Several Regional Workshops Are Going Virtual! 

You are invited you to a free VIRTUAL gathering of watershed group leaders to share resource, partnership, and program information and reconnect with your network in  your region of Pennsylvania.

For each virtual workshop, join your colleagues from 8:45 until 9:30 AM for an informal conversation bring your coffee or tea and take some time to catch up and share your organization’s successes, challenges, and future plans. POWR staff will  facilitate small group conversations with questions and discussion topics to further encourage exciting and fun conversations.

This will be followed by a panel presentation on Resources, Partners, and Programs specific to your region.

IMPORTANT NOTES FOR ALL WORKSHOPS: We are aware that we remain in unique circumstances, so we invite you to join us when you can during this time frame. Whether you attend the networking “coffee hour” or the presentation at 9:30 or both, we look forward to seeing you!

There is no charge to attend. You will receive an email with the link to the online workshop platform no later than one day prior to the event.

For more information, please contact Tali MacArthur, Program Manager for Watershed Outreach – Pennsylvania Environmental Council at or 570-718-6507

First up, the Northeast: Friday June 26 beginning at 8:45 am



Next to happen: Southeast Region: Wednesday, July 1, 2020



Other Learning From Home Opportunities During COVID-19 

Working from home doesn’t mean we stop learning! With multiple free webinars and virtual presentations planned in the next week, watershed professionals and volunteers can stay current and connected with colleagues.

Volunteer Motivations, Management, Recruitment, and Retention Webinar: Tuesday June 23 at noon

Dedicated, enthusiastic, motivated volunteers are critical to the success of watershed associations and almost every other nonprofit organization. But understanding volunteer motivations, recruiting volunteers for short- and longer-term engagement, retaining your best volunteers, and meaningfully recognizing and celebrating your most dedicated champions are the likely among the greatest challenges you face as a leader of your organization. Join us for this engaging and informative presentation to better understand the 21st century volunteer and how you can effectively meet the challenge of recruiting and retaining their talents to help you advance your project and organizational goals.


Fundamentals of Drinking Water Webinar: June 5 at 12 noon

POWR is excited to host a panel of experts from PA American Water, River Network, and Penn State Extension who will lead this webinar about the fundamentals of drinking water management and protection in PA. Join us on Friday, June 5 at 12 noon to learn how you can help protect you local drinking water.


Recording available for the May 13 webinar, “Your Attention Please: Attracting Media Coverage for Your Activities and Initiatives”

If you think that positive media coverage happens by luck or accident, it is time to think again. Your watershed group’s upcoming program, new initiative, or even your efforts to secure more volunteers and donors CAN garner the publicity you desire by using the right media relations strategy.

If you missed this engaging and educational webinar with tips for maximizing broadcast, print, and social media coverage, watch the RECORDING now.

Tips for engaging with journalists on Twitter

Here are some facts, ideas, and tips that were shared by Eric Eckl, Owner of Water Words that Work, via a recent webinar about how to get the attention of local journalists using Twitter.

Eighty-three percent of journalists use Twitter. A vast majority of those check Twitter daily, 1 in 5 check or post their accounts hourly! It is their source for breaking news; they use it to see what other news organizations are covering; and to find ideas and sources for stories. Twitter often drives reporter’s perception of what’s going on in the community.(Though they still want pitches via email.)

How to find and engage with a local journalist:

  1. When you read an article on a local on-line paper on a topic of interest to your organization, you can click on the by-line of the reporter. That will usually take you to their ‘bio page’ which will very likely have the ‘Twitter bird” icon. Click on it. Then click the “follow” icon.
  2. You can increase your engagement by “liking” a tweet (a heart icon)
  3. If you comment (speech bubble icon) on something they have written or Tweeted, try to be positive and supportive. If you disagree or have additional thoughts, be POLITE, knowledgeable, and constructive. Show that you can be a trusted source for additional information and/or a new perspective.
  4. Take it to the next level by “re-tweeting” something they have Tweeted (using the two-arrow icon)

Why do this? Because they will notice. The journalist you are following receives a notification when something they Tweeted gets liked, re-Tweeted, etc. And often, their bosses evaluate their work based on these metrics. So you are actually doing them a favor when you engage this way. You laying the foundation for the relationship that they will remember when you email and call them with your pitch.

A note on ‘hashtags’: Do not try to be overly creative with hashtags (#). Use ones that are intuitive to your topic of interest. If you want to promote “clean water in PA” use CleanWaterPA (caps don’t really matter) not “KeepItKleenKeystone.” If a journalist is researching a new storyline and wants to find out who is working on clean water in PA, they are going to search using an intuitive hashtag. Research what others with a similar objectives to your organization’s are using and use those.

