Fighting Litter and Mosquitoes

By Ramez Ziadeh, DEP Acting Secretary

Acting DEP Secretary Ramez Ziadeh
Most people don’t like litter. It’s dirty, it’s ugly, and it pollutes our waterways, neighborhoods, and highways. And it’s time to fight dirty to get rid of litter in Pennsylvania. That’s why I am proud to be part of Pennsylvania’s new anti-litter campaign, "PA Fights Dirty." We’re calling on all Pennsylvanians to make sure that every bit of trash ends up in the appropriate bin, whether it’s trash, recycling, or compost. Every Litter Bit Matters when it comes to keeping Pennsylvania beautiful.
Fighting dirty also helps Fight the Bite from summertime’s least popular pest – mosquitoes. Litter can act as breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry diseases like West Nile Virus. Just a single bottle cap from a plastic water bottle can hold 300 mosquito eggs. Now imagine what dozens, if not hundreds, of pieces of litter could do. In addition to getting rid of litter to prevent mosquito spread, there are simple things that people can do to protect themselves from these itch-causing insects. Make sure there isn’t any standing, stagnant water around your yard – those can be places mosquitoes lay eggs. Wear long sleeves and/or bug repellent when you’re outside when mosquitoes are active.
Fight back against litter and mosquitoes, and keep Pennsylvania beautiful. 
- DEP Acting Secretary Ramez Ziadeh


Wolf Administration Calls on Pennsylvanians to ‘Fight Dirty’ in New Anti-Litter Campaign

The Wolf Administration recently joined Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful representatives to announce the launch of the statewide anti-litter campaign, “PA Fights Dirty: Every Litter Bit Matters.”
A litter-prevention campaign was among many state and local government, stakeholder, business, and legislative recommendations in the commonwealth’s first-ever Litter Action Plan released last year.
“Every Litter Bit Matters” calls upon Pennsylvanians to ensure every piece of their trash, regardless of size, is disposed of properly. The campaign is based on research that shows only 3% of Pennsylvanians approve of littering, yet 40 to 50 percent litter. “Every Litter Bit Matters” will educate Pennsylvanians on situational littering, such as leaving trash on the ground next to a full can or in a stadium, as well as remind Pennsylvanians that litter of all sizes stacks up and creates problems.
“Litter isn’t just ugly to look at. It can cause environmental contamination and put public health at risk,” said Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary Ramez Ziadeh. “Litter can leach chemicals into our land and water, and act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus.”
PA Fights Dirty was developed as part of the Wolf Administration’s Litter Action Plan and in response to the 2019 Pennsylvania Litter Research Study, which found Pennsylvania has more than 500 million pieces of litter on its roadways. More than 85 percent of these pieces are less than four inches in size. “Every Litter Bit Matters” encourages Pennsylvanians to properly dispose of even their smallest pieces of trash.
In addition to improving aesthetics and pride, a goal of “Every Litter Bit Matters” is to reduce litter-related costs, which are currently around $350 million each year.
The Wolf Administration joined Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful representatives to announce the launch of the statewide anti-litter campaign, "PA Fights Dirty: Every Litter Bit Matters." 

Pennsylvanians Encouraged to Fight the Bite and Protect Themselves from Mosquitoes

Summertime is for swimming pools and lemonade, not for mosquito bites and diseases like West Nile Virus, so DEP is encouraging residents to Fight the Bite and protect themselves.
“The best parts of summer aren’t itchy bites and being sick, so we want people to protect themselves from mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses,” said Acting DEP Secretary Ramez Ziadeh. “It doesn’t take much to Fight the Bite and protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes. Common sense and insect repellent can go a long way towards a safe and happy summer.” 

