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Over 275 at Lehigh Valley Watershed, Shad Conference- Video Blog
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The Lehigh Valley Watershed Conference and Shad Symposium last week attracted over 275 participants eager to learn more about how to protect and restore the over 300 miles of rivers and streams in the Lehigh Valley.

So far in 2008 over 750 people attended conferences to learn how to better protect and restore their watersheds. Earlier, the Keystone Coldwater Conference attracted 300 people and the Schuylkill Watershed Congress had nearly 200 participants.

The Lehigh Valley Conference brought together watershed groups, municipal officials, educators, scientists, technical experts, agencies, industry representatives and the public to discuss effective ways to cleanup watersheds, forge partnerships and maximize the natural resources in the greater Lehigh Valley.

In his welcoming remarks, Chris Kocher, President of the Wildlands Conservancy, talked about how essential the water resources of the region were and are to the history and future quality of life in the Lehigh Valley.

He noted that many of the rivers and streams in the Valley have emerged from their industrial past to support over 90 species of fish in the over 300 miles of waterways in the Lehigh Valley.

However, the work of restoring water quality is not done. Nonpoint pollution, abandoned mine drainage and urban sprawl continue to threaten water quality.

Video Blog: Chris Kocher’s Opening Remarks

Doug Austen, Executive Director of the Fish and Boat Commission, was one of the keynote speakers. His presentation focused on the status of conservation efforts in Pennsylvania, including the cleanup of aquatic habitat, the restoration of species like the shad in many of the state’s river systems and how the protection of watersheds provide multiple benefits to anglers and every Pennsylvanian.

Video Blog: Doug Austen Update on Conservation in PA

Cindy Dunn, Deputy Secretary for Conservation with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, talked about the opportunities and challenges captured in the conference agenda and how DCNR works with lots of partners to develop and implement initiatives like the Lehigh River Conservation Plan, trails projects and other initiatives.

She also noted how strongly the region is identified with its rivers and how the commitment of Lehigh and Northampton counties to planning gives the area the hope of a strong future.

Video Blog: Cindy Dunn On the Importance of Partnerships

Don Cunningham, Lehigh County Executive, talked about important smart growth and environmental initiatives in the County and how critical water resources are to the region’s future.

Video Blog: Don Cunningham on Lehigh County Green Initiatives

John Stoffa, Northampton County Executive, noted that a conference like this could not have been held 10 years ago because there was not the awareness of how important water resources are to the health and well-being of the Lehigh Valley.

Video Blog: John Stoffa on Northampton County Green Initiatives

Congressman Charles Dent talked about recent federal water and energy initiatives affecting the Lehigh Valley and the importance of partnerships and federal, state and local cooperation on conservation projects.

Video Blog: Congressman Charles Dent on Recent Federal Initiatives

Conference partners included the Wildlands Conservancy, Lehigh University, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Lehigh and Northampton County Conservation Districts, Fish and Boat Commission and the Saucon Creek Watershed Association.

Additional partners included: Green Valley Coalition, Trout Unlimited, Heritage Conservancy, LandStudies, Inc., Puritan Products, American Analytical & Environmental, HDR Engineering, Delaware River Shad Fisherman’s Association, Environmental Liability Management, Hanover Engineering Associates, Inc., Rettew, Moravian College, Terre Hill Stormwater Systems and the Borough of Coplay.

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4/4/2008

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