Friends Of The Little Aughwick Creek

Mission: "To protect and promote the environment and water quality within the Little Aughwick Creek Watershed. Strategies to achieve the mission include education to enhance public understanding of water issues, data collection, community activism, and promoting good quality land use planning."

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Environment Tips & Info

Please check out our "Links" page for more environmental tips and info!

Click On Topics Below:

Riparian/Streamside Buffer

Landscape and Lawn
West Nile Virus
Soil Erosion
Storm Water & Best Management Practices (BMP)


Riparian/Streamside Buffers

What is a Riparian Buffer?
A riparian buffer or streamside buffer is an area of vegetation that is maintained along the shore of a water body to protect stream water quality and stabilize stream channels and banks. Buffers can reduce the pollutants entering a stream, lake or pond by filtering and altering the form of sediments, nutrients and other chemicals in runoff from surrounding lands. Streamside buffers also provide food, habitat and protection from extreme temperatures for fish and wildlife. Forested buffers of mostly trees and shrubs that are at least 100 feet wide perform these functions best (Chesapeake Bay Riparian Handbook).


Why Streamside Buffers?
Streamside areas link water to land. Some of their many functions are essential for human health and welfare, some are highly desirable for recreation and scenic values, and some are important for maintaining the natural stream (lake, pond) system. Streamside buffers protect human health and welfare by protecting water supplies, by providing areas that store and slow flood waters and by stabilizing stream banks. They often create economic advantages through increased property values, better herd health for pastured animals and low maintenance requirements once established. Landowners who conserve buffers on their properties may be eligible for financial benefits through easement programs. Streamside buffers improve water quality, enhance fisheries and wildlife habitat and help to protect the physical and hydrological functions of water bodies.


Click Here to view FLAC's Buffer Brochure

Latest information on how to plan for, design, establish and maintain streamside forest buffers.

 PA DEP’S Forest Buffer Tool Kit, Factsheets, and more info http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/watermgt/wc/subjects/StreamReLeaf/default.htm

StormwaterPA provides the tools to transform stormwater runoff problems from unwanted nuisance into beneficial resource.http://www.stormwaterpa.org/riparian-buffer.html  

Chesapeake Bay Foundation buffer handbook & other buffer info. http://www.cbf.org/Page.aspx?pid=812

For a Pennsylvania Field Guide to Common Invasive Plants in Riparian Areas, go to: http://www.acb-online.org/pubs/projects/deliverables-145-1-2004.pdf

Noxious Weed is a plant determined by Pennsylvania law to be injurious to public health, crops, livestock, agricultural land, or other property. Refer to 7 Pa. Code 110 §110.1 for a current list of noxious weeds, available at: http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/007/chapter110/chap110toc.html

Landscaping with Native Plants in Pennsylvania http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/wildplant/native.aspx

Buffer Videos

http://vimeo.com/9314944

http://www.stormwaterpa.org/riparian-buffer.html

Tree Planting Video

http://www.iconservepa.org/videotips.html


 Landscape & Lawn

Looking for tips on how to save time, money, and the planet while tending to your lawn and garden this summer? Check out EPA's new GreenScapes exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden's summer exhibition "One Planet—Ours," which opens to the public on Saturday, May 24. EPA's outdoor exhibit showcases lawn and garden care practices that are easy on the environment and on your wallet.

Summer is the perfect time to combine a green thumb with a green lifestyle. By following these simple tips, homeowners can save time and money, and improve the health and appearance of their lawn and garden.
 
  • Mow regularly and leave the clippings on the lawn – the clippings will recycle into "free fertilizer."
  • Water deeply, but infrequently, to prevent lawn disease and save water.
  • Mulch flower and vegetable beds with compost or grass clippings to conserve water and control weeds.
  • Identify bugs before you spray, squash or stomp – most bugs are good bugs, not pests.
  • Consider planting native trees and plants, especially ones with berries, fruits and flowers to invite birds, butterflies, and other wildlife into your yard.
For more information on greenscaping, check out EPA's GreenScapes Web site. It includes a seasonal tips calendar on landscape maintenance and a pamphlet that provides cost-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions for large-scale landscapers and homeowners.
 
