2001 Newsletters

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September 2001

Water Conservation Kits

Sharpen your pencil, brush up on your math skills, and win a FREE Water Conservation Kit.

SUMMARY-- So many times, watersheds are criticized for not addressing water conservation outside of a crisis situation involving a drought. The Swatara Watershed has had its share of drought scares--including a drought emergency called by Governor Ridge from July through October 1999. Ironically, since writing this grant, the Swatara Watershed is in a drought watch again. At any rate, by educating both youth and adults, this project will address the use of our water resources sparingly at all times, not just during times of drought.

To do this, with a grant from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), SCWA will purchase 800 Water Conservation Kits for distribution to individuals who successfully calculate a water savings equation.

While new construction often requires installation of reduced flow toilets, showerheads,....existing households in the Swatara Watershed, especially older homes, continue to use larger amounts of water than necessary. What kind of message does this send to our children? How can we preach water conservation if we don't set an example?

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES--Water companies like the Lebanon Water Authority and American Water Company draw upon the Swatara Creek and Highbridge Reservoir for drinking water to supply a growing population in the Swatara Watershed. Planning is essential for an adequate water supply for an ever-increasing population. "There were an estimated 290,869 persons living within the watershed boundaries in 1998, which is approximately 2.4 percent of Pennsylvania’s 1998 population (Pennsylvania State Data Center, 1999). Estimates revealed that the population within the watershed increased by 4.3 percent between 1990 and 1998. In contrast, the growth rate for the state of Pennsylvania has been 1.0 percent for the same time period." Swatara Watershed Rivers Conservation Plan Without an adequate potable water supply the economy of the region could suffer, and disease could surface.

PARTNERSHIPS--50 municipalities in Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, and Schuylkill Counties approved the Swatara Creek Watershed Conservation Plan and EPA's Green Communities Program also partners by recognizing the "Plan." In addition, Conservation Districts in Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, and Schuylkill Counties partner with the Swatara Creek Watershed Association on this and many other projects.

WORK PLAN--SCWA plans to reach parents by two methods. First, by approaching schools in the watershed with a mathematical equation for students to complete. Successful students will be awarded a Water Conservation Kit complete with:

bullet1 Toilet Tank Bank capable of saving one gallon of water per flush;
bullet1 Fill Cycle Diverter capable of saving 1.5 gallons of water per flush;
bullet1 Motion Flow Showerhead capable of saving 2.5 gallons of water over conventional models;
bullet1 Leak Detection Tablets to help pinpoint costly toilet tank leaks; and
bulletFaucet Aerators for both the kitchen and bathroom capable of saving 2.5 gallons of water per minute over conventional faucet sink aerators.

If schools are willing, SCWA will personally deliver Water Conservation Kits to students during a special presentation to successful mathematicians.

In addition, to stimulate community partnerships, support, involvement, and public participation, local media outlets like WLBR Radio, newspapers like the Lebanon Daily News, Patriot News, Pottsville Republican, and Press Herald, and television stations like WGAL, WLYH, WITF, and Time Warner Cable will be approached about public service announcements to help publicize the education equation. We will encourage successful adult mathematicians to pick up their Water Conservation Kits at the SCWA office.

Fill in the following equation today, and mail to SCWA. If your math is right, you will be notified when to pick up your kit.

The Equation:

PART 1: Average daily uses in gallons per day per person are as follows (As published in DEP's brochure "Use Water Wisely":

bulletToilet 19,
bulletBathing and Hygiene 15,
bulletLaundry 8,
bulletKitchen 7,
bulletHousekeeping 1

TOTAL _____(place your answer here)


Toilet: If the 19 gallons/day is for 5 flushes at about 4 gallons each, and you displace one gallon of water in the toilet tank with each flush, and will save about __________ gallons/day (1 gallon x 5 flushes/day)

Bathing: If 15 gallons is for a 5 minute shower at 3 gpm, and the flow restrictor cuts down 1 gallon/minute, you will save ____gallons/day (1gpm x 5 minutes per day)

