Simon Wrubel Jr., from Nanticoke, joins EPCAMR as a Seasonal Trail Marker, a Native to the Southern Wyoming Valley

EPCAMR has filled the last of it’s three  seasonal temporary outdoor field positions to assist one of our partners, the Earth Conservancy, with maintaining signage, clearing brush, spray painting existing trail markings of various levels of difficulty with different colored spray paint on several publicly accessible trails in the Wyoming Valley over the next month or two. Coordination will be provided by the EC and EPCAMR Staff at the trail locations as to the direction and pre-existing conditions of the low-impact trails and more heavily used vehicle trails.

Simon Wrubel Jr., from Nanticoke, PA is another one of those seasonal Trail Markers that has been hired by EPCAMR this week to work with the other Staff on the trails. Simon is very familiar with maintenance work, landscaping, and building and grounds maintenance. He works at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport in the Maintenance Department and is responsible for performing routine maintenance and preventative maintenance on the airport terminal building, airplane hangars, firehouse, and parking garage. He takes care of lawn care, snow removal, concrete/pavement work on approximately 800 acres of land. His past work experience includes work as a Maintenance Technician for the Children’s Service Center, Wilkes-Barre, and as a Maintenance Supervisor for Freeland Village Associates, Freeland, PA and many other maintenance related jobs in the region.

Simon Wrubel Jr. joins EPCAMR as the newest Seasonal Trail Marker for the Summer.

Simon Wrubel Jr. joins EPCAMR as the newest Seasonal Trail Marker for the Summer.

Simon is an active Interior Firefighter for the Nanticoke Fire Department and has been working for them since August of 2005. He knows the southern part of the Wyoming Valley like the back of his hand and has been on many calls to these lands in his career. His knowledge of the local area and familiarity with people who may be on the trails at the same time should prove helpful should the Trail Markers run into anyone or any suspicious activities while they are conducting the trail maintenance.

Simon also has been a volunteer coach for the Nanticoke Junior Trojans Mini-Football Team along with EPCAMR’s Executive Director, Robert E. Hughes, for many years. His son and Robert’s son, has played on the same team since they were 7 years old.

He’ll  be joined by Elizabeth Rosser, EPCAMR’s Watershed Outreach Specialist Intern, and Gabby Zawacki, EPCAMR Trail Marker, and former Community Outreach Coordinator Intern, in the field.

Robert stated, “He came in at 9am on Tuesday morning, went through the interview process, and by 11am, he was meeting the other EPCAMR Staff in Mocanaqua, PA to hit the trails for a few hours to get off to a good start.” I’ve known Simon for nearly 10 years and found him to be a very reliable friend, someone who puts his community first, and just being a firefighter alone, aside from his other jobs, tells me a lot about his character. He puts his life on the line everyday when the fire bell rings. I’m glad to have someone with his integrity on the EPCAMR Staff, even if it’s only for this seasonal job. He’s a great guy who is already getting along real well with the other Staff in the field.”

 

EPCAMR wants our Seasonal Trail Markers to be very careful of the steep ridges, especially along the Mocanaqua Loop Trail and they should pay specific attention and use caution around wildlife habitats such as possible bear dens and snake areas. EPCAMR expects that pictures will be taken of the trail activities on a daily basis and of natural areas, scenic overlooks, and various points of interest or plants and wildlife along the trails. The EPCAMR Trail Markers will be wearing appropriate clothes and shoes/hiking boots and socks be worn for any trail hiking and will be prepared for quick changes in weather by bringing rain gear, if necessary.  Hydration and energy are also keys to successful hiking. The trails to be marked are as follows on maps that will be provided:

 

The Mocanaqua Loop Trails              

  1. Emergency Access Route
  2. Green Loop (8 miles)
  3. Blue Loop (7 miles)
  4. Brown Loop (6 miles)
  5. Orange Loop (2 miles)

 

The Sugar Notch Trails 

1.         Ridgetop Trail (3.06 miles)

2.         Park Access Trail (0.64 miles)

 

The Penobscot Ridge Mountain Bike Trail (1.6 miles)

 

Trail Descriptions and links to the maps from the Earth Conservancy website  

www.earthconservancy.org )

http://earthconservancy.org/html/mocanaqua_trails.html 

http://earthconservancy.org/Moc_Loop_Map.jpg (Mocanaqua Loop Trails Map)

http://earthconservancy.org/html/sugar_notch_trails.html

http://earthconservancy.org/Sugar_Notch_Map.jpg (Sugar Notch Trails Map)

http://earthconservancy.org/html/penobscot_bike_trail.html

http://earthconservancy.org/Penobscot_Map.jpg (Penobscot Ridge Mountain Bike Trail Map)

Update on the Mine Map Processing Project

Our team has successfully completed scanning 6,179 maps from PA DEP Wilkes-Barre Office’s basement storage area!

Dave Svab and Samantha Schafer have been diligently scanning these maps over the past few months.  During that time Kelsey Biondo has  geo-referenced 1,000 and digitized about 50 maps using ArcGIS.  500 of these maps will eventually be digitized.

This project is being conducted to process and preserve mine maps from the coal regions of Pennsylvania.  These maps are scanned at 400 DPI resolution into an electronic form for archival purposes.  The digital raster maps are sent to the PA DEP California District Mining Office for review and conversion to MrSID format, which compresses the images to 1/20 th of their original size.  MrSID files can be used by our staff in highly efficient computer applications like ArcGIS to be georeferenced, which gives them coordinates and to line up with aerial photos and topographic maps.  Then the files are sent back to the state and displayed online at www.minemaps.psu.edu.  Lastly, 4 layers are digitized from these maps or made into vector information.  Digitized layers include the map boundary, the underground mine boundary, mine entry points and coal vein elevation points.  These digitized layers will also be available for view online and downloadable for use in programs like ArcGIS.

