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(NOTE: this is a page in progress and our committee working area. Please send documents that should be included to info@endlessmountainsrcd.org)

 

 

 

PA DEP provides new GIS application and tutorial for using oil and gas maps

reposted August 3, 2016, from Penn State Extension  -- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has released a new and easy to use GIS application allowing users to learn information and download reports about oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania.

While DEP has had oil and gas maps available to the public, they were not always user friendly.  The program is now easier to follow.  DEP also released a new video tutorial that explains how to use the PA Oil and Gas Well Mapping application and what information is available to retrieve. The video is available on DEP’s YouTube Channel.

“This updated Oil and Gas Well Mapping application puts information about both conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells at your fingertips,” DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell said. “Making such data available and easy to use promotes transparency and allows the public to generate the information they want on demand.”

Users can locate wells by searching based on the permit number, or specific address, county, latitude and longitude, municipality or zip code. In addition to being able to view the location of oil and gas wells, users can also access specific information about each well, including inspection, violation, and enforcement information as well as production data. Additionally, users can access and view a number of documents associated with those wells, including well permit applications, well permits, inspection reports, operator responses to violations, and well site emergency response plans. DEP plans to make additional information available as we transition to collecting more oil and gas well data in an electronic format.

 

   

Users can also pinpoint a particular point on the map and draw a proximity buffer around it to learn what other features are located within that buffer zone such as coal mining operations, landfills and waste facilities.  Various map resources are also provided for selection.

“This application is also beneficial to county and emergency responders who can quickly access unconventional well site emergency response plans in the case of emergencies,” Acting Secretary McDonnell said. 

The interactive map can be found on DEP's website under Data and Tools. (or click here for PA Oil and Gas Mapping) ###

Monarch Life Cycle

reposted 7/11/2016, from the University of Minnesota

All insects change in form as they grow; this process is called metamorphosis. Butterflies and moths undergo complete metamorphosis, in which there are four distinct stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and adult. It takes monarchs about a month to go through the stages from egg to adult, and it is hormones circulating within the body that trigger the changes that occur during metamorphosis. Once adults, monarchs will live another two to six weeks in the summer. Monarchs that migrate live all winter, or about six to nine months. (more: monarchlab.org )

 

 

 

 

Including Milkweed

by Nebraska Pheasants Forever, this habitat tip describes the importance of including milkweed species in your next habitat project.

click on pic to open youtube video in a separate page -->

(found at saveourmonarchs.org, re-posted here 9/17/2015)

 

Do You Have a Wildlife Habitat Management Plan?

October 15, 2014 by George Hurd, Penn State Extension    Are you interested in making your property more attractive for wildlife? Through the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s “Private Land Owner Assistance Program,” Regional Wildlife Diversity (RWD) Biologists provide free assistance to help landowners better manage their property for wildlife diversity. According to the PA Game Commission, the focus of this program is on creating or maintaining habitat for the state’s eighty-eight bird and mammal species of concern. Although the program’s focus is on species of concern, many other species stand to benefit from these habitat recommendations.

(click here to read full article)

 

What Exactly Is That Birdlike Thing?

August 19, 2014, NPR, by Linton WeeksHummingbird moth — Hemaris gracilis - Courtesy of Elena Tartaglia -- For years I was convinced that there exists among us a strange, unidentified species of animal — something between bug and bird — jetting around gardens and flowers and trees.

Not too long ago one of these natural UFOs buzzed past me in broad daylight. Too big to be a bee, too itty-bitty to be a bird. Slow enough to glimpse, but too fast to identify.

(click here to read full article)

 

 

Pilot Right of Way Planted                                                                       

June 11, 2014, Tioga County -- Endless Mountains Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council has no time to rest!  Progress is escalating for Project WINGS, which stands for Wildlife Incentives for Non-Game and Game Species.

C-helpinghands.jpgWith spring “Conservation District tree sale” supplies in stock, plants were leafing out and begging to take root.    WINGS Committee Chairman, Jim Weaver, and a few helping hands, devoted a day in early June to sweating, digging, and planting a pilot site in Tioga County.  What a success! 

