Skip to content

Merchant Hydro-Nockamixon Pumped Storage Project

Overview

January 11, 2017, Merchant Hydro Developers, LLC (Merchant Hydro) filed an application with FERC to study the feasibility of a proposed pumped storage hydroelectric project they call Nockamixon Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project, FERC Project No. 14816-000.  

The project includes:

  1. a new upper reservoir with a surface area of 150 acres
  2. a lower reservoir using the existing Delaware Canal
  3. a new 3,575 foot long, 48 inch diameter penstock connecting the two reservoirs
  4. a new 150 foot long and 50 foot wide powerhouse containing 2 turbine genrator units with a total of 125 megawatts of capacity
  5. a new tranmission line connecting the powerhouse to a nearby electric grid interconnection point
  6. appurtenant facilities.

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is concerned about a number of aspects of this project including the 150 acres that would be flooded for the upper reservoir and is mainly in forest.  We also have concerns about impacts to wetlands, water quality and species.

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network appears to be the only organization that timely intervened in the FERC docket for this project.

FERC issued the requested preliminary permit on September 1, 2017 allowing Merchant Hydro to begin to assess the feasibility of its proposed project.

Philadelphia Inquirer article discusses the project:  Tilting at Windmills? June 16, 2017.

Merchant Hydro Vandling Drift Reclamation Pump Storage Project

Overview

On March 5, 2018, Merchant Hydro Developers, LLC filed a Declaration of Intention with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the proposed Vandling Drift Reclamation Pump Storage Project, FERC Docket No:  DI18-3-000.  The project would be located near the City of Vandling, in Wayne County, Pennsylvania.  The Notice of Declaration of Intention and Soliciting Comments, Protests and Motions to Intervene was posted on March 29, 2018.  The Delaware Riverkeeper Network submitted a Motion to Intervene so we can be active participants in the public process.

Merchant Hydro has described the project in its FERC filing as follows:

“The proposed closed-loop Vandling Drift Reclamation Pump Storage Project would consist of:  (1) a new upper reservoir with a surface area of 300 acres and a storage capacity of 4,500 acre-feet at a surface elevation of approximately 2,000 feet above mean sea level (msl) created through construction of a new roller-compacted concrete or rock-fill dam; (2) a new lower reservoir with a surface area of 140 acres and a storage capacity of 5,526 acre-feet at a surface elevation of 1,475 feet msl; (3) four new 4,425-foot-long, 16-foot-diameter penstocks connecting the upper and lower reservoirs; (4) a new 250-foot-long, 150-foot-wide, 50-foot-high powerhouse containing one or two turbine-generator units with a total rated capacity of 200 megawatts; (5) a new transmission line connecting the powerhouse to a nearby electric grid interconnection pint with options to evaluate multiple grid interconnection locations; and (6) appurtenant facilities.  Merchant Hydro Developers LLC states that it will use only groundwater from an underground abandoned mine to initially charge and seasonally refill the upper reservoirs.  The applicant proposes to transport groundwater to its upper reservoirs using underground pumping equipment and intakes.  The applicant also states the project effectuates an interconnection line without crossing the Lackawanna River or any other body of water. ” 

Warehouses

Overview

The massive build out and proposals for the onslaught of warehouses and distribution centers in the Delaware River Basin are jeopardizing many communities, watersheds, forests, agricultural lands and natural areas simultaneously.  Below are just some of the warehouse threats underway that DRN and community groups are opposing.  This is not a complete list.  We are providing this summary along with some of the filings and links to help others fighting similar warehouse threats 

DRN’s Youtube Channel with Warehouse Information and 3 webinars on how to fight warehouses can be viewed here.

Ivy Castle Warehouse

Ivy Castle, LLC, and Mr. Anthony DiTommaso, Ivy Castle LLC with HQ at 102 Chestnut Ridge Road, Suite 204 Montvale, New Jersey 07645 proposes to fill wetlands for a new warehouse project.  The project is located adjacent to the Christina River, located at 800 New Castle Avenue, known as tax parcel number 26-058.00-012, in the City of Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware. Center coordinates are: 39.725924°, -75.542557°. Ivy Castle, LLC, and Mr. Anthony DiTommaso, Ivy Castle LLC with HQ at 102 Chestnut Ridge Road, Suite 204 Montvale, New Jersey 07645 proposes to fill wetlands for a new warehouse project.  The project is located adjacent to the Christina River, located at 800 New Castle Avenue, known as tax parcel number 26-058.00-012, in the City of Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware. Center coordinates are: 39.725924°, -75.542557°.

