9th Annual Susquehanna River Symposium

Oral Presentations

SESSION NO. 1, 9:00 AM
Terrace Room, Elaine Langone Center
Steve Jordan*, Session Moderator
Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecology and the Chesapeake Bay

9:00 AM
Economic Value of Implementing the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan

Beth L. McGee, Chesapeake Bay Foundation,6 Herndon Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403, BMcgee@cbf.org,
Spencer R. Phillips, Key-Log Economics, 100 Christa Court, Charlottesville, VA 22903

In response to continuing water quality issues in the Chesapeake Bay, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with the six watershed states and the District of Columbia has finalized the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment and the jurisdiction-specific clean up plans to attain these limits. The present study evaluates the ecosystem service benefits that would accrue in the Chesapeake Watershed as a result of implementing these clean up plans.
We focus on the dollar value of eight ecosystem services originating, and largely enjoyed, in the Chesapeake Bay watershed region: food production (crops, livestock, and fish), climate stability, gas regulation, water supply, water regulation, waste treatment, aesthetics, and recreation. These we evaluated for baseline, TMDL, and business-as-usual scenarios. Ecosystem service benefits accrue in the TMDL scenario in two complementary ways. First, land use shift from less to more ecosystem-service-productive uses. Second, land in any land use can become more productive as a result of management actions designed to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution.
We employed a four-step process to estimate these benefits: 1) Assign land and water in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to one of seven land uses (forest, wetlands, open water, urban open space, other urban land, agriculture, and other) based on EPA Chesapeake Bay Program data and remotely sensed land cover data. Land use was estimated for each of the three scenarios. 2) Adjust baseline (2009) health / productivity for land use based on a spatially explicit index derived from pollution, population density and other indicators of human impacts on ecosystems. 3) Estimate changes from baseline ecosystem health for the TMDL and BAU scenarios, using projected changes in total suspended solids loads as a proxy for improvement/degradation for the non-tidal portion of the watershed. For the Tidal portion, improvement in attainment of dissolved oxygen standards serves as the proxy. 4) Calculate the dollar value of eight ecosystem services in each scenario using the benefits transfer met hod with region-specific values drawn from thousands of possible source studies.
Relative to both the baseline and business-as-usual scenario, estimated benefits of full implementation of the TMDL is approximately $20 billion per year, beginning in 2025 (2013 dollars). Detailed estimates by land use, state and ecosystem service will be publicly released in the fall and presented at the conference, but in general, the majority of benefits involve the water supply and regulation, and aesthetic services. For land uses, forests, open water and lands supply the majority of these benefits. Relative to the size of the region economy, the magnitude of these estimates compares well with previous studies. And relative to the projected cost of TMDL implementation, these estimates suggest that complete implementation is a worthwhile financial investment.

9:15 AM
Impacts of Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) on native plant diversity in riparian communities along the Susquehanna River

Chris MARTINE, Department of Biology, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837, ctm015@bucknell.edu;
Anna FREUNDLICH Freundlich , BLM Conservation and Land Management Program;
Matt WILSON, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia

Invasive species can alter natural communities and out-compete native plants, reducing densities of natives or replacing them completely. This study sought to quantify the impact of Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) on riparian plant communities along the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania. Two study communities, one relatively intact and one invaded by Japanese knotweed, were surveyed. Both areas were sampled across the herbaceous, understory, and canopy layers. Densities and presence/absence were recorded for 30 x 12m plots within each study area. Although a small group of native species appear to be tolerant, results indicate that plots in sites invaded by P. cuspidatum are significantly less diverse than those in intact plots. Species recorded within both communities, such as the common blue violet (Viola cucullata), smooth Solomon’s seal (Polygonum biflorum), and green dragon (Arisaema dracontium), had significantly reduced densities in the invaded plots compared to the intact plots. Recruitment of native tree seedlings appears to be impaired by incursions of P. cuspidata and surveys of mature tree dbh in each site allows us to infer that this has been the case for some time in our study area.