The main goal of this project is to create a digital database where citizens and businesses can find their properties, view what is in the ground underneath and determine whether mine subsidence insurance is necessary.

Our team will now be moving to process maps from the Pottsville DEP Offices.  We will be scanning approximately 2,000 maps, geo-referencing 1,000 maps, and digitizing 300 maps.  Then it’s back to Wilkes-Barre to process the maps on the 5th floor.

Samantha stated earlier today, “We are very excited to move on to the next step and after completing almost 7,000 maps, 2,000 doesn’t seem that bad!”  Kelsey, on the other hand, is ready to geo-reference again after digitizing for nearly 3 months.

Gabby Zawacki is Back as a Seasonal EPCAMR Trail Marker!! This Time with some Spray Paint and a Backpack over her Shoulders

EPCAMR Logo Color

EPCAMR is in the process of filling three  seasonal temporary outdoor field positions to assist one of our partners, the Earth Conservancy, with maintaining signage, clearing brush, spray painting existing trail markings of various levels of difficulty with different colored spray paint on several publicly accessible trails in the Wyoming Valley over the next month or two. Coordination will be provided by the EC and EPCAMR Staff at the trail locations as to the direction and pre-existing conditions of the low-impact trails and more heavily used vehicle trails.

 

 

Gabby Zawacki is one of those seasonal Trail Markers and former Community Outreach Relations Intern with EPCAMR last Fall through May of this year. She will throw on a backpack filled with spray paint and hike steep slopes, carry a backpack weighing up to 20 pounds of field supplies (backpacks, supplies, water, camera, and spray paint will be provided), walk several miles at a time, have an ability to read a topographic or aerial photographic map, have a familiarity with orienteering, not have any difficulties climbing or walking over rocks and outcrops along the trails, be familiar with poison ivy and poison oak, be able to navigate through picker bushes and multi-flora rose, Japanese knotweed, and other heavily wooded areas. Right now, she’ll be joined by Elizabeth Rosser, EPCAMR’s Watershed Outreach Specialist Intern, until we fill our third position. EPCAMR’s happy to have her back to work with us for the remainder of the Summer.

 

EPCAMR's newest Seasonal Trail Marker joins us to provide some maintenance on Earth Conservancy's Trail Systems in the Wyoming Valley and Southern Wyoming Valley through the Summer of 2014.

EPCAMR’s newest Seasonal Trail Marker joins us to provide some maintenance on Earth Conservancy’s Trail Systems in the Wyoming Valley and Southern Wyoming Valley through the Summer of 2014.

EPCAMR wants our Seasonal Trail Markers to be very careful of the steep ridges, especially along the Mocanaqua Loop Trail and they should pay specific attention and use caution around wildlife habitats such as possible bear dens and snake areas. EPCAMR expects that pictures will be taken of the trail activities on a daily basis and of natural areas, scenic overlooks, and various points of interest or plants and wildlife along the trails. The EPCAMR Trail Markers will be wearing appropriate clothes and shoes/hiking boots and socks be worn for any trail hiking and will be prepared for quick changes in weather by bringing rain gear, if necessary.  Hydration and energy are also keys to successful hiking. The trails to be marked are as follows on maps that will be provided:

 

 

 

The Mocanaqua Loop Trails              

  1. Emergency Access Route
  2. Green Loop (8 miles)
  3. Blue Loop (7 miles)
  4. Brown Loop (6 miles)
  5. Orange Loop (2 miles)

 

The Sugar Notch Trails 

1.         Ridgetop Trail (3.06 miles)

2.         Park Access Trail (0.64 miles)

 

The Penobscot Ridge Mountain Bike Trail (1.6 miles)

 

Trail Descriptions and links to the maps from the Earth Conservancy website  

www.earthconservancy.org )

http://earthconservancy.org/html/mocanaqua_trails.html 

http://earthconservancy.org/Moc_Loop_Map.jpg (Mocanaqua Loop Trails Map)

http://earthconservancy.org/html/sugar_notch_trails.html

http://earthconservancy.org/Sugar_Notch_Map.jpg (Sugar Notch Trails Map)

http://earthconservancy.org/html/penobscot_bike_trail.html

http://earthconservancy.org/Penobscot_Map.jpg (Penobscot Ridge Mountain Bike Trail Map)

Dana Sword, Hazleton, PA and Bloomsburg University Junior Geology Student Begins Internship at as a Watershed Outreach Specialist Intern

Dana Sword, Hazleton, PA and full-time Junior at  Bloomsburg University as a Professional Geology major recently joined EPCAMR as a Watershed Outreach Specialist for the Summer 2014. She’s expecting to graduate in May 2o15. She is a member of MPERS Geosciences Club at Bloomsburg University. Dana’s first day with EPCAMR was the first day of our 16th Annual PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference in State College, PA and her first night was a tour of the night life with EPCAMR Staff and long-time colleagues who happen to know how to entertain conference attendees following a long day of technical presentations on AMD and abandoned mine reclamation. She assisted with the registration of the Conference, setting up exhibits, and the Silent Auction. In addition to interning part-time with EPCAMR, Dana also works as a part time server and bartender at the Battered Mug in Hazleton, PA.

She goes on to say, “When I’m not working or studying, I enjoy outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. I’m also interested in our Anthracite Mining History and am fascinated by all things paranormal. Ghosts are my favorite! I love to visit haunted or historical sites whenever I can. One of my favorite places to tour is Gettysburg.”

