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F. X. Browne, Inc.'s

Sustainable Environments

December 2011

December Leaves

The fallen leaves are cornflakes

that fill the lawn's wide dish.

The night and noon, the wind a spoon

and stirs them with a swish.


The sky's a silver sifter,

a-sifting white and slow

that gently shakes on crisp brown flakes

the sugar known as snow.


-Kaye Starbird

Photo credit:  itsjed on



Happy Holidays from F. X. Browne, Inc.!




News Clips:

GreenPlan Philadelphia Wins Award
The GreenPlan Philadelphia, an open space plan, recently received a National Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects.  More...


Lancaster City Alley Gets 'Green' Makeover

The EPA ordered Lancaster City to remove 1 billion gallons of stormwater, nutrients and sediment from the city’s sewer system.  Instead of spending $300 million for storage tanks to store stormwater, the city has started a 25-year program to develop dozens of green infrastructure projects.  More...


EPA Develops New Planning Approach to Improve Water Quality in U.S. Cities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a new integrated planning process to assist local governments with controlling and managing releases of wastewater and stormwater runoff more efficiently and cost effectively.  More...


Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Releases Report: Rooftops to Rivers II - Green Strategies for Controlling Stormwater and Combined Sewer Overflows
The NRDC has released this report to highlight case studies of 14 diverse cities employing green infrastructure solutions to address stormwater management issues.  


Herbicide May Affect Plants Thought to Be Resistant

Purdue University researchers study the movement of auxin, a plant hormone essential for plant development.   More...


“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. 
Don't clean it up too quickly.”

~Andy Rooney



Bat-Killing Culprit Identified by Scientists

White-Nose Syndrome was first identified in 2005 and has killed over a million bats in the U.S.  Researchers have confirmed that the disease is produced by the fungus Geomyces destructans.  The disease leaves a white dust on the bat’s muzzle, causing them to starve to death during hibernation.  Now that the cause has been determined, it will be easier to develop management strategies to preserve remaining bat populations.  The disease is not airborne, but is likely spread when they fly in closer formation and brush against each other. 

By Jeremy Hance,, October 31, 2011




“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”
~Norman Vincent Peale

Policy Updates:

EPA Announces Schedule to Develop Natural Gas Wastewater Standards/Announcement is part of administration’s priority to ensure natural gas development continues safely and responsibly

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will initiate a rulemaking to regulate wastewater discharges associated with natural gas extraction from underground coalbed and shale formations.  Currently, shale gas extraction wastewater is prohibited from being directly discharged into waterways.  Some of this wastewater is transported to treatment plans, many of which are not equipped to treat this kind of wastewater.  The EPA will consider standards and cost-effective steps for pretreatment of this wastewater. 

EPA News Release, October 20, 2011

US Forest Service Takes Action to Confront the Threat of Invasive Species

The U. S. Forest Service released the first ever national-level direction on the management of invasive species of aquatic and terrestrial areas of the National Forest System.  This policy adds new requirements for agency-wide integration of invasive species prevention, early detection and rapid response, control, restoration, and activities across National Forest System lands. 

U.S. Forest Service News Release 1150, December 5, 2011

DEP to Issue Technical Guidance on Wastewater Treatment Permitting

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) will soon provide new technical guidance for updated wastewater treatment regulations.  The guidance requires new or expanded sources of natural gas wastewater to treat it to the federal drinking water standards of less than 500 milligrams per liter of total dissolved solids (TDS) prior to discharge.  The technical guidance document will assist DEP staff in implementing the new TDS effluent standard for discharges of treated natural gas wastewater.  Facilities that accept shale gas extraction wastewater that has not been fully pre-treated must also implement a radiation protection plan and monitor for radium-226, radium-228, uranium and gross alpha radiation in their effluent. 

PA DEP News Release, November 3, 2011



Grants and Awards:
To view our list of available grants, click here.