9:30 AM
Algal phosphorus storage during storm runoff events in steams

Steven T. RIER, Department of Biology, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA 17815, srier@bloomu.edu;
Sarah E. HAY, Department of Biology, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA 17815,
Keith C. KINEK, Department of Biology, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA 17815

Rapid phosphorus (P) fluctuations in streams coupled with the potential for microorganisms to store P as polyphosphate suggests that P pulses during storm runoff are important drivers of stream nutrient dynamics. We used a recently-developed 4’,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI)-based approach for quantifying polyphosphates in microbial assemblages to compare the response of stream algae to natural runoff events in a small headwater tributary to Fishing Creek, a larger fifth order section of Fishing Creek near Bloomsburg, PA and in twelve 15 L recirculating stream mesocosms.
Increases in polyphosphate storage following P pulses appear to be a function of pulse concentrations and duration with algae in the mid order section displaying substantial increases in polyphosphate concentrations following storm events, while the headwater reach did not display detectable increases. These results were confirmed by two laboratory mesocosm experiments and suggest that under certain conditions P- pulses may significantly affect lotic ecosystem functional processes, such as primary productivity, nutrient spiraling and organic matter processing, which could persist long after the pulse has subsided.

9:45 AM
Biological Studies of american Eel at the Conowingo Project

Chris AVALOS, Normandeau Associates, Inc., 1921 River Road PO Box 10, Drumore PA 17518, cavalos@normandeau.com;
Ray BLEISTINE, Normandeau Associates, Inc., 1921 River Road PO Box 10, Drumore PA 17518;
Kimberly L. LONG, Exelon Power Corporation, Exelon Way, Kennett Square, A 19348;
Tom SULLIVAN, Gomez and Sullivan Engineers, P.C., 41 Liberty Road, Heneker, NH 03242

As part of a broad bio-engineering investigation at Conowingo Hydroelectric Dam, MD we studied the distribution and abundance of juvenile American eel, Anguilla rostrata, downstream of the dam for two years. Results of our study were expected to provide potential location(s) for an eel fish way when and if deemed desirable for the migrating population.
Elvers and yellow eels were sampled between 24 June and 6 September 2011 using elver ramps (with Enka Mat and Akwa Drain substrates) and eel pots (for yellow eels). A total of 1,159 eels (1,100 elvers collected from the elver ramps and 59 yellow eels in pots) were collected in the spillway side downstream of Conowingo Dam compared to 166 elvers and 92 yellow eels collected in 2010. Capture of elvers differed between substrate type and location of ramps. The East ramps (located farther from the powerhouse), collected 539 elvers, with 133 collected in the Enka Mat substrate, with 406 elvers collected in the Akwa Drain substrate. The West ramps (location near the powerhouse) collected 561 elvers, with 405 collected in the Enka Mat substrate, with 156 elvers collected in the Akwa Drain substrate. High elver collections on both sides were ramps parallel to walls suggesting elvers orient themselves upstream to structure. The collection locations of elvers were subject to spill age which caused extensive damage to the collection gear. It was observed that the integrity of any structure below the spillway could be at risk during spillage.
Elver lengths ranged from 87 to 188 mm TL, with an average size of 124.9 mm. Yellow eels harvested from the eel pots totaled 151 for both study years; with the exception of one, all yellow eels were collected near the powerhouse location. The length range of eels collected in pots ranged from 300 to 689 mm TL, with an average length of 515.4 mm. Most elvers were split at age 1 or 2, and 3 to 5 years of age at 30%, respectively. A large gap in age at year 6 to 8 was apparent; larger eels were aged 9 to 17, plus one at 19 years of age.
The study period encompassed three new moon periods and two full moon periods; a strong relationship was not observed between the number of elvers captured and lunar phase. Elvers were observed in abundance below crest gate 30.

10:00 AM
Angler Use Survey of the Lower Susquehanna River Downstream of Conowingo Dam

Michael D. MARTINEK, Normandeau Associates, Inc., 1921 River Rd., Drumore, PA 17518, mmartinek@normandeau.com

An angler use survey of the lower Susquehanna River was conducted as part of the relicensing for Conowingo Dam. This particular survey targeted recreational anglers fishing downstream of the dam in spring through fall months in 2010. We conducted roving on-site interviews of shoreline and boat-based anglers at several access points along the east and west shorelines of the river. Weekly, low altitude aerial observations via helicopter were used to count anglers and determine fishing location preferences. Anglers were asked to answer questions regarding fish target species, time duration of trip, number and species of fish caught, kept, and released, and home zip code. The data collected was used to estimate total catch per effort, catch per unit effort for individual fish species and overall catch per unit effort. A total of 1,047 angler interviews were conducted; more than 20 species were caught. The common species targeted by anglers included: striped bass, largemouth bass, hickory shad, and white perch.

