Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Congress You Can Love...For a Change

The Schuylkill Watershed is nearly 2,000 square miles
How would you like to have a Congress you could feel good about for a change?

You can, just clear your calendar for Saturday, March 10.

That's when the 15th Annual Schuylkill Watershed Congress will be held right here in lovely downtown Pottstown.

As has been the case for the past several years, it will be held at the West Campus of Montgomery County Community College on College Drive in Pottstown.

Mont Clare's Lock 60, along the Schuylkill

The Congress brings together groups from throughout the 1,900 square-mile watershed so they can learn from each other.

"With a focus on networking across disciplines, the Watershed Congress melds science, policy and practical applications into one program," according to an e-mail I received from Bill Cannon, one of the river's most dedicated champions.

Perkiomen Creek is the 2nd largest Schuylkill tributary
The 2012 program, a full copy of which can be viewed by clicking here, includes sessions on:
  • Native plants;
  • Green infrastructure;
  • Monitoring and evaluating in the Big Woods;
  • Schuylkill Watershed geology;
  • Dam removal;
  • Next steps in American shad restoration;
  • Sustainable stormwater management;
  • Chemical-free lawn management;
  • Constructed wetlands for on-lot wastewater treatment
And that's just the beginning.

This year's keynote panel will be Carol DeWolf, director of the Schuylkill Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative, Jim Thorne, senior director of science for Natural Lands Trust, and Helen Delano, senior geologic scientist for the Pennsylvania Geological Survey.

Congress-goers can visit Pottstown's Riverfront Park.
Their presentation will present (SCIENCE GEEK ALERT!) the basic of LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and its uses in the Schuylkill Highlands Natural Resource Greenway for Habitat Monitoring and Sustainability.

(Wow that was a mouthful. Almost as hard to type as it would be to say.)

Now, in English: They'll show how they LiDAR is used to measure aspects of the Birdsboro Waters Forest Legacy Easement and how to use it for habitat monitoring in the greenway. There is an effort to create a greenway along the river and its streams "to protect wildlife, habitats and our critical water supply."
Philly's Waterworks, part of the nation's 1st public water system

(In case you didn't know, the Schuylkill River and the streams which feed it provide drinking water to more than a million people, including Pottstown, Royersford, Phoenixville and other communities. It has been a public water supply since Ben Franklin's time. In fact, he helped create Fairmount Park to protect Wissahickon Creek, which fed the city's first reservoir.)

So why am I telling you NOW about something that doesn't happen until March 10?

Because I'm trying to save you money, THAT'S WHY.

As great as this Congress is, and I have covered quite a few of them (for free) for The Mercury, it ain't cheap folks.
Every spring, the Schuylkill River Sojourn runs the length of the river.

The registration fee is $50.

And after March 2, the price jumps to $60.

BUT, if you sign up by Friday, Feb. 17, it's only $40!

See that gentle reader? Reading The Digital Notebook has already saved you $20. Aren't you glad you're a regular reader? (And if you aren't, see why you should be?)

You can register on-line by clicking here.

Or, if you like the feel of paper between your fingers, you can download a registration form by clicking here.

Think about it. It could be worth your time. I have never attended this Congress and not come away smarter than when I went in (not that such a thing is all that difficult, but hey...)

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