If permitted, according to the applicant, Mr. DiTommaso’s development project would replace the existing warehouse and other storage facilities with two (2) new warehouses totaling 477,000 square feet, associated with the redevelopment of the property to provide modern infrastructure to meet current market demands/conditions for storage and transportation.  Historically, the main existing warehouse facility and overall development of property occurred prior to 1926. Currently, the existing 239,000 square foot warehouse and the other storage facilities on the property are dilapidated and do not present the opportunity for their continued use or renovation. The applicant proposes to redevelop the property in two phases. The first phase (1) would involve the construction of a 97,000± square foot warehouse building, new accessways, pedestrian parking, and appropriate loading space to allow the existing tenant to maintain and/or conduct operations on the site while the main warehouse and other secondary facilities are demolished. Upon completion of the phase 1 building and appurtenances, the owner will construct phase 2 improvements to include demolition and redevelopment of the existing warehouse with a new 350,000-375,000 square foot warehouse. The new building would remove all secondary warehouse buildings while potentially maintaining an existing 25,000± square foot storage building constructed in 2018. The massive warehouse project proposes to impact and/fill approximately 50,000 square feet (1.15 acres) of existing palustrine emergent wetlands during phase 1.

View DRN’s comments to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Graphic of a Mapping

CRG Warehouse – Betz Court (Lowhill Township, Lehigh County PA – UNT to Jordan Creek (HQ-CWF and EV Wetlands)

Fred Ferraro of CRG Services Management, LLC (“CRG”) HQ located at 300 Barr Harbor Dr. Suite 720, Conshohocken, PA 19428  has applied to PA DEP for an NPDES Individual Permit for Discharge of Stormwater Associated with Construction Activities (PAD390265) (“Application”) for the construction of a 56.73 acre land development consisting of a 299,880-square foot warehouse/distribution uses and a variety of commercial uses along Betz Court in Lowhill Township. Lehigh County, PA (the “Project”). The application states the site is located at: 40° 37′ 07.88″ N Latitude and 75° 38′ 43.04″ W Longitude. 

The USGS quadrangle for the property illustrates Kernsville Road as part of the eastern Site boundary and Betz Court as part of the southern Site boundary. The USGS quadrangle also illustrates an unnamed tributary (UNT) in the central region of the site, extending beyond the western boundary. On October 19, 2022, the Department of Environmental Protection (the “Department”) received an NPDES Permit application for the 2951 Betz Court Site, Orefield, PA in Lowhill Township, Lehigh County. The application was deemed administratively complete on January 6, 2023. Written public comments were received during the public comment period. The Department held a second virtual public hearing on Monday, December 11, 2023 from 7:45 p.m.—9:15 p.m. to accept additional comments on the documentation and plans associated with the Individual NPDES Permit Application No. PAD390265 for the discharge of stormwater from construction activities to the following receiving watercourses: UNT to Jordan Creek (HQ—CWF, MF) and EV Wetlands. Commenters are concerned about material inadequacies and omissions in the Application and urge the Department to take these comments into consideration and deny the requested Individual NPDES permit.

View DRN’s comment to PADEP regarding their NPDES permit.

Graphic shows areal view of the site

River Pointe Logistics Center
Upper Mount Bethel Township, Northampton County, PA

Lou Pektor’s River Pointe Logistics Center, LLC proposes to construct Phase I of the River Pointe Logistics Center project in Upper Mount Bethel Township, which includes the construction of roadway infrastructure, stormwater facilities, and three (3) industrial buildings totaling approximately 1.9 million square feet, with projected future buildings to be designed and permitted in subsequent phases (approx. 6 million SF total). The NPDES permit application would allow discharge of stormwater from construction activities at the site to: an unknown tributary to Delaware River (cold water fishery, migratory fish); an unknown tributary to Allegheny Creek (cold water fishery, migratory fish); other wetlands & Exceptional Value wetlands, and is subject to special protections under the Clean Water Act.  The development, known as River Pointe Commerce Park, is actually three distinct projects comprising 13 warehouse-sized buildings taking up more than 6 million square feet — roughly the equivalent of 43 Costco stores. The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, in a July 2022 letter to township planners, cast the project in sweeping terms, describing it as “the largest in the Lehigh Valley in decades and possibly ever” (Delaware Currents, Chris Mele, May 2023) and outlined major concerns about the project and the National Park Service (NPS) has also weighed in with major concerns to views and watershed threats to the Wild & Scenic corridor and nearby Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Today’s hearing focuses on the water permits before PADEP and sister agencies. For talking points and more information, please click here.