New grants added this month include:


Agricultural Land Conservation Assistance Grant Program

PA PHMC – Keystone Historic Preservation Project and Construction Grants

TreeVitalize Metros Grant

Sustainable Chesapeake: A Community-Based Approach to Stormwater Management Using Green Infrastructure

Urban Waters Small Grants Program


“Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home.” 

~Carol Nelson



Marcellus Shale

For Marcellus Shale news clips, information, and resources, click here.

Link of the Month:

Federal Government Unveils New Comprehensive Geospatial Map of United States

The Federal Geographic Data Committee created a new map website that contains multiple layers including street maps, aerial photos, topo maps and terrain maps.  The user can then create an editable layer to draw features on the map.  The map can then be saved or shared.  This website provides a quick source to visualize different types of data in one place.  There are many base map choices including Bing Road Maps, Bind Aerial Maps, Streets, Topographic, Terrain, and more.  The current site is a prototype and will be expanded with the content and resources over the next few months.

To view the new federal geospatial map website, visit

Environmental News Network, November 14, 2012

“Like ornaments, thoughts of special people brighten the season and warm our hearts”



Vote Now for Pennsylvania’s 2012 River of the Year

The public is invited to vote for the 2012 Pennsylvania River of the Year.  The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR) has featured a River of the Year over the last twenty years.  The contest raises awareness of the important recreational, ecological, and historical resources of Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams.  The four choices for 2012 include the Upper Juniata River, the Middle Monongahela River, the Kiskiminetas River, and the Stonycreek River.  Visit the site below to read the nomination statements for each river and to cast your vote.  Voting will be closed on December 31, 2011.



“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”

~Roy L. Smith


Penn State Water Resources Website

The Water Resources website provides a variety of information on water-related issues including water conservation, pond management, and private water systems.  This is a go-to site for learning more about water; from how to manage algae in your pond to what to do if you identify pollutants in your drinking water.   The site provides information, videos, publications, FAQs, and more.


Practical River Restoration Appraisal Guidance for Monitoring Options (PRAGMO)

The River Restoration Centre in the UK has published this guidance document to provide monitoring protocols for river and floodplain restoration projects.  The guidance was written for a wide range of organizations and abilities.    This document will be updated as new information and methods are available.  PRAGMO provides a way to compare results and the value for money of different restoration projects.


Conservation Subdivision Handbook:  A guide for North Carolina communities in the use of conservation design for land use planning

The North Carolina Extension has released this new publication to guide communities in conservation Low Impact Development in land use planning.  Conservation subdivisions (CSDs) are deigned to reserve undivided tracts of land as communal open space.  The guide recommends 50 to 70 percent of the buildable land as open space by grouping homes together.


PA DEP – Land Application of Manure:  A supplement to Manure Management for Environmental Protection

The PA DEP has released this Manure Management Plan to guide farmers on how to utilize manure for high-yielding crops while protecting local streams and rivers from pollution.  The new guidelines require every farm that produces or uses manure to have a Manure Management Plan.  The manual recommends manure application setbacks of 100 feet from streams, maximum winter application rates, and best management practices.  The DEP has also provided a workbook to help farmers through the steps of creating a customized plan.



“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” 

 ~Burton Hillis


Task Force Established by President Obama Releases Final Strategy for Reversing Deterioration of Gulf Ecosystem

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force released its final strategy for long term ecosystem restoration of the Gulf Coast.  The strategy includes $50 million from the NRCS to help agricultural producers improve water quality, increase water conservation and enhance wildlife habitat.  The Task Force has begun reviewing existing policy and restoration issues which have been slowing down the restoration process.  Key priorities include stopping the loss of critical wetlands, sand barriers and beaches, reducing the flow of excess nutrients into the Gulf, and enhancing resiliency among coastal communities.

EPA News Release, December 5, 2011

To view the final strategy, visit





Newsletter Editor/Design and Layout: Lisen Cummings

Poem and Quotes:
Frank Browne


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F. X. Browne, Inc.  – Environmental Consulting

Engineers – Planners – Scientists
34 Years of Excellence & Innovation




Corporate Office: Lansdale, PA
Pocono Office: Marshalls Creek, PA
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