EPA's GreenScapes partnership program is designed to help preserve natural resources and prevent waste and pollution by encouraging companies, government agencies, and other entities to make more holistic decisions regarding waste generation and disposal, and the use of the land, water, pesticides, and energy.
 
EPA's GreenScapes Seasonal Planning Calendar: http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/green/homeown/calendar.htm

West Nile Virus

These are easy measures that everyone can take in their own back yards to help protect themselves and their family from the West Nile virus.

DEP offers the following tips to eliminate mosquito-breeding sites around the home:

  • Identify and eliminate standing water that collects on your property. Mosquitoes will breed in any puddle that lasts for more than four days. 
  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water holding containers, including those that have become overgrown by aquatic vegetation.
  •  Empty water that may accumulate in discarded tires. 
  • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outside. 
  • Have clogged roof gutters cleaned annually, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees tend to block the drains. 
  • Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use. 
  • Turn over wheelbarrows and do not allow water to stagnate in birdbaths. 
  • Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. 
  • Keep swimming pools clean and chlorinated, and prevent water from collecting on swimming pool covers.
 
DEP and county West Nile coordinators monitor the type, location and population of immature (larvae and pupae) and adult mosquitoes. This information is then used to treat those areas where high populations of mosquitoes that are known West Nile carriers are found.

Pennsylvania’s aggressive approach has contributed to a drop in the number of human West Nile virus cases. The West Nile virus can cause West Nile fever and encephalitis—an infection that can cause inflammation of the brain and death—when transmitted to people.

Last year, the West Nile virus was found in 25 Pennsylvania counties. Ten state residents contracted the virus, but no deaths were reported.  In 2006, two of the nine Pennsylvanians who contracted West Nile virus died and in 2005, 25 residents contracted the disease, with no deaths attributed to the virus.

Most people bitten by an infected mosquito will never develop any symptoms, and only one in 150 with symptoms will develop the more serious West Nile encephalitis.

Because mosquitoes acquire the virus from infected birds, residents are reminded to report dead crows, blue jays and hawks. Residents who discover dead birds and would like to submit them for testing should call the local West Nile county coordinator.

When handling dead birds, use rubber gloves. If you do not have gloves, insert your hand into a plastic bag, grasp the bird carefully and invert the bag over the bird. Each bird should be placed in a tied plastic bag and then placed inside a second tied bag.

If you are not submitting the bird for testing, place the bagged bird in the trash. Wash your hands with soap and water.

For more information about West Nile virus, and register for updates via e-mail, visit www.westnile.state.pa.us. People can also call 1-877-PA-HEALTH for information

Soil Erosion

WHAT IS SOIL EROSION?

Erosion is a natural process by which the surface of the land is worn away by water, wind or chemical action. Accelerated erosion is the removal of the surface of the land through the combined action of human activities and natural processes at a rate greater than would occur from natural processes alone.

IS SEDIMENT REALLY A POLLUTANT & HARMFUL?

A certain amount of erosion and sediment occurs naturally. Because it is a natural process, nature is able to assimilate naturally occurring sediments without permanent adverse effects. Adverse effects most often result from accelerated erosion due to earth disturbance activities such as surface mining, agricultural plowing and tilling, construction activities and timber harvesting operations.

  • Fish have gills, which extract oxygen from the water. These gills can become clogged when the water transports excessive amounts of sediment.
  • Sediment can cover fish eggs and the gravel nests they rest in.
  • Sediment can destroy the food supply for many species of fish by covering aquatic insect habitat on the stream bottom.
  • Sediment clouds the water and deprives plants of light needed for photosynthesis. This is thought to be the primary cause of the widespread die-off of aquatic vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Sediment may carry other pollutants such as heavy metals, pesticides and excess nutrients that are spread by water action and cause problems not only at the source, but also downstream.
  • Sediment loads in our waterways often result in eroded and unstable stream banks.