Dana Sword, EPCAMR Watershed Outreach Specialist, at one of the Gettysburg Battlefields.

Dana Sword, EPCAMR Watershed Outreach Specialist, at one of the Gettysburg Battlefields.

 

She is an animal lover and has two guinea pigs and a dog. She is also an Eckley Miners’ Village reenactor and volunteer. She plays local intramural volleyball as a hobby.

 

Having asked her what she thinks her internship with EPCAMR will do for her, she responded on a positive note and said “I feel that my internship with EPCAMR and working with Robert, Mike, the other interns and the rest of the professional and laid back Staff, will provide me with great hands on learning experiences where I will be able to get out into the community throughout the Coalfields and make an actual difference. I will actually be able to see and understand the effects that past coal mining practices have had on the environment in Northeast PA and become an actual active environmental steward with EPCAMR, learning how we can work to help resolve some of the pressing environmental impacts to our rivers, streams, and abandoned mine lands that have resulted because of less stringent laws that were historically on the books. I’ve already seen the difference that can be made when people come together for environmental community service projects such as the Line Street Illegal Dump Site coordinated by Robert and funded by EPCAMR through a grant from the PA American Water Company on Pollock Enterprises and DelBaso Ford properties in the City of Nanticoke, PA last Monday.  I also know I will learn valuable technical skills and tons of useful information on the geology of the Anthracite Region from Robert, who has over 20 years experience in geology, hydrogeology, and watershed restoration principles and processes that will teach me to be ready to get out into the work force following College. He’s like a walking encyclopedia of all things Anthracite, rivers, and streams! I’m seeing them working on projects that involve water quality monitoring and testing, macro-invertebrate and stream habitat surveys, photo-assays of streams, GIS Mine Mapping projects, AMD Treatment System operation and maintenance, underground and surface  Anthracite mine map reading, illegal dump site cleanups, and much more.”

 

Robert stated, “Dana will have the opportunity like all of our other interns to get the most out of the internship with EPCAMR by paying close attention to details on all projects that we’ll be coordinating over the Summer and writing down the names of people, places, organizations, community groups, State Agency, County Agency, and Federal Agency partners that she will come across in a very short period of time. She’ll also have to dive right into each project that is given to her and make the very best of the opportunities. There will be plenty of times to get her hands dirty, be it sampling mine drainage, conducting an illegal dump site or litter cleanup, scraping paint from an old historic Colliery sign from the Huber Breaker, or planting and measuring trees on mine sites. She’s going to do fine. She’ll be accompanied by several other interns and EPCAMR Community Service Volunteers throughout the Summer to make her experience that much more memorable. It’s good to have a buddy system out on these sites that EPCAMR works on. She’ll be sure gain a lot of knowledge from EPCAMR that she’ll hopefully be able to talk up during future job interviews as she continues on with her career. Seeing that she has another year until she graduates will give her an even greater opportunity to possibly work with EPCAMR in the Fall and quite possibly over the Winter or through the early Spring of 2015.”

 

“Like I’ve told many, many Freshmen College students before, don’t wait to take advantage of an internship until you are Senior, if you don’t have to, when you can get several seasons under your belt, even if the internships are non-paid, volunteer positions. Robert emphasized. “

EPCAMR Brings on Elizabeth Rosser, Mountain Top, PA as a Part-time Watershed Outreach Specialist

EPCAMR is busting at the seams so it seems. If you’ve ever heard of the phrase, money coming out of your ears…well, while the grant funds coming out of EPCAMR’s ears might not be in millions, it is in the hundreds of thousands.  There sure is enough to cause our growing regional environmental organization to bring on some part-time staff to assist with the increasing number of regional reclamation, watershed restoration, community cleanups, and environmental outreach and education programs that we’re trying to juggle without dropping the projects that we’re supporting across the Commonwealth of PA and throughout the EPCAMR Region. Hence the reason to bring on Elizabeth Rosser, a native to Northeastern PA that has spent the last 5 years in the Philadelphia area, upon graduating from Temple University with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies in 2012. she is a very bright young woman who graduated Cum Laude and with a Distinction in Major while at Temple University. Since having relocated back home, Elizabeth was having a hard time networking and finding any contacts in the environmental field here in our area, until she reached out to EPCAMR.

 

Elizabeth Rosser at Glen Onoko Falls on a hike.

Elizabeth Rosser at Glen Onoko Falls on a hike in Jim Thorpe, PA.

EPCAMR only has two full-time positions, 2 seasonal interns coming on board shortly from Bloomsburg University over the Summer and into the Fall 2014, and 4 part-time positions currently, with 3 of them strictly dedicated  to the Mine Subsidence Insurance Mapping Program, as GIS Technicians (2-Dave Svab and Samantha Schafer) and a GIS Specialist (Kelsey Biondo). However, this particular grant project is only one of many projects that EPCAMR is currently managing, sponsoring, or administering as a part of it’s annual work plan throughout the EPCAMR Region. Other projects are either in program development, project management, program implementation, under professional service contracts, or being developed internally by the EPCAMR Staff based on needs of the communities in which the organization serves.

