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Have a do-it-yourself outdoor project? Maybe the County Conservation District can help

This is Conservation District Week. The Times Observer is publishing a series of articles — this is the fourth of four — on the history of Conservation Districts and how they work today; the effect of Conservation Districts on agriculture; their role in dirt and gravel road projects, stream stabilization projects, and the benefits of having project permits done locally; as well as education efforts and outdoor recreation opportunities with the Warren County Conservation District at the Hatch Run Conservation Demonstration Area.

The weather is warming up and you are itching to get outside and get your hands dirty with all those big improvement projects you’ve been planning for your property. But where do you start? Do you need a small bridge installed to cross a stream to your camp? Maybe a little dock to get your kayaks out on the water? Or maybe you’re a local group or business and you’re looking to do a bigger project like the Jake’s Rocks Mountain Bike Trail. Well, the Warren County Conservation District (WCCD) can help! As a delegate of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Conservation District is able to help with many projects by offering in-office or in-field technical and educational guidance. We also review and process the proper permit applications needed for most projects.

Projects are broken down into two major categories, Chapter 102 and Chapter 105. The Chapter 105 Dam Safety & Waterway Protection program focuses on stream and wetland encroachments that may impact water quality, increase flooding or degrade riparian habitats. These 105 permits are for the projects that fall under one acre of disturbance and include projects such as: Fish Habitat Enhancement Structures, Small Docks & Boat Ramps, Streambank Stabilization, Intake & Outfall Structures, Utility Line Crossings, Agricultural Crossings, and or Minor Road Crossings of streams or wetlands. Chapter 105 General Permits are reviewed and administered by the District as Water Obstruction and Encroachment General Permits.

Chapter 102 consist of the Erosion & Sediment Control (E&S) and Chapter 92 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) programs. These programs help to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation from earth disturbance activities and manage post construction stormwater. WCCD is a Level II delegate and has the responsibility to review all E&S plans, along with handling any complaints and assessments of E&S plans for both 105 General Permits and NPDES permit applications. NPDES permits cover those projects that exceed the 1 acre of project area disturbance, and are further broken down to Individual or General permits. Both Individual and General NPDES Permits are submitted to the District office, but the Individual permits are forwarded to the Regional District Office for issuance, while the General Permits are reviewed and issued by WCCD.

The District inspects permitted project sites, investigates complaints and provides regulatory and permitting assistance for the community.

The Warren County Conservation District staff are here to help you with all of your permitting questions and any concerns or complaints about local permitted projects in process.

For more information on permitting or any of the other programs we offer, stop in, check out our website at www.wcconservation.net, or call the office at (814) 726-1441.

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