DEP Invites Public Comment on Draft 2022 State Water Plan, Identifying Priorities for Management and Protection

DEP recently released the draft 2022 Pennsylvania State Water Plan identifying regional and statewide water resources priorities and recommending statewide and legislative actions to address those priorities. Pennsylvanians are invited to review the draft plan and provide comments on it.
As required by the state Water Resources Planning Act of 2002, DEP collaborates with regional committees and a statewide committee to prepare the Pennsylvania State Water Plan. The plan can help legislative, governmental, industry, and community leaders make informed decisions regarding water resources. It includes recommendations from experts to inform policies, programs, and projects related to water availability, infrastructure investment, water resource protection, health and safety, and climate change adaptation. 
Pennsylvania has six water planning regions: the Great Lakes basin and Upper/Middle Susquehanna, Lower Susquehanna, Potomac, Ohio, and Delaware river basins. More than 100 Pennsylvanians, serving on regional committees and a statewide committee, contributed assessments and recommendations to the 2022 State Water Plan, an update to the first plan, issued in 2009. 
The draft 2022 State Water Plan recommends that over 100 actions be continued, expanded on, or initiated in flood control, stormwater management, water withdrawal, legacy coal mining impacts, legacy oil and gas wells, drinking water and wastewater treatment, contaminants of emerging concern, and agricultural nonpoint source pollution.

September Webinar to Discuss Application Process for Environmental Education Grant Funding

The webinar, which will be held from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM Tuesday, September 27, 2022, is free but registration is required.
Environmental Education Grants are available to schools, colleges, nonprofit community and environmental organizations, county conservation districts, and businesses.
“The live webinar provides interested applicants with an opportunity to learn about the 2023 environmental education grants program, obtain application tips, and have their questions answered by DEP’s environmental education experts,” said Acting DEP Secretary Ramez Ziadeh.
Funding is provided for environmental education projects that address water, climate change and/or engage persons living and/or working within environmental justice areas. Previously funded projects have established successful community partnerships and reached audiences through a variety of activities ranging from tours and workshops to hands-on field experiences and action projects while addressing topics such as stream and air quality monitoring, wetlands restoration, watershed stewardship, energy conservation, and solar and other renewable resources. 
DEP Acting Executive Deputy Secretary Joe Adams

Wolf Administration Highlights Commitment to Clean Transportation

The Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation (PennDOT) and Environmental Protection (DEP) – along with partners from Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities, Sheetz, and PPL – highlighted Pennsylvania’s forward momentum in its work related to electric vehicles (EV), putting the commonwealth in a solid position to maximize new funds available to support EVs through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
“Transportation is changing every day,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has given us a great opportunity, and I'm proud of the progress that we – along with our partners – have made to prepare Pennsylvania for a future filled with electric vehicles.”
As part of the BIL, PennDOT will receive and distribute $171.5 million in National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) formula funds for EV charging infrastructure over the next five years. Additionally, $2.5 billion is available in discretionary grant funding. There are more than 31,000 EVs registered in Pennsylvania, nearly triple the roughly 9,700 that were registered in March 2019.
“Pennsylvania has made tremendous progress towards making electric vehicles and EV chargers more accessible to more people,” said DEP Acting Executive Deputy Secretary Joe Adams. “Every EV on the road reduces the amount of air pollution coming from tailpipes, which makes for cleaner air and a healthier environment.”

To Lower Your Electricity Bills, Take a Three-prong Approach

If you’d like to lower your electricity bill, think of a plug and take a three-prong approach:
  • Shop wisely for your electricity supplier,
  • Step up your energy efficiency game, and
  • Check out utility cost assistance programs
Being energy smart not only takes some pressure off your budget, but also helps make the air healthier in your community, reduces power plant water usage, and helps slow down climate change. That’s pretty cool.

Splish, Splash: A Deep Dive Into Proper Pool Water Discharge 

Football is back, and the last of the hot summer days are upon us. In an effort to help protect stream health and aquatic life, we here at DEP would like to offer some helpful tips and (not so) gentle reminders on how to properly close swimming pools for the year. Whether you’re a private owner, manage a public pool or work for a pool maintenance company, these reminders are for you! 

How We Killed Our Yard and Replaced It With a Native Habitat

Wendy Seifert, Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward, York County, shares tips on how she and her husband became turf grass free, with a quarter-acre lot that is a biodiverse ecosystem of mainly native plants, trees, and shrubs, along with the birds and pollinators and other insects that depend on them.


