other business, Justin Boatwright, waterways conservation officer with the Pa. Fish & Boat Commission, has joined the work group. Since his assignment to Potter County last summer, Boatwright has also been working with the Potter County Conservation District and local watershed associations to coordinate their activities with the commission’s work. Charlie Tuttle, chair of the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition (TDWC), updated the work group on plans to install 24/7 monitors on the supplies of nearly every source of public drinking water in Potter County. Funding for the monitors was obtained through the state’s settlement with JKLM Energy following a 2015 shale gas drilling infraction and pollution incident in Potter County. TDWC will hold its next public meeting at 9 am Wednesday, June 14, at the Gunzburger Building.

Water Quality Work Group Chairman Jason Childs and Jared Dickerson, both from the Potter County Conservation District, detailed a lengthy list of habitat improvement, aquatic organism passage/stream connectivity, dirt and gravel road stabilization, and agricultural assistance projects the district is working on this year. Childs explained new measurement tools being used to verify county-by-county reductions in agricultural nitrogen and phosphorus entering the Chesapeake Bay watershed. He added that considerable progress is being made in Potter County through the cooperation of local farmers.

Updates were also presented on the activities of the Upper Allegheny, First Fork, Genesee and Pine Creek watershed associations, as well as a significant levee improvement project on Mill Creek in Coudersport Borough and the June 24 Trout Unlimited “Snapshot Day” water quality assessment by Trout Unlimited on the West Branch of Pine Creek. Seven sampling sites to document water characteristics in Potter County have been selected.

More information on the Water Quality Work Group is available from Jason Childs at 814-320-4012. Next public meeting is scheduled for 8 am on Aug. 14 in the Gunzburger Building.

Lt. Gov. Stack Compliments Local Veterans’ Support Efforts

June 13th, 2017 Comments off

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack visited Potter County last week. He hosted a meeting with the Potter County Veterans Service Committee members, as well as veterans affairs directors from three counties and representatives of local American Legion and VFW posts. Lt. Gov. Stack was so impressed with what he learned about local services for military veterans that he established a seat representing Potter, Tioga, McKean and Cameron counties on his new statewide task force for veterans’ advocacy. Stack (right) was joined by retired Brigadier General Frank Sullivan (left), a Galeton native; and the lieutenant governor’s assistant, Wiliam Geigot. The team also toured Cherry Springs State Park International Dark Sky Preserve and met with local representatives of tourism, business, government and criminal justice.