 

EPCAMR is going to bring Elizabeth on part-time to draw down on hours that are dedicated in grants already funded for projects that are just physically impossible for two people to keep up with on the Staff, given our workload and how many hours in a week that we have to dedicate to each project as we divide them up and work on the various projects accordingly. She’ll be coordinating some illegal dump site cleanups throughout the Wyoming Valley and the EPCAMR Region, including a new exciting partnership with the film crew that just recently completed the short documentary on Centralia, led by Joe Sapienza II, who is interested in doing something more in Centralia Borough having seen the devastation, litter, illegal dumping, tires, and trash that litters the now nearly abandoned ghost town. She will be helping out with AMD Tie Dye Workshops over the Summer at Nature Camps at Hillside Farms with the PA American Water and possibly the Carbon County Environmental Education Center that calls on us every year, and maybe even the Green Drinks Professional Group that meets up monthly in the City of Wilkes-Barre to talk eco-shop. She will also help with some stream monitoring in the Solomon Creek Watershed for an upcoming Dam Removal and Trout Stream Habitat Improvement Project in Ashley Borough. As it turns out, she’ll be able to get her hands feet wet pretty quickly with EPCAMR and her hands dirty with mine drainage as she will have to collect iron oxide precipitates from several AMD discharges that we frequent to harvest the iron hydroxide for our AMD Processing to literally sell rust to artists and environmental educators across the country. She will also be reaching out to find recycled clear glass or transparent ornaments for us that will allow us to increase or inventory of eco-ornaments that we’d like to start selling in July for our first “Christmas in July” eco-ornament sale of the year since she has an artistic background as well. Let’s just say, EPCAMR will be keeping her busy part-time and when she has free time to volunteer, we’ll keep her busy then too. She’ll have fun side by side learning with our other two interns Dana Sword, and Cait Dickson, when they come on board next month and the following month thereafter.

Elizabeth has been a lover of the environment for as long as she could remember. She is very fond of the outdoors and loves hiking or walking with her pups. Her recent hobbies include reclaiming and up-cycling “old things” into art or decorations. Her favorite past-time at the moment is drawing masterpieces on old farmhouse windows. A few years back she helped her father build a greenhouse in their backyard out of even more reclaimed windows, it also has a DIY rain barrel attached to it to collect water for her Mom’s ever growing plant obsession! She’s an avid reader and is currently in the midst of reading about the history and importance of bees. She has many summer goals, one is to build a DIY solar panel heater out of recycled soda cans. “Maybe she’ll be able to get some ideas from the EPCAMR AMD Solar Kiln designed by myself and constructed by the EPCAMR Staff and a few previous interns a few years ago”, suggested Robert Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director.

 

Her passion for taking care of the planet and it’s co-inhabitants only grew stronger when she started College and knew she wanted to make it a career. After graduating with an Environmental Studies degree in May of 2012, from Temple University, she spent a year working in one of Philly’s hardest hit and underserved neighborhoods in New Kensington, as a Sustainable Neighborhoods Coordinator for the New Kensington Community Development Corporation.

 

NKCDC logo

There, she managed the Farm to Families site, a low-cost fresh produce program funded by St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, run by the SHARE Food ,ostProgram. “She has previous experience in grant writing. She’s been a former intern with Clean Water Action in Philadelphia, PA and is familiar with water resource management, gas drilling, fracking, and watershed management. CWA logo

 

She has coordinated volunteers and that will come in handy as we try to keep up with our daily inquiries from potential EPCAMR Community Service Volunteers that are utilizing our VolunteerMatch portal to find out all of the opportunities that we have to offer, both in the Office, outside the Office, and virtually, online. She also has experience working with Elementary Schools and other community partnerships that will easily help her transition into EPCAMR’s goals and mission in our Coalfield Communities,…How can I not bring her on board?” Robert positively stated. “She is very bright, has a passion and commitment to the environment, is eager to learn, is looking to network, and appreciative of the opportunity to work with EPCAMR, on a limited basis, due to our budgetary limitations at this time. I’m always looking for ways to bring on each of my additional part-time staff to full-time positions with the grants and foundations that we seek to support our mission, projects, and goals. As with any non-profit, and Elizabeth fully understands this well having worked with the NKCDC, operating on a shoe-string budget, having very limited resources, and the short periods in which grant funding is typically provided, often times prevents long-term positions from being created full-time for most projects, however, that won’t stop me from finding the funding to bring all of my Staff up to full-time at every opportunity that I am given to propose the reasons why their positions are warranted and needed in our Coalfield Communities.” Robert passionately emphasized.

 

Since moving home, she realizes she’s not as up to date on some environmental issues in her own backyard and is excited to learn more about abandoned mine reclamation and become a part of the EPCAMR community. She’s overjoyed for the opportunity she has been given and knows the experience will help her as she hopes to obtain a Master’s in Environmental Management one day. “The realm of Environmental Studies is such an interdisciplinary field, there are so many paths to choose, it’s been hard for me to pick just one! I know my time at EPCAMR will help me in deciding on a more clear career path and give me the hands-on/technical experience needed to refine my skills.” “I’m more than ready to start soaking up all the vast environmental knowledge that Robert and the rest of the staff will offer me given their nearly 20 year history of being one of the most sought after environmental organizations in Northeastern PA that builds coalitions from the ground up and are always finding ways to get their hands dirty, wade into streams of both clean and orange water, and make it their priority to educate community leaders, local government officials, youth, and volunteers alike on the importance of clean water and a sustainable reclaimed landscape for our future!” exclaimed Elizabeth.

