Pathogen Testing

Stream Monitoring

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Order your free native tree & shrub seedlings for fall planting! 

We are teaming up with the Adams County Conservation District to distribute free native tree and shrub seedlings from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Keystone 10 Million Trees program to Adams County residents through a partnership we’re calling the Adams County Planting Partnership.
You can participate by ordering your free tree or shrub seedlings for planting on your property and/or sharing with friends. You have until August 23 to order your seedlings, but for the best chance of getting the species of your choice, place your requests as soon as possible.
We’re striving to get native trees and shrubs into the hands of local partners—folks like you—who have the space and ability to get them planted. Each tree and shrub will come with a plastic shelter tube, stake, zip-ties, and bird-netting. We’ll make every effort to fulfill your requested species and amounts, however, due to availability and ordering stipulations we can’t guarantee your exact request.
We anticipate that your seedlings will be available at the Adams County Agriculture and Natural Resources Center in early September, and your trees should be in the ground by the end of October.  
We’re set to distribute some 10,000 native seedlings this fall—it’s a huge project! If you’d like to help—and have a lot of fun doing it—you can sign up to volunteer here.

(Photo: Carol Deardorff)


Learn about our summer pathogen-testing project!

Most people know it can be unsafe to drink unfiltered water out of a stream or lake, even if the water is visibly clear. This is true almost anywhere, including Adams County. Places where public swimming is encouraged are required to test the water to make sure it isn’t overly contaminated. But in Pennsylvania we have many waterways—more than 1,000 miles in Adams County alone—and most of them are not tested regularly.

The Watershed Alliance is launching a water-testing program aimed at this issue. Thanks to a grant from the South Mountain Partnership, we’ll be testing 21 sites this year. Our plan is to inform the public about where our local waters may be contaminated, and we hope that our findings will inform future water-quality improvement efforts. Learn more here.

What to do if you see a spill in a local stream or creek

If you’re out enjoying one of our beautiful Adams County waterways and you notice something amiss—significant clouding, a strange color or odor in the water, a lot of dead fish—anything that could indicate that a spill has occurred upstream, here are some ways you can help protect your stream:

Call 911. One of the first concerns when you see a spill is to make sure the incident is reported immediately to the proper authorities—by calling 911 and reporting what you’ve seen, you’ll set those wheels in motion.

Take lots of photos. It’s important to document the spill with photographs, as early and as thoroughly as possible. You might try taking multiple photos at locations moving upstream toward the spill, if it’s safe to do so. Be sure also to photograph any dead fish or macroinvertebrates you observe. The photos may be useful to the DEP or the PFBC as they investigate the spill.

If possible, return to the scene after a few days to document any changes. Has the water cleared? Do you see any dead fish or insects? Take photos!

Protecting the waters of Adams County

The Watershed Alliance of Adams County is a member-based organization whose goals are to:

  • Help residents better understand the complex watershed issues affecting Adams County.
  • Encourage sound water management and land use practices that will promote a sustainable watershed resource.
  • Support a county-wide water monitoring program and data base to use for evaluating water resources.
  • Identify and carry out watershed improvement projects.
  • Maintain the viability and sustainability of the Watershed Alliance of Adams County.

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Read our most recent column in the Gettysburg Times!