C-Cropped_treeA.jpgFour hundred trees and shrubs are now in the ground, and look great in their new surroundings.  White Pine, Silky Dogwood, American Cranberry, and Red Cedar are some of the species planted.  With a strong start and a helping hand, it’s Mother Nature’s turn to cultivate these young plants and promote maturity.

This project puts wildlife habitat on pipeline rights of way, and was developed in response to the dramatic increase in pipelines being built in the region.   An opportunity to put conservation on the ground in our region is a natural fit to our Council goals.  Representatives from Tioga, Bradford, Susquehanna, Sullivan, Wyoming, and Lycoming counties make up the Endless Mountains RC&D’s council. 

Christine Solsman, a wildlife biology major from Keystone College, is interning with Endless Mountains RC&D this summer, and is creating a binder for landowners to give them the tools to design and implement their own wildlife habitat plans.  The goal is to educate landowners and pipeline operators about the importance of enhancing wildlife habitat by planning and planting trees, shrubs, and grasses within the right of way. 

C-planters+wellheads-in-ROW-0699.jpgTogether, we will be working with interested landowners who have pipeline rights of way on their property to implement this project, funded in part by the gas companies.  Our current support for the pilot project in Tioga County stems from Shell Appalachia.

With this pilot planting in the ground, Project WINGS is now moving forward and holding an “Operators Meeting” later this month.  Our committee members will have a chance to exchange ideas for project WINGS involvement with the invited oil and gas industry representatives.

 

For more information, contact Laura Hewitt, Program Manager at Endless Mountains RC&D, 570-265-2717 or email wings@endlessmountainsrcd.org .###

 


 

Gas Pipelines - New Opportunities for Wildlife Habitat Management

January 14, 2013, Wysox PA: Changes on the landscape of the northern tier of counties continue to happen especially in the active areas of gas exploration. These changes on the physical landscape are evident with the building of gas well pads, access roads, and gas pipelines. These pipelines are going across active farm crop, hay and pasture fields, old fields that are reverting to brush land, young forest and woodland areas. The building of the pipelines can change what is or what was on the surface, especially if the area was woodland.

The companies building these pipelines are required to reseed all disturbed surface areas. The companies work with their subcontractors to have the land reseeded to what the landowner wants and needs. Hay and pasture mixes for fields that had hay or pasture on them for other areas or payment to the landowner for the loss of the current crop (if it is an annual crop) and wildlife habitat mixes for areas that are going through woodland and brush areas.
 
The landowner who is interested in improving wildlife habitat can see improvements happen on the property they own during the reseeding of the pipeline areas.  The landowners and the reseeding contractors should work together as early in the process as possible to make the reseeding effort work for both parties.
 
The first step has two parts: 1) have a soil test taken to determine how much lime and fertilizer is needed for the seeding (wildlife habitat mix) to be grown; 2) determine what wildlife habitat seeding mixture you want. Please remember that the pipeline installation companies may be required to plant seed that can grow a quicker green living groundcover. This type of seed would be in addition to the desired wildlife habitat mix that the landowner wants.  

Once the results of the soil test are received, the correct amounts of lime and fertilizer should be applied.  Most soils in the northern part of Pennsylvania will easily need 2 tons of lime per acre, with an acre of land being 43560 sq. ft. Knowing how many square feet or how many acres there are to be seeded will be useful information for both the landowner and the seeding contractor.  Fertilizer requirements are dependent upon the crop to be grown.

Why does the Endless Mts. RC&D, see the pipelines as being new opportunities for wildlife habitat management?  Our Wings Outreach effort sees the habitat changes as ways to improve vegetation with new seedings and the lime and fertilizer being applied. There can be new wildlife habitat edges (wildlife often prosper on the edges between two different kinds of habitat) and the opportunity to do something better than what was there.

