A weekly blog for all things conservation
See, I know how to put in a title that will get your attention. Now that I have it, I will tell you that we may have funds that can help you out. No, we can’t help with any of the everyday things. We are the Conservation District. Our job revolves around clean water. Mine, in particular, has to do with the Ag sector. However, we do have people down here that specialize in stream issues and forestry and such. Streams, as most of you are aware, are a whole different topic and very hard to explain what we can and can’t do. I will leave that to someone else. We live in a very unique area with unique topography. It is complicated.
By: Jennifer R Fetter; Penn State Extension
Having a stream in your yard can be a beautiful addition to your property. It can also be a source of frustration and confusion when things aren't going well.
Winter weather and heavy rains this spring my have taken a toll on your backyard stream this year. Or maybe your stream has been slowly eroding for many years. The stream might be getting deeper and deeper. The banks might be caving in, taking your valuable property for a ride downstream. Maybe your foot bridge or fence is about to fall in the stream too.
By: Jennifer R Fetter; Penn State Extension
Floods are a nuisance. Whether in the streets, parking lots, or your own front yard – they are no fun. Have you ever wondered why your community floods more now than it used to?
Beyond being a nuisance, floods have a significant impact in our communities. Floods cause loss of life as well as damage to buildings and other structures. In 2017 alone, Pennsylvanians suffered nearly $7 million worth of property damage and two people lost their lives as a result of flooding.1
What exactly happens during a rain storm that would lead to a flood? It starts with understanding what options rain water has when it hits the ground. In a forest, up to fifteen inches of rain per hour can be absorbed into the soils – becoming groundwater that fills our aquifers and also provides water for trees and other plants to grow. In our developed communities, most of that rain water becomes runoff instead. There are very few places left for water to soak into the ground, so it rolls downhill off of our rooftops, over streets and sidewalks, until it reaches a low point like a stream or river.
What is Stormwater?
By: Susan Boser; Penn State Extension
In Pennsylvania, we get an average of 41 inches of precipitation each year. When it rains or the snow melts, where does this water go?
In more natural areas, water is quickly able to infiltrate into the ground. A forested area allows for about 18 inches per hour of infiltration, where an average lawn allows for about 2 inches per hour. Impervious surfaces like pavement and rooftops, offer no infiltration at all. All of the water that doesn't infiltrate flows over the ground, over roofs and through gutters on buildings, into storm drains, and into the nearest waterway –our lakes, rivers, and streams. This is stormwater.
Bradford County Women in Ag Day
By: Megan Rought, Ag Resource Specialist
On October 20th the Bradford County Conservation District hosted their first Women in Ag Event at the Troy Sale barn in Troy, PA. In attendance were 32 women from several counties. During this event attendees learned about no-till gardening, agroforestry, and pruning.
A Healthy Stream Has Stream Bank Cover
By: Sarah K. Xenophon, Kristen Koch, and Jennifer R Fetter; Penn State Extension
One of the many visual indicators you might use to assess the health of a stream is the amount of stream bank vegetation and other cover.
You might find yourself walking along a stream or river, either on your property or when visiting a park or your local woods, and wish you had an easy way to understand the health of that stream. One indicator of stream health is the condition of the stream bank cover. When we talk about stream bank cover, or simply bank cover, we are talking about how much of the soil immediately adjacent to the water is covered by growing vegetation, stable debris, or bedrock material. This helps determine the health of a stream because it can tell us a lot about the relative stability of that stream. A stable stream maintains the same shape and flow pattern over time. A healthy, stable stream typically has more bank cover than an unhealthy stream. Bank cover helps reduce erosion by reducing the amount of soil exposed to passing water as it rushes into and down the stream. The stability of a stream is vital for any organisms that live in and around the stream and for protecting your property and nearby infrastructure (driveways, sewer lines, bridges, and more).
Pennsylvania’s “Other” Bears
By Ryan Reed: A reprint from Forest Fridays- A DCNR publication.
My first memories of woolly bears come from childhood, when a friend and I began capturing as many furry caterpillars as we could find one fall. Some of them were tan, some white; others were completely black, or brown and black. We caught a lot of flak from my friend’s dad when we released them all into his sunporch.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the black and brown ones were woolly bears (Pyrrharctia isabella), which I gradually came to view as symbols of fall and harbingers of winter. I’m fairly certain it was my grandmother who first told me that the blacker the woolly bear, the harder the winter will be. She and my grandfather seemed to always have a wives tale for any occasion, one that typically started with, “they say…” .
Helping Preserve Bradford County’s Heritage:
Become a Member of the Farmland Preservation Board
By: Megan Rought, Farmland Preservation
ATTENTION ALL FARMERS!! I have a few questions for you. How important is being rural and having beautiful wide-open spaces around you? How important is your farmland to you? How important is it that the next generation carries on your legacy and continues to farm the same piece of ground that you have farmed for the last however many years? Maybe it was even handed down through multiple generations to you, and you want to continue the tradition. How much do you despise to seeing the next piece of pristine farmland be turned into a parking lot, shopping center, or some other sort of development? If you answered that you land is very important to you, that you hope one day someone will continue farming your land and that you hate when you see a prime piece of farmland developed, then I have a great opportunity for you!
By: Tess Flynn-Belles, Natural Resource Specialist
During the growing season, the Conservation District can anticipate receiving several calls from landowners who own ponds asking how to control and treat aquatic plants. There are many options to consider, but the first question that needs to be addressed is, “What plant species are you trying to treat?”. The method of treatment will vary on what plant species you are targeting. In this article, we will briefly discuss the three basic methods of treatment (biological, chemical and physical) and some pros and cons of each.
Kevin Brown, Ag Resource Specialist, BCCD
So you have animals, or you want to get some. You may have 1-2 acres that you can put them on, or you may have 10 acres. To most people, when they look at that much land, they think “That is a lot of land and it will support however many animals I want to have”. Let’s be honest, 3-5 horses on one full acre of ground doesn’t look like much. Neither does 15 cows on a full 10 acres of land. So, you get the number of animals you want and start a farm. All is well. The animals have plenty enough land to roam on. They are comfortable and happy. And when you start supplementing them with hay, you don’t think anything about it. That is how it is supposed to be. Right? Well, no, not really. Not for you or the environment.
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District