Kitchen: If 7 gallons is used during 2 minutes of kitchen faucet use at 3.5 gallons/minute, a faucet aerator/flow restrictor will cut down the flow by about 1 gallon/minute saving ______ gallons/day (1gpm x 2 minutes/day)


a) Total savings per person _________gpd (Total of answers in Part 2 above)

b) Total savings per year _________gallons ("a" x 365 days)

c) Total savings per household per year per Water Conservation Kit _________gallons (average household size 2.5 persons x "b").

d) Total savings/year for the 800 kits installed in the Swatara Watershed _______ gallons ("800 x "c")

MEASURABLE ENVIRONMENTAL RESULTS/BENEFITS-- Once these installation kits are installed, they should last the life of the fixtures. If it becomes necessary to replace the fixtures, new, water-saving fixtures won't need the installed kits.

Future Swatara Watershed Meetings, 9:30AM, Harper’s, $3 Dutch Treat unless specified:

bulletSeptember 26 – Swatara Streamlynx Presentation by Hedin Environmental’s Kim Weaver.
bulletOctober 31
bulletNovember 28 – Ed Keener, Public Works Director, City of Lebanon
bulletDecember 26


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Knowing we are all human beings, it’s most humbling to be recognized by peers for doing what feels right. The wonderful support we’ve gotten from so many places has empowered us to do more as a group than any one of us could have done as an individual. This year, on July 17, the Pa Association of Conservation Districts will bestow a Statewide honor on SCWA. There are so many good people doing great things, that we share the award with each of you. We went through a long-range planning process known as a Rivers Conservation Plan, supported sub-watershed groups along the way, started implementing projects like the sojourn, Water Trail, canoe launch, water quality monitoring, and Streamlynx. The Northern Swatara, Quittapahilla and Little Swatara subwatershed groups specialize in acid mine drainage, stream bank fencing, and riparian buffers. When there’s a common goal like clean water, it’s amazing how so many people can put aside differences of opinion and work together for the common good. We have multiple leaders among us who are selfless with their time and talent; businesses who share their financial blessings; and governments who have both the power and foresight to clear the path for success—eliminating the red tape that can bog down or stop a project and discourage volunteers; and last but not least, members who continue to learn, grow, support each other and think outside of the box.

Along with the "group" recognition, there have been many individual awards too. For example, Betty Conner received a Service to Mankind award from the Hershey-Palmyra Sertoma Club; the National Association of Biology Teachers named Ralph Heister Pennsylvania’s Outstanding Biology Teacher, and Jo Ellen Litz received a national award from the Daughter’s of the American Revolution. Watch for more great acknowledgements!


May 5 & 6, 145 people spent two days canoeing, removing six tons of litter from the Swatara, listening to cultural presentations on Swatara State Park and the HorseShoe Trail, or as shore support to make this a grand year! Pictures of the event are posted to our website!


SCWA did the legwork to get signatures for access points, identify features on the map, and provide text. The end result includes free maps. To get your copy directly, mail a legal-sized, stamped, self addressed envelope to the Watershed office, 2501 Cumberland St., Suite 2, Lebanon PA 17042. In addition, while supplies last, maps are available from Union Canal Canoe Rentals, Lickdale Campgrounds, Bucca’s Restaurant, Derry Township Recreation Department, Harper’s Tavern, Swatara Creek Inn, Dauphin County Parks, Jonestown Borough, and of course the PA Fish & Boat Commission.

As time goes on, look for full-color fiberglass embedded signs at access points. The signs are made possible with grants from the

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,
Canaan Valley Institute, and
PA Fish & Boat Commission. Also assisting with the Geographic Information System work was the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.


A partnership between Carmeuse who will donate the limestone and hauling, the PA Fish & Boat Commission who owns the property, and Swatara Creek Watershed Association who is coordinating the project to improve the Water Works access is taking place on Wednesday, June 27 beginning at 9:30AM. Local contractor Warren Kessler will donate a backhoe to help place large pieces of dolomite on the eroding bank. Everyone is welcome. Refreshments will be available.