To view River Pointe’s water applications on file at PADEP visit: https://bit.ly/RiverPointeWaterApp

BP Point Breeze Warehouse Proposal,
West Passyunk Philadelkphia, PA
Schuylkill River

The applicant, Jim Marshall (jmarshall@bridgeindustrial.com; 267-346-0556) – BP Point Breeze, LLC, has requested a Department of the Army permit, pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344) for a proposed warehouse project located along the Schuylkill River at 6310 West Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The proposed project if approved, would include constructing a 487,590 square foot modern cross-dock warehouse with 95 trailer parking positions, 244 auto parking spaces, surface and underground stormwater control measures, and permittee responsible wetland mitigation.

Maxatawny Warehouse Project – Duke Reality/Prologis
Berks County, PA
Maxatawny Township
Saucony Creek Watershed
3 million sq. ft. warehouse/5 buildings
Mostly Ag land – warehouse complex would encroach along Saucony Creek and Wetlands
Local Contact: Maxatawny Community Coalition organizing locally to oppose the warehouse

Graphic of the site

The proposed Maxatawny logistics park would consist of 3 million square feet of institutional quality logistics real estate designed to accommodate local, regional and national warehouse, distribution, ecommerce and light manufacturing users. The project would create a 5 building logistics park to include a new road network, auto and tractor trailer parking spaces, tractor trailer loading and unloading yards and associated stormwater management, landscaping, and lighting. New infrastructure for public water, public sewer, electric and gas would be developed to provide the project site and surrounding area with service connections.

Update:  As of December, 2022 there are five warehouse plans before Maxatawny township.  Maxatawny Community Coalition has engaged in a court battle with Maxatawny township and Duke Relty/Prologis preparing for arguments in the Commonwealth Court in mid- December.  The Township is also being sued by one of the warehouse developers.

National Land Developers, LLC Warehouse
Pike County, PA
Milford Township, PA
Sawkill Creek Watershed – EV
Mostly forested land – warehouse complex would impact Exceptional Value watershed
Local Contact: Friends of the Milford Aquifer organizing locally to oppose warehouse

National Land Developers, LLC and LVL Engineers have proposed to build a 450,000 square foot warehouse facility in Milford Township, Pike County, PA at the intersection of I-84 and Route 6.

What are the concerns?

Areal View of the site graphic
  • The warehouse is 2,800 feet from the Milford Springs Aquifer, which is the sole drinking water source for much of the local region. The site is largely mature forest with some gravel area on site.
  • The warehouse would bring in 250 to 375 truck trips daily.
  • 450,000 square feet equals 10.33 acres or roughly 279,000 gallons of rain per inch that will go directly into the groundwater.
  • The stormwater plans are based on 450,000 square feet, which is the total of the warehouse distribution center (400,000 square feet) and an office and employee area (50,000 square feet) combined. However, the proposal requests 50% impervious surface coverage on 22 acres which equals 958,320 square feet or
  • This also does not account for driveways, employee parking, or proposed truck loading docks (58 15’x75’ spaces) additional truck parking (33 trailer or 66 reserved parking spaces) or highway expansions and high-volume entrance including Steele Lane for total impervious surfaces.
  • The proposal involves capping an isolated pond on the property, however this pond is identified as a waterbody in the National
  • East of the construction area is the Exceptional Value (EV) Sawkill Creek. This portion of the creek is also part of a 27.97-acre Delaware Highlands Conservancy conservation easement.
  • There are wetlands on the site that are in the floodplain of the Sawkill Creek and therefore should be considered EV wetlands.
  • Stormwater discharge would flow through EV wetlands and the EV Sawkill Creek from natural land contours.
  • Any stormwater reaching the Sawkill would flow downstream through 95 acres of federal land owned by the US Forest Service.

Update: The Milford Township Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission have voted to unanimously deny the applicant’s request for a variance on parking configuration in late 2022.  The first conditional use hearing was held as a hybrid meeting in late 2022.  Milford Water Authority, Friends of Milford Aquifer, and nearby landowners requested and have gained party status for the hearing.   Continuance of the Conditional use hearing has been postponed by the applicant multiple times with a rescheduled hearing set for the evening of Feb 28, 2023.