10:15 AM
Unassessed Waters Initiative: What we have learned in 4 years of sampling and over 500 streams

Jonathan NILES, Susquehanna University, 514 University Avenue, niles@susqu.edu

Since 2011 Susquehanna University has participated in the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's Unassessed Waters Initiative. As part of this Initiative we have surveyed over 500 previously Unassessed Waters throughout central Pennsylvania to determine their status as possible Wild Trout streams. We found brook trout in greater than 50% of these streams. Many streams supported robust populations of brook trout.

10:30 AM
Enjoy some coffee and refreshments in the Terrace Room.
10:45 AM
Examination of American Shad Restoration Efforts: Susquehanna River Example

Ray A. Bleistine, Normandeau Associates, Inc. 1921 River Road, Drumore, PA 17518, Rbleistine@normandeau.com.

Efforts to restore American shad to multiple river systems on the Atlantic coast have been ongoing in various forms since the mid-1800s. The Susquehanna River has been the site of multiple forms of restoration and this makes it an ideal system to study the various efforts and level of success. In the early 1900’s the construction of four major dams permanently changed the structure of the Susquehanna River. Modern restoration efforts began in the 1950’s and are ongoing. These efforts have included trap and transport, installation of fish passage facilities, fishing moratorium, and hatchery operations. Using published data, this examination looks at the restoration goals, various restoration efforts, and the success of these efforts.

11:00 AM
Monitoring Eastern Hellbender Populations in the Susquehanna River Basin: Evidence for Population Stability and Massive Declines

Peter J. Petokas, Department of Biology, Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA 17701, petokas@lycoming.edu.

Over the course of nine consecutive field seasons, we have monitored multiple populations of the eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) in multiple tributaries of the Susquehanna River. Although once widespread throughout the river basin, this research has revealed that the eastern hellbender is now restricted to several tributaries of the West Branch watershed. Population monitoring has shown that some populations are stable and self-sustaining throughout a particular watershed, while significant population declines have taken place in other watersheds. In cooperation with Cornell University, we have determined that 40% of hellbenders in the river basin are infected with chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis), yet there is no direct evidence that chytrid is the underlying cause of observed population declines. Necropsies of hellbender carcasses collected from a decline location have revealed no indicators of morbidity or mortality, and all appeared healthy in gross dissection. To augment declining hellbender populations, we have begun a cooperative effort with zoological facilities in New York to raise hellbenders to an age (3-5 years) and size that will not be subject to predation when the salamanders are released into Susquehanna River tributaries.

11:15 AM
Crayfish in the Susquehanna River--2008 to 2013: Rust(ies) Never Sleep(s)

Brian P. Mangan, Environmental Program, King's College, Wilkes-Barre, PA, 18711 , brianmangan@kings.edu.

Crayfish were surveyed in the Susquehanna River in 2008 and 2013. During each survey 100 baited wire traps were deployed in 10X10 grids at each of 11 sampling sites along 400 km of the river. Rusty crayfish were collected at five of the 11 sites in 2008, and at two additional sites in 2013. The numbers of Rusty Crayfish collected at most sites were similar to 2008. However, at one downriver site in 2013 the number of crayfish collected were astonishing. The high densities of crayfish in this section of the river coincide with reported declines of smallmouth bass.

11:30 AM
Using 20 Years of Benthic Invertebrate Surveys by Multiple Agencies to Reveal Patterns of Community Structure Over Space and Time

Matthew E. McTammany, Biology Department, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837 , mmctamma@bucknell.edu; Matthew J. Wilson, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4 Canada; Sean P Reese, Center for Sustainability and the Environment, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837; Benjamin R. Hayes Center for Sustainability and the Environment, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837; Michael D. Bilger, Freshwater Research Initiative, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA 17870.