With grants from the

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,
Canaan Valley Institute,
Greater Harrisburg Foundation, as well as
the Lebanon County Commissioners

landfill closure funds, vector contours are being purchased to complete our Geographic Information Mapping System that will be distributed free of charge to municipalities supporting the Rivers Conservation Plan. In about two months, we hope to hold a mini-conference for municipal leaders to demonstrate the final product.


Thanks to a grant from the

Department of Environmental Protection

and help of watershed specialists Stephanie Harmon and Pamela Spayd, the Little Swatara Watershed is up and running with a water test kit, laptop computer, printer, digital camera, and brochures. For education and to seek new members, a booth was set up at the Mt. Aetna Fire Company each Saturday in June where 50’s style music played. The last performance is by Flamin Dick & the Hotrods on June 23 from 5-10PM. To stop and say hi and show your support, take 422 north on 501 for 3 miles.


Jean Akers of Simone, Jaffe & Collins is part of a team hired by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to investigate uses of the Swatara State Park. In our two-day sojourn, Jean kayaked along side of us, and we got to know her. She’s a "genuine" person. In addition, Jean rode her bike on the banks of the Swattie. We don’t expect to agree with all of the proposals Jean suggests, but we will certainly respect her for her willingness to participate along side of us and listen to our suggestions and concerns.


With input from citizens, The Baltimore District of the US Army Corps of Engineers, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, PA Department of Environmental Protection, and Capital Region Water Board will develop a water management plan that will identify all feasible, reasonable, and environmentally-sensitive alternatives for water resource management in the Swatara Watershed through 2030. Areas of concern addressed include, but are not limited to, water demand, environmental impacts, recreation uses, and concentrated animal feed operations.


June 28-30 Natural Stream Channel Design Summit, Penn State Conference Center, State College. Register on-line at www .canaanvi.org/nsdsummit
July 17-19 Assessing Wetlands in a Watershed or
August 6-7 Principles of Wetland Design, Bryce Jordan Center, State College. Contact Danielle Young-Kocovsky dxy8@psu.edu
August 27-31 Construction of Natural Channel Design Projects, Genetti Hotel, Williamsport. Contact Canaan Valley Institute (800)922-3601 or paula.worden@canaanvi.org
September 16-19, Arlington VA. Mid-Atlantic Governor’s Conference on Greenways, Blueways, and Green Infrastructure $150 includes most meals and excursions. www.dcnr.state.va.us/prr/2001conf.htm

Future Swatara Watershed Meetings, 9:30AM, Harper’s, $3 Dutch Treat unless specified:

bulletJune 27 @ Water Works. Refreshments provided.
bulletAugust 29
bulletSeptember 26
bulletOctober 31
bulletNovember 28
bulletDecember 26

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The end of winter is near, and ponds are thawing. We recently experienced an unfortunate accident where two brothers drowned in a pond in the Little Swatara Watershed. So many of us wonder what we can do if we ever face a similar situation. While it is highly recommended that a course be taken for hands-on experience and certification in ice rescue, we realize it isn't practical for everyone. So here's a brief synopsis of a surface ice rescue course.

What happens if you fall through the ice? If you don't drown from the gasp reflex or contraction of the airway when falling in, water can suck away body warmth 25 to 30 times faster than air. You can become hypothermic in about 15 minutes. At this time, your motor skills start to diminish. In 40-60 minutes you could die. That's why it's important to get out of the water as quickly as possible. Break away the loose ice in front of you and dolphin kick your way back onto the ice. Keep your weight spread out by staying horizontal and rolling to shore.

