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UpStream Newsletter, July 2015 Issue Now Available

Read UpStream 2015, Issue #3

Bernard W. Sweeney accepts the Conservation Individual of the Year Award from Piper Sherburne, board chair, Berks County Conservation District. Photo: Tammy Bartsch

Stroud Water Research Center Honored with two Conservation Awards

The Berks County Conservation District gave Stroud Center Director Bernard W. Sweeney, Ph.D., its Conservation Individual of the Year Award and the Lancaster County Conservation District gave Stroud Center its Cooperating Agency Award.

“We are pleased to recognize Dr. Sweeney’s proactive work to apply the science of riparian forest ecology. This supports the district’s efforts to improve water quality in Berks County’s streams and rivers,” said District Executive Dan Greig.

Read more »

Delaware River Basin Deserves Federal Protection

Delaware River at Philadelphia by Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Stroud Water Research Center applauds U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and U.S. Rep. John Carney, D-Del., for sponsoring the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act, which was reintroduced — for the fifth time — in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 15. The Act will improve habitats, protect water quality and mitigate flood damage across the 13,000-square-mile watershed.

The act establishes a non-regulatory program within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for restoration and protection activities. It also authorizes $5 million for competitive grant and technical assistance programs.

Read more »

Latest Edition of Upstream Now Online

2015, Issue #2

Dansko Co-Founders Take Their Place Among Who’s Who at Stroud Center

Stroud Water Research Center recently dedicated the Cabot-Kjellerup Public Outreach Wing of its Moorhead Environmental Education Complex in honor of Dansko co-founders Mandy Cabot and Peter Kjellerup, who have been generous, long-term supporters of the Center.

“When you look around at the names on the different spaces of this building, it’s like a who’s who in the history of Stroud Water Research Center,” said Bernard W. Sweeney, Ph.D., executive director of Stroud Center. “Our spaces are named for people who have a deep and personal connection to our work and mission. That’s why I’m really happy to see Peter and Mandy’s names on our public outreach wing because without their support, we wouldn’t be standing in this beautiful building today.” Read more »

Stroud Center Gets Award for Environmental Education Programs

The education department at Stroud Water Research Center recently received the Outstanding Environmental Education Program Award from the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators for its Leaf Pack Experiment Stream Ecology Kit and Stream Schools programs.

The Leaf Pack Experimental Stream Ecology Kit is based on the scientific research technique of using the different kinds and numbers of aquatic insects living on packs of leaves in the water to assess and monitor the health of streams and rivers. Stroud Center subsequently created the Leaf Pack Network®, which enables students and citizen scientists to post and compare data generated by leaf pack experiments performed in their local streams on the Web. Read more »

New Board Members Help Stroud Center Advance Mission

The staff and board of directors of Stroud Water Research Center are pleased to welcome C. Bland Dickey and Porter Schutt, who were recently elected to fill board vacancies caused by the retirement of Aldo Morell and Paul Sniegowski. Dickey began his three-year term of service at Stroud Center’s last board meeting in December. Schutt’s service will begin at the March 26 board meeting.

“Bland and Porter are both strong supporters of environmental causes and are well-informed about crucial issues for freshwater resources,” said Bernard Sweeney, Ph.D., director of Stroud Water Research Center. “I’m thrilled that they accepted positions on our board of directors.” Read more »

Grant Supports Total Watershed Restoration to Reduce Flooding, Improve Habitat

Scientists and watershed restoration professionals at Stroud Water Research Center will restore Sharitz Run, a tributary to Doe Run in the headwaters of the Brandywine Creek near Coatesville and Unionville, Pennsylvania. The project goal is to reduce flooding to downstream communities and improve the stream ecology so that it will once again support a breeding population of native brook trout and other coldwater fish species.

The Brandywine Creek, which supplies the city of Wilmington, Delaware with its drinking water, floods almost annually, with half of the 10 largest floods having occurred in the past three years. These events often cause serious property damage, disrupt traffic and force the closure of schools and businesses in nearby towns. Read more »

Grant Funds National Expansion of Watershed Modeling Website for Science Curriculum

Stroud Water Research Center, in collaboration with the Concord Consortium and Millersville University of Pennsylvania, received a $2.9 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to dramatically expand Model My Watershed (MMW), part of the WikiWatershed® suite of online tools. This application allows users to explore how land use affects stream ecology and hydrology.

The current application is available for portions of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Northern Delaware. The grant will allow Stroud Water Research Center and its partner organizations to expand the website into a national teaching resource for high school science teachers. Read more »

Environmental Monitoring Web Community to be Launched

An online community for do-it-yourself environmental monitoring enthusiasts will eventually help environmental scientists and planners around the globe better observe and quantify the effects of land use and climate change.

That’s the vision for EnviroDIY.org, developed by Stroud Water Research Center in affiliation with the Christina River Basin Critical Zone Observatory. The website will be launched December 15 at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco, Calif. Read more »

Science, Not Politics, Should Guide Clean Water Act Clarification

Fresh water is our most precious natural resource, as essential to life as the air we breathe. Fortunately, most of us in the United States don’t have to give it much thought, thanks, in large part, to the federal Clean Water Act, passed in 1972.

But ongoing confusion over what “Waters of the United States” fall under the law’s jurisdiction spurred the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to propose a clarification. This would enable the agency to better protect our wetlands, small streams and other important watershed features without being dragged into court every time someone wanted to avoid compliance by exploiting an ambiguity. The public comment period for this rulemaking closes at midnight tonight (November 14). Read more »

Alcoa and NFWF Award Whole Farm Restoration Funds

Stroud Water Research Center has been awarded one of six highly competitive conservation grants from a partnership between Alcoa and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

The grant will be used for our “raise the bar” approach for whole farm conservation including forested streamside buffers on 18+ farms in Lancaster and Franklin counties, Pa.

