The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Philadelphia Water Department, a partner of the Schuylkill Action Network, recognized the Berks Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) Committee, SSM Group, Inc., and Larry Lloyd with the Berks Conservancy for their efforts to protect the Schuylkill River. The Berks recipients took home three of the six 2013 Schuylkill Action Network Awards.
The Berks County Planning Committee and Berks County Conservation District joined forces and showed that a group effort and shared vision for a clean and healthy Schuylkill River can help solve the complex problems facing the watershed. They coordinated the Berks MS4 Committee, which aligned inter-municipal projects for 45 of the county’s 47 MS4 municipalities in an effort to reduce stormwater runoff pollution and prevent illicit discharges. The municipalities are successfully working together to share resources, coordinate education and outreach efforts, and develop a regional solution to stormwater management.
The SSM Group of Reading helps drinking water suppliers develop source water protection plans and build relationships between this group and the SAN. In addition to its strategic networking, the SSM Group has also helped SAN develop a geo database of completed watershed projects from the past 10 years.
Larry Lloyd, a senior ecologist with the Berks Conservancy, won a SAN Award for building trust between farmers and the conservation community. In the Schuylkill Watershed, more than 30 percent of all polluted streams are the result of agriculture runoff. Over the past 10 years, more than 175 improvement projects were completed, and millions of dollars were invested to address nutrient and sediment impairments. Lloyd was an instrumental player in all phases of the projects, allowing SAN to work in partnership with the farming community.
“These projects and collaborations show that clean rivers and healthy watersheds are valuable to Berks County,” said Tom Davidock, Schuylkill Action Network Coordinator.
Submitted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.