Conemaugh Valley Conservancy Assumptions/Considerations for cvc planning 2011-2013

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Conemaugh Valley Conservancy

Assumptions/Considerations for CVC Planning 2011-2013


  • Growing Greener II and other DCNR monies for development of projects is likely to be scarce over the next several years

  • The political environment in PA doesn’t currently endorse recreation/conservation development

  • Opportunities for expansion of Marcellus shale related data tracking and other related water monitoring functions may exist

  • The Richard King Mellon Foundation has indicated CVC will not continue to receive operational funding after the current grant cycle

  • Long time facilitator Mike Quinn is interested in pursuing other career options

  • CVC’s endowment has grown substantially, and is positioned for further development through planned giving

  • CVC’s membership income and other supporters present opportunities for planned giving and other financial development

  • CVC has a number of maintenance/program commitments that must be upheld

    • West Penn Trail, including administration of current DCNR Rec Trails grant

    • Tub Mill Limestone Doser

    • Access ramp at Seward area/East Wheatfield Township

    • Kiski-Conemaugh Rivers Sojourn

    • Stream Team water monitoring

  • CVC has a number of long-term development projects that the organization is interested in seeing come to fruition

    • Conemaugh Gap Trail

    • Johnstown area trail network/urban pathways

    • Packsaddle Gap Trail

    • West Penn Trail connection into Blairsville

One consideration would be to move toward a maintenance focus in the short term, with a focus on growing the endowment/planned giving, while preparing for future development opportunities in the future when the political climate is more conducive.

Supporting documentation:

- Progress Report from 2007-2010 Plan

  • Financial Projections – Worst Case/Most Likely/Best Case Scenario

Conemaugh Valley Conservancy – Progress Report on 2007-2010 Strategic Plan, February 2011

Objective: Restore and enhance land and water based natural resources

Activities (what?)

Outputs (how/how much?)


1. Assess water quality in the Kiski-Conemaugh mainstem and tributaries

a. continue DEP-approved volunteer monitoring program


2. Provide baseline and evaluation data for remediation efforts

a. use WPWP “convening grant” to convene partners for strategize re: ST data utilization

- continue to assess the utilization of ST data

- establish outcome measures/indicators/logic model

b. provide regular reporting to partners, funders re: outcomes of ST data collection

c. implement changes in methodology and/or new data collection techniques if needed

Water monitoring/reporting ongoing

c. new development – data trackers/water monitoring relative to impacts of Marcellus Shale drilling

3. Initiate remediation projects where needed and no one else is available to implement

a. Lime Doser Treatment System at Tubmill Creek
b. Semi-Permeable Devise with IUP

c. carefully evaluate additional remediation efforts based on organizational capacity, long-term funding options, support from strong partners (WPC, IUP etc.)

a. doser system nearly ready for installation

b. no activity

c. ongoing

4. Investigate land trust capacity building project

a. secure technical advise from PEC staff attorney re: feasibility of this project

b.  identify and convene key stakeholders

c.  identify technical assistance providers and determine their role (i.e PA Land Trust; Institute for Conservation Leadership)

d. secure a skilled consultant/facilitator

e. conduct a land assessment

f. evaluate requirements for effectively engaging in land trust functions

g.  provide training and support for board, staff and other conservancies

h. establish guidelines for land trust pursuits

i.  engage the state and other funders in developing a long-term strategy for operation and maintenance of conserved lands.

tabled due to lack of interest/organizational capacity

5. Coordinate with and support the work of conservation partners

a. regularly communicate and plan with Natural Biodiversity, Conservation Districts, Watershed Associations

b. act as watchdog regarding basin-wide environmental impacts


Objective: Promote citizen environmental stewardship through low impact recreation




1. Provide environmental education

a. utilize WPWP’s “convening grant” to establish coordinated outreach effort with other environmental education providers

- establish outcomes measures, indicators

- identify target audiences, key messages

b. conduct and evaluate educational programs with schools, community

c. conduct environmental education on trails via Stream Team and Natural Biodiversity

curtailed due to financial and organizational capacity

2. Complete trail connections

a. Conemaugh Gap – feasibility study

b. Conemaugh Gap – construction

c. Westinghouse/Newport Road to Water Street/Blairsville

d. Blacklegs Creek to Salina

e. Packsaddle Gap – feasibility study

a-b.Con Gap –feasibility study completed; application for construction prepared – match needed

c.Ind Co Reg Trail Connectivity Study nearly complete

d. discussions with Topper/Rosebud and NS continue

e. no activity

3. Continue developing independent trail maintenance plan through West Penn Trail Council

a. coordinate volunteer maintenance program

b. market the trail

c. raise funds for routine maintenance

d. coordinate trail events

West Penn Trail Council continues to raise sponsor dollars, market and maintain trail

4. Continue to coordinate SKC sojourn

Co-coordinate with Benscreek Canoe Club, other partners

ongoing, partner with Main Line Canal Greenway for AmeriCorps member

5. Continue to facilitate Stonycreek-Quemahoning Initiative

a. establish organizational structure for SQI - Board of Directors, by laws, articles of incorporation

b. provide grant writing and facilitation

c. complete construction of Whitewater Park

d. complete construction of Trolley Trail

e. assist in implementation and evaluation? of releases from Quemahoning Dam

f. evaluate feasibility of social entrepreneurism associated with SQI (outfitters, etc.)

g. promote SQI as a model for the Keystone Principles at work


b.ongoing but under SQI auspices



e.valve for releases installed activity activity

Objective: Ensure adequate resources and organizational capacity to achieve program goals

Activities (what?)

Outputs (how/how much?)


1. Establish financial security for Stream Team

a. maintain strong relationship with WPWP, Mellon Foundation, which collectively fund water sampling/monitoring activities at $50,000

b. consider corporate sponsorship program for environmental education programming if dedicated funding source cannot be identified

c. establish financial statements that identify the minimum annual budget of $70,000 and provide variance reports on progress toward that goal

d. use judgment in committing ST to grant opportunities that do not support the core activities

a. FPW continues to support but warns that could be curtailed
b.sponsor program initiated in fall 2010

c. no action

d. grant opportunities focusing primarily water monitoring have been pursued

2. Maintain strong relationships with current funders

a. close projects

b. continue to provide accurate, timely and complete reporting

c. provide appropriate acknowledgement

d. maintain appropriate communications with leadership to ensure relevance of projects

e. develop and implement outcome measures for environmental education and water monitoring programs


3. Advocate for operational and maintenance financing with government funders

a. work with local and statewide partners to establish dialog re: growing concerns about the lack of a long-term maintenance strategy for trails, treatment systems

no activity

4. Grow endowment to $100,000

a. create all appropriate policies (gift acceptance, investment, etc.)

b. identify, meet with and solicit from potential donors

c. promote 1% for the Planet program

a.completed activity

c.K. Tuscano continued to develop endowment through 1% for the Planet

5. Reduce risks associated with CVC’s lean operational management structure

a. implement revised Board meeting schedule by regularly scheduled Committee meetings and clearly delineated committee functions

b. establish Operation Committee and recruit participants with specific HR, administrative skills

c. provide Board training re: fiduciary responsibilities

d. regularly evaluate organization’s financial status

e. create annual budget and revise when needed

f. meet with auditor and implement auditors’ suggestions

a. no activity, but Conservation Committee began regular meetings in 2010

b. no activity

c. no activity

d. Finance comm meets regularly

e. ongoing

f. Finance committee acts on auditor’s suggestion

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