SPRING CREEK WATERSHED COMMISSION
September 21, 2016 Meeting
Spring Township Municipal Building
(Prepared by Lexie Orr, Spring Creek Watershed Coordinator)
Chair called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
Members said the pledge.
- Bellefonte- Gay Dunn
- Benner – Absent
- College Township – Bill Sharp
- Ferguson – Peter Buckland
- Halfmoon – Danelle Del Corso
- Harris – Denny Hameister
- Milesburg – Paul Bartley
- Patton – Doug Wion
- Potter – Bill Fleckenstein
- Spring – Absent
- State College – Janet Engeman
- Walker Township – Absent
Paul Bartley moved to approve/accept the Minutes from the July SCWC meeting. Janet Engeman seconded the motion. Minutes were accepted unanimously.
Todd Giddings alerted the commission that the Spring Creek watershed is currently under “Drought Watch” conditions. Only 14% (7 years) of the 121 years on record have been drier than 2016. The groundwater level at the monitoring well is 28 feet lower than last year due to continued water use without any replenishment. Additionally, the flow of Spring Creek is 61% of the average rate for this time of year. While we are not immediately feeling the impact of the drought because of our abundance of groundwater and well field management, if we continue to head in the same direction, drought warning conditions are imminent. Let’s hope for some soakers!
There was discussion as to who had authority or responsible to notify the public of drought conditions. After similar drought conditions were experienced in the 1960’s, newer well fields were designed to supply ample water during drought conditions, so the water authority does not need to notify citizens. The WRMP, being volunteer-based, does not have the authority or resources to notify the public. The DEP has the responsibility to report these conditions on their website.
The Water Resources Monitoring Project hosted a funder and landowner appreciation event on Friday September 23rd at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center. The monitoring project committee members and water resources coordinator presented on the Geology of the Spring Creek Watershed and its effect on our water resources and then took to the field for macroinvertebrate and electrofishing demonstrations.
Educational Topic – Seth Blumsack, PCIA Presentation, Introduced by Peter Buckland
Title: Climate Change, Political Change and Pennsylvania Energy
2015 Climate Impacts Update – 3rd biannual update to original 2009 assessment
2009 – Act 70 charged DEP with responsibility of studying the likely impact of climate change on a number of different economic an socially important segments (water, agriculture, forestry, tourism, human health, energy, etc.)
PA is BIG energy state
- PJM Interconnection: World’s Largest Electrical Grid
- PA is 2nd largest producer of electricity in USA
- PA is largest exporter of electricity in USA
- PA is 2nd largest producer of natural gas - 9031 unconventional wells drilled
- 2nd largest wind producer on Eastern seaboard
- 3rd largest producer of coal and total E
- largest petroleum refiner on east coast
- PA is 3rd largest emitter of CO2 and is huge large exporter of emissions
Annual Energy Use in PA
- - Nuclear = electricity
- - Natural gas = equal parts electricity, residential, commercial
- - Coal = mostly electric, some industrial
- - Petroleum = mostly transportation, some industrial
- - About half of all of our energy produced is wasted (poor efficiency of cars, power plants, etc.)
- Biggest power wasters are electric power generators (2/3)
Climate Projections (IPCC)
Projections based on models with varying levels of economic growth and development
- Temperature - Globally surface temperature projected to increase from 1-5˚C
- Average PA temperature expected to increase by 2.5 to 3˚C by 2050
- Some models predict more warming for eastern part of state
- Precipitation- PA ~10% wetter with likely increase in frequency of very wet months and shift of drought season to autumn
- Extreme stream flow events (top 10-20%) on both upper and lower end of the spectrum predicted to increase
- More intense rain events = more runoff and less recharge
- Ridge and Valley Annual Watershed Changes– 20% drier, 50% stable, 30% wetter (does not include spring creek)
- Summer: ~60% drier, 25% stable, 15% wetter
- Fall: 20% drier, 50% stable, 30% wetter
- Winter/Spring: 10% drier, 40% stable, ~50% wetter
- Solutions: Artificial recharge, beneficial reuse, riparian buffers
Impact on Energy Demand
- Warmer temperatures
- more E on air conditioners à more electricity
- less E on heating à less oil and natural gas
- Net: 2-3% increase in E use
- Potential for very large E loads on hot days
- Adaptations for E Demand
- Grid expansion to keep up with peak demands
- Less costly alternatives
- small power plants
- more E efficiency
- Warming is likely to increase regional power demands during September
- E efficiency = shift away from once through cooling plants
- Distributed generation can reduce low-flow risk to electric reliability
Spring Creek Watershed Association, Bill Sharp, SCWA Chair
ClearWater Conservancy presented the draft to their new strategic plan at the September SCWA meeting.
