Sailboat on Lake EriePennsylvania Lake Erie Environmental Forum

Lake Erie and the surrounding watershed play a significant role in the economic vitality, cultural heritage, and overall environmental health of Erie County and the surrounding region. Recognizing this, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection organized the Pennsylvania Lake Erie Environmental Forum (PA LEEF), as a way to provide related environmental and regional information to the public - and to also engage citizens in the process of environmental protection by providing the public with the opportunity to share local insights, information, and opinion.

The forums are open to the public, and feature topics like water quality, stormwater, scientific studies and research, policy issues, energy, agriculture, tributary and watershed updates, and larger-scale policies affecting all of the Great Lakes. Details about upcoming and past forums are highlighted below. For more information, contact Marti Martz, (mam60@psu.edu) PA Sea Grant's Senior Coastal Outreach Specialist. 


 

PA LAKE ERIE ENVIRONMENTAL FORUMS RESUME - VIRTUALLY

MARCH 23, 2021 AT 1:00 PM EST

Pennsylvania Sea Grant and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) recently hosted the first virtual PA LEEF meeting of 2021 to a captive audience. In the past, the PA LEEF meetings have been held in person at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC). Organizers, Pennsylvania Sea Grant and PA DEP pivoted to a virtual format for the first meeting of 2021, and hope to reach an even broader geographic audience. Prior to COVID-19 pandemic, PA LEEF meetings were held twice a year to share environmental information with the public and likewise, to engage in conversation to inform and assist local and regional decision-makers. The 2021 schedule of virtual meetings is being fleshed out, but four webinars will be held throughout the course of the year. Registration will be required for each virtual gathering. If you were unable to attend, you can now watch the forum online. Presentations (PDF versions) are also available below. 

WATCH the recorded version

Great Lakes Updates - Tim Bruno, PA Department of Environmental Protection. Tim Bruno serves as the Chief of the Office of the Great Lakes at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  In his role, he represents Pennsylvania to multiple interstate and international Great Lakes water quality and water use governmental entities, as well as forms partnerships and administers funding for the protection and restoration of Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Basin.

Introducing the Pennsylvania State Water Planning Process -  Mark Matlock and James Horton, PA Department of Environmental Protection. James Horton EIT is a senior engineer at the PA Department of Environmental Protection, where he provides technical assistance in the State Water Plan Section of the Compacts and Commissions Office as well as supporting the Drought Coordinator in all drought related activities. Mark Matlock is an Environmental Group Manager at the PA Department of Environmental Protection, where he oversees the State Water Plan Section of the Compacts and Commissions Office which contains the areas of drought management, Water Use Data System, and the State Water Plan.

Special Focus: Public Drinking Water - the State of the System & Contemporary Challenges in Public Drinking Water - Craig Palmer, Erie Water Works. ​Craig Palmer has worked in Erie County in the Water & Wastewater Utility Sector since 1998.  In 2006, he became Senior Manager of Engineering Services for the Erie Water Works (EWW).  He directs the operations of the Engineering Department and implements an aggressive Capital Improvements Program. He has overall responsibility for the Cross Connection Control Program, Service Area Expansion, Water Service Applications, Permits, facility and asset records, and a state-of-the-art Geographic Information System.

Special Focus: Rising to the Public Health Challenge by Using Wastewater to Aid in COVID-19 Detection - Dr. Howard Nadworny, Infectious Diseases specialist at Saint Vincent Hospital and COVID medical advisor to the Erie County Department of Health. Howard Nadworny is an Infectious Diseases specialist who has been in practice at Saint Vincent Hospital since 1984. He was the director of the Infection Control Program there for 30 years in addition to his clinical practice. He has been a member of Erie County Board of Health and was its chairman for 5 years. He currently volunteers as the COVID physician advisor to the Erie County Department of Health.

"Our Water, Our Future" - a PennFuture campaign -  Sarah Bennett, PennFuture. Sarah Bennett is PennFuture’s Campaign Manager for Clean Water Advocacy in the Lake Erie Watershed of Pennsylvania. Sarah served as Chairperson of the Biology Department and Co-Director of the Environmental Science program and Sustainability Officer at Mercyhurst University. Sarah has organized many beach litter and illegal dump site clean ups and conducted a cigarette litter reduction project at Presque Isle State Park. She is an advisory committee member of Keep Erie County Beautiful.

Community Resilience Action Network of Erie Updates  - Sara Stahlman, Pennsylvania Sea Grant. Sara Stahlman is the extension lead for Pennsylvania Sea Grant and vice chair of the Community Resilience Action Network of Erie (CRANE). She manages and coordinates statewide extension programs that protect coastal resources in focus areas such as climate change, water quality, and invasive species. She earned her bachelor’s in biology with a minor in psychology from Penn State Behrend, and her master’s degree in biology from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring - Updates -  Amber Stillwell, Regional Science Consortium at Presque Isle State Park. Amber Stilwell is the Research Coordinator at the Regional Science Consortium. She has had extensive research experience gained throughout her academic and professional career focusing on Harmful Algal Blooms, bacteria monitoring, flow cytometry, and restoration projects on Presque Isle State Park. Amber is well equipped in public speaking and enjoys educating people of all ages about science and the environment.