Once the pipeline has been reseeded, it is the landowners who then can actively manage the new opportunity of what they have growing on their land.  The landowners will decide how the land is managed for wildlife and how they can continue to improve the new habitat.

(submitted by Robert J Wagner, NRCS Soil Conservation Technician)

 


 

RECOMMENDED READING:

 

Government Tries to Help Stop Monarch Butterfly Massacre

(by Christine Olley, reposted from Rodale News, 2/18/2015)

Monarchs are getting massacred. This week, the Obama administration and conservation groups have come together to announce how they are going to save these beautiful creatures.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will spend $2 million to work with the National Wildlife Foundation to grow milkweed and other plants along the main migration routes of monarchs, which span from Minnesota to Mexico.

Monarchs, known for their vibrant orange color, exclusively eat milkweed, which has been severely degraded in many areas across the United States in recent years, according to a release announcing the funding partnership. The loss of the milkweed plants can be largely attributed to by increased herbicide use resulting from the widespread planting of genetically engineered crops in the Midwest, where most monarchs are born.

The projects will also focus on supporting more than 750 habitats and pollinator garderns. “People feel really close to butterflies because a lot of people remember trying to catch them as children,” says Tierra Curry, from the Center for Biological Diversity.

The monarch butterfly population in North America has declined by 90 percent in the past 20 years, dropping from a high of approximately 1 billion in the mid-90s to fewer than 35 million butterflies last winter, Curry explained. “It’s kind of a wake-up call that we’ve made environmental changes on such a large scale that common species are struggling to survive,” she says.

While native milkweed plants are available at most native plant nurseries, you can use these milkweed-planting instructions if you prefer to plant milkweed from seed. 

For more ways to save this beautiful creature, try adopting these 4 monarch-protecting strategies.  

###

Cooperative improves habitat

(11/24/13, Morgan Myers, Central PA Shale Play)  In the heart of Pennsylvania's elk country, energy companies are partnering witht he Keysonte Elk Country Alliance  (scanned pdf article)


Golden-Winged Warbler

(reposted from NRCS Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program) The vast forested lands, grasslands and forb-rich landscape of the Appalachian Mountains was once considered a population stronghold for the golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera). Today, however, the population is at-risk for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

... Golden-winged warblers and many other species depend upon shrubby, idle vegetated areas like forest clear-cuts, alder swamps, utility rights-of way and other similar habitats for breeding. 

... Working Lands for Wildlife will assist private land owners create and maintain the habitat necessary to sustain breeding populations of golden-winged warbler within and adjacent to their current range. It focuses on the creation, management and maintenance of early successional habitat in close association with forested landscapes, or adjacent to active agriculture or pastureland. ...  (full article here:  /www.nrcs.usda.gov/)

 

American Woodcock Habitat

(reposted from Timberdoodle.org, the Woodcock Management Plan) ...Biologists use the word habitat to describe a physical place that a wild creature needs in which to feed, rest, breed, and rear young.

...Scientific research has revealed that woodcock need somewhat different habitats depending on the activities they're engaged in, the time of day, the season of the year, and the weather.

... In the spring, male woodcock stake out breeding territories called singing grounds.

... Singing grounds include log landings, clearings in wooded land, old fields, pastures, the grassy berms of country lanes and woods roads, and powerline right-of-ways. Singing grounds must lie close to areas of dense cover where the hens can nest and rear young. (visit timberdoodle.org for more information.  Also see "American Woodcock Habitat Best Management Practices" by clicking on the picture to the left.)

 

Where Have All The Birds Gone

(Essays on the Biology and Conservation of Birds That Migrate to the American Tropics, by John Terborgh) "Things are going wrong with our environment," writes John Terborgh, "even the parts of it that are nominally protected. If we wait until all the answers are in, we may find ourselves in a much worse predicament than if we had taken notice of the problem earlier. By waiting, one risks being too late; on the other hand, there can be no such thing as being too early." Terborgh's warnings are essential reading for all who care about migratory birds and our natural environment. (search link)

 

Forest-interior Birds May be Benefiting from Harvested Clearings

Black-throated green warblers like this one were abundant in harvested openings following the breeding season.