EPCAMR Supports Waste Coal Tax Credit Senate Bill 1346 that will continue to remove Culm Banks through ARIPPA Plants

Senator Don White’s Waste Coal Tax Credit bill is in need of support. EPCAMR and ARIPPA member plants know the importance of removing these refuse coal piles to improve local waterways. Improvements have been seen in many watersheds during the last 25 years thanks to the work done by Pennsylvania waste coal plants in removing and reusing this refuse coal. We also know that today’s depressed power prices coupled with high costs are making it economically difficult for these plants to stay in business. Senate Bill (SB 1346) introduced by Senator Don White and its accompanying  House Bill (HB2265) introduced by State Representative Jaret Gibbons will provide a tax credit for removing the waste coal and reusing the CFB coal ash to reclaim land. This bill is good for the EPCAMR Region and our watersheds still plagued by abandoned mine lands and waste coal banks. It’s also good for PA. Join the list of coalition members on http://www.betterwaterpa.org/, if you are an organization, watershed group, or Conservation District in an abandoned mine impacted county across PA, which there are at least 45 of them. Individuals need to log on and send letters to show support. 

Hundreds, perhaps thousands of tires lie in the bottom of the mine hole in Plymouth off of Jersey Road and Route 11. (Edward Pikulski)

The Avondale Pit pre-reclamation (Edward Pikulski)

EPCAMR Brings on Denise Hernandez, Wilkes-Barre, PA as a Part-time Bookkeeper and Community Service Volunteer

EPCAMR would like to welcome our newest Part-time Bookkeeper to our Staff, Denise Hernandez, Wilkes-Barre, PA on board who will also be doubling as a Community Service Volunteer since having recently graduated in May 2014, from King’s College with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Environmental Studies, and minoring in Geography. She also has an Associate Degree in Science, from Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn, NY, where she majored in Community Health, back in 1997.

Denise Hernandez, EPCAMR's Part-Time Bookkeeper and Community Service Volunteer

Denise Hernandez, EPCAMR’s Part-Time Bookkeeper and Community Service Volunteer

Denise comes to EPCAMR through a reference and Professor from Luzerne County Community College, Dr. Brooke Yeager, who is a long-time supporter and friend of EPCAMR’s. It’s a very small world. She even knows some colleagues of the EPCAMR Executive Director’s through some AAU Sports Programs that her son is involved with in the City of Wilkes-Barre and they have some close friends that are only six degrees of separation apart from one another. She has plenty of experience in the Microsoft Office Suite and QuickBooks, which is a bonus. Dierdre Jolley, our former Part-time Bookkeeper has moved on from EPCAMR in an amicable way to a more long-term full-time accounting position in the Back Mountain. Denise has been able to fill her shoes quite well. Denise also has some familiarity with ArcGIS Suite (ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcToolbox-Verson 10) and other geospatial data management tools. She’s looking forward to volunteering with EPCAMR to learn more about our use of GIS and 3D Modeling of our underground mines throughout the Anthracite Region as a Volunteer, while being paid for a few hours out of the month to assist EPCAMR with Accounting and Bookkeeping principles, reconciliations, invoices, reimbursements, and data entry into our QuickBooks for Non-Profits Accounting Software.

 

She has previously worked for the Institute for Public Policy and Development, Wilkes-Barre, PA in the Fall of 2013 as an Intern. She is currently also working for the Good Shepard Lutheran Church, Wilkes-Barre, PA from April of 2007 to the present, where she is a Parish Secretary. She has previously worked at the Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke, PA as an Administrative Assistant/Receptionist, so EPCAMR’s clerical duties are nothing new to her, although the type of work that we do to restore the environment is. She previously had been a Receptionist/Administrative Assistant for the Times-Leader, Wilkes-Barre, PA as well. She has a very long and productive work history and is Bi-lingual in Spanish. EPCAMR is hoping to be able to provide her with some opportunities to work in the field with our Staff on projects and with students during some of our Summer and Fall Environmental Education Programs. Her ability to speak another language may come in handy as we continue to work with a very diverse student population within the coalfield communities and underserved school districts that we partner with. Denise excitedly said, “I am very excited to work with Robert and EPCAMR on environmental issues in the area that I’m not entirely familiar with. I’m like a sponge! I will eat up all the information that they will give me and experiences that the Staff are willing to share ! I’m looking forward to spending as much time with them over the Summer and Fall and hopefully thereafter, to gain some very valuable experiences and participate in some first hand community experiences to clean up the watersheds that have been impacted by AMD and abandoned mines”.

 

Robert stated, “I knew I liked her the second I met her because of her calm demeanor, her background, and her enthusiasm for wanting to obtain the position. I need someone who is as detail-oriented as I am for this position. We hit it off during the interview right away. She knew where I was coming from and I know where she wanted to go. Plus, it’s good to have another set of eyes on the books to cross-reference my check book register with the actual bank statements and Quickbooks, along with our Treasurer, and myself.” “Part-time work is just what she needed and we can provided her with a few hours a week, in addition to her wanting to become an active volunteer with EPCAMR because of her background and recent degree in Environmental Studies. I think she will benefit tremendously from working with EPCAMR and volunteering for other opportunities that we offer throughout the year where she can participate in to get a feel for the breadth and depth of work that a regional non-profit organization like ours does to improve our watersheds, rivers, streams, and land impacted by past mining practices.”

EPCAMR Hires Samantha Schafer, Emmaus, as a Part-Time GIS Technician to Work on the Mine Subsidence Insurance Mapping Project

Samantha Schafer, Emmaus, PA, a Spring 2012 graduate of Bloomsburg University, PA with a Bachelor of Science in Geology has joined the EPCAMR Staff on a part-time basis as a GIS Technician under our Mine Subsidence Insurance Grant.

Samantha Schafer at "Ringing Rock" State Park, outside of Allentown, PA. Ringing Rocks Park is a 128 acre State Park nestled in the woods in Upper Black Eddy. Located within the park is a field of boulders, about 7-8 acres in size, that have an unusual property. When the rocks are struck with a hammer or another rock, they sound as if they are metal and hollow and ring with a sound similar to a metal pipe being struck.