ARCHIVED MEETING DETAILS

October 29, 2019 - "Understanding Water Levels of the Great Lakes”

On October 29, 2019 the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Pennsylvania Sea Grant hosted the fall 2019 Pennsylvania Lake Erie Environmental Forum (PA LEEF), at the Tom Ridge Education Center in Erie, PA. Presentations and discussions focused on the timely issue of water levels in Lake Erie and all Great Lakes.

Presentations:

High Lake Levels - Understanding Great Lakes Water Levels and the Impacts of Climate on Our System, Dr. Drew Gronewold, University of Michigan 
High Lake Level Impacts in PA - Great Lakes Water Levels and Pennsylvania Coastal Impacts and Concerns, Donald J. Benczkowski, PA DEP Coastal Resource Management Program 
Community and Coastal Resiliency - Coastal and Community Resiliency Planning, Dr. Richard Norton, University of Michigan 
Upcoming Erie Resilience Study, Preparing Erie, PA for Extreme Weather – What to do and Where to Start, Joy Knapp, Community Resilience Action Network of Erie (CRANE) 
Lake Erie Updates, Tim Bruno, Chief, Great Lakes Office, PA DEP


March 2019  - Agenda

"Invasive Species in the Great Lakes from the Front Lines"

On Tuesday, March 19, 2019 the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Pennsylvania Sea Grant hosted the spring 2019 Pennsylvania Lake Erie Environmental Forum (PA LEEF), at the Tom Ridge Education Center in Erie, PA. The discussions focused around the topic "Invasive Species in the Great Lakes from the Front Lines."  Featured speakers included PA DEP Great Lakes Biologist, Dr. Jim Grazio, whose presentation focused on early detection of aquatic invasive species, Pennsylvania Sea Grant's Extension Leader, Sara Stahlman, whose presentation focused on responding to aquatic invasive species introductions in PA, Regional Science Consortium Executive Director, Dr. Jeanette Schnars, who focused on harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie, and PA DEP Great Lakes Office Chief, Tim Bruno, who provided a round-up of Great Lakes related activities and issues. 

Presentations: 


October 2018   Agenda Watch the presentations on YouTube 

On Tuesday, October 23, 2018 the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Pennsylvania Sea Grant hosted the fall 2018 Pennsylvania Lake Erie Environmental Forum (PA LEEF). Featured speakers included Penn State Behrend researcher, Dr. Anthony Foyle, who discussed “Coastal Bluff Erosion” and his work to increase the knowledge of Lake Erie bluff erosion, Pennsylvania Sea Grant's Research Director, Dr. Sean Rafferty, presented the PA Great lakes Water & Land Technical Resources Website & Web Mapping Application, Pennsylvania Sea Grant's Marti Martz and Anna McCartney led presentations and discussions about plastic pollution in our waters, Jill Bartolotta and Sue Bixler of Ohio Sea Grant examined the impacts of plastic pollution on our waters, the social science behind consumer behavior, and a regional opportunity to collaborate on a plastics outreach campaign, and Tim Bruno, Chief of the DEP Great Lakes Office provided updates on rulemaking regarding the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Waterway, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and the Pennsylvania State Water Plan.


March 2018     Agenda  I  Watch the Presentations on YouTube 

This first meeting of 2018 provided updates on the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and presentations on clean water infrastructure and asset management and inter-governmental cooperation.

Watch the presentations on YouTube

View PowerPoint Presentations:

Asset Management & Inter-governmental Cooperation in Pennsylvania
  Presented by Christine Weigle, Executive Director Lycoming County Water & Sewer Authority

Joint Action Plan for Clean Water Infrastructure and Services in the Great Lakes Region
 A product of the Great Lakes Commission Clean Water Infrastructure and Services Working Group Presented by Victoria Pebbles, Program Director

Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Update - Presented by Tim Bruno, Chief, Great Lakes Office, PA Department of Environmental Protection 


April 18, 2016  Agenda I Summary Attendee list

The initial meeting of PA LEEF covered a broad set of topics such as water diversion in the Great Lakes; how commissions and organizations Pennsylvania DEP is involved with address environmental issues; how Pennsylvania utilizes funding it receives from federal and state sources; new methods of online interaction with spatial data; projects that evaluate and monitor erosion along Pennsylvania’s shorelines; monitoring of the health of Lake Erie, and current nutrient reduction actions.


September 19, 2016  Agenda I Summary Attendee list

Status of current drafts of the Pennsylvania Domestic Action Plan to meet Lake Erie phosphorus reduction targets and timelines for implementation.  The Special Focus topic will be stormwater management and the roles municipalities play in protecting Lake Erie water quality.  Presentations will introduce new methods available to municipalities to sustainably fund stormwater management responsibilities and infrastructure.


December 12, 2016  AgendaSummary Attendee list

This third meeting of PA LEEF covered a broad set of topics such as updates on the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement; the Great Lakes Basin Compact and Agreement; the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Pennsylvania State Water Plan. In addition, DEP staff highlighted upcoming grant opportunities and discussed the Pennsylvania Phosphorous Reduction Domestic Action Plan.


April 24, 2017     Agenda / Summary

A number of updates were covered including Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement; Great Lakes Basin Compact Agreement; Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Update; and the State Water Plan update. 


 

 

 

 

 

Staff Member: 
Marti Martz

Main Office: Tom Ridge Environmental Center 301 Peninsula Dr., Suite 3 Erie, PA 16505 814-217-9011