DEP Submits Final Pennsylvania Chesapeake Bay Watershed Plan with New State Funds Supporting Partners’ Progress

DEP recently submitted the final state Phase 3 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It includes significant new funding from the 2022-23 state budget to support and accelerate the progress partners are making on water quality improvement.
“This well-grounded plan reflects and advances the extraordinary actions to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution launched by local partners across Pennsylvania’s share of the watershed during the Wolf Administration,” said DEP Acting Secretary Ramez Ziadeh.

DEP Visits Old Lycoming Township Recycling Center to Discuss Grant Award, Highlight ‘Guidelines for Recycling in Your Community’ Booklet

DEP recently visited the Old Lycoming Township Recycling Center in Lycoming County to view physical improvements made in part using DEP recycling grant funds, including electronic gates, lighting, and surveillance cameras, and discussed how these improvements have successfully addressed an illegal dumping issue.
“Old Lycoming Township was in danger of closing its recycling center due to persistent and very costly illegal dumping of non-recyclable materials at our recycling drop-off bins,” said Matt Aikey, township manager. “The grant funds provided by DEP in three recent funding rounds have helped the township successfully address this problem by installing features that have allowed us to identify illegal dumpers and deter unwanted activity, making it feasible to continue our recycling program at this site.”  
Representatives from Lycoming County Resource Management Services (LCRMS) explained that the county recycling program also utilizes DEP’s Section 902 recycling grant funds for equipment such as recycling trucks and containers needed to service the township’s site and for the central recycling facility at the county’s landfill.
“DEP is pleased to offer Recycling Performance and Implementation Grant funds to assist municipal and county recycling programs to make targeted investments that solve real-world problems to sustain recycling opportunities across our communities,” said Patrick Brennan, Waste Management Program manager for DEP’s Northcentral Regional Office. “Municipalities like Old Lycoming Township are demonstrating how to make recycling work in Pennsylvania through proactive and innovative projects to meet their communities' needs.”

DEP Helps Environmental Education Come Alive at Philadelphia Solar Energy Association’s 29th Annual Junior Solar Sprint

“We’re so grateful for partners and projects that use their environmental education dollars in hands-on ways,” said DEP Southeast Regional Director Pat Patterson. “I’m confident at least one student racing here will pursue a career in solar energy as a result of this program.”

DEP Environmental Education Grant Funds Allegheny College’s Creek Connections Activities Trip 

Using funding from a DEP Environmental Education Grant, Allegheny College’s Creek Connections program recently held its annual cross-curricular activities trip at Gibson Park in Conneaut Lake, Crawford County.
Forty seventh graders from Conneaut Lake Middle School participated in several stations, including the collection of macroinvertebrates – tremendous indicators of stream quality – which allowed students to rate the quality of the stream. 
“This is an excellent opportunity for these students to get outside and experience the importance of conservation and protection of our local waterways firsthand,” said DEP Northwest Regional Director Erin Wells. “The Creek Connections program at Allegheny College has received a number of DEP Environmental Education Grants and rightfully so. They do an amazing job educating these students and the DEP couldn’t be prouder to be a partner in helping make these opportunities possible.” 

Sea Lampreys: Parasitic Predators of the Great Lakes 

​The sea lamprey has plagued the Great Lakes since the early 1800s when these parasitic invaders, native to the Atlantic Ocean, were first found in Lake Ontario in 1835. There they remained, until the completion of improvements to the Welland Canal which allowed the sea lampreys to bypass Niagara Falls and access the rest of the Great Lakes in the early 1900s. These new waters provided excellent spawning grounds, an abundance of host fish, and a lack of natural predators, allowing these highly reproductive parasites to thrive.
Electrical Barrier to Deter Sea Lampreys in Northwest Pennsylvania

DEP Tours Growing Greener Grant Funded Streambank Stabilization Project at Shirk Farms