State and federal agencies frequently conduct benthic macroinvertebrate surveys for bioassessment across large spatiotemporal scales. However, these data are rarely used outside specific regulatory agencies to address ecological questions. We assembled a dataset of benthic community information from 10 locations in the Susquehanna River and major tributaries collected by four federal and state agencies from 1991-2011. To account for differences in sampling, processing, and identification methods among agencies, we standardized sample size and resolved taxonomic ambiguities of 150 samples. Invertebrate communities were dominated by mayflies and caddisflies (45.6 to 83.2%) across all locations, and spatial patterns in certain invertebrate taxa were detected among major sub-basins of the Susquehanna River drainage.
In addition, the dataset also documents the spread of Asian clams (Corbicula) and the impact of black fly (Simuliidae) management in the Susquehanna River. Percent EPT and community diversity measures were inversely correlated, indicating that traditional macroinvertebrate IBI approaches might not be applicable to large rivers. Large river invertebrates are understudied and, even with challenges of compiling multi-agency datasets, we show the value of applying these data to large river systems. Our analysis also suggests changes to future biomonitoring protocols to improve their effectiveness in bioassessment and ecological applications.

11:45 AM
Interpreting Diatom Communities In The Upper Main Stem of the Susquehanna River

Jack R. Holt, Biology Department, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA 17870, holt@susqu.edu

From 2009 to the present, diatom periphyton communities have been collected as part of a long-term monitoring program summer and fall between Sunbury and Selinsgrove on a transect near Shady Nook, Byers Island on the Susquehanna River. The overall purpose of the monitoring program was to establish a baseline together with benthic invertebrate communities to help understand changes in the Susquehanna River. Throughout the study, diatom communities were collected passively by periphytometers, artificial substrates using glass microscope slides which were immersed in the river for 3-4 week intervals. In 2012, we began to supplement the passive samples with diatom communities collected actively from stones, sediment, and plants (when present). Overall, species richness for the sites was relatively low and rarely exceeded 15 species when collections were made by periphytometers, but more than doubled (26-56) when collections were made by active means. Furthermore, from 2012 to the present Cocconeis placentula dominated the passive collections (x̅ = 81.7%), but were much less common in diatom communities on stone (x̅ = 7.8%) and sediment (x̅ = 6.0%). This difference was seen in common metrics like Shannon Diversity Index (SDI) in which SDI for diatom communities on glass slides was 0.5 to 0.8 while SDI values for communities on stone and sediment ranged from 2.5 to 3.0. The Byers Island transect lies below the confluence of the West Branch and North Branch of the Susquehanna River, each of which shows signature values of turbidity, pH, conductivity, and alkalinity. Because of the dominance of C. placentula on the periphytometer slides, diatom communities on them showed high similarity between the two plumes. Communities collected by active means, however, did show differences. For example, of the 146 species collected between samples taken actively in 2013 from the North Branch Plume and West Branch Plume, only 20 species were shared between them. That the level of homogeneity between samples may be a consequence of the homogeneity or orientation of the substrates will be discussed..

12:00 PM

Walls Lounge, Elaine Langone Cente.

12:30 PM
Luncheon Address
Experimental Stocking of American Eels in the Susquehanna River Watershed and Implications for Eastern Elliptio Populations

Julie Devers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 177 Admiral Cochrane Dr., Annapolis, MD 21401
Steve Minkkinen and Ian Park, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 177 Admiral Cochrane Dr., Annapolis, MD 21401
Heather Galbraith, U.S. Geological Survey, Leetown Science Center, Northern Appalachian Research Laboratory, 176 Straight Run Road, Wellsboro, PA 16901.

American eel populations have been declining along the Atlantic coast. Conowingo Dam, at mile 10 of the Susquehanna River, blocks American eels from accessing 43% of previously available habitat in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Following the construction of large mainstem dams in the Susquehanna River, eels were stocked sporadically until 1980. In addition to very low abundance of eels found in the Susquehanna River watershed the freshwater mussel Eastern Elliptio, common in most mid-Atlantic streams and rivers, is relatively low in abundance. Laboratory tests conducted by USGS, Northern Appalachian Research Laboratory and USFWS, Maryland Fishery Resources Office (MFRO) suggest that American eels could provide an important link to Eastern Elliptio reproduction in the Susquehanna River. Eastern Elliptio larvae use American Eels as a host during this parasitic life stage. One reason for the low abundance in Eastern Elliptio in the Susquehanna River may be the low number of eels. MFRO has been working since 2006 to assess the best methods for capturing eels below Conowingo Dam and transporting them to upstream tributaries in the Susquehanna River Basin. Following baseline fish and mussel surveys, experimental eel stockings in two tributaries were conducted from 2010 to 2012 . Fish and mussel populations will be monitored until 2019 to assess the impacts of American Eel reintroduction on fish populations and Eastern Elliptio reproduction and recruitment.

