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Spotlight- It May Take A Village To Save Conewago Creek, April 10 Workshop Set

If the whole village joins together, it just might work.

           In 2002 the Tri-County Conewago Creek Association was formed, and they began work to identify and reduce the pollution that damaged the health of that small watershed. They developed a restoration plan, rolled up their sleeves, and began to work.
            "What's exciting about this project is all the support we are getting," said Matthew Royer, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Pennsylvania Attorney and President of the watershed group.
            CBF Stream Buffer Specialist Ashley Spotts designed buffer projects and volunteers helped plant more than one and a half miles of buffers to reduce polluted runoff. And now more than a dozen government agencies have joined the effort.
            The local conservation districts pitched in and provided assistance to help farmers install conservation practices. The priorities: fencing cattle out of streams, developing and implementing nutrient management plans, planting cover crops, and implementing no-till farming.
            Under the federal Farm Bill's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative, the Conewago Creek watershed is a priority, bringing additional help from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
            Penn State's Agriculture and Environment Center is applying real-world science, and bringing new, high-tech tools to the areas farmers. They are also working with Elizabethtown College, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Department of Environmental Protection to monitor water quality and track progress.
            But restoring Conewago Creek has to involve everyone who lives in the area, not just farmers. Municipalities and residents all have a role to play, and the local conservation districts are helping here, too.
            April 10 Workshop
            A workshop has been scheduled on April 10 to:
-- Give municipal officials information about what they can do to reduce pollution from stormwater;
-- Provide homeowners tips about what they can do to reduce pollution from their homes by maintaining septic systems, reducing fertilizer use, and landscaping their yards; and
-- Teach young people, who are our environment's future stewards, how to take care of the watershed.
            "Municipalities are very interested; they see stormwater as a problem and are looking for solutions," said Mike Hubler, Assistant District Manager of the Dauphin County Conservation District.
            The workshop will take place at the Lebanon Agricultural Center on Cornwall Road in Lebanon starting at 9:30 a.m.
            Working together, can they make a difference?
            "We know we can do it, all you have to do is look down the road at Lititz Run," Royer said. "Trout Unlimited, farmers, and local residents have worked together to restore the health of their native trout stream."
            For more information visit the Tri-County Conewago Creek Association website.



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