Rte 115 Associates/Ashwal Properties LLC Warehouse
Monroe County, PA
Tunkhannock Township, PA
Keiper Run Watershed – EV
Mostly forested land – warehouse complex would impact Exceptional Value watershed
Local Contact: Tobyhanna Creek/Tunkhannock Creek Watershed Association, local Fishing Club

Ashwal Properties is proposing to construct a new warehouse on property located off of SR115, Long Pond.  The Property also contains Tax Parcel Identification No. : 20630300718353 and Tax Code No.: 2011 1/1/36. The Property is currently owned by Ashwal Properties, LLC. The plans depict a 237 acre parcel. Included within the parcel, Associates proposes the construction of a 949,453 sq. ft. warehousing facility. The proposed height of the building is 58’±. In connection with operations on the Property, 487 constructed and 286 reserve off-street parking stalls are proposed. Access to and from the proposed building will be off of SR 115.

Update:The local nearby fishing club obtained legal representation by Pennfuture attorneys to proceed in the local landuse conditional use hearings and questioning.  Settlement negotiations are underway as of February 2023 to reduce impacts of the planned warehouse. DRN and local watershed group has installed DIY Mayfly sensors to monitor water quality conditions. 

In a Tunkhannock Board of Supervisors Meeting, there was no discussion about the sewage module or warehouse. Possible future discussion may happen next meeting, June 14th, 2023, 7pm. 

Delaware Riverkeeper Network submitted a letter regarding this warehouse on May 9th.

Rte. 115 Moyer/Pippiani Warehouse
Monroe County, PA
Tunkhannock Township, PA
Mud Run Watershed – EV
Mostly forested land – warehouse complex would impact Exceptional Value watershed
Local Contact: Tobyhanna Creek/Tunkhannock Creek Watershed Association

The warehouse complex would consist of a 600,000 sq. ft. warehouse with 587 parking spaces, a 150,000 sq. ft. warehouse with 148 parking spaces, a donut shop, a pharmacy, two fast food restaurants, a gas station, and a truck stop with hundreds of additional parking spaces on a 100 acre site that is mostly forested.

The site is forested (scrub shrub) with unique acidic bogs and would impact an EV watershed – Mud Run.  This is a highly inappropriate land use for this environmentally sensitive site. The property is just upstream of one of the few glacial lakes in Monroe County (accessible public lands owned by Bethlehem Water Authority) and the surrounding ecosystem of bogs is known as glacial till barrens habitat.

An extension and public hearing was requested by DRN and allies regarding the PADEP NPDES Construction Stormwater Discharge Permit for this project before PADEP (Application No. PAD450168).  DEP granted the request and will be announcing a hearing date and the record will be open 15 additional days after the hearing. 

Update 3/29/24: Despite public outcry, packed public hearings in April 2023 and overwhelming response from over 600 concerned residents and members, DEP has issued a draft permit (noticed in the 3/30/24 PA Bulletin) for the warehouse complex development complex (see below).  DRN has requested  the draft permit as well as the comment and response document and has requested DEP post updated materials and the permit on the portal page for the project so the community has a way to adequately review.  Below the link to the DEP page for this project in the meantime: https://www.dep.pa.gov/About/Regional/Northeast-Regional-Office/Community%20Information/Pages/I-80-115-C1-Site-Warehouse.aspx

Pocono Mountains Corporate Center North Warehouse
Monroe County, PA
Coolbaugh Township, PA
Duckpuddle Run- EV
Mostly forested land – warehouse complex would impact Exceptional Value watershed
Local Contact: checking if this is on opw radar as of 2/7?

Project Site Address: South Side of the Intersection of Route 611 and Laurel Drive, bounded on the west by an existing railroad bed and along the east by Duckpuddle Run.

Construction of 333,000 Square Foot warehouse building with parking facilities, utility connections, sanitary force main, and stormwater management facilities. The site is currently undeveloped with predominant forest cover and listed as 24.3 acres of earth disturbance in the PADEP NPDES public notice dated Feb 3, 2023.

Orchard BJK Company, LLC 925 Berkshire Blvd, Wyomissing PA 19610

Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Penn Future submitted comments regarding NPDES permit (PAD450158)

WATER PROGRAMS

NPDES PUBLIC NOTICE

Application for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit for Discharges of Stormwater Associated with Construction Activities

Northeast Region: Waterways & Wetlands Program, 2 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701-1915, 570-826-2511.

Contact: Pamela R. Kania, P.E., Waterways and Wetlands Program Manager.

 This notice is provided in accordance with 25 Pa. Code Chapter 92a and 40 CFR Part 122, implementing The Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. §§ 691.1—691.1001) and the Federal Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C.A. §§ 1251—1376).

