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Established June 2, 1997
by citizens for citizens


March 16, 1998

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August 13, 1997
A beautiful part of southeastern Pennsylvania
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Volume 43, Issue 1
Winter 2008
from Green Valleys Association
Healthy Watersheds Lead to Healthy Living
Deciding the future of Pickering Creek
Time to voice your support for the Pickering upgrade
by John Hoekstra
GVA's petition to upgrade the Pickering Creek watershed to "Exceptional Value" has finally reached the point in the long review process where DEP will begin writing its final review of their sampling of the Pickering, conducted in April-May 2006. Since their sampling, three new independent reports have been completed that provide additional evidence and support for the upgrade. GVA has requested the DEP to include these reports as part of our upgrade request. The three reports are listed below.
  1. Stroud Water Research Center issued "Understanding stream conditions in Pennsylvania based on macro inverte- Deciding the future of Pickering Creek brate monitoring, with a focus on Exceptional Value and High Quality streams." This study conducted sampling of many streams in southeastern PA including the Pickering. Stroud's long-term sampling of the Pickering shows that the creek had even stronger supportive results than some of the well-known streams that already have EV designation.
    At a public meeting in August 2007, Dr. John K. Jackson, Senior Research Scientist at Stroud, addressed our concern of how DEP could come up with a lesser sampling result from the same stream, and suggested that the DEP had simply picked a bad time to sample. Macroinvertebrate populations fluctuate regularly and must be sampled over a long time period to get a true representation of water quality. When DEP samples for petition candidates, they take several "grab samples" in one day over several reaches of a stream. DEP bases their analysis on what is taken on the day of test. Unfortunately, on this day, the macroinvertebrate population was at its lowest.
  2. The PA Western Conservancy just completed its "PA Aquatic Community Classification" study as part of the PA Natural Heritage Program. The Conservancy based their analysis on Biological Communities, Least Disturbed Stream Reaches and Biological Metrics. Their findings were divided into three watershed types: Conservation (highest potential quality), Enhancement (intermediate quality), and Restoration (lowest potential quality). The Pickering Creek was ranked a Conservation Watershed - the highest ranking.
  3. In a report by the Schuylkill Action Network, "Land Prioritization Strategy, High Priority Source Water Protection Areas," the Pickering Creek once again was ranked as the highest for protection, based on the modeling done in this study.
On the behalf of GVA, State Representatives are encouraging the DEP Water Quality Standards Division and Secretary McGinty to take into account this new evidence. These reports will hopefully convince DEP that the Pickering upgrade is warranted, or at least that they should do additional sampling and testing.
Why is the inclusion of these three reports so important? It is very difficult to achieve stream upgrades even where there is not opposition to a petition. In the case of the Pickering Creek, West Pikeland, Upper Uwchlan and Uwchlan Townships are in opposition to the upgrade - an upgrade that will protect the quality of our water. The law firm of Manko, Gold, Katcher and Fox has been hired to oppose the petition. The firm has strong ties in Harrisburg and has been hired before to oppose other petition efforts. GVA is concerned with this legal team on the scene in Harrisburg.
In addition, during the campaigns in the general elections this past fall, some absurd and false messages circulated regarding what Exceptional Value designation means to individuals. These misstatements have further heightened our concern. For instance, people were told: "If the Pickering is upgraded to Exceptional Value status, your children will no longer be allowed to swim in the creek." That claim is absolutely untrue. In reality, the upgrade would serve to better protect the creek for just that use.
Time to Voice Your Support - To give this petition its best possible chance of success, it is important for all of us - GVA members and friends, and the original 114 co-petitioners and supporters - to write to Secretary McGinty expressing support for this upgrade. Encourage your friends and neighbors to join in this letter-writing campaign.
Changes are occurring every day in our communities that have the potential to degrade the quality of our water. There is too much to lose to not have your voice heard to protect the quality of your water and life. A sample letter is posted on the GVA website, but your own words always work the best.
Note residents of West Pikeland, Uwchlan and Upper Uwchlan Townships: The purpose of GVA's petition to upgrade the status of the Pickering Creek is to protect the quality of your drinking water. When supervisors hire legal consultants to oppose an EV petition, it is your tax dollars that are being used. Please write today.
Address letters to: Secretary Kathleen McGinty, Dept. of Environmental Protection, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Harrisburg, PA 17101.

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