During the monthly meeting of the Wayne County Conservation District Wednesday morning, Elizabeth Curtis of Waymart was given a certificate for a scholarship she received through the district.
- During the monthly meeting of the Wayne County Conservation District Wednesday morning, Elizabeth Curtis of Waymart was given a certificate for a scholarship she received through the district.
Curtis is a Western Wayne High School graduate and will be attending Penn State University Main in the fall, where she will study food science.
"I hope to promote locally grown food," she said.
The board shared their congratulations for Curtis and wished her well at college.
• District manager Bob Muller Jr. said the conservation district has been looking at stream damage and other damage associated with the flooding that took place after the storm at the end of June.
"The further north we went, the more damage we saw," he said. "If you didn't go up north you didn't see much damage at all."
The board said that PennDOT "got on it" as quick as they possibly could, "and stayed on it."
The district is looking into finding funding for work as well. Muller asked commissioner Brian Smith if the county declared disaster, which it has. Muller also said that some parts of the county got "up to 7 inches" of rain "within four hours."
"We need to have a total of $16 million in losses for the state to declare," Smith said. "For the county to declare we had to have an 82,000 threshold and three townships had to declare, which happened really fast."
Smith added that he hopes there is enough damage in the county collectively and that it is all considered the same event, to reach the $16 million.
"People can put personal claims in," he said. "The state claims with everything all together."
"We are keeping track and the calls are trickling in," said Muller.
"We need to clean out the creeks," Smith said. "There's no capacity. We are putting money in to fix the bridges and in the next storm they'll be washed out and water will plug the sludge pipes. That's just throwing the money out."
He said that everyone "is afraid to do what needs to be done."
"We need capacity to get back under the bridges," he said.
• The board voted on and passed a motion to start a Facebook page for the conservation district.
"It has many benefits," said Muller. "We can have a meeting and show everyone how to use it."
The county will also have access to editing the page.
• Jamie Knecht, watershed specialist, is working on getting a grant for the groundwater study that will be taking place in the county.
She said they can no longer use the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) methods and lab because it "doesn't meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protocol" that is required of grantees through the Department of Community & Economic
Development's (DCED) program.
Ron Sloto from USGS, who is helping with the application, will have to rewrite part of the grant narrative and budget to meet the requirements necessary for funding.
Testing will also be done with wells and it's all a voluntary basis.
"We are asking for $250,000," said Knecht. "The total grant money would be $287,5000 with USGS matching $37,500."
She needed approval from the board to pay the $100 application fee, submit a letter of commitment and submit a resolution to apply for the grant. It was approved.
"There's currently no groundwater or geological data on the county, which is part of the reason they want to do the study," Knecht said. "I think it will be very beneficial to the county."
• The board voted on and passed a motion to send a letter to the legislators to thank them for their efforts in passing House bill (HB 1325), which ensures "a balance is maintained in enabling community growth and rural homeownership while protecting Pennsylvania's specially designated watershed."