3RQ Presentation from the Facing the Challenges Conference NOW Available

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in News

In November of this past year, Duquesne University hosted the Facing the Challenges Conference.  The two-day symposium explored the challenges of unconventional shale gas extraction and featured a number of researchers from throughout the region.

Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz presented on behalf of the 3RQ research partners the findings on the effects of shale gas development in the three rivers region.

Facing the Challenges - Paul Video

River Rally in Pittsburgh – Colcom Provides Scholarships for Organizations in Southwestern PA

Written by River Network.org on . Posted in Events, News

Date:  05/30/2014 (All day) – 06/02/2014 (All day)
City: Pittsburgh
State or Province: Pennsylvania (PA)
Organizer: River Network & Waterkeeper Alliance
Type: Conference

River Rally is the nation’s largest annual gathering of grassroots environmental leaders who are working to protect and restore our most valuable natural resource – fresh water. Our 14th River Rally, co-hosted by River Network and Waterkeeper Alliance, will take place in Pittsburgh, PA, May 30-June 2, 2014. This one-of-a-kind event will bring together several hundred river leaders, volunteers, staff, board members, stewards and funders for an intensive sharing and collaborative learning experience that has proven to be the single most effective way to build and maintain a national movement of educated, effective river advocates and sustainable watershed protection organizations.

For More Information: 

Learn more at: www.riverrally.org

All Things River Rally
Katherine Luscher
(503) 542-8397

Sponsorship & Exhibiting
Matt Burke
(503) 542-8383

River Rally Scholarships for Organizations in Southwestern Pennsylvania

The Colcom Foundation is generously funding River Rally 2014 scholarships for organizations in southwestern Pennsylvania.

To Apply

Complete the incredibly user-friendly application (below) by March 13. Note that each interested individual must complete an application.

Wait until March 17 (or there-abouts) to receive e-confirmation of your scholarship award.

Use the coupon-code (included with your e-confirmation) to register for River Rally.


Q: Am I eligible to apply?

A: All staff, board and volunteers from river/watershed conservation organizations in southwestern Pennsylvania are invited to apply.

Q: How do you define “southwestern Pennsylvania”?

A: For the purpose of these funds, organizations must be located in one of the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset, Washington or West Moreland.

Q: Can multiple people from the same organization apply?

A: Yes – definitely. We encourage multiple individuals from the same organization to attend River Rally. Just remember that each individual must complete and submit an application by March 13.

Q: Your scholarship page notes that I must be a River Network Partner or Waterkeeper to apply for a scholarship. Is that true?

A: While we certainly would love to have you join our organizations, you need not be affiliated with either to apply for these specific funds.

Q: I apparently have an infrequent question. Who can I ask?

A: For questions about these scholarships (or anything related to River Rally), please contact Katherine Luscher | 503.542.8397.

Successful applicants will be sent (via email) an award letter and coupon code to use when registering for River Rally. Please do not register until after you have received the code.

Science at the Grassroots Level – 3RQ Featured in On Tap Magazine

Written by Andrew Stacy on . Posted in News

The West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) began collecting detailed water chemistry data for the Monongahela River on a bi-weekly basis starting in 2009.  While the resultant data proved beneficial in determining TDS (total dissolved solids) loadings in the Monongahela River, additional water quality data was needed from the river’s tributaries to provide a better understanding of the river basin’s overall health.  

To do so, WVWRI adopted a collaborative approach to water quality monitoring that included the dedicated efforts of numerous citizen based watershed groups.

Read more about the 3RQ program’s science at the grassroots level.

Western Pa. river study finds bromides, chlorides, but no suprises

Written by Mary Ann Thomas on . Posted in News

The region’s most comprehensive, long-term study of water quality turned up the highest concentration of bromides — which are associated with natural gas drilling and coal mining — on the Allegheny and Kiski rivers.

The study also found consistently elevated levels of chlorides on Pine Creek in Pittsburgh’s North Hills.

While these results from the Three Rivers Quest (3RQ) study concerned the scientists, they generally characterized the year-long effort as having “no smoking guns, which is a good thing,” said Beth Dakin, a project researcher from Duquesne University.

“We’re seeing what we expected,” she said. “Although bromides were found, they were detected at lower levels.”

Throughout the study this year, researchers have tagged pollutants such as acid mine drainage, sewage overflows, chemical fertilizers and road salt in area roadways, which they expected to find.

The study covers more than 30,000 square miles of the Upper Ohio River Basin. There were 54 sampling locations along the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers and at the mouths of their major tributaries.

The Colcom Foundation recently awarded a second grant — $500,000 to Duquesne University, West Virginia University’s Water Research Institute, Wheeling Jesuit University and the Iron Furnace Chapter of Trout Unlimited — for a second year of testing.

“In the broadest scientific sense, even a year is only one data point,” said Stan Kabala, associate director of Duquesne University’s Center for Environmental Research and Education, which is coordinating the local portion of the study.

A second year will provide a better baseline of what is happening to make future comparisons.

“We’ll get a better picture of what is ‘normal,’ ” Kabala said.

“With the baseline more solid, the causes of pollution won’t be so easily dismissed.

“Identifying water quality impacts can be difficult if you don’t have a good baseline,” he said. “It makes it more possible to maintain water quality in these rivers with threats of new pollution.”

Bromides in Kiski and Conemaugh rivers

 Three Rivers Quest scientists have found that the main contributor to the elevated levels of bromides in the Allegheny River — the highest in the region — is the Kiski and Conemaugh rivers.

There has been widespread concern about the presence of bromides in a drinking water source like the Allegheny River because once it combines with chlorine during water treatment, it forms carcinogens.

“Out of the total amount of bromides found, it’s a fairly low concentration,” Dakin said.

“This is not critical,” she stressed, “but it is something to be watched.”

Bromides, which occur naturally, are not regulated.

They are associated with fracking water used in drilling Marcellus shale natural gas wells as well as coal mining.

“We can’t say where the bromides are coming from,” Dakin said.

Bob Kossak, president of the Kiskiminetas River Watershed Association, said that the bromides likely are a part of the acid mine drainage pollution that is still a major issue on the Kiski and Conemaugh rivers.

“To the best of my knowledge, there is no discharge of brine or fracking water into the Kiski and Conemaugh rivers now,” he said.

Kossak is manager of the Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority, which at one time discharged “treated” fracking water sent to the authority through its sewage lines.

The authority was already in the process of halting its discharges of the treated fracking water when DEP asked for municipal authorities across the state to voluntarily stop such discharges several years ago.

According to Kossak, two facilities on the Conemaugh that discharged fracking water stopped when DEP took issue with the practice.

Chlorides in Pine Creek

The elevated readings of chlorides in Pine Creek, which can be caused by natural conditions as well as road salt, needs more long-term study, according to Duquesne scientists.

The scientists were surprised to see that chloride levels continued to be steady throughout the year.

“You can surmise that it is caused road salt, but (not in June),” Kabala said.

Chloride is toxic to aquatic life and impedes diversity of life in Pine Creek.

The level of chlorides in Pine Creek, which traverses the North Hills, is about eight times higher than any other part of the region, according to Dakin.

More study is needed, she said.

The 3RQ finding does reconfirm the waterway’s chloride levels, said Bill Moul of Marshall Township, president of North Area Environmental Council.

“Some additional study of Pine Creek upstream is warranted,” Moul said. “It would be good to know the sources — where it’s naturally occurring or a result of snow melt applications.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourallekiskivalley/yourallekiskivalleymore/5270704-74/rivers-bromides-river#ixzz2oyN0uJT0

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