 The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has received an application for an Individual NPDES Permit from the applicant named as follows to authorize discharges of stormwater associated with construction activities from the project site named as follows to surface waters of the Commonwealth. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has made a tentative decision to issue an Individual NPDES Permit to the applicant previously named. Interested persons may submit written comments to DEP at the previously listed address for DEP’s consideration in taking a final action on the permit application. You may also review the permit application file by contacting DEP’s File Review Coordinator at 570.826.2511.

Applicant: Orchard BJK Company, LLC

Applicant Address: 925 Berkshire Boulevard, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Application Number: PAD450158

Project Site Name: Pocono Mountains Corporate Center North Warehouse

Project Site Address: South Side of the Intersection of Route 611 and Laurel Drive, bounded on the west by an existing railroad bed and along the east by Duckpuddle Run.

Municipality/County: Coolbaugh Township, Monroe County

Total Earth Disturbance Area: 24.3 acres

Surface Waters Receiving Stormwater Discharges: EV Wetlands to Duckpuddle Run (EV/HQ-CWF, MF). The discharges will be conveyed from the site’s stormwater best management practices by proposed rock lined swales or overland flow to the surface water.

Proposed Effluent Limitations: The draft permit requires implementation of an Erosion and Sediment Control (E&S) Plan and a Post-Construction Stormwater Management (PCSM) Plan and compliance with Federal technology-based effluent standards at 40 CFR Part 450.

Rate or Frequency of Discharge: Stormwater discharges during and following earth disturbance activities are precipitation-induced and will vary depending on factors such as the area of impervious surfaces, the size and placement of best management practices (BMPs) and the intensity of precipitation.

  Special Conditions: N/A (no project-specific special conditions are proposed).

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 23-153. Filed for public inspection February 3, 2023, 9:00 a.m.]

Synnergy Solar, LLC

Overview

Hamilton Township (Mercer County), New Jersey – Synnergy Solar, LLC is proposing to construct a 4.1 MW solar array field on a 38.2 acs site located at the confluence of the Assunpink Creek and its tributary, the Miry Run.

While the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) is a strong and out-spoken advocate for solar energy, the selected location of this streamside project has raised concerns. Prior land uses at this site were industrial and farming.   Today, however, the site is covered with a successional forest, wetlands and some potential vernal pools.  If constructed, nearly 60% of the solar panels would be located in the protected, forested riparian buffer area and would require the cutting of 820 large trees ((10” diameter breast height (DBH).)) Those large trees will be mitigated for, but all the other critically important plants (i.e smaller trees, shrubs and ground cover) that make-up a riparian buffer and provide the water quality, flood protection and wildlife habitat benefits will be lost and not accounted for after construction.

The applicant has made some accommodations reducing the riparian buffer impact from 12.5 acs. to approximately 11.5 acres. That is still a lot and still well into the regulatory protected zone.  As a result, the applicant is still seeking waivers for Hamilton Townships Stream Buffer Conservation Zone and the Forest Preservation Ordinance. DRN has retained the stormwater engineering expertise of Princeton Hydro to more fully assess the total and cumulative impact this project, if allowed to proceed as proposed, would have on impacted streams and downstream flooding.

GET INFORMED

The proposed development application, waiver request, Environmental Impact Statement and other relevant documents are available for public viewing in the links below. Please review and bring your questions and concerns.

The Synnergy Solar project will next be heard by the Planning Board at 7:00PM on January 24, 2019.

Hamilton Township will experience the environmental impacts of this project, but the economic benefit will go elsewhere – the electrical power generated by Synnergy is contracted to the Ewing Lawrence Sewer Authority’s treatment plant.  While the Delaware Riverkeeper Network is a strong advocate of clean energy, including solar, it cannot come at the expense of the natural streams that sustain us and our environment.  There are many good locations where solar can be placed, in a place that requires extensive cutting of a riparian forest cannot be one of them.

Whetstone Run

Overview

Photo of the Whetstone Creek stream

Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s local allies, the Darby Creek Valley Association submitted a stream upgrade petition to the PADEP for sections of the Whetstone Creek, a tributary to the Darby Creek located in Marple Township, PA. This tributary is one of the last remaining forested streams of the highly urbanized Darby Creek Watershed. DRN has been helping the community to push and support this stream upgrade petition to ensure this diverse tributary is protected as it deserves. Whetstone flows through beautiful Marple Woods where the community has enjoyed recreating for decades. The large majestic beech trees and forest that remains is rare for Delaware County and efforts are underway to work to protect this habitat for permanent open space. 