SESSION NO. 2 - 1:00 PM
Terrace Room, Elaine Langone Center
Steve Jordan*, Session Moderator
Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecology and the Chesapeake Bay

1:00 PM
Retrospective Case Study of the Impact of Rain Gage Network Reductions on National Weather Service River Forecasts in the Susquehanna River Basin

Peter, R, Ahnert, NWS, Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center, 328 Innovation Blvd (STE 330), State College, PA, 16870, peter.ahnert@noaa.gov;
Kevin P. Hlywiak, Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center, State College, PA, 16870;
Cody L. Moser, AMEC, Boulder, CO, 80302;
Seann M. Reed, Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center, State College, PA, 16870

Funding cuts in 2013 resulted in the loss of 63 United States Geological Survey rain gages in the Susquehanna River basin. For this study, the impact of gage reductions on gage network density and on calculations of Mean Areal Precipitation (MAP) for the sub-basins used for Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center modeling and forecasting is examined. In addition, to further examine the impacts on operational river forecasts, sets of retrospective hydrologic forecast model simulations are made with and without the removed gages for several significant flood events that occurred prior to the loss of these gages. The loss of gages leads to an increase in MAP uncertainty during high impact events. While changes in river crest flows are small most of the time, in about 10% of the cases the crest flow accuracy was degraded by more than 20%. In a few cases, this increased forecast error and/or uncertainty could make it more difficult to make timely river flood warning and evacuation decisions. The study demonstrates the value of retrospective simulations and flood crest analyses in quantifying the potential impacts of gage network reductions on river forecast accuracy.

1:15 PM
Characterization of Water Quality of a Pumped-Storage Facility

Steven W. Adams, Normandeau Associates, Inc., 1921 River Rd., Drumore, PA 17518, sadams@normandeau.com.

We characterized the water quality (water temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), pH, chlorophyll a, specific conductivity, and turbidity) of the Muddy Run Pumped Storage Facility located on the lower Susquehanna River in 2010 and 2011 and analyzed the effects of project operations on these parameters, particularly during summer low flow period. We systematically sampled depth profiles in April through October and took continuous measurements (except for chlorophyll a) in the immediate forebay and the tailrace of the project. The water quality of the upper storage reservoir, to a large extent, is reflective of prevailing conditions in the lower reservoir (Conowingo Pond, source water) due to daily exchange of water between the two bodies of water though some differences occur in vertical distribution of DO. As in the past, some deep areas in the upper storage reservoir showed vertical stratification (mostly in late July through August). No thermal stratification was observed.

Relative to the historical records, little changes were observed in water quality characteristics of the reservoir. Although substandard DO values (daily average ≤ 5.0 mg/L and instantaneous value ≤ 4.0 mg/L) were recorded at both continuous monitors; mainly during July-August period their occurrences could not be conclusively correlated with project operations. However, an increase in DO at the continuous monitor in the immediate forebay area during pumping mode was noted, perhaps a reflection of withdrawal of high DO water from the lower reservoir. The influence of substandard DO was limited to the turbine discharge area during generation. Even though the upper reservoir exhibits DO stratification, the tailrace instantaneous DO measurements of <4.0 mg/L occurred only once (0.2%) and no daily average DO values were less than 5.0 mg/L meeting the PA DEP standard. Simultaneous measurements of water temperature taken at different operational modes did not show discernible effects of project operations. Both the turbidity and pH values met the PA DEP water quality standards and were within the historical range.

1:30 PM
Consumptive Use Modeling to Optimize Surface Water Withdrawal Sustainability

Kevin L. Hoover, 1109 Buchanan Valley Road, Orrtanna, PA, 17353, khoover@waterandwetlands.com;
Jeremy V. Manno, 2634 Sleepy Hollow Road, State College, PA, 16803.