As for ‘user tags’ (@), they are linked to specific Twitter accounts and you must be accurate if you want your tweet to link back to that user. If you Tweet, “Great article about our stream clean up project by @talimacarthur” and my username is @taliPOWR it won’t link back to my account, and I won’t know I got a shout out from you.

Finally, when you use Twitter to engage with a journalist, use a professional account linked to your organization. Not your personal account.

A big thank you to Eric for these tips!

FREE Penn State Extension Webinar on Effective Environmental Outreach Strategies June 5 at 10:00 EDT

Learn new strategies for increasing the impact of your environmental outreach program and cultivating trust among staff and stakeholders from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.


The material presented in the webinar covers–

— Managing for Trust and Improved Collaboration – will cover the best practices for implementing trust to help cultivate a more collaborative and successful work environment (30 mins.)

— Evaluation Concepts for Environmental Outreach Programs – a discussion on how to design more effective programming by improving measures of impact on adult audiences (30 mins.)

Note: Tali MacArthur, POWR staff, attended this training in person and has applied the learning outcomes on many occasions! The Evaluation Concepts have been very helpful!

FREE Webinar: New Citizen Science Tool – First Investigation of Stream Health (FISH) Thu., Jun. 11, 2020 1:00 PM – 2:45 PM EDT


Join Penn Sate Extension for the New Citizen Science Tool: First Investigation of Stream Health (FISH) live webinar for an introduction to the newest version of our mobile app and online reporting tools, free for anyone to use! We will show you how to access the newly updated reporting tools on your phone or computer and walk you through your first FISH visit to a stream.

Is your stream healthy? Would you like to explore it a little closer or monitor changes in your stream over time? Have you recently done something to improve your stream and now you want to measure the successful results? The First Investigation of Stream Health (FISH) tool is a fun and easy way for individuals, families, volunteer groups, youth, and adults to explore a stream and share your findings with the scientific community!

The link to access the webinar is provided immediately upon completion of registration in your registration confirmation email.

Webinar Opportunity: Principles of Riverscape Health & Low-Tech Process-Based Restoration on 6/4/2020 at Noon EDT.


From the webinar host: In this webinar we will immerse you deeper into reading riverscapes; specifically, we will introduce the principles of riverscape health. These principles will be cast in a light to help you better recognize impairments, articulate the scope of what’s been lost, and realistically target recovery potential. Then we will introduce low-tech process-based restoration (PBR) as a means of addressing structural starvation so pervasive among many riverscapes today. We will briefly highlight six principles of low-tech PBR, which help guide restoration planning, design and implementation and more critically place our actions as ecological restoration practitioners in context. While we will focus on examples of these principles in practice for riverine and riparian ecosystmes, the mechanistic and functional focus has merit in cross-over to restoration of other ecosystems as well.

Motivating Action for the Environment

Learn to design communication and outreach plans that motivate action and change for the environment. Understand why people don’t do what you really want them to do. Learn new ways to motivate them in your outreach and messaging. Check out resources, including webinars, at:

Watch a quick 5 min video about debunking communication tactics to motivate action:

Recording now available for POWR’s General Liability Insurance Program Webinar

On Tuesday March 3 POWR  hosted a webinar to provide information about POWR’s General Liability Insurance program, a service we provide to nonprofit watershed organizations working in Pennsylvania. You can watch the recording (click on the link below) to learn more about what is covered, the liability limits, pricing, signing up, and deadlines. We will address frequently asked questions as well as additional questions you have. Our guest presenter, representing Simpson and McCrady, LLC., addressed non-profit risk management generally.

We promised to clarify a few things that came up during the webinar:

The employee benefit liability and auto liability are NOT included in the master general liability program.

The general liability coverage extends across the US, so there is no restriction for an organization whose volunteers engage in activities across state lines.

The water activity exclusion is intended to exclude recreation on the water including boating tours. It is not intended to exclude water quality monitoring and testing activities that was discussed on the webinar, so that should not be a concern for our watershed organizations.


Recording for “Databases for Watershed Group Volunteer and Member Management” now available!

Tracking, maintaining, and managing your member and volunteer lists is one of the most time-consuming parts of running a watershed organization. But the payoffs are huge – organizations grow much faster when they have solid systems for tracking and renewing members and volunteers.
Guest presenter Baird Straughan talked about the range of databases available for river and watershed groups. Baird shared this online tool for evaluating what kind of database fits your organization’s culture, motivations, and needs. Baird has created a unique volunteer and membership management database, WaterGrass, designed with community watershed organizations in mind and provided a brief introduction to that as well.


