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Be a Watershed Watchdog with New Pocket Guide

Imagine yourself in this scenario: you’re walking along a trail in your favorite park when you approach a creek. You decide to walk closer to the bank to admire the fish, insects, and plants surrounding the area when you notice that something doesn’t seem right. 
Instead of the cold clear water that you usually see in the creek, you notice the water is cloudy and that there is more sediment and small rocks along the riverbed than usual. When you walk further down the creek, you notice a few fish floating by the bank. Feeling increasingly concerned, you look around to see if there are any other hikers along the path to consult with or for an information kiosk to see if there is a nearby environmental center, but find neither. Would you know what to do?
PennFuture has a brand new resource to help you know what to do. The “Be a Watershed Watchdog” pocket guide is a portable, waterproof wallet-sized guide that helps you to identify pollution in your waterways and directs you on what you can do. 
Pennsylvania has more than 86,000 miles of streams and rivers in the state, 19,900 of which are listed as impaired in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (PA DEP) 2016 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report. With the United States Environmental Protection Agencies’ efforts to repeal the Clean Water Rule and the PA DEP lacking the capacity and funding to adequately monitor water quality standards, we need all hands on deck to support and protect our waterways.
The “Be a Watershed Watchdog” pocket guide is the perfect tool for outdoor enthusiasts, sportsmen, students, citizen scientists, and Pennsylvania’s nature lovers. We all have a shared responsibility to be stewards for our environment, and knowing what to do and who to contact upon discovering pollution or an illegal discharge in a local creek or waterway is a critical first step. 
The guide identifies six easily identifiable signs of potential pollution to look for: 
  • Water discoloration, 
  • Unusual odors, 
  • Dumping,
  • Fish kills, and 
  • Algal blooms.
If you see one or more of these signs of potential pollution, you should take photos and/or videos, look for a potential source of the pollution, record your location, the time(s) of discovery, and your observations. These details can then be reported to the PA DEP, your County Conservation District, and to PennFuture. 
Our waterways are the common property of all Pennsylvanians. Together, we can help to stop pollution as we see it and protect our waterways for the benefit of our communities and generations to come. 

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