Stroud Center Scientist Honored for Outstanding Service to Water Sciences Community

Anthony Aufdenkampe, Ph.D. (left), receiving the Outstanding Service Award from Brian McGlynn, Ph.D., professor of watershed hydrology and biogeosciences at Duke University and member of the CUAHSI Board of Directors. Photo: Tara Muenz

Anthony Aufdenkampe, Ph.D., Stroud Center Assistant Research Scientist, received the Outstanding Service Award from the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI).

The award was presented to Aufdenkampe “in recognition of his outstanding vision and leadership in the development of critical zone science and contributions to cyberinfrastructure.”

The presentation was made July 29, during the CUAHSI biannual symposium in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The nonprofit research organization represents more than 100 U.S.-based universities and international water science organizations. The award is conferred to two individuals every two years. Read more »

Photo courtesy Waterkeeper Alliance

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to Receive 2014 Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence

Stroud Water Research Center’s Board of Directors and executive staff agreed to confer the 2014 Stroud Award for Freshwater Excellence to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. for his work with the Riverkeepers and Waterkeeper Alliance and life-long dedication to freshwater streams and rivers.

Kennedy will receive the award at The Water’s Edge gala, set for October 23 at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa.

“Mr. Kennedy has been a staunch advocate for the rights of people and wildlife to clean fresh water and a long-time champion of stream and river ecosystems worldwide,” said Bernard W. Sweeney, Ph.D., director of the Stroud Water Research Center. “I’m thrilled that he will be here to receive this award.”

Kennedy was named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes of the Planet” for his success in helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group’s achievement helped launch 222 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe.

Kennedy serves as president of Waterkeeper Alliance, vice chair and chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. He is also a clinical professor and supervising attorney at Pace University School of Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic and is co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio.

Tickets to The Water’s Edge are now on sale.

“It’s All One Physical, Chemical, and Biological Continuum”

Wetlands plants. Photo: Stephanie Dix

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have proposed a rule to that would restore protection to small streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.

The public comment period, open through October 20, has been garnering lots of debate. Stroud Center Director Bern Sweeney, Ph.D., says while the regulations have not been clear, the science shows that you have to protect headwaters to ensure water quality downstream.

“It starts from the groundwater outflow that forms wetlands, which coalesce to form smaller streams . . . then the river,” he said. “It’s all one physical, chemical, and biological continuum.”

Read more in Cascading Debate Amid Effort to Clarify Clean Water Rule.

Stroud Center Lends Expertise to BioBlitz

Members and interns of our entomology group along with our education program manager participated in the BioBlitz in the Upper Delaware River Watershed over the weekend, monitoring wetlands and streams for aquatic macroinvertebates on the Ten Mile River Scout Camp in New York.

More than 50 scientists and amateur naturalists tallied 807 species, a number sure to increase as additional identifications are done in the coming months.

Watch a video about the BioBlitz

Stroud Center and Conservation District Team Up to Enhance Chester County Agriculture and Water Quality

Partnership to Develop Conservation and Restoration Plans For Area Farms

Stroud Water Research Center’s Watershed Restoration Group and the Chester County Conservation District (CCCD) agreed to provide conservation plans, manure management plans, Mushroom Farm Environmental Management Plans, forested stream buffers and other Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Chester County farmers.

The partnership takes advantage of the unique strengths of both organizations. The Chester County Conservation District has a long history of providing technical assistance to area farmers, while the Stroud Center produces groundbreaking research, education programs and restoration initiatives.

Read coverage in the Daily Local News and The Unionville Times.

Trekkers learning to canoe. Photo: Dave Arscott

Teens Learn About Water Quality

10 teens canoed, hiked, and camped along the Brandywine River to get hands-on environmental lessons, learn team-building skills, and understand the importance of water quality to all residents in the watershed.

Stroud Center staff took the teens on a headwater stream tour and taught them how to collect, analyze and interpret the results of water quality samples. Trek partners and organizers include the Coatesville Youth Initiative, Philadelphia Outward Bound School, UrbanPromise Wilmington, and the Stroud Center.

Read Teens Take Five-Day Trek Along Brandywine Creek.

Research Scientist Emeritus Denis Newbold, Ph.D., (left) and Director and Senior Research Scientist, Bern Sweeney, Ph.D. Photo: Kay Dixon

How Many Trees Does It Take to Protect a Stream?

New Study Provides Answers

A literature review conducted by Bern Sweeney and Denis Newbold asked how wide a streamside forest buffer needs to be to protect water quality, habitat, and plant and animal life in small streams.

Readers of our Upstream Newsletter got a sneak peek at the good news and bad news in February but the full study has just been published in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.

The Stroud Center purchased open access rights to the article in order to make it available for public download.

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2013 Annual Report: A Year in Review

Read To the Streams We Go: Pioneering Freshwater Science and Solutions:

For the list of gifts and contributions, sponsors and volunteers, financials, and staff, please see the PDF version of the annual report.

Under the Surface: Fracking Wastewater Proves Devastating to Mayflies

Adult mayfly

Adult male Stenacron interpunctatum mayfly. Mayflies serve as water health indicators. Photo: Dave Funk

A study by Pennsylvania-based Stroud Water Research Center found that even highly-diluted levels of fracking wastewater could have a deadly effect on an insect known for its fragile beauty and long-considered a key indicator of stream health.

The study, funded by the Delaware River Basin Commission, found that a sample of wastewater produced during hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania had a devastating effect on mayflies. It raises questions about potential impacts to fish, stream invertebrates, birds and humans living near unconventional oil and gas activity and the possibility of long-term degradation of marine environments from hydraulic fracturing (also called fracking). Read more.