HONESDALE – The Wayne Conservation District welcomes two new employees during 2018 and the ramping up of the Dirt, Gravel & Low Volume Roads Program, Wayne Conservation District Director Jamie Knecht states in the 2018 Annual Report.
With the adoption of the Transportation Bill, Knecht says the DVLVR Program has taken on a new live with the funding allocation increasing six fold from $100,000 a year to nearly $600,000. In order to properly administer the program and give the time and energy it deserves, Kris Krager was hired on full-time as coordinator.
Even with the rainy construction season, Knecht said the District completed five Dirt & Gravel road projects on Navajo Road and Adams Pond Road in Berlin Township, Rutledgedale Road in Preston Township, Penn Hill Road in Starrucca Borough and Old Route 6 in Canaan Township. Gallik Road in Canaan Township was addressed under the Low Volume Road program, and second project sustained heavy storm damage and will be completed this spring.
Keith Pierson also joined the Wayne Conservation District Staff as Resource Conservationist.
The staff at the Wayne Conservation District had two invasive species in their sights in 2018: the Emerald Ash Borer and the Spotted Lanternfly. The Emerald Ash Borer, which attacks ash trees of any diameter and age, was first detected on the western edge of the county in 2017 and continues to march across the area.
Knecht notes that as the emerald ash borer’s range expands, landowners have been active removing American Ash trees from their forest stands. The females lay their eggs in crevices in the bark, and once they hatch they borrow under the bark forming “S-shaped” galleries that impact the flow of nutrients from the roots systems.
The Spotted Lanternfly appeared on the scene more recently and is has, thus far, been contained to a 14-county region in the southeast of the state, but the potential threat to agriculture is enormous so the PA Department of Agriculture has stabled a protocol for limiting their spread. The staff educated the public about the past and it potential impact.
Knecht said the spotted lanternfly’s favored host, the tree-of-heaven or lycorma delicatula, is also an invasive species, which was identified in Honesdale last fall. With the low number of these trees in the county, Knecht said the strategy is to identify other areas containing the tree-of-heaven, actively educate landowners about the invasive species, the risks and the importance of removal.
“It is our hope to eradicate tree-of-heaven from our county and lessen the future impacts from (the spotted lanternfly)” she explains in the report.
e-PERMITTING & BARLEY
In 2018, the Conservation District decided to try a value added small grain demonstration at the Wayne County Farm property near Beach Lake. The crop was intended to be a two-row malting barley that would give producers an extra income if they chose to diversify. The spring season, however, was too we to get the ploy sprayed and planted, so the District plans to try again this year.
Finally, the PA Department of Environmental Protection began accepting digital applications forms for the Chapter 105 permitting system in October. The department is currently working out the problems with the system, and they continue to accept paper applications for those experiencing difficulties. Knecht says eventually DEP will be moving the Chapter 102 program to paperless applications as well.
2018 Annual Report is available online.