(reposted from Northern Research Station)  IRVINE, PA, August 21, 2013 - Efforts to conserve declining populations of forest-interior birds have largely focused on preserving the mature forests where birds breed, but a U.S. Forest Service study suggests that in the weeks leading up to migration, younger forest habitat may be just as important.  (full article here:  www.nrs.fs.fed.us)

 

 

WINGS COMMITTEE WORK AREA: 

(Please send documents or links that should be included to info@endlessmountainsrcd.org

Links will open into a separate browser window.

WORKING DOCUMENTS:

EMRC&D WINGS Overview: BROCHURE *(June 2015, rev15)*

DRAFT -  WINGS Application + Field Visit Record *v2015-0604pub*

SAMPLE- Signatures & Certifications   (Forest Management/Forest Stewarship example)

List for Buffer and Hardwood Planting  (Bradford/Tioga/Sullivan County Planting List)

Planting and Seeding Guidelines on State Forest Land (Ecological Svcs division of Forestry Bureau)

Selected Practice Payments      (excerpted from a 15 page Pennsylvania 2012 FAP Payment Schedule)

SAMPLE Project Proposal

SAMPLE tree/shrub establishment form   (from NRCS, form PA 612)

Seeding Mixtures for Areas Disturbed by Natural Gas Activitie   (from NRCS, 131144_SeedMix, June 2013)

Wildlife Plant Mix  (from Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy)

 

REFERENCE ARTICLES:

PolonusCover

 

 

 

 

  Marcellus Design Pipleline Corridor Ecology (Andrew Polonus, Fall 2013)

  Natural Gas Pipeline Right-of-Ways: Understanding Landowner Rights and Options  (Penn State Extension, April 2010)

  Wildlife Enhancement Activity—Pollinator Areas

  PIPELINE PLACEMENT OF NATURAL GAS GATHERING LINES (December 2012)

  PA Act 13 Conservation & Recreation Funding (Nov. 2012, from The Trust for Public Land)

  Fracking: A Golden Chance to Benefit Wildlife? (by Ad Crable, originally published Sep 17, 2012)

  Managing Rights of Way (Kentucky)  (a LARGE scanned file - please be patient while it loads)    >   >   >   >

  Inside Agroforestry

  Marcellus Advisory Commission (July 22, 2011)

  PA Wilds Design Guide Supplement for Oil & Gas Best Practices   (Oct 2013) What it is:

+    A common tool to steer development patterns and aesthetic qualities to create healthy, vibrant communities and reduce impacts on the environment.

+    Sets design objectives for buildings and infrastructure placement, landscaping, lighting, grading, aesthetics and natural resource conservation.

+    Simple & flexible guidelines and recommendations to protect natural assets and promote community character.

+    Promotes Aesthetic Quality as a completely voluntary supplement to comprehensive plans and ordinances.

+    It defines expectations for public officials, property owners, developers, investors and design professionals on the quality and character of new construction, infrastructure placement and layout.

(this supplement is a large 9K file, and will open in separate window.  Source =  www.pawildsresources.org, under "Quick Resources".  The full Pennsylvania Wilds Design Guide may also be downloaded from there.)

 

  Forest Stewardship Program  (..provides information, education, and technical assistance to help  forest landowners better manage their forestlands; administered by the USDA Forest Service - in PA by the DCNR Bureau of Forestry.)