Related

Beaver Creek, Delaware County, PA

Geryville Quarry (Dormant)

Tohickon Creek

Upper Delaware Regional Upgrade Petition to PA DEP

Upper Perkiomen Regional Stream Upgrade Petition

Upgrade Petition for the Hosensack Creek

Upper Perkiomen Regional Stream Upgrade Petition

3/19/14 UPDATE

DEP presented their final report and recommendation (no change) to the EQB on March 18th.  Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Perkiomen Trout Unlimited and Lower Milford presented testimony and photos of the Upper Perkiomen region in support of the petition.  The DEP’s recommendation of no change in the designation of the Upper Perkiomen was approved by the EQB after a long discussion with much questions and answers from the petitioners, the DEP, and the Board. The petition is now closed. However, the extensive advocacy (by co-petitioners, local municipalities, member organizations of the Campaign for Clean Water, and other allies) at the EQB level met with some success and was evidenced in the close questioning of DEP during the meeting.  The petitioners also garnered strong support and letters from legislators including Sen Bob Mensch, Rep Greg Vitali (who sits on the EQB), Senator Pat Brown, Rep Kessler, Rep Simmons, and Rep Toepel.  (Senator Wonderling – no longer in office also supported the petition).   Importantly, an unprecedented waiver of  the two year wait time to submit new data and or a revised new petition was granted.  In addition the petitioners were successful in urging the Fish and Boat Commission to perform trout surveys in the coming months to determine if sections of the upgrade area are deserving of Class A designation. 

On March 18, 2014, co-petitioners including Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Perkiomen Trout Unlimited, and Lower Milford Township presented to the PA Environmental Quality Board in support of the Upper Perkiomen stream upgrade redesignation petition that was submitted in 2008. They highlighted community support for the petition and qualifiers they believe make the Upper Perkiomen deserving of Exceptional Value designation. They also included photos of the region as they presented before the EQB which are part of this presentation.

Upper Perkiomen Petitoner Presentation and Photos at EQB Mtg from Delaware Riverkeeper Network

**2/17/14 UPDATE

Delay helps keep the Upper Perkiomen Petition in Play for Now But Action Could Be Taken to Deny The Perkiomen Exceptional Value Designation as Soon as March 18th if EQB takes it up at Their Next Meeting

On February 11, 2013, DRN received notice from DEP that the Department finalized their draft report on the Upper Perkiomen redesignation petition and was denying all upgrades to all segments of the Upper Perkiomen.  DEP planned to present their final report to the EQB for the Upper Perkiomen petition at the Feb 18th EQB meeting.   DRN and co-petitioners submitted extensive comments  in November last year urging DEP to consider more data and information submitted before killing the Upper Perkiomen upgrade petition.   Despite comments from DRN and co-petitioners, Lower Milford Township, letters from Rep Simmons and Senator Mensch and over 80 letters in support of the petition submitted, DEP finalized their draft report (below) which denied any upgrades to the Upper Perkiomen – leaving all designations as status quo.  And DEP gave DRN only seven days notice that they were presenting their report to the Environmental Quality Board at the Feb 18th, 2013 meeting in Harrisburg to move the petition one step closer to failure.

But the Upper Perkiomen got a last minute reprieve on Feb 17th after requests from Rep. Greg Vitali (who sits on the EQB) DRN, Trout Unlimited, and other co-petitioners requested DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo and Chair to the EQB remove the Upper Perkiomen from the EQB agenda on Feb 18th.  Hearing us, Secretary Abbruzzo contacted DRN on the Presidents Day Holiday and tabled the Upper Perkiomen agenda item for the time being.  But the next time the EQB could take the petition up could be as soon as March 18th at the next regularly scheduled EQB Meeting so continued pressure to reverse this decision is needed and continuing by DRN and others who want to see the Upper Perkiomen upgraded to Exceptional Value. We are urging the EQB to give us more time to collect additional data and information and to urge the EQB that if DEP brings the petition to the Board, EQB members request DEP hold off on finalizing the petition and encourage more data collection and review and consideration of co-petitioner information that was submitted.  


Perkiomen Creek Current.jpgDiagram shows the current segmented designated uses for the Upper Perkiomen Basin.  Green Lane Reservoir is a major drinking water source for the surrounding region. 