HOW IS EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL REGULATED?

Because of the soil erosion problems associated with earth disturbance activities, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) approved statewide regulations for Erosion and Sediment Control, 25 Pa. Code Chapter 102 in September of 1972 and amended them on January 1, 2000. These regulations are authorized by the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law, 35 P.S. §§691.1 et seq., and prohibit the discharge of any pollutant to waters of the commonwealth. Under the Chapter 102 regulations, anyone conducting earth disturbance activities must use Best Management Practices (BMPs) to minimize the amount of sediment leaving the earth disturbance activity.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of Chapter 102 regulations and the Clean Streams Law. County conservation districts with trained staff are delegated the responsibility to review Erosion and Sediment Control Plans (E&S Plans), conduct training, perform site inspections, and in some cases, conduct compliance and enforcement actions. Every county in Pennsylvania has a county conservation district office except Philadelphia County.

WHAT IS REQUIRED?

Depending on what type of earth disturbance activities that you are doing, how much soil you are disturbing and what the quality of watershed that you are in determines if you need BMP’s or full fledge E&SS Plan. An E&S Plan, which meets the requirements of Chapter 102, must be properly designed, implemented, and available on site for all earth disturbance activities. The E&S Plan must show how land and water resources are to be protected against accelerated erosion through the use of BMPs. Examples of BMPs include: minimizing earth disturbance, silt fence, mulch, diversion ditches, sediment traps, sediment basins, and the establishment of grasses or other BMPs for permanent stabilization. County conservation districts are able to provide guidance for E&S Plan development.    

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Proper planning and use of BMPs is the key to a successful project and the protection of the commonwealth’s water resources. Before you begin your project, become familiar with the erosion and sediment control requirements. Inform your contractor or equipment operator of the need for E&S Plans or NPDES permits as part of the project. If you need assistance or more information, contact your local county conservation district or a DEP regional office.
 
If sediment pollution is occurring, or if there is evidence that sediment pollution has occurred due to an on-going earth disturbance activity, contact the conservation district for the county where the project is located. You will need to provide the location, type of activity, name of the project (if known), and whether sediment pollution is occurring.

Storm Water & Best Management Practices (BMP)

Day to Day BMPs (Best Management Practices):           

Many of these best management practices may seem rather simple or small, but the cumulative effect throughout an entire watershed can significantly contribute to improved storm water management.

  • Avoid overuse of pesticides and fertilizers—use only the amount needed and apply only when necessary.
  • Apply fertilizer and pesticides only onto target areas. Don’t spread fertilizer onto paved surfaces that drain to the storm sewer.
  • Follow recommended watering practices. Avoid excess watering and don’t sprinkle water onto paved or other areas that drain into the storm sewer.
  • Avoid compacting yard and garden soils because compaction impedes water infiltration.
  • Avoid unnecessary pesticide, fertilizer, or water use by using plants adapted to the local area.
  • Clean up hazardous material spills properly and don’t wash waste into the storm sewer.
  • Store oil, gasoline, antifreeze, and other automotive products properly. Keep these substances tightly sealed and avoid leaky containers.
  • Clean up oil or other vehicle fluid drippings. Do not store used vehicle parts on areas that drain to the storm sewer.
  • Wash vehicles at a commercial car wash or on a non-paved surface to avoid drainage to the storm sewer.
  • Avoid allowing pet waste to be dumped or washed into the storm sewer. Properly bury or flush the waste down a toilet into the sanitary sewer system for treatment. Reduce or avoid areas of concentrated pet waste.
  • Mulch grass clippings and leave these on the lawn for natural fertility or use the clippings for composting.
  • Keep grass clippings and leaves from washing into the storm sewer.
  • Drain downspouts onto grassy areas. Collect water from downspouts for use around the home.
  • Do not discharge sump-pump water onto paved surfaces that drain to the storm sewer.
  • Mulch and seed bare soil as soon as possible to prevent the soil from eroding into the storm sewer.

 

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