Samantha Schafer at “Ringing Rock” State Park, outside of Allentown, PA. Ringing Rocks Park is a 128 acre State Park nestled in the woods in Upper Black Eddy. Located within the park is a field of boulders, about 7-8 acres in size, that have an unusual property. When the rocks are struck with a hammer or another rock, they sound as if they are metal and hollow and ring with a sound similar to a metal pipe being struck.

 Since Fall 2013, the EPCAMR Staff have been working to scan underground mine maps as part of the PA Department of Environmental Protection Mine Subsidence Insurance Program (PA DEP MSI). The 3 year project, which awarded EPCAMR approximately $340,000 in funding to process maps owned or controlled by the Commonwealth of PA, U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM) or from private collections, will aid the public in determining whether or not it is necessary to purchase Mine Subsidence Insurance. The scanned maps will include information about the four Anthracite coal fields, with some of Earth Conservancy’s maps from their Blue Coal collection also being scanned. EPCAMR was the only regional non-profit to receive funding due to our expertise and knowledge of the Anthracite region. All other funding was awarded to universities and colleges. By the end of the project, EPCAMR will complete a total of 8000 maps, with 2000 from DEP’s Pottsville Bureau of Deep Mine Safety (DMS), 5000 DEP Wilkes-Barre Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (BAMR), 1000 maps from Earth Conservancy’s Blue Coal collection, unless some of the map numbers are reallocated due to underestimates within the State’s collections. In addition, EPCAMR will georeference 1000 maps from Pottsville District Mining Office (DMO) and 500 maps from Earth Conservancy’s Blue Coal, while digitizing 300 maps from Pottsville DMO, 500 maps from Wilkes-Barre BAMR, and 200 maps from Earth Conservancy’s Blue Coal. The total catalog of scanned maps will include 2000 maps from DEP’s Wilkes-Barre BAMR and 5000 mine images from DEP’s Mine Image Inventory.

The maps, which come in a variety of materials such as Mylar, Sepia, etc., are usually very wide and long, making them difficult to process using normal scanners. In order to mediate this issue, EPCAMR purchased two 56′ Color Trac Scanners in order to make the maps accessible by computer. Once the maps are scanned, they are uploaded into a system called PHUMMIS, which stands for Pennsylvania Historic Underground Mine Map Inventory System, where they are cropped and aligned. After this the images, which enter PHUMMIS as tagged image files, or TIF files, are converted to seamless image database files, or SID files. Converting the images to SID files allows for them to be compressed 20x smaller than their original size, making it easier for the files to be uploaded over the internet and used in other software programs, such as ArcGIS.

 

After the map files are converted, with the help of Michael Hewitt, EPCAMR Project Manager and Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director, Staff will georeference the maps in order to align them with base maps and aerial photos. Georeferencing is a crucial part of the process because it ensures the greatest amount of accuracy for aligning the map with the actual land. Many of the maps are very old and hand-drawn, meaning that the map alone cannot serve as an accurate picture of where the mines are located. After the maps are georeferenced, Mike uploads the images and lines up the maps in order to look for specific features such as mine entrances, shaft length, depth, coverage area, and mine shaft elevation.  Determining these features allows for development of an accurate model of the underground mines. After features are determined, the plotted images are uploaded into geodatabase, the common spatial data storage and management framework for ArcGIS. If the elevation of the mine shaft can be determined, then a 3-D digital model of the mine can be produced.

 

Samantha has previous experience using GIS and field geophysical equipment which will come in handy right away on the job. She is a team player and very self-motivated.  She is a member of several Geology Professional Affiliations, such as the Geological Society of America, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and was a member of the Pittsburgh Geological Society earlier in her collegiate career. She spent time studying geology in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming with SUNY Buffalo taking a geological field course and camp.  Her Senior research consisted of geologically mapping an area north of Bloomsburg, PA to further understand the folding associated with the Appalachian Mountains in the Fishing Creek Watershed and is already familiar with the “Whaleback” Geologic feature in Bear Valley, in the Shamokin Creek Watershed down in the Western Middle Anthracite Coalfields.  Samantha stated, “Geology has been a very exciting and rewarding topic to study for me.  It encompasses my love of nature, geologic landscapes, and the outdoors.  Hiking, kayaking, and climbing are more enjoyable with the knowledge of the environment in which I play and now get to work in, especially having an opportunity to understand and gain experience in the coalfields of Northeastern PA with one of the premier state-wide environmental organizations across PA working on abandoned mine reclamation, watershed restoration, underground mine mapping, and outdoor environmental education.” 
She has worked at Whitewater Challengers as a River Guide for eight years on the Lehigh River where she utilized her hydrology expertise to guide up to 120 guests down river and coordinate whitewater trips. While she was in College at Slippery Rock University, she organized and led trips for rock climbing, whitewater kayaking, and canoe trips and became a certified belayer at the indoor climbing wall for Slippery Rock University Outdoor Adventure, where she was an Outdoor Adventure Specialist.

 

She exclaimed, “I am very excited to join the team here at EPCAMR.  This is an amazing opportunity to gain experience as a GIS Technician.  I expect to learn a lot about the Coal Region that I call home. It’s going to be very rewarding to be able to learn about the surface abandoned mines and underground coal mining hydrogeology and structural geology that will increase my knowledge of the Coal Region. This is a huge undertaking by EPCAMR, but from what I’ve heard and seen about their quality of work, level of expertise and professionalism from others, I’m confident that this position will suit me well and help to advance my career in the future.”