History:

Stream data collected by Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Stroud Water Research Center indicate that the Upper Perkiomen Watershed located in parts of Montgomery, Lehigh, Berks and Bucks Counties is deserving of higher protections.   In light of the exceptional quality of the Upper Perkiomen Watershed and the national and regional significance of this watershed, in December 2007, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and its partners submitted a 43-page petition along with stream data and Appendices to the PA DEP to request an upgrade of the Upper Perkiomen Watershed to Exceptional Value and the Macoby Creek to High Quality.  This regional upgrade, if granted by PA DEP, would better protect the quality of these streams which flow into Green Lane Reservoir and provide drinking water to many Montgomery County residents.  The Exceptional Value designation would more accurately reflect the current importance and quality of the Upper Perkiomen Basin.  

In February, 2008, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy, and Perkiomen Valley Trout Unlimited presented new findings in support of the Upper Perkiomen Creek before the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) in Harrisburg and provided additional co-petitioners and supporters of the upgrade petition.  At this meeting, PA DEP recommended the petition be considered and the EQB voted unanimously to accept the petition for consideration.  Stream surveys by PA DEP will be the next phase of this upgrade process.  
 
Since that time, several supplemental packages have been provided to PA DEP to support the petition.  On Sept 18, 2013, PA DEP provided public notice that the PA DEP draft report for the petition was out for a 30-day public comment.  Unfortunately , PA DEP is recommending that the Upper Perkiomen NOT receive EV designation and instead remain at its current designated uses for all reaches of the Upper Perkiomen (see maps below for proposed upgrade and current designations).  Delaware Riverkeeper Network and its co-petitioners are urging DEP to reconsider their decision and provide a longer comment period for the petitioners to reply and respond. 

With public input for a longer extension, PA DEP extended the public comment period to November 18, 2013 – giving 60 days notice. DRN and our co-petitioners are still urging PA DEP to give us more time and extend the comment so more data gathering can occur. 

Diagram shows the exceptional value designation that DRN and co-petitioners requested for the Upper Perkiomen (in green)  (and High Quality designation for Macoby Creek – in dark blue).

Related

Beaver Creek, Delaware County, PA

Geryville Quarry (Dormant)

Tohickon Creek

Whetstone Run

Upper Delaware Regional Upgrade Petition to PA DEP

Upgrade Petition for the Hosensack Creek

Upper Delaware Regional Upgrade Petition to PA DEP

Overview

The Upper and Middle Delaware River is a jewel for our nation.  It inspires and provides for millions of Americans.  In December 2011, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and our local, regional and national allies submitted a petition to the Pennsylvania Dept of Environmental Protection (PADEP) to upgrade the Upper and Middle Delaware region to Exceptional Value (EV) status.  Based on diverse and healthy water quality, the vast public lands in the region, the importance of the Delaware River as provider of clean water to 15 million Americans, and the incredible ecotourism that this region brings to millions of citizens, this action is needed to give this region the designation it deserves.  

This EV designation is reserved for the state’s cleanest and healthiest streams.  There are only 3,300 miles of streams in Pennsylvania that have EV status and about 23,000 miles that have High Quality (HQ) status.  See an overall map of the proposed upgrade area here

Delaware Riverkeeper Network is seeking input from the community to supplement the data package that we originally submitted in 2011. Do you know of community projects, water protection initiatives restoration projects, protective municipal ordinances or local government actions that have occurred in the Upper Delaware region since 2011?  Please help us gather this information to supplement the petition.  Fill out this quick survey located here to have a community project or initiative included in the petition supplement:  

Related

Beaver Creek, Delaware County, PA

Geryville Quarry (Dormant)

Tohickon Creek

Whetstone Run

Upper Perkiomen Regional Stream Upgrade Petition

Upgrade Petition for the Hosensack Creek

Tohickon Creek

Overview

Update on Tohickon proposed downgrade: August 29, 2019 – After overwhelming concerns from the community about the downgrade of Tohickon Creek, in a letter dated August 13, 2019 to local legislators, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) indicated a change of course regarding its proposal to downgrade legal protections for Tohickon Creek. In a clear response to a wealth of public comments outraged by the proposed downgrade, DEP said that it would agree to additional evaluations before any action is taken.  See the press release from Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Tinicum Conservancy here.

Delaware Riverkeeper Network is meeting with DCNR to discuss needed improvements to the Lake Nockamixon dam discharge which is upstream of the proposed upgrade area.  DRN is assisting with review of draft modeling reports with a goal of securing colder water discharges to the Tohickon and better consideration of meeting downstream uses of the Tohickon Creek that will improve benthic diversity and recreation for a loved stretch of the Tohickon that deserves EV protection. 

