BAMR VISITS THE UPPER TIOGA RIVER

The Pennsylvania Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (BAMR) held their Manager’s Meeting in Tioga County on Tuesday, July 23, 2019.  Charlie and Joyce Andrews – TCCCC, were invited to provide a tour of the Upper Tioga River Watershed to familiarize the participants with not only the Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) treatment plant in Fall Brook, but also the remaining AMD discharges impacting the Tioga River. 

BAMR is preparing a project for submittal to the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Economic Development Pilot Program (AML Pilot Program) to treat the AMD pollution impacting Morris Run and Coal Creek.  Projects submitted for consideration to the AML Pilot Program must meet a variety of criteria, including economic and environmental benefits as well as public access to the restored waterway.  Participants visited Island Park to see the recreational facilities and were impressed with the River Walk boarding the Tioga River.  There are a number of publicly accessible points along the Tioga River corridor and the TCCCC encourages the municipalities along the River corridor to keep public access to the Tioga River in mind as they approve development along the corridor.

The TCCCC and the watershed committee are committed to providing support for the AML Pilot Project, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) will ultimately be contracted to oversee project design and to manage the project construction and grant.  The TCCCC, Hillside Rod & Gun Club, and all of their partners are extremely pleased with the commitment of BAMR to seeing the Tioga River restored so that it once again supports aquatic life.

DEP SECRETARY TOURS UPPER TIOGA RIVER WATERSHED

TCCCC President Charlie Andrews reviews the details of the Fall Brook AMD Treatment Projects with DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. Also pictured from left to right: Megan Lehman, Jared Dressler, Marcus Kohl, Erica Tomlinson, and Mike Narcavage.

At the request of DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell, a tour of the Upper Tioga River Watershed was conducted on Thursday, November 16th. Secretary McDonnell wanted to gain firsthand knowledge of efforts to treat the Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) pollution impacting the area. TCCCC President Charlie Andrews presented Secretary McDonnell with a binder containing information about each of the four major tributaries contributing AMD pollution to the Tioga River and highlighted the partnership with the Hillside Rod & Gun Club, Southwestern Energy (SWN), and the many government agencies and civic organizations participating in the effort to restore the River. Joyce Andrews – TCCCC Secretary, described the coalition’s “Save The Tioga River” initiative as well as the money that has been raised thus far toward future Operation & Maintenance (O&M) expenses. Northcentral Region Watershed Pollution Biologist Steve Means discussed water quality results that he has been collecting on the River corridor to highlight benefits that have already been realized in the Tioga River channel since the Fall Brook AMD Treatment Projects came on line. He also reinforced the need to address the AMD pollution in the remaining tributaries to restore aquatic life to the Tioga River. Those in attendance were given a tour of the Fall Brook AMD Treatment Projects as well as a description of the proposed Morris Run AMD Treatment Project. Charlie explained that SWN has stated that they want to continue to partner with the TCCCC and their partners to restore the watershed but they need help in funding the O&M costs. The TCCCC is hoping to fund an updated “Upper Tioga River Watershed Restoration Plan” that meets the Office of Surface Mining Set Aside Guidelines so that they can qualify for Federal pools of money that can be used to fund future O&M expenses. The following were traveling with DEP Secretary McDonnell: Northcentral Regional Director Marcus Kohl, Assistant Regional Director Jared Dressler, Legislative Government Liaison Dan Vilello, DEP Environmental Community Relations Specialist Megan Lehman, Watershed Manager Jason Fellon, Watershed Pollution Biologist Steve Means. Also in attendance: Tioga County Conservation District Manager Erica Tomlinson, and SWN Community Relations Manager Mike Narcavage.

Pictured in the photo from left to right:  Cindy Dunn – Secretary, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Joyce Andrews – Secretary TCCCC, Charlie Andrews – President TCCCC; Patrick McDonnell – Acting Secretary, Department of Environmental Protection; Davitt Woodwell – President, Pennsylvania Environmental Council; Karen Olson – SWN Director, Strategic Solutions; Rowlan Greaves – SWN Manager, Strategic Solutions.

TCCCC Receives Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence

The TCCCC, on behalf of the Hillside Rod & Gun Club, Southwestern Energy Company (SWN), Bureau of Forestry and the entire coalition working to restore the Tioga River, received the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence (GAEE) for the Fall Brook AMD Treatment Projects.  The Awards were presented at the GAEE Awards banquet hosted by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) at the Harrisburg Hilton on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.  Charlie Andrews – President, and Joyce Andrews – Secretary, attended on behalf of the TCCCC.  Shane Nickerson – Mayor of Blossburg, and Jill Nickerson – Blossburg Borough Council Member, attended as guests of SWN.  SWN funded and oversaw the construction of the Fall Brook systems and also funded the Trust to operate and maintain the systems.  SWN attendees included: Roy Hartstein – Vice President Strategic Solutions, Karen Olson – Director Strategic Solutions, Rowlan Greaves – Manager Strategic Solutions, as well as a number of other SWN employees.

The Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence is open to any Pennsylvania business, farm, government agency, educational institution, non-profit organization, and individual that has created, or participated in, the development of a project that promotes environmental stewardship and economic development in the state.  According to PEC, 54 applications were submitted, with 16 chosen to receive awards.  The Fall Brook AMD Treatment Projects are perfect examples of local volunteers, private industry, and government agencies working together to achieve a common goal while minimizing environmental impacts. The TCCCC and their coalition are now working on plans to restore the Morris Run tributary.  SWN has pledged their support to continue to work with the coalition, however, additional support is required to fund the construction and operation and maintenance of the remaining treatment systems.  Their goal is to restore the Tioga River so that it once again supports aquatic life.  Please visit the TCCCC website at www.tcccc-inc.org to learn more about the existing projects as well as efforts to “Save The Tioga River”.  Donations forms can be downloaded and sent to the TCCCC, ATTN:  STTR, P.O. Box 124, Blossburg, PA, 16912.