Development of a natural gas well by hydraulic fracturing requires several million gallons of water over a period of days or weeks. Options available to supply this water include surface water take points (with or without storage impoundments), off-site haulage (trucking), or, more rarely, wells. The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) establishes restrictions on the amount of water that may be withdrawn from the Susquehanna River or its tributaries by setting a minimum allowable flow that must remain in the channel (passby), and newer permits have been based on a monthly flow frequency distribution for the stream. Conventional statistical methods can provide an estimate of the probability that a surface water take point will provide sufficient water to meet a fracturing project’s needs; however, this does not address the behavior of a stream over time with regards to water availability. A new method of visualizing water use planning is presented based on comparing the projected daily project use requirements to the modeled daily regulatory availability over the historic record for the stream source in association with an existing or constructed storage impoundment. This approach allows better visualization of the behavior of a water supply (i.e. identification of flashy streams and situations where a water supply has a non-normal statistical behavior) to give greater confidence in the sizing of storage impoundments to meet a supply goal of surface withdrawal only. Hydraulic fracturing schedules can then be manipulated within the model to make use of excess flows above passby and avoid periods where direct surface withdrawal is not sustainable. The goal of this modeling is to reduce or eliminate truck hauling requirements for water and its impacts to the local community, carbon emissions, and unbalanced withdrawals from other watersheds..

1:45 PM
Application of a Simplified Dam Failure Analysis on the Susquehanna River Valley

Mark Schwartz, Rizzo Associates, Inc., 500 Penn Center Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15235
Jeff Oskamp, Rizzo Associates, Inc., 500 Penn Center Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15235
Jemie Dababneh, Ph.D., Rizzo Associates, Inc., 500 Penn Center Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15235

A simple, conservative dam failure analysis methodology is applied to the Susquehanna River Valley. This method, the Volume Method, is a screening tool that allows a desktop study (i.e., with spreadsheets and GIS) to produce a conservative dam failure analysis, providing a low-cost alternative to detailed modeling studies for delineating dam failure flood hazards at vital structures. Detailed dam failure analysis can be very costly for large watersheds that contain numerous dams. While this level of detailed analysis is necessary for evaluating the safety of some structures, a simplified, conservative screening method could reduce engineering costs for some sites by eliminating the need for costly detailed analysis.
The Volume Method compares the total volume of water storage contained in upstream dams (i.e., the volume of water impounded if all upstream reservoirs were full) to the volume of storage in the watershed upstream of a site / structure. The volume of storage in upstream dams is obtained from databases such as the National Inventory of Dams, which provides comprehensive information for most dams in the United States. The volume of storage available upstream of the site / structure is determined using topographic data for the watershed and GIS tools.
A case study of this method will be presented, demonstrating the safety of an important structure.

2:15-2:30 PM

SESSION NO. 3 - 2:00 PM
Terrace Room, Elaine Langone Center
Steve Jordan*, Session Moderator
Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecology and the Chesapeake Bay

2:15 PM
Multidisciplinary Surface Water Monitoring And Assessment of the Susquehanna River

Michael (Josh) Lookenbill, PA DEP Division of Water Quality Standards, Harrisburg, PA 17015
Amy Williams, PA DEP Division of Water Quality Standards, Harrisburg, PA 17015
Dustin Shull, PA DEP Division of Water Quality Standards, Harrisburg, PA 17015

Wide-scale, disease-related mortality of young-of-year (YOY) smallmouth bass (SMB) was first documented in 2005 and again annually at varying degrees between 2006 and 2013 at West Branch Susquehanna, Susquehanna, and Juniata River locations. Since 2010, bacterial infections resulting in lesions have also been documented in a number of other warm-water streams in the Susquehanna River Basin. Also, fish pathology studies conducted by the US Geological Survey (USGS) detected intersex conditions among SMB in the Susquehanna River Basin. In order to investigate and associate potential sources and causes of the observed SMB population conditions, staff from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Water Quality Standards (DWQS) implemented a complex, multi-year survey using a wide array of methods to examine both natural and anthropogenic stressors and possible causal links to the diseased fish. The study design incorporates sampling multiple stations on the Susquehanna and Juniata mainstems, critical tributaries, and several other locations across the state and the collection of inorganic water chemistry; continuous instream monitoring (CIM) for physical chemistry; biology (benthic macroinvertebrates, fish, mollusks, and periphyton); nutrients and fatty acid analysis (algae and SMB); fish histo-pathology; storm event sampling; sediment and organic water (grab and passive sampling) for pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, hormones, organic wastewater compounds, and pesticides; and flow. This study began in 2012 by piloting some of the protocols and river station/reach reconnaissance. In addition to DWQS staff, USGS, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, and Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission are assisting with field data collection. The full-fledged study continued through the spring and summer of 2014 and will continue through 2015. This presentation will summarize t he findings of the 2012 and 2013 sampling seasons and progress made in 2014.