 

USEFUL TOOLS:

Lat/long calculator: http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html

Web Soil Survey Tool  (provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey, operated by NRCS)

Topo Maps: http://mytopo.com/

Cornell Lab Bird Merlin Bird ID app (Free, Instant Bird ID Help for 400 North American birds)

 

 

Pollinator Planting Guide (a 24 pg pdf full color guide) 

(Free Planting guides for other Ecoregions here:  www.pollinator.org/guides.htm )

and Bee Smart Pollinator Gardener app

 

 

Marcellus Shale Electronic Field Guide  ("...options for assistance in land management at all stages of infrastructure development. ... Includes     Ecological Concepts,     Pre-Development Issues,     Invasive Plant Management,     Restoration & Goals,     Revegetation,     Restoring/Creating Wildlife Habitat,     Featured Wildlife Species,     Sample Leases,     Best Management Practices  ...  sections are reflective of the most frequent questions asked by landowners and managers, and gas industry employees...")

 

ARTICLES OF INTEREST:

Transco Pipeline owner in $50 billion merger
October 29, 2014, The Associated Press — Tulsa, Okla.-based Williams Companies Inc., which owns the Transco interstate natural gas pipeline that runs through Luzerne County, announced that its limited partnership, Williams Partners L.P., will merge with Oklahoma City-based Access Midstream Partners, L.P. in an approximately $50 billion deal.

“This is another big step toward our goal of becoming the leading natural gas infrastructure provider in North America,” Williams’ Chief Executive Officer Alan Armstrong said in a prepared statement. “The combination of Access Midstream Partners’ intense focus on natural gas gathering with Williams Partners’ broader service offerings along the value chain is yielding even more robust growth opportunities.”

When the merger is complete, which is expected to happen by early 2015, Williams Partners will be wholly owned by Access Midstream, and the merged master limited partnership will be named Williams Partners LP. (reposted from pabusinesscentral.com/transco-pipeline-owner-in-50-billion-merger/)

 

LNG facility to be constructed in Bradford County
October 29, 2014, The Associated Press, NORTH TOWANDA TOWNSHIP, PA – REV LNG Inc. based in Ulysses is planning to construct a facility in Bradford County that will cool locally produced natural gas to its liquid form, so that it can be used as a fuel in the long-range trucking industry. REV LNG Inc. will construct off Dolan Road in Herrick Township, which will produce up to 50,000 gallons a day of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the company’s chief executive officer, David Kailbourne, told the Bradford County Planning Commission at its most recent meeting.

The amount of LNG that the plant will produce will be much less than is typically produced at other LNG production facilities, Kailbourne said.

The plant in Herrick Township will be “one of the first of its kind,” Kailbourne said. LNG plants exist “all over the country, but on a larger scale,” he said.

No other plants that produce LNG exist in Bradford County, said Sarah Reichard, Bradford County planner.

REV LNG, which owns tanker trucks that transport LNG, “is an LNG distribution company, that is very much like a propane distribution company,” Kailbourne told the Planning Commission.

“We distribute LNG to 18-wheel trucking fleets (owned by other companies) and to drilling rigs,” he said. Currently, the company supplies LNG to more than a dozen drilling rigs in the Marcellus Shale that operate using LNG as a fuel, he said.

Up to five tanker trucks would transport LNG from the Herrick Township facility each day, he said. (reposted from pabusinesscentral.com/lng-facility-to-be-constructed-in-bradford-county/)


Shale Gas Impacts Listed as One of Nine Key PA County Government Priorities for 2013
February 3, 2013, Penn State Extension -  The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania sets a priority for a number of shale gas impacts.

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) provided a list of nine key priorities to help improve county government and the lives of constituents in the Commonwealth.  Shale gas impacts were one of these priorities.  Shale gas exploration and development represents significant  employment and economic opportunities, local energy production and community facelifts, as well as transportation, infrastructure, social, environmental and safety issues.

Act 13 of 2012 addresses environmental, permitting and some pipeline issues, and includes an impact fee that returns revenues from drilling back to local governments and to a number of state programs and initiatives relating to the industry.  The impact fees help counties so that residents don’t need to shoulder the responsibility for costs associated with increased use of county services.

Counties continue to work on several other key issues to address impacts from shale gas drilling. Safety and planning for gathering pipelines is becoming a more critical concern, as current methods of deployment affect a community’s ability to engage in effective long-term land use and development planning.  (click here for full article)