 

Robert stated, “I’m very happy to bring on board yet another “rock hound” like myself who I think will bring her goal oriented, determined, and productive attitude to the work that EPCAMR is currently going full steam ahead on. She will be a nice compliment to our existing team and will get started scanning right away on the mine map collections as well as some initial training on interpreting and reading Anthracite Mine Maps, both from the surface perspective, and the underground mining perspective. It’s sure to give her a whole new level of understanding of the work that EPCAMR has been doing in the Coal Region for the last 20 years.”

2 Seasonal Part-time EPCAMR Trail Marker/Maintenance Hikers Wanted

Seasonal Part-time EPCAMR Trail Marker/Maintenance Hikers

(2-person Team will be formed)

(Seasonal Opportunity-Month of June)-Hourly, Part-time position at $9.00/hr.

Sugar Notch Trail

Sugar Notch Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EPCAMR Logo Color

EPCAMR is looking for two seasonal temporary outdoor field positions to assist one of our partners, the Earth Conservancy, with maintaining signage, clearing brush, spray painting existing trail markings of various levels of difficulty with different colored spray paint on several publicly accessible trails in the Wyoming Valley in the month of June 2014 ASAP. Coordination will be provided by the EC and EPCAMR Staff at the trail locations as to the direction and pre-existing conditions of the low-impact trails and more heavily used vehicle trails. The positions to be filled must be able to hike steep slopes, carry a backpack weighing up to 20 pounds of field supplies (backpacks, supplies, water, camera, and spray paint will be provided), walk several miles at a time, have an ability to read a topographic or aerial photographic map, have a familiarity with orienteering, not have any difficulties climbing or walking over rocks and outcrops along the trails, be familiar with poison ivy and poison oak, be able to navigate through picker bushes and multi-flora rose, Japanese knotweed, and other heavily wooded areas. Hikers must be very careful of the steep ridges, especially along the Mocanaqua Loop Trail and should pay specific attention and use caution around wildlife habitats such as possible bear dens and snake areas. You must have a valid driver’s license and insurance. EPCAMR expects that pictures will be taken of the trail activities on a daily basis and of natural areas, scenic overlooks, and various points of interest or plants and wildlife along the trails. It is important to remember that appropriate clothes and shoes/hiking boots and socks be worn for any trail hiking and that hikers be prepared for quick changes in weather by bringing rain gear, if necessary.  Hydration and energy are also keys to successful hiking. Always bring bottled water and easy trail foods like granola bars to keep in your pockets or backpacks. Check out www.americantrails.org  for more information on hiking tips. Hiking hours are expected to be between 9am and 7pm to complete this seasonal maintenance project. The trails to be marked are as follows on maps that will be provided:

The Mocanaqua Loop Trails [Priority 1]                  

  1. Emergency Access Route
  2. Green Loop (8 miles)
  3. Blue Loop (7 miles)
  4. Brown Loop (6 miles)
  5. Orange Loop (2 miles)

The Sugar Notch Trails [Priority 2]

1.         Ridgetop Trail (3.06 miles)

2.         Park Access Trail (0.64 miles)

 

The Penobscot Ridge Mountain Bike Trail (1.6 miles) [Priority 3]

 

Submit resume and previous outdoor experiences ASAP to Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director at rhughes@epcamr.org ; www.epcamr.org

Trail Descriptions and links to the maps from the Earth Conservancy website  

( www.earthconservancy.org )

http://earthconservancy.org/html/mocanaqua_trails.html 

http://earthconservancy.org/Moc_Loop_Map.jpg (Mocanaqua Loop Trails Map)

http://earthconservancy.org/html/sugar_notch_trails.html

http://earthconservancy.org/Sugar_Notch_Map.jpg (Sugar Notch Trails Map)

http://earthconservancy.org/html/penobscot_bike_trail.html

http://earthconservancy.org/Penobscot_Map.jpg (Penobscot Ridge Mountain Bike Trail Map)

Apply  Now!! ARIPPA AML/AMD Reclamation Mini-Grant Awards: $5K Available! EPCAMR/WPCAMR Receive $2500 Each To Award

By Anne Daymut, Watershed Coordinator adapted by Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director

Now  in our fifth year, WPCAMR and EPCAMR have partnered with the Anthracite Region  Independent Power Producer’s Association (ARIPPA) to offer a competitive award  to watershed organizations working on Abandoned Mine Land (AML) and/or  Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) remediation projects.  Grants at a maximum of $2,500 will be awarded  to at least one eligible environmental organization, non-profit, or Conservation District in  the Anthracite Region and one eligible environmental organization or  Conservation District in the Bituminous Region in the Commonwealth of  Pennsylvania actively working on AML/AMD issues. Grant proposals should be for  on-the-ground AML/AMD construction projects with a completion date between  August 2013 and August 2015.  Proposals are due July 14th.  The amount granted is dependent upon  demonstrated need.  Applying  organizations must support the mission of ARIPPA, including the removal and  conversion of waste coal into alternative energy and the beneficial use of CFB  ash for AML/AMD reclamation.