2:30 PM
Community-based Water Quality Monitoring Projects in Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling Regions in Centre, Clearfield, and Clinton Counties, PA

Md. Khalequzzaman , Dept. of Geology & Physics, Lock Haven University, Lock Haven, PA 17745, mkhalequ@lhup.edu.

In the wake of the Marcellus Shale gas drilling surge in central Pennsylvania, Lock Haven University’s Water and Environmental lab forged partnerships with several community organizations to monitor surface water sediment quality in the vicinity Marcellus activity. These organizations include the Clearfield and Centre County chapters of the Pennsylvania Senior Environmental Corps, Centre County Conservation District, Beech Creek Watershed Association, and the South Renovo Borough Water Supply System. With the cooperation of our partners, several sub-watersheds of the West Branch Susquehanna River, including the Hall Run, Beech Creek, and various other small watersheds in Clearfield County, have been selected for assessment. The field parameters included temperature, pH, DO, TDS, conductance, ORP, and stream flow. Additional lab analyses yielded cation and anion values, including total iron, aluminum, manganese, barium, copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc, arsenic, bromide, sulfate, nitrate, phosphate, and chloride. Based on the field and lab results, the following conclusions have been reached: 1. The water quality in the Hall Run watershed is pristine and meets drinking water standards for all tested parameters; 2. Although seasonal variations of several parameters were recorded in the Beech Creek watershed, none of the levels were of high enough values to warrant concern; 3. Not enough data has been collected in the small watersheds in Clearfield County to reach any firm conclusions about the possible seasonal and temporal variations in the measured parameters; and 4. Based on current data, no evidence of direct impact from Marcellus Shale gas-well drilling on surface water and sediment quality has been detected. In addition, these projects have provided invaluable hands-on experiences for LHU students, while assisting surrounding counties by partnering with several community-based volunteer programs that are active with environmental and ecological impacts of human activities on natural resources..

2:45 PM

Acid Mine Drainage Research-Service-Learning in the Laurel Highlands

Acid mine drainage is the greatest water quality issue facing Pennsylvania. Since its founding in 2012, the Saint Francis University Center for Watershed Research & Service has been deeply involved in a multitude of research and service projects related to the characterization and treatment of acid mine drainage. On the research side, the Center has helped to advance the simultaneous and passive co-treatment of acid mine drainage and sewage as well as acid mine drainage treatment with open limestone channels. Serving our surrounding communities, the Center has assisted nonprofit and governmental organizations on projects ranging from characterizing acid mine drainage impacts, determining treatment system performance, and troubleshooting treatment systems. In addition, the Center is leading an effort to transfer sustainable acid mine drainage treatment technology developed in our region to severely impacted mining regions in the Bolivian Altiplano.

3:00 PM
Pharmaceutical Disposal: Assessing the Flows and Impacts on Your Community

James Maneval, Department of Chemical Engineering, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837
Rennie M. Tankersley, Department of Chemical Engineering, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837
Ryan C. Snyder, Department of Chemical Engineering, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837

Active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are the portion of a drug product that is used to treat and prevent disease. While a fraction of the chemicals are consumed and transformed by the patient’s body, significant amounts of APIs either remain untaken or pass through the body unchanged. As a result, both the drug APIs that pass through the body unchanged and those that are untaken are disposed of through flushing, treated by the wastewater system, directed to the rivers, and contaminate the natural waterways. Concerns have become more prevalent since intersex and mutated bass were first discovered in the Susquehanna River Watershed. Just as society recognizes insecticides and herbicides as major pollutants in the environment, pharmaceuticals are becoming known as a similar harm.
This project concentrates on mathematically modeling the mass flows of pharmaceutical waste, which is based on data from literature as well as information gathered from local law enforcement, healthcare professionals, and wastewater specialists. With the flow information in hand, we use the model to compute potential costs based on the impact to the human body, river, landfill, agricultural farmland, and atmosphere. Using these cost assessments, our clients in the community can look to drive change through legislation and education. These changes could lead to better disposal methods and improved surface water quality

