Water Monitoring Group/Steering Committee Forging Alliance

From Potter County Today

lauriebarrcloseupA public meeting was held last week at Erway’s Family Restaurant in Coudersport to recruit volunteers to monitor Potter County’s rivers and streams for degradation from natural gas drilling or other activities. Loren Fitzgerald from God’s Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU) organized the meeting and laid out some of group’s organizational options. Two other TU representatives, Pete Ryan and Bob Volkmar, discussed the chapter’s work with water monitoring.

More volunteers are needed to cover the many waterways in Potter County, the men pointed out. Volkmar emphasized that state agencies such as the Fish and Boat Commission and the Department of Environmental Resources do not have sufficient staffs or budgets to effectively monitor waterways or enforce environmental regulations. Laurie Barr (shown), an environmental activist from Roulette, detailed the results of her investigation into area gas drilling activity and suggested several websites where violation reports and other information can be found.

If things progressed as envisioned, the group will provide trained volunteers to work hand in hand with a steering committee being assembled by  Potter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Susan Kefover and Paul Heimel. That group will coordinate water monitoring activities and serve as a liaison with organizations, as well as county, state and federal agencies and the gas industry. Membership of the commissioners’ steering committee includes representatives of Cooperative Extension, Trout Unlimited, Potter County Conservation District, watershed protection organizations, Potter County Planning Commission, Potter County Education Council, a certified water well driller, and representatives of the Potter County Natural Gas Task Force.

Among the committee’s initial goals are:

  • obtaining funding to support water monitoring and recordkeeping;
  • pinpointing areas of Potter County where water resources may be threatened;
  • identifying areas where regulations need to be updated to afford greater protection of water resources;
  • educating the public.

Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.

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