Over Two Decades

For over two decades, the Delaware River community has been working and waiting to see the realization of Tinicum Conservancy’s stream upgrade petition, which was submitted to PA DEP in 1995. The Conservancy, the community, and allies including Delaware Riverkeeper Network, have been seeking Exceptional Value (EV) designation for the Tohickon Creek, a tributary flowing into the Lower Wild & Scenic Delaware River near Point Pleasant, PA in Bucks County. “EV” is the highest designation possible for streams in the Commonwealth. This designation does not prohibit development. The designation does trigger thresholds so that any private developer, any dischargers, including sewage treatment plants or commercial and industrial industries seeking to locate in the region, must meet standards and use practices that prevent degradation of the healthy waters and wetlands that belong to all Pennsylvanians. You can learn more about what special protection does and does not do here.

Since the original petition was submitted almost 25 years ago, many national, regional, and local conservation measures and plans have been written and adopted for this beautiful historic watershed.  The Tohickon flows through iconic places like Ralph Stover State Park and the Appalachian Highlands. Over 3,000 acres of lands have been protected, through both public and private investment, by communities that take pride in preserving this well-loved and significant Bucks County stream and watershed. EV designation protection by PADEP is long overdue and would strengthen the spirit and goals behind the local protection plans of the community in place now and garner additional important Clean Water Act pollution controls at the state level to better protect the Tohickon Creek community’s water from harm.  This state protection is especially essential in light of the threats we face with climate change leading to warming stream temperatures, increased flooding and drought extremes.

Related

Beaver Creek, Delaware County, PA

Geryville Quarry (Dormant)

Whetstone Run

Upper Delaware Regional Upgrade Petition to PA DEP

Upper Perkiomen Regional Stream Upgrade Petition

Upgrade Petition for the Hosensack Creek

Beaver Creek, Delaware County, PA

Overview

Beaver Creek – Following up on work begun in 2015, DRN continued its advocacy supporting stronger protections for Beaver Creek in Delaware County. This stream flows from Pennsylvania into the Delaware and portions of its landscape are included in the First State National Historical Park. DRN supported the Beaver Creek Conservancy’s 2015 effort to petition for an upgraded designation of Beaver Creek. 

In 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) released its antidegradation investigation, proposing only a short segment of the stream receive stronger protections (High Quality or “HQ” designation). When the PADEP called for comments on its draft report, DRN secured an extension to the December comment deadline. We are now engaged in mobilizing public comment and we are also advocating for stronger protections (Exceptional Value or “EV” designation) than PADEP is proposing based on the national historical park designation. The comment deadline is February 12, 2021. 

Related

Tohickon Creek

Whetstone Run

Upper Delaware Regional Upgrade Petition to PA DEP

Upper Perkiomen Regional Stream Upgrade Petition

Upgrade Petition for the Hosensack Creek

PJM Transmission Line

Overview

PJM Interconnect, a regional transmission organization (RTO) with representation from the power industry, is poised to recommend advancement of a new 500kV Transmission Line to address electrical stability issues at the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear plants located on Artificial Island, Salem County, NJ.  

Impact

The project being recommended by PJM would adversely impact an astoundingly high number of important ecological resources including: 

    the Delaware River 
    Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge 
    Alloway Creek Restoration Site 
    Abbotts Meadow Wildlife Management Area 
    Mad Horse Creek Wildlife Management Area 
    emergent wetlands (35 crossings with a likely 200 foot right of way cleared) 
    freshwater-forested wetlands (27 crossings with a likely 200 foot right of way cleared) 
    freshwater scrub-shrub wetlands (11 crossings with a likely 200 foot right of way cleared) 
    freshwater ponds (11 crossings) 
    estuarine and marine deepwater/wetlands (35 crossings) 
    59 waterbodies including Alloway Creek, Mill Creek and tributaries 
    4 federally-listed endangered or threatened species 
    30 state-listed endangered or threatened species 

Challenging Advancement of the Proposal

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network was among the first to go on record challenging advancement of the proposal.

On July 23, 2014, just after the proposed meeting where this proposal was to be voted on by the PJM board, a letter was released by the Board which included the following:

“The Board appreciates the analyses and comments submitted by various stakeholders through an entirely new competitive process guided by FERC Order 1000.  To ensure a thorough and fair review, given the complexities of the issues, the Board has determined that it will take the matter under advisement and defer selection at this time.”

But now a new proposal has been submitted — with modifications but alot of similarities so we have submitted updated comment.  See below for the latest.