SESSION NO. 4 - 3:15 PM
Terrace Room, Elaine Langone Center
Ben Marsh*, Session Moderator
Conservation, Planning and River Towns

3:15 PM
Reflection on the 2004 Rivers Conservation Plan for the Lower West Branch of the Susquehanna River- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Mel Zimmerman, Biology Department, Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA 17701

Draining nearly 7,000 square miles, the West Branch of the Susquehanna River is the largest of the Susquehanna River sub-basins. Between 1996 and 2004 the West Branch of the Susquehanna was divided into upper, middle, and lower sections for the purpose of development of River conservation Plans through a program developed by PA DCNR. Lycoming College Clean Water Institute (CWI) was one of several partners when the North Central Pennsylvania Conservancy (NPC) led a multi-year effort to develop a Rivers Conservation Plan for the lower 75 mile portion of the West Branch Susquehanna River. Beginning at Farrandsville (Clinton County) and ending in Northumberland (Northumberland County) at the confluence between the West Branch Susquehanna River and the North Branch, this report attempted to pull together the “state” of water, wildlife, landscape and development for this section of the watershed. Using this decade old report as a benchmark I will attempt to summarize the many changes to the river that have occurred during this busy 10 years while focusing specifically on the overall water quality observed during the river monitoring projects completed by CWI. CWI has been actively monitoring 12 sites along this section focusing on water chemistry, macroinvertebrates and issues such as the impact of sewage treatment plant upgrades.

3:30 PM
Floods on the Susquehanna: Small River Towns’ Flood Mitigation and Response Strategies Reshape their Land Uses and Urban Centers

L. D. Duke, Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences, Florida Gulf Coast University, 10501 FGCU Blvd South, Fort Myers FL 33967
Seamus McLaughlin, Department of Environmental Studies, Bucknell University, Lewisburg PA 17837 .

In much of the U.S., planning, policies, actions, and decisions for flood mitigation, damage reduction, and public safety are made by municipal governments. Federal and State guidelines, incentives, grants, restrictions and regulations have developed to guide municipalities; and also have planned, funded, and constructed many large-scale systems. As a result the actual actions and decisions for flood management – and their effectiveness – vary enormously from one location to another. This research investigates the local flood strategies for a case study of two small municipalities: Milton and Lewisburg, PA. The two boroughs have similar social history, economic development, and local government structure; and share a single hydrologic unit of a river with a well-documented history of high-flow events. The research objective was to characterize flood mitigation strategies in the two boroughs, including current policy approaches; actions and policy decisions from previous decades; and land use changes from flood mitigation efforts. Research methods included interviews with municipal personnel; local archives and records; State and Federal archives; and GIS land-use data. Findings show a surprising degree of differences. Lewisburg has promoted acquisition of certain properties flood-prone areas, in successive small actions over decades, using Federal and State funding in pulses after disaster events. Milton accepted massive Federal funding after 1972 Agnes flooding, spurring profound land-use changes, and does not partake of further property acquisitions. Instead Milton applies building-code procedures that encourage “smart flood-proofing” (water-resistant building materials, specified elevation of occupied stories, elevation of utilities and furnaces, etc). Future research will use these results to analyze ways in which Federal and State programs and policies influence local programs; ways in which local policies and decisions conform to, promote, or conflict with priorities of Federal and State policies for flood mitigation; and ways in which Federal and State programs and restrictions promote, or conflict with, local preferences and policies not only for flood mitigation but also for economic development, preservation of historic districts, recreational land use, and others..

3:45 PM
Attitudes about land conservation in counties contiguous with the Susquehanna River

Brandn Green, Place Studies Program of BSCE, Lewisburg, PA 17837

This presentation provides an overview of the assets, attitudes, challenges, and opportunities associated with and for land conservation throughout selected counties in the Susquehanna River watershed. Qualitative data was gathered through interviews with key informants from land conservation organizations in counties contiguous to the river throughout New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Interviews were carried out in 19 of the 22 river counties. Interviewees were recruited from a list of conservation officials and leaders put together by the principal investigator. In total, fifty-eight interviews were completed. These interviews provide a rich and contextualized understanding of how land use and land conservation practices vary across these counties. Findings of this research have been shared with the Chesapeake Conservancy as they develop their Envision the Susquehanna project. Funding for the research was provided by the Chesapeake Conservancy.

4:00 PM