DEP recently visited Shirk Farms to view streambank stabilization work under construction using Growing Greener grant funds and to discuss the importance of stream and agricultural best management practices (BMPs) as part of the Snyder Countywide Action Plan (CAP) to improve local water quality in Pennsylvania’s share of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Representatives from project partners including the DEP, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Snyder County Conservation District, and Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy participated in the tour.
“The series of BMP projects underway at Shirk Farms will improve water quality by decreasing erosion and sedimentation on a tributary to Middle Creek,” said Jason Winey, Snyder County Conservation district manger. “The work at this site is an important early step toward implementing the recently completed Snyder County CAP.”
“DEP is proud to be part of this project and many similar projects funded through a $120,000 Growing Greener award,” said Jason Fellon, watershed manager for DEP’s Northcentral region. “The BMPs used in this project address major sources of nonpoint pollution and utilize recommendations highlighted in the Pennsylvania Nonpoint Source Management Program.”

Wolf Administration, Sen. Bob Casey Highlight Importance of Infrastructure Act and Abandoned Mine Reclamation for Pennsylvania 

DEP and U.S. Senator Bob Casey recently toured the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area in Shamokin to highlight how abandoned mine reclamation projects can benefit local economies and communities. The Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act will provide an additional $244 million for abandoned mine land (AML) reclamation in 2022 alone.
“Through the efforts of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and funding through the federal AML Reclamation Program, Pennsylvania has been able to reclaim over 91,000 acres of mine land, eliminate more than 1,800 open mine shafts and restore 300 miles of impaired streams. This has made the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area possible, providing new recreation opportunities for Coal Township residents and visitors. Thanks to the infrastructure law, Pennsylvania will also receive more than $244 million to clean up dangerous sites, improve water quality damaged by acid mine drainage, create new jobs, and revitalize economies. I will continue fighting to bring infrastructure funding to Pennsylvania to ensure we can address the hazards and environmental pollution posed by legacy mining sites while creating good-paying jobs in rural and energy communities in Pennsylvania,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey.
“Abandoned mine lands are a scar on Pennsylvania’s landscape, but by reclaiming them and restoring the land, there can be any number of important and productive uses,” said DEP Deputy Secretary for Active and Abandoned Mine Operations John Stefanko. “We’ve seen abandoned mine lands become new office parks, farmlands, solar fields, and, like the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area, new attractions to drive tourism.”
Left to right: John Stefanko, DEP Deputy Secretary for Active and Abandoned Mine Operations; John Dawes, Executive Director, the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds; Senator Bob Casey; Kathy Vetovich, Executive Director, Shamokin Area Business for Economic Revitalization (SABER); and Dave Porzi, Director of Operations, Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) 

DEP Coastal Zone Grant Aids Erie Bird Observatory 

DEP Northwest Regional Director Erin Wells and colleagues recently visited Fry’s Landing on Presque Isle State Park to get a firsthand look at how the Erie Bird Observatory utilizes a 2022 DEP Coastal Zone Grant, issued earlier this year.
The Erie Bird Observatory (EBO), a non-profit dedicated to avian research, education, and conservation in Northwest Pennsylvania, was awarded $45,886 from DEP’s Coastal Zone Grant Program. A portion of these funds aids in its bird banding program. That program, which began in 1960, runs April through October, depending on the weather.
"This is the second straight year the Erie Bird Observatory has received a Coastal Zone Grant,” Wells said. “The research they are providing is vital in learning what types of birds are utilizing Presque Isles shoreline habitat and just how many birds are passing through.”


Wolf Administration Celebrates Honey Bees, $76 Million Pennsylvania Apiary Industry

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture was joined by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and agriculture partners to celebrate the honey bee's critical role in food production, food security, and biodiversity in Pennsylvania for Honey Bee Day (Aug. 20) at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art.

Pennsylvania’s Budget Includes Historic Investment in Conservation

The 2022-23 budget passed by the Senate and House, with leadership from Governor Tom Wolf, includes a significant new bipartisan investment in conservation, outdoor recreation, clean water, and preservation.
The $696 million of federal recovery funds for these purposes is the largest new investment in several decades.


Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 400 Market Street Harrisburg, PA 17101 
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