Stresses Need for Water-Resources Legislation
On behalf of Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary David E. Hess congratulated the Loyalhanna Watershed Association (LWA) for its commitment to protecting and restoring the Loyalhanna Watershed.
"Over the past year, I have visited Growing Greener projects in every county in Pennsylvania and have met hundreds of people doing great work to restore Pennsylvania's watersheds," Secretary Hess said during the LWA's annual banquet. "The Loyalhanna Watershed Association members are no exception, as their commitment to watershed restoration represents the continued success of this historic program."
The Loyalhanna Watershed covers 300 square miles and has about 2,500 miles of stream. The area suffers from several abandoned-mine discharge sites. The LWA is working to restore six of the sites in Latrobe.
The LWA has received two Growing Greener grants totaling $12,240. One of the grants funded a first-ever study of how acid mine drainage can be reduced in the Kiski-Conemaugh river basin.
"The Loyalhanna Watershed Association is honored to have Secretary Hess participate in the Loyalhanna Watershed Association's annual banquet," said Drew Banas, executive director of the Loyalhanna Watershed Association. "He recognizes the importance of local organizations and provides leadership for watershed groups like ours to strengthen efforts in natural-resource protection."
Formed in 1971, the LWA has almost 550 members and an active board of 15.
Secretary Hess also urged the state Legislature to pass the Water Resources Conservation and Protection Act to update the state's water plan and identify critical water-planning areas.
"Water is one of Pennsylvania's most precious resources," Secretary Hess said. "With more than 83,000 miles of streams, nearly 4,000 lakes and over 80 trillion gallons of groundwater, our water resources are critical to our economy and the survival of natural systems and habitats."
Throughout April and May of last year, DEP held 15 water forums across the state to gain input from more than 1,700 citizens about their water-resource needs. That input is the basis of Gov. Schweiker's proposed water-resources legislative initiative, which would provide an historic opportunity to
-- Update the state water plan;
-- Identify Critical Water Planning Areas;
-- Promote voluntary water conservation; and
-- Improve stormwater management and establish private water-well standards.
For more information, visit the PA PowerPort at www.state.pa.us, PA Keyword: "water resources."