Letort Connection

Background

In collaboration with the Borough of Carlisle, ALLARM is launching a new five year Stormwater Education Campaign to raise awareness about stormwater problems in the Carlisle community and to promote alternative stream-friendly behaviors encouraging water stewardship.  To help kick-start this collaboration, the Borough and ALLARM received a $4,000 League of Women Voters’ Water Resource Education Network grant for the first year of the campaign and are working with the Letort Regional Authority and Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited.

Stormwater pollution is one of the leading causes of stream health degradation in Pennsylvania and in the nation. As rainwater runs over the land, it picks up pollutants such as motor oil, pesticides, and pet waste. Carlisle has a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), which means that stormwater runoff is not treated for pollutants and flows directly into our local streams. These pollutants can cause fish kills, contaminate waters, and destruct aquatic habitats. Carlisle’s world-famous trout fishing stream, the Letort Spring Run, is especially vulnerable to stormwater pollution because its surrounding impervious land uses.  Since residents contribute to stormwater pollution, public education is a vital tool in minimizing individual contributions. Eventually the Borough will receive a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement additional stormwater mitigation measures.

The goals of the Stormwater Education Project are two-fold: to educate the Carlisle community about stormwater runoff and its effects on the Letort Spring Run; and to promote alternative behaviors that encourages water stewardship.  Specifically the project will encourage healthy stream habits through creation and distribution of educational materials (including posters, brochures, and movie theatre ads). In addition a Letort documentary is being developed that will provide both a historical and emotional look the significance of the Letort Spring Run. ALLARM is also working with the Video Productions class at Carlisle High School to assist students on a series of educational commercials for their year-long stormwater campaign. The first year will culminate in a Letort Festival on May 3, 2008 to celebrate the Letort with the Carlisle community.

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater happens when it rains and all the water washes into the local waterways. The problem with stormwater runoff is that if there are chemicals or trash on the streets, or on lawns they will get washed into the waterways and cause damage to the aquatic life. We also have to be careful because these pollutants can get into our drinking supplies. As impervious surfaces (surfaces water can not seep through) increase, stormwater can cause flash flooding and build up of water in places it is not normally.

What can you do?

To reduce stormwater runoff pollution you can use organic fertilizers and pesticides, throw your trash in the trash can and not in the storm drain and clean up after your pet. To stop flash flooding from stormwater you can plant grass with longer roots, reduce the amount of impervious surfaces and plant trees and other plants.