In the past four years, the  ARIPPA Award has funded these projects approved by the Coalitions:

  • Clearfield Creek Watershed Association (2010): $8,000 for Swank 13 AMD Passive Treatment
  • Evergreen Conservancy (2010): $2,000 for Alternative Energy development at Tanoma Wetlands
  • Earth Conservancy  (2010): $460 to replace informational signage on the Mocanaqua Loop Trail  developed on abandoned mine lands.
  • Schuykill  Headwaters Association (2010): $4,770 to repair the Glendower Breech which will  return a stream back to its original channel avoiding contact with coal  sediment.
  • Eastern Middle  Anthracite Region Recovery, Inc. (2010): $4,770 for construction of a raw water  intake on the Audenreid Treatment System to increase flow to the micro-hydro  turbines.
  • Blackleggs Creek  Watershed Association (2011): $2,500 for the construction of a concrete pad for  a lime dosing silo in the Bear Run Treatment complex.
  • Stream  Restoration Incorporated (2011): $2,500 for project costs associated with  removing waste coal refuse to be used in energy production and the construction  of an AMD treatment system.
  • Schuylkill  Headwaters Association (2011): $3,000 for the Wagner Run Restoration project to  keep water in the stream channel, reducing the volume of the Pine Knot AMD  discharge.
  • Huber Breaker  Preservation Society (2011): $1,000 for the Huber Memorial Park Pedestrian  Access Gate project to place a gate in a wrought iron fence surrounding the  property.  
  • Eastern Middle  Anthracite Region Recovery, Inc (2011): $1,000 for the Audenreid Micro-Hydro  AMD Treatment System Raw Water Intake project to provide reliable flow to the  system.
  • Sewickley Creek  Watershed Association (2012): $2,500 for Iron Sludge Recovery in the Marchand  AMD Treatment System.
  • Chestnut Ridge  Chapter of Trout Unlimited (2012): $2,500 for lime dosing.
  • Babb Creek  Watershed Association (2012): $1,000 offset cost of micro-hydroelectric  turbines that utilize 2 billion gal/day of the Antrim AMD to generate  electricity.
  • Eastern Middle  Anthracite Region Recovery, Inc (2012): $1,000 for refurbishment of  hydroelectric components on the Audenried AMD Treatment System.
  • Loyalsock Creek  Watershed Association (2012): $2,500 to purchase and apply limestone to  continue treatment of a large AMD seep at WALA Lake.
  • Shamokin Creek  Restoration Alliance (2012): $500 to restore roadway, remove silt from pond 2,  block entrances, and install signs at Carbon Run Site 42 AMD Treatment System.
  • Allegheny Valley  Land Trust (2013): for construction of a system to collect sediment from a  spoil pile along the Allegheny River
  • Evergreen  Conservancy (2013): to purchase and install a new water turbine at Tanoma  Wetlands, a passive mine drainage treatment system at the headwaters of Crooked  Creek, a tributary of the Allegheny River. Combined with a wind turbine and  solar panels installed previously, the system will be aerated 24/7.
  • Luzerne  Conservation District (2013): removal of heavy sedimentation and woody debris  dams within the tributary and repair and restore severely eroded streambanks  and stormwater outlets flowing into the stream
  • Mehoopany Creek  Watershed Association (2013): 50 Tons of limestone sand will be applied to the  South Branch of Mehoopany Creek to increase the pH levels in the stream to  improve the fishery habitat and water quality in the Mehoopany Creek watershed  historically impaired by acidity
  • Plymouth  Historical Society (2013): cleanup of illegally dumped garbage at the historic  Avondale Mine Disaster Site where EPCAMR has completed several historic  preservation projects in the past, located in Plymouth Township, Luzerne  County, PA
  • Lackawanna River  Corridor Association (2013): a real estate appraisal on the value of abandoned  mine lands that are being proposed to be acquired by their partner, the  Lackawanna Valley Conservancy, in an effort to secure the property to be used  for future AMD Treatment of the Old Forge AMD Borehole, Old Forge Borough,  Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties, PA

Celebrating its 25th  Anniversary, ARIPPA is a non-profit trade association based in Camp Hill  PA.  Membership is located in both the  Anthracite and Bituminous Regions of Pennsylvania and comprised of:

  • Independent electric generating plants producing alternative energy and/or steam from coal refuse and
  • Businesses associated with the coal refuse – to – alternative energy industry.

 

Arippa Logo - high resolution

Accordingly, ARIPPA is organized to:

  • advance the alternative energy electric power production industry,
  • encourage education about the generation of alternative energy and related industries,
  • promote the environmentally responsible production of electric power,
  • promote the utilization of alternative energy electric power,
  • endorse the continuity and growth of the alternative energy power production industry,
  • assist in meeting this country’s energy, industrial, economic, and environmental needs.

Due  in part to ARIPPA member activities, unsightly  coal refuse piles and the problems associated with them are gradually  disappearing.  Thousands of acres of  land have been and continue to be reclaimed to a natural state or for  productive use and future development.   ARIPPA facilities remove and utilize coal refuse from both past and  current mining activities, thereby abating acid mine drainage from coal refuse  piles.  ARIPPA reports that 145 million  tons of coal refuse has been processed and converted into alternative energy by  their member plants from 1998 to 2008.   Further, the technology used to convert coal refuse to electricity, known  as Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) technology, produces alkaline-rich ash  by-products.  There are many beneficial  uses for CFB ash including; filling mine pits, as a replacement for lime (for  acid mine drainage remediation), for acid mine drainage remediation, as a soil  amendment at mining sitesand/or as  a concrete additive for roadways. 

The unique nature of ARIPPA’s work combined with the desire to coordinate efforts with environmentally  oriented groups and governmental agencies symbolize a commitment to improving the landscape and environment of  our nation.

You  can obtain the official Request for Proposals and supporting documents at WPCAMR’s website: www.wpcamr.org

You  can learn more about ARIPPA at: www.arippa.org EPCAMR and WPCAMR administer this successful grant program and help to develop coalitions and community groups seeking funding for reclamation and remediation projects on abandoned mine lands. 

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