FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 11, 2014
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Beverly M. Payton, Communications Director
AVONDALE, Pa. – Farmers and rural landowners in Lebanon and Berks counties are invited to attend one of two free programs that include lunch, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., March 31 in Shartlesville, and April 2 in Myerstown, during which Bernard Sweeney, Ph.D., director of the Stroud Water Research Center, will present information about streams and how they can be improved.
Following Sweeney’s presentation, speakers from Berks and Lebanon County Conservation Districts, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and Penn State Extension’s Nutrient Management Education Program will present programs about water quality, compliance, and profitable farm production. Both programs will be the same and are geared for farmers in the Tulpehocken and nearby watersheds.
The March 31 program will take place at the Blue Mountain Family Restaurant, 24 Roadside Drive, Shartlesville, Pa.
The April 2 program will be held at the Dutch-Way Market and Family Restaurant, 649 East Lincoln Ave, Route 422 East, Myerstown, Pa.
Registration at both sites will begin at 10:00 a.m. Guests should call 717-454-4175 in advance to register for the workshop they plan to attend.
“Pennsylvania has many streams and rivers,” says Sweeney. “They are generally productive and resilient, but their basic needs must be met for them to be truly healthy.”
One of the research projects Sweeney led at Stroud Water Research Center focused on the crucial role trees play in maintaining healthy watersheds and streams, particularly in the riparian zone – the area where land and streams meet.
“Healthy forests are our streams’ life support system,” Sweeney said. “Trees filter contaminants before they can reach the water, stabilize the stream bed and provide food, shade, and habitat for fish and wildlife.”
This spring and summer, the Stroud Center’s Watershed Restoration group will help regional farmers and landowners access USDA programs that allow them to earn income by planting and maintaining trees near streams. These will mature into riparian forested buffers that will continue improving the stream over time.
Jerry Martin, senior extension associate at Penn State Extension, will deliver a program about low cost solutions to improve animal heavy use areas. These bare, muddy areas can contaminate surface waters as well as jeopardize livestock health. This topic is timely, since all Pennsylvania farms with uncontrolled heavy use areas were required to have a pollution prevention plan in place by October 29, 2013.
“Fixing animal heavy use areas can be as easy as moving a gate, water trough, or shade structure to another location,” said Martin. “Understanding basic principles can help every producer achieve better pasture quality while reducing a water pollution risk.
For more information about the event, please visit www.stroudcenter.org/events.