If you see someone fall through the ice, be safe! Don't act before you think or you could also become a victim. First, call 911! They may be able to get certified ice rescue divers to the scene. Because the water cools the organs, there is a "golden hour" when some people can be revived without brain damage. If your victim has disappeared under the water, it is extremely important to mark the hole with a float--a tire, empty plastic bottle, picnic cooler, or piece of wood tied to a rope with an anchor will do. In fact, marking the exact location of all drowning victims, even in warm water, is extremely beneficial in assisting divers to recover a victim. Why is this important? First, if the hole freezes over, rescuers will know exactly where to look. Second, if others fall through the ice making more holes, the victim's hole is marked. Finally, since there is no current in ponds, the victim should be near the hole.

bulletDo not attempt to break up the ice! Trained rescuers can get to the victim faster if the ice is undisturbed.
bulletDo not stir up the bottom with a poll. You will reduce visibility for the divers to see the victim.
bulletDo not attempt a rescue alone.

Because it is hard to stand by and watch a friend or loved one drown, here are some more tips for a surface rescue. You need 3 to 5 people to assist in an ice rescue, Get plenty of rope (150'-200' are best). Secure one end of the rope to a tree or other stationary object (NOT A CAR that could accidentally be moved). Tie the other end of the rope to the person attempting the rescue--preferably to a harness. The rescuer should also be dressed in a drysuit with boots and both head cover and gloves. Again, to spread out your weight over a larger surface, lie down on the ice. One rescuer on the ice at a time. Remember that the ice already broke for the victim. As the shore crew feeds you the line, the perfect tools to help you belly crawl to the victim are ice awls made from a 2x4. Anyone with a backyard pond can make a set of awls to keep on hand.

Anyhow, as you crawl toward the victim, keep shouting to him that help is coming. When you reach the victim, do not extend your hand(s). You could get pulled into the frigid water headfirst. Not good. Instead, turn around and offer your feet to the victim. You can use the awls to anchor yourself, then use your leg muscles to lift the victim out of the water. If the victim doesn't have the strength to hold on, a properly clothed rescuer tied to a rope can enter the water feet first and push the victim onto the ice. After both parties are back on the ice, the victim should be rolled onto the rescuer's stomach. When the rescuer taps the top of his head, the shore rescue team should pull them both to safety.

bulletOther useful ways to spread weight over a larger area are to place a ladder or a sheet of plywood on the ice.
bulletDo not rub the recovered victim's hands, arms, feet, or legs. It will push cold blood to the heart. Warming must take place gradually. For proper care, get the victim to a hospital.

Article by Jo Ellen Litz. Based on an ice rescue course taught by Jack Zaengle in February 2001.



Canoe the Swattie has expanded to a two-day sojourn. Registration enclosed.

The big news this year is, the Swatara has been chosen as one of twelve official Pennsylvania sojourns. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is promoting water based family recreation through the Pennsylvania Organization of Watersheds & Rivers.

SCWA needs highly motivated volunteers who enjoy the outdoors and want to encourage family based recreation to help with registration, serving food, and transportation. If you can give us a hand with shore support, please call 274-1175 to volunteer.

Everyone mark your calendar for this community event on May 5 & 6. See you on the Swattie!



The Lebanon Valley Conservancy is up and running. To find out more, President Tisha Walmer encourages visitors to their web site. http://community.pennlive.com/cc/lebanonvalleyconservancy . New members are most welcome.



March 18-20 PA Growing Smarter Land Use in PA Conference at Hershey Lodge & Convention Center
March 23, 8:30AM-4:30PM, BMP Awareness Bus Tour of Schuylkill County. Free Lunch. Call (570)622-3742, extension 5 for more information.
April 22 - Earth Day
April 27 - Swatara "Water Needs Projection" by the Capital Region Water Board at Holiday Inn, Grantville

SCWA meetings at Harper's Tavern, Old Route 22 and 934, Annville. 9:30AM. $3 Dutch Treat covers coffee, juice, and pastries.

bulletMarch - Lebanon Valley Conservancy
bulletJune - Waterworks canoe launch clean up & micro invertebrate study with Jay Gilliam, VA Save Our Streams Program, a division of the Izaak Walton League of America
bulletOctober - Quittie Watershed
bulletNovember - Ed Keener - History & Our Future

**If you are interested in making a presentation to SCWA, please give us a call at 274-1175. No topic is too hot to handle. We learn by listening to both sides of an issue.

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