What does water quality have to do with happy hour?
What does water quality have to do with happy hour?
A view from a vista with mountains stretching into the distance
Newsletter of the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
March 4, 2020
Featured in Our Good Natured Blog
A mug of beer sits in shallow water of a creek
Water Quality and Beer Go Hand in Hand
What does water quality have to do with happy hour?
Some people drink beer to cool off and relax on a hot, summer day, while others enjoy trying different flavors and styles from different breweries and regions.
Whether you are one, the other, or someone in between, something all beer drinkers should agree on is that water quality is important.
Malt, hops, yeast, and flavorings are the most obvious ingredients that make up the flavor profile of a beer. But what you can’t easily taste is the most important ingredient -- fresh, quality water.
Good beer and water quality are linked. Throughout the history of beer making, brewers have sited their breweries in the places with the highest quality water. Read more...
A person rides a kayak in a turbulant water while holding a paddle over their head
Tohickon Creek Whitewater Release Planned for Annual Boating Event
Whitewater boating enthusiasts once again will converge on Bucks County’s Tohickon Creek Saturday and Sunday, March 21-22, when the DCNR releases water from Lake Nockamixon into Tohickon Creek.
The water releases from the Nockamixon State Park dam provide suitable whitewater boating conditions downstream through Ralph Stover State Park from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. each day.
Water releases begin at 4:00 A.M. Several hours later, the release, consisting of millions of gallons of water moving down the waterway, will create class 3 and 4 whitewater conditions at Ralph Stover State Park. Suggested hours for viewing the release and boating activity are from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. at Ralph Stover. Read more
A black women stands next to a sidewalk holding a large sign with an image of a women on it.
Good Natured Pennsylvanians
Zakia Elliott is a program manager for Philadelphia Climate Works who brings residents, environmental organizations, and labor unions together to discuss ways that climate change impacts us and build strategies to mitigate those harms.
Her work helps Philadelphia to combat climate change by justly investing in its workforce and its impacted communities.
Philadelphia Climate Works focuses on a range of issues, from diesel pollution and transit equity to housing disrepair, energy burdens, and health and safety hazards from waste collection.
As the program manager of this coalition, Zakia’s job is to build relationships between people experiencing climate change; facilitate the creation of community-generated solutions; and create pathways for their experiences to be involved in policies and programs formed to address these challenges.
Zakia’s favorite part of the job is building a network of many people across the city who are passionate about the wellbeing of their communities.
She says that “This work has shown me how resilient we already are, and my favorite moments in my job are when I get to uplift the work that is already being done and is often overlooked, and when everyday people are respected as experts through this work--we know which policies worked and which missed the mark, and we know what needs to happen now for our communities to thrive.”
Zakia became interested in conservation while attending an after-school science enrichment program called Women in Natural Sciences out of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.
The program brought together young girls, (mostly girls of color), from across Philadelphia to learn more about science, research, and college and career preparation.
“I fell in love with the environment through that program,” she says. “We went on hikes and camping trips, assisted academy scientists with aspects of their research, went on college tours, and were affirmed that we had a place in the sciences and learned to be stewards in our natural and urban environment.”
Because of those experiences, Zakia has recognized the needs in her community and is able to be an advocate for change.
She sees that climate justice is as much about economic and racial justice as it is about the impacts of unmitigated carbon pollution, heat, and flooding.
She wants others to be involved by having conversations and asking questions with friends, neighbors, and parents, and listening to different people’s life experiences.
“Pay attention to the issues impacting your neighborhood and ask questions,” Zakia says. “Don’t be afraid to attend public meetings and hearings and ask questions. Do your research. The best advice I can give is to listen to your gut and invest in the spaces that support the values that are important to you and your community.”
Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact us at ra-resource@pa.gov to nominate someone.

