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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 27, 2019 10:49 PM
From: Senator Gene Yaw
To: All Senate members
Subject: “Stream Cleaning” and Maintenance Program
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation adding a new section to Act 325 of 1978, the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act.

This legislation will direct the Environmental Quality Board to develop regulations that authorize counties to adopt a program for “stream cleaning” and maintenance and the removal of obstructions and flood-related hazards from our local waterways.

Under this program, a county would submit an application to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that covers the entire county, in order to expedite the process. This program will include the creation of working “regional curves” that can be utilized to identify stream channel elements of width, depth, cross-sectional area and flood plain dimensions at a given stream reach location in the watershed. This tool, coupled with an extensive training component for municipal officials and contractors, an expedited permit process, and being overseen locally can achieve the following goals:
  • Provide a tool and mechanism that will enable those conducting stream maintenance activities to do so in a timely and environmentally sensitive manner;
  • Provide a tool that will aid landowners and regulatory authorities in identifying the scope maintenance needs and remedial actions;
  • Provide watershed specific criteria for regulators and emergency response agencies to identify the scope of work needed to restore channel dimensions in emergency and post flood conditions;
  • Begin restoration of channel stability through reconnection of channels to a stable form and to their floodplains as part of any channel maintenance activities.

    The lack of sufficient funding at the federal, state and county levels to address watershed and stream channel issues, both in the near and long range future, necessitate the consideration of a maintenance program that would both meet the needs of the communities bordering streams, as well as working within environmental sensitivities, and aid in returning streams to a more stable form.

    I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB679