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UPDATE: Despite opposition from fishermen, birders, and conservationists, HB 1565 was signed into law by Governor Corbett during the last days of the 2014 legislative session.

A letter published in the Oct. 4, 2014 Altoona Mirror.

Juniata Valley Audubon urges our state legislators to oppose House Bill 1565 which eliminates the requirement to have forested buffers along streams designated as High Quality or Exceptional Value. HB 1565 would be a step backward and would unnecessarily jeopardize the Commonwealth’s most sensitive waters.

Riparian buffers are an essential component of watershed management, providing numerous physical, chemical, and biological benefits that include reduction of non-point source runoff, attenuation of flood flows, and maintenance of stream water temperatures and aquatic habitat.

By their very nature as being designated the “best of the best,” the High Quality and Exceptional Value streams for which buffers currently are required represent a minority of waters. Further limiting its scope, the existing requirement applies only to new development and includes a number of exceptions. Thus, the current scale of required buffers is already relatively minimal statewide.

Riparian buffers are the least expensive, most effective, and lowest maintenance approach to sustaining water quality and reducing the harmful impacts of erosion, sedimentation, and flooding.

By opposing HB 1565 our lawmakers will contribute to the long-term health and maintenance of Pennsylvania’s water resources, the recreational and ecological functions they support, and the downstream communities they serve.

Sincerely,

Laura Jackson
President
Juniata Valley Audubon

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Edward Henry Wehner engravaing of the albatross from Rime of the Ancient MarinerWhat???? It's true, we are spending thousands of dollars each year to print and mail The Gnatcatcher. It has become a significant financial burden for JVAS, just as the dead albatross became a burden to the sailor in Coleridge's poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

If you currently receive the print edition as a chapter-only or a National Audubon member, we need your help so we can keep The Gnatcatcher.

Email me, Laura Jackson, at mljackson2@embarqmail.com and just state that you will accept the digital version of The Gnatcatcher. When each issue comes out, we'll simply email you the download link.

Your email will be a wonderful conservation donation that won't cost you a dime and it will let us keep The Gnatcatcher!

There are a number of advantages with the digital version:

  • The photos will be in color.
  • You will get The Gnatcatcher sooner.
  • You will feel good that you are helping to preserve the financial stability of JVAS.

We pledge to keep your email address confidential. We will not share it with other organizations or companies.

The Juniata Valley Audubon Society 2014 Conservation Award was presented to Ron Singer, the founder of the Jacks Mountain Hawk Watch, at our Annual Banquet in April.
Laura Jackson, incoming JVAS President, presents the 2014 Conservation Award to Ron Singer, founder of the Jacks Mountain Hawk Watch
Laura Jackson, incoming JVAS President, presents the 2014 Conservation Award to Ron Singer, founder of the Jacks Mountain Hawk Watch

The Juniata Valley Audubon Society 2014 Conservation Award was presented to Ron Singer, the founder of the Jacks Mountain Hawk Watch, at our Annual Banquet in April. Ron started watching migrating birds on Jacks Mountain in Mifflin Co. almost 40 years ago, before many people knew that the mountains in the ridge and valley province in Pennsylvania were critical flyways for thousands of birds. Ron's particular interest was documenting the hawks and eagles that migrate over Jacks each year. Ron is still very active today, as he is the main facilitator and compiler of the Hawk Watch. Ron organizes a fall hawk watch each year, and all data is sent to the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA). You can access this data on the Jacks Mountain page at hawkcount.org.

Because of his love of the mountains that surround him, Ron has helped with Mid-State Trail 
maintenance and he was instrumental in organizing a large-scale clean-up project along the sides of the Jacks Mountain Overlook which removed huge amount of trash that had been dumped there for decades.

Ron spends innumerable hours on top of Jacks sharing his love of migrating raptors and his expert identification skills with everyone who stops during the migration season. His leadership and dedication to the Jacks Mountain Hawk Watch has also ignited a larger group of people to form known as Friends of Jacks Mountain. This new organization is a community action group that was formed because the Jacks Mountain Hawk watch is threatened by industrial wind turbine development on Jacks Mountain.

The Juniata Valley Audubon Society 2014 Conservation Award honors Ron’s dedication to observing and documenting raptor migration, as well as founding and maintaining the Hawk Watch at Jacks Mountain.

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Jacks Mountain commemorative patch featuring a broadwinged hawk
Jacks Mountain commemorative patch

The Jacks Mountain Hawk Watch has a commemorative patch for sale. Email Ron Singer at risinger2@verizon.net if you would like to purchase one for $5.70, which includes shipping. The patch features a Broad-winged Hawk, since thousands of them migrate over Jacks each fall.

You can learn more about the Jacks Mountain Hawk Watch at their webpage.