20th Anniversary Celebration Recap, Bill Sharp, SCWA Chair
An Anniversary Celebration was held on September 10th at Millbrook Marsh to recognize the accomplishments made in the Spring Creek Watershed over the 20 years since the International Countryside Stewards Exchange. In the barn, a visual timeline displayed these accomplishments for the 30+ people who attended the event. There were four guest speakers, which included Mark Higgins, current county commissioner, two county commissioners during the time of the exchange, Vicki Wedler and Sue Mascolla, and Denny Hameister, SCWC Chair. A link to the program on CNET can be found here: http://vp.telvue.com/preview?id=T04959&video=287683. The event was made possible through funding organizations such as the SCWC, Centre County Board of Commissioners, CNET, ClearWater Conservancy and the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited as well as the hard-working Celebration Committee comprised of Judi Sittler, Adrienne Gemberling, Bob Eberhart, Bob Donaldson and Barb Fisher. Ann Donavan of the Centre County Conservation District also contributed by writing Mark Higgins’ speech.
The celebration produced many positive outcomes beyond the event itself. Bill Sharp put the timeline together into a 102-page document that will add greatly to the Atlas project. Matt Evans, PSU Altoona political science professor, also invited Bill to speak as a guest lecturer on the accomplishments made in the Spring Creek Watershed. In addition, County Commissioner Mark Higgins signed a proclamation to reinstate Spring Creek Day. The SCWA is also discussing the possibility of reviving the Springs and Sinks publication.
Spring Creek Watershed Atlas – Bob Donaldson
Bob emphasized that the main purpose of the Spring Creek Watershed Atlas it to educate the public. He listed a number of topics and articles that are currently published or being written for publication on the Atlas website. The Atlas Workgroup met the following day with Michele Halsell to discuss in further detail how to expand the educational potential of the website beyond a scientifically educated population to encompass youth in the community.
Request to Sponsor Program
Michele Halsell, Director of the Sustainable Communities Collaborative of the PSU Sustainability Institute, requested $250.00 to sponsor an event on October 18th. Dr. Clive Lipchin from the Arava Institute in Israel is holding an open lecture at 10AM in the Paterno Library on transboundary water issues as well as master class from 1-4PM in the State College Borough Building on the future of the Spring Creek Watershed. The requested funds will go towards printing handouts for the event.
Bill Sharp moved to approve the funding request. Doug Wion seconded the motion. The funding request of $250.00 was unanimously approved (Peter Buckley removed himself from the vote because he works with Michele)
Discussion re: Projects/Activity Sheet (11X14), provided by Bill MacMath
Add or edit anything you see necessary and email edits to Denny. The updated version will then be redistributed.
Future SCWC agenda items should include:
-SCWC Mission Statement, to be distributed
-Investigation of priorities and voting results from 2004 Public meeting, distributed
-Determination of interest and effort for Phase II of The Spring Creek Watershed Plan
Financial Report & Vouchers
No financial activity in August, 2016, Balance $22,238.09
Once around the Watershed
-Potter Township (Bill Fleckenstein)- Sept 12th, Potter Township Overlay District Ordinance passed
-Patton (Doug Wion) – Open space preservation is moving ahead
-Bellefonte Borough (Gay Dunn)- Waterfront is open for walking, viewing and enjoying.
-Harris Township (Denny Hameister) – There is an assessment underway of the maintenance of a detention basin in the township. The solution will either be reactivation of home owner association or reapplication of fee to maintain the basin.
-Benner Township- Benner Township Environmental Committee is a newly formed citizen organization that may potentially form an EAC.
-Ferguson Township (Peter Buckland) – Sourcewater protection planning
The following dates remain for 2016: October 19, and November 16
Motion to adjourn by Paul Bartley was accepted without objection at 9:09 PM.
C-NET Air Times
This meeting can be viewed on Channel 7 (CGTV) on the following days/times
-Thursday, Sept. 29, 1:00 AM & 7:00 PM
-Friday, Sept.30, 8:30 AM
-Saturday, October 1, 8:00 PM
-Sunday, October 2, 4:00 PM
Thank you to Patton Township for sponsoring the airing of this meeting.