Pennsylvania Update

Hellbender - Brandon M Ruhe_The Mid-Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation - 1171x593

CBF Student Leaders lobbied successfully to make hellbenders Pennsylvania’s official amphibian.

Brandon M. Ruhe/The Mid-Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation

From the Desk of Julia Krall

Winter 2023

As Impaired Waters Increase, Long-Term Funding is Key

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Draft 2024 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring Report identified 28,820 miles of Commonwealth waters as not meeting water quality standards for water supply, aquatic life, recreation, or fish consumption. It is an increase of 930 miles since the last report in 2022.

Agricultural activities were cited as the leading source of 8,212 miles of impairment, up from 6,432 miles in the 2022 report.

With new legislation and recent state and federal government investments, CBF sees Pennsylvania as poised to build momentum toward its clean water goals.

The Clean Streams Fund (CSF) is designed to address leading sources of impairment. The Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP) within the fund, directs investments to local conservation districts for practices like streamside forests and fencing livestock out of streams.

Long-term investments in ACAP and the CSF are key to restoring and protecting the health of waters across the state.

Former CBF Students Celebrate Special Hellbender License Plate

Former members of CBF's Student Leadership Council (SLC) played a key role in the Eastern hellbender's designation in 2019 as Pennsylvania's official state amphibian and reunited at the Capitol on October 2, to celebrate the unveiling of a special license plate honoring the state's most famous salamander.

The Eastern hellbender was chosen to be on one of the Commonwealth's special Wild Resource Conservation Fund vehicle registration plates.

In recognizing the Eastern hellbender, which survives in clean, cold water, the successful campaign spearheaded by SLC members from 2016-2019, also created greater awareness of the critical need to reduce pollution in Pennsylvania's rivers and streams.

"We learned a lot about this special salamander and how government works," said Emma Stone, former SLC President. "Those lessons will stay with us always, as will what the hellbender teaches us about the challenges and importance of having clean rivers and streams."

Mira Lloyd Dock Award Planting is for the Birds

Brennan Ka'aihue celebrated winning a 2022 Mira Lloyd Dock Partnership Diversity Award with a project that is for the birds. In October, Brennan and a crew of volunteers planted 75 shrubs and trees at Dickinson College in Carlisle.

The Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, coordinated by CBF, gives the award annually to recognize conservation and environmental justice work in underrepresented portions of local communities. Award winners receive trees and supplies to help advance their efforts.

"This planting will provide not only food and shelter for migratory and resident bird populations, but also present an opportunity for members of the community to interact with a food source of native species," Ka'aihue said.

The Dock Award program is made possible by a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and Project UP, an initiative of Packaging Corporation of America and Boise Paper that aims to revitalize urban communities through tree plantings.

 —Julia Krall
Pennsylvania Executive Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

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