Recording now available for POWR’s webinar on stream redesignations and a fisheries perspective on water quality designations:

Click here

POWR hosted a webinar focusing on stream redesignation evaluations and water quality designations from a fisheries management perspective. POWR was joined by Mark Brickner, Water Program Specialist at the PA Department of Environmental Protection, and Tom Shervinskie, Chief of the Watershed Analysis Section at the Fish and Boat Commission.

Check out River Networks FREE Webinar Series: The What, Who, and How of Nonprofit Advocacy Work

Yes, non-profits CAN advocate for smart policies and science-based rules and regulations that protect water quality and watershed health. Learn more from a series of FREE webinars hosted by River Network. Parts 1 and 2 have been recorded and part 3 is coming up November 12. Visit Advocacy Webinars to view recordings and sign up for the next one.

Recording available for POWR’s Conservation Opportunity Area Tool Webinar


Developed in collaboration between the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Conservation Opportunity Area Tool is an interactive, web-based tool to support conservation planning and implementation for at-risk species. Users can find information on Species of Greatest Conservation Need, habitats, conservation actions, and more. Learn how to use this tool to explore statewide features or seek information in an area of interest to you and your conservation organization.

For more information about the Conservation Opportunity Tool, click here

For information about the Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan, click here

Recording Available for the Webinar on PADEP’s Integrated Water Quality Report and new Mapping Application held on Sept. 12

Click here for the recording to the webinar hosted by POWR with PADEP staff presenting the Draft 2018 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report which, for the first time, is available as an interactive web-based format. This format conveys tremendous amounts of information in a way that is much easier to find, read, and understand than previous reports. Plus, DEP has created the 2018 Integrated Report Viewer, which provides enhanced search capabilities and export functions. The combination of these two tools can help you access local water quality assessment information and make decisions about ways you can help maintain, protect, and restore those waters.

For more information including links to the report and the mapping tool, visit DEP’s Integrated Report website 

Handouts and Links from the Webinar and In-person Presentations on the Draft Phase 3 Chesapeake Bay WIP

Staff of the PA Department of Environmental Protection unveiled the draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan for Pennsylvania during a webinar and in-person meeting hosted by the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR).

Invited speakers from the DEP and other partnering organizations presented an overview of the plan and how it was developed as well as little about the science and data that informs the plan and how it relates to local water quality and planning efforts. Additionally, attendees learned how to engage in the public comment process and how to stay involved during the county planning and implementation efforts moving forward. Attendees had an opportunity to participate in a Q&A session.

Please see the Agenda for additional details including speaker names and organizations

DEP’s Presentation PowerPoint: Draft Phase 3 WIP Intro_DEP

Webinar Handout: Tips for Drafting Comments on Pennsylvania’s Draft _05-24-2019

Clean water starts in our own backyards, and local solutions can lead to big impacts downstream. This interactive story map shows how local actions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed help improve water quality in our own communities, but also provide benefits to the Bay and the communities that rely on it. This story map is still under development, so if you have any questions or feedback, please contact Emily Trentacoste ( at the Chesapeake Bay Program.”

Link to Interactive Story Map:

Water Quality In PA – An Integrated Report

 The 2018 Integrated Report marks a significant change from previous reports by moving to a new digital and fully interactive format. This offers the ability to convey tremendous amounts of information in a way that is much easier to understand. As a supplement to the Integrated Report, DEP has also created the 2018 Integrated Report Viewer, which provides enhanced search capabilities and export functions. The combination of these two tools should greatly facilitate the public’s access to water quality assessment information and better inform the public on the steps DEP takes every day to protect Pennsylvania’s waters.

Click on the link below for the report:

Presentations available from the Statewide Conference for Watershed Associations

With presenters’ permission, we are pleased to share selected presentations from POWR’s Statewide Conference for Watershed Associations held February 24-25, 2019. The presentations are available as downloadable PDFs here

2018 Regional Watershed Workshops

As a follow-up to our 2016 series, POWR and PEC are convening a series of regional workshops across the state to identify needs and provide organizational capacity and technical resource tools to Pennsylvania’s community watershed organizations. Invited guests include staff from PA DEP, PA DCNR, County Conservation Districts and regional and local environmental organizations with watershed-focused programs and resources.

On this page you’ll find copies of workshop agendas and presentations for each of our regional meetings as they occur. We will continually update to provide latest schedule for upcoming meetings in your region. Click here for more information.