By John Bartlett
Article courtesy of Erie Times
November 7, 2001
The state Department of Environmental Protection wants the
public's help in establishing environmental priorities within
Pennsylvania's Lake Erie watershed, an area that covers
the northern and western portions of Erie County and an
area of northwestern Crawford County.
"We've spent the last several months establishing baseline
environmental conditions for the Lake Erie watershed, determining
the causes of environmental problems and how they should
be addressed," said James Rozakis, the DEP's acting regional
director. "Now we need help from citizens and organizations."
The public will have the opportunity to provide the help
Nov. 14 at Penn State Behrend when the DEP holds a public
meeting in the Reed Student Union Building beginning at
"I think this meeting is very important," said Kevin Cooper,
chairman of the Pennsylvania Lake Erie Watershed Association.
"People need to realize they are stakeholders and this is
one way for them to ... express their opinions."
The watershed approach to managing environmental issues
grew out of the DEP's environmental futures planning process.
It looked at how decisions are made and dollars spent in
an attempt to connect management of the department directly
to improving environmental conditions.
"Our resources will be assigned to address top priorities,
and we'll also look to the community to work as our partner
in protecting and restoring our environment," Rozakis said.
"Measured improvements in environmental conditions will
indicate our process."
Cooper is an enthusiastic supporter of the watershed approach.
"The great idea about a watershed approach is it is very
natural. Water is the central issue. It is much better than
political boundaries. Using a watershed you encompass all
the issues that cross political boundaries," Cooper said.
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