Outdoors notebook: Nonprofit anti-pollution group flourishes
Paddle Without Pollution, the nonprofit group designed to remove trash from Western Pennsylvania's waterways, had a big year in 2012.
The organization founded by David and Melissa Rohm of the South Hills conducted 13 watershed cleanups last year in which 349 volunteers between ages of 8 and 84 removed 15.3 tons of litter from local rivers, streams and lakes.
The group is unique in that its volunteers work primarily from canoes and kayaks, cleaning up trash that is often out of reach for land-based efforts.
The group got a boost when River's Edge Canoe and Kayak in Leechburg donated five kayaks and two canoes. The boats will be lent to volunteers. Wiegel On the Water in Franklin also donated half the cost of a canoe and kayak trailer.
The group is seeking additional tax-deductible donations. They can be sent to P.O. Box 13251, Pittsburgh, PA 15243, or made at paddlewithoutpollution.com.
The group plans to work on Slippery Rock, French and Chartiers creeks, the Allegheny, Ohio, Monongahela, Kiski and Susquehanna rivers, and Lake Erie this year.
A Democratic lawmaker from Lackawanna County is behind a bill that would shorten the term of Pennsylvania Game Commission board members from eight to four years.
Rep. Kevin Haggerty is prime sponsor of House Bill 155. He said shorter terms would make commissioners “more responsive to and representative of” the outdoor community while aligning the point of view of commissioners more closely with those of the governor who nominated them and the Senate members who confirmed them.
Turkeys and songbirds
National Wild Turkey Federation is working to improve habitat for songbirds in Pennsylvania and 15 other states. It's partnering with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to create habitat for golden winged warblers, a federally listed species of special concern, on private land. The birds require shrubland and forest edges.