Also in the News

A map of the state of Pennsylvania with counties with spotted lantern fly colored blue
12 Counties Added to Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced that 12 counties have been added to Pennsylvania’s spotted lanternfly quarantine zone ahead of the 2020 spring hatch.
With this addition, the quarantine area (PDF) for this invasive pest is now at 26 counties.
The newly added counties are not completely infested, but have a few municipalities with a known infestation, which led to a quarantine being placed on the entire county out of an abundance of caution.
The following counties have been added to the spotted lanternfly quarantine for 2020:
  • Allegheny
  • Beaver
  • Blair
  • Columbia
  • Cumberland
  • Huntingdon
  • Juniata
  • Luzerne
  • Mifflin
  • Northumberland
  • Perry
  • York
Businesses that operate in or travel through quarantined counties are required to obtain a spotted lanternfly permit. Penn State Extension and the Department of Agriculture both provide resources for the homeowners within the quarantined areas.
For more information about the spotted lanternfly, visit the Department of Agriculture’s website.
Cut branches lay on a table
Learn About Harvesting Live Stakes at Volunteer Collection Opportunities
Individuals and groups wanting to learn about live staking are encouraged to sign up for this unique volunteer opportunity.
Volunteers will collect live stakes to be embedded into the banks of streams for forest restoration projects later this year. Live stakes are living shrub and tree branches that root when inserted into the soil.
Collection of 13,500 live stakes will take place across Union, Centre, and Snyder counties in central Pennsylvania.
Upcoming collections will be held:
At these events, volunteers will learn:
  • How to identify live staking species
  • How to cut live stakes
  • How to store them before installation
Sign up as an individual or a group at the links above or by contacting Adrienne Gemberling at 570-372-4762.
A person helps a child dump a bucket of water and fish int oa creek on a muddy bank.
Mark your Calendars for Trout Season Opening and Mentored Youth Days
Anglers from 18 southeastern and southcentral counties of the state are gearing up to fish their favorite spots at 8:00 A.M. on Saturday, April 4, 2020, which marks the traditional regional opening day of trout season.
Since late February, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has been busy stocking waterways with a fresh supply of brook, brown, and rainbow trout.
With approximately 3.2 million adult trout stocked in lakes and creeks, along with more than 70 stocked state park waterways and lakes, anglers will have plenty of opportunities to catch a stocked or wild trout.
This year, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission will also be releasing 60,000 extra trophy-sized trout over pre-season and in-season stockings.
Opening days are:
  • Regional Mentored Youth Day -- Saturday, March 28 (8:00 A.M.)
  • Regional Opening Day of Trout -- Saturday, April 4 (8:00 A.M.)
  • Statewide Mentored Youth Day -- Saturday, April 11 (8:00 A.M.)
  • Statewide Opening Day of Trout -- Saturday, April 18 (8:00 A.M.)
Anglers are encouraged to stay aware of local and statewide burn bans during spring wildfire season.
Information about fishing opportunities at Pennsylvania state parks and forests is available at the DCNR website. Additional information and trout stocking schedules are available at the Pa. Fish & Boat Commission’s website.
A green plant covers the forest floor
Threats of Invasive Species Highlighted in Series of Blogs
Invasive plants can significantly alter our forested landscapes, negatively impacting plants, animals, their habitats, and the natural processes of which they are a part.
Left unchecked, they can take over and dominate entire areas. Worse, invasive plants can alter soil chemistry and local ecosystems -- setting the stage for other invasive species to follow.
DCNR recently highlighted the impacts of invasive species in a series of blogs for Invasive Species Awareness Week:
Learn more about invasive plants at the DCNR website.
A creek flows past green fields
978-Acres of Open Space Conserved in Chester County
Featuring rolling farmlands, open grasslands, wooded terrain, and stream corridor, the protection of the Strawbridge property secures a contiguous block of open recreation space of nearly 8,000 acres -- one of the largest in the southeast region.
“The efforts over the last eleven years to conserve the Strawbridge property were extraordinary,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “This department appreciates the efforts of our external partners to make projects like this happen. Through the technical assistance of The Conservation Fund, as well as financial support from Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin and Chester County’s Open Space program, this tremendous property is conserved for the enjoyment of generations yet to come.”
Now under DCNR’s ownership, the Strawbridge property will be managed as part of the White Clay Creek Preserve in the Pennsylvania state park system, and open for public recreation.
More than 690 separate plant species have been identified on the Strawbridge properties -- 15 of which are considered endangered or rare in the state of Pennsylvania.
Rare species such as the regal fritillary butterfly and the short-eared owl are also known to reside there. The Strawbridge property also supports roughly 3.5 miles of the Big Elk Creek, a tributary of the Elk River and Chesapeake Bay.
Every day, we rely on fresh water from wells and springs to meet our household, agricultural, and industrial needs. Contamination of groundwater by pollutants and wasteful water habits can limit access to fresh water and strain water treatment plants.
Home and business owners can play a major part in groundwater protection. Here are some tips to help keep your community’s groundwater clean:
  • Go Native: Native plants look great and don’t need much water or fertilizer. Choose grass varieties for your lawn that are adapted for your region’s climate, reducing the need for extensive watering or chemical applications.

  • Conserve Water: Check all faucets, fixtures, toilets, and taps in your home for leaks and fix them right away, or install water conserving models. Shut off the water when you brush your teeth or shave, and don’t let it run while waiting for it to get cold. Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge instead.

  • Watch What Goes Down the Drain: Items like diapers, ‘flushable’ wipes, grease, and household chemicals can wreak havoc on septic and sewer systems. Replacing and repairing these systems can disturb plant and wildlife, as well as being costly.

  • Use Natural Alternatives: Use all natural and nontoxic household cleaners whenever possible. Materials such as lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar make great cleaning products, are inexpensive, and environmentally friendly.
As the whether begins to warm, it’s a perfect time to start exploring state parks and forests! From citizen science to guided hikes, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Check the DCNR events calendar for more details and events.

Featured Photo

A bird with blue feathers sits on a branch above water.
This belted kingfisher was spotted searching for a meal at Little Buffalo State Park. Kingfishers dive into the water with their eyes closed and use their bill to grab prey.
Migrating kingfishers return to Pennsylvania in March and April, but others may have stayed through the winter if streams did not freeze over.

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