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.

‘Cleaning Up Potter County’ Showing Results

June 6th, 2017 Comments off

Potter County is scoring some major wins in its concerted effort to eliminate unsafe, environmentally unsound and illegal dumpsites. A 2011 study that identified 56 dump sites in the county spread over 22 municipalities got the ball rolling. Funding fell into place three years later when the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company worked out an $800,000 settlement for environmental violations during the company’s construction of a pipeline in the region. Some of that money was reserved for remediating illegal dumpsites. Over the past two years, the Potter County Conservation District has partnered with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), Potter County Solid Waste Authority and DEP to clean 30 sites throughout the county. Some 2.8 tons of trash and close to 150 tires have been removed.

Among the sites addressed so far were dumping areas off Pinneo Road near Oswayo, along Pine Creek in Galeton and the Old Colesburg Road in Coudersport. Volunteers have come from the LEEK Hunting and Mountain Preserve, Upper Allegheny Watershed Association, Galeton VFW Post 6611, Galeton Area School and Potter County Probation, among others. Inmates from the Potter County Jail have also taken part. Four more Potter County sites could see work this year once teams of volunteers and/or community organizations are engaged. They’re located along Rt. 44 in Eulalia Township, Loucks Mill Road in Hector Township, Rowley Road in Bingham Township, and Burleson Avenue in Roulette Township. More than 20 other sites that have been identified still need to be addressed. To volunteer or report an illegal dumpsite, contact PEC at 570-718-6507.

Successful Debut For Potter County Farmers Market

May 28th, 2017 Comments off

John and Joan Bradley discussed beekeeping and offer honey at Friday’s market.

Potter County Farmers Market made its debut Friday afternoon on the county’s lot across from the jail and saw brisk business. All signs point to this being the best year yet for the market, which will operate from 1-5 pm Fridays for about four months.

Upwards of a dozen vendors are signed up to sell locally produced fruits and vegetables, baked goods, jams, jellies, maple products, alpaca products, trees, honey and related products, vines, plants and craft items. It’s likely that other vendors will join in as the market continues to gain momentum.

Coming on many Fridays will be cooking demonstrations and nutrition programs presented by Penn State Extension’s Laurie Maletto. A certified nutrition education advisor, Maletto will give pointers on healthy eating, food preparation to retain nutritional content, meal planning, wise grocery shopping and related topics. There will also be live music and occasional agricultural-related presentations by local 4-H members.

Rytz Bowman, Metzger Heritage Farm

The market has enabled producers to work together to overcome expensive and time-consuming challenges such as marketing. While consumer interest in local foods has increased in recent years, many are still not aware of the availability of naturally grown and organic produce in the area. Organizers are out to change that.

Women, Infants, Children (WIC) program vouchers and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks are accepted. Those seeking more information about the Potter County Farmers Market or producers interested in participating as vendors should call 814-274-8004. More details on Penn State Extension’s agricultural services and food/nutrition programs, including Master Gardener education and food safety issues, may call 814-274-8540.

(Photos by Jennifer Rossman, Potter County Director of Community Development)

Heroes’ Welcome For Healing Waters Veterans

May 25th, 2017 Comments off

A rousing reception organized by the Potter County Veterans Service Committee welcomed about a dozen military veterans and their motorcycle escort through Potter County for the tenth annual Project Healing Waters gathering. County employees turned out in force and the committee also provided flags for citizens to wave as the vets passed through town. They were joined by other area veterans riding in an Area Transportation Authority bus to show their support for the special guests. The procession continued through the parking lots of Sweden Valley Manor and Charles Cole Memorial Hospital before a brief stop at American Legion Post 192. It then progressed through Austin to Moore’s Run Fish and Game Preserve. Project Healing Waters is sponsored by the God’s Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers. Goal is to aid in the veterans’ physical and emotional recovery through fly fishing and fly tying. All activities, services and equipment are provided at no cost, including equipment that accommodates special needs.

Potter County Courthouse Focus Of TV Special

May 17th, 2017 Comments off

A film crew from the Pennsylvania Cable Network was in Potter County  filming for a television program that will air in millions of Pennsylvania households later this year. PCN is focusing on the Potter County Courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Historical Society President David Castano and Commissioner Paul Heimel are working with the producers and film crew to create an interesting program tying the 156-year-old building to significant events in both local and American history. Information on when the program will debut will be announced. The feature will also be archived for instant access on the PCN website.