Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
This goal take an environmental approach by targeting efforts to reduce marine pollution; sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems; improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity; conserve coastal and marine areas; and, minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification through the implementation of science-based management plans. It fosters social capacity with a focus on increasing scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology and prohibiting subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing. It addresses economic issues by focusing on increasing economic benefits for sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism and provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers. See below for Penn State’s work on the targets and indicators for this goal.
Research & Publications
Researchers aim to ‘upcycle’ nutrient waste on farms using duckweed
Link: Researchers aim to 'upcycle' nutrient waste on farms using duckweed
Penn State’s ‘Living Filter’ to be the focus of wastewater reuse conference | Penn State University (psu.edu)
Link: Penn State's 'Living Filter' to be the focus of wastewater reuse conference | Penn State University (psu.edu)
Penn State Dining reminds students of PSreUse option ahead of Earth Day | Lifestyle | collegian.psu.edu
Link: Penn State Dining reminds students of PSreUse option ahead of Earth Day | Lifestyle | collegian.psu.edu
Chiques Creek, Conewago watershed in Lancaster County to undergo extensive cleanup effort
Link: Chiques Creek, Conewago watershed in Lancaster County to undergo extensive cleanup effort
‘An extremely good filter’: Hundreds of plants installed along stream in Manheim Township park
Link: 'An extremely good filter': Hundreds of plants installed along stream in Manheim Township park
Penn State expands WEF nexus activities through Colombian partnership
Link: Penn State expands WEF nexus activities through Colombian partnership
1) Does Penn State offer educational programs on fresh-water ecosystems (water irrigation practices, water management/conservation) for local or national communities?
Penn State offers free and paid educational programs on fresh-water ecosystems for local or national communities. Topics include fresh water ecosystems programs such as Watershed Stewards and water management and conservation programs such as pond management and watershed restoration programs. The university also offers educational programs on fresh-water ecosystems for youth that include stormwater education, watersheds, and water quality issues.
Penn State’s Agriculture and Environment Center focuses on solving water quality challenges related to the impacts of land use and land management by fostering partnerships with stakeholders engaged in land and water issues. It integrates education, research, community outreach, and extension assets to help communities and stakeholders solve land and water-related environmental problems at multiple scales.
The Penn State Extension Center provides many programs and resources about water irrigation practices, management, and conservation.
2) Does Penn State offer educational programs / outreach for local or national communities on sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism?
As a Sea Grant university, we offer educational programs and outreach for local or national communities on sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.
The Sea Grant Program’s mission is “To promote the sustainability of Pennsylvania’s ecological and economic coastal and watershed resources through science-based research, education, and outreach.” A core value of the program is dedication to sustainability, which relies on communicating “the importance of good stewardship and the value of the services that the coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes’ ecosystems provide to the Nation.” Facilitating an informed public is a key element of the mission. It collaborates with state, regional, and national programs to offer curricula that inspires students in the classroom. Teacher training is also available and is designed to help educators bring science to life in the classroom.
3) Does Penn State offer educational outreach activities for local or national communities to raise awareness about overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices?
Penn State administers Pennsylvania’s Sea Grant program which offers educational materials and curriculum, resources and activities for local or national communities to raise awareness about overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices.
Penn State Extension provides educational materials, webinars, and workshops for safe and sustainable fishing practices.
4) Does Penn State support and/or organize events aimed to promote conservation and sustainable utilization of the oceans, seas, lakes, rivers and marine resources?
Penn State organizes events which promote conservation and sustainable utilization of oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, and marine resources through its Sea Grant program, Riparia Center, Extension programs, and with the Pennsylvania Water Council.
The Sea Grant program hosts annual environmental forums focused on Lake Erie (see October 2021 Forum agenda and July 2021 Forum agenda for details).
Riparia responds to requests for information and assistance from the University students and faculty, the University’s Office of the Physical Plant, federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, consulting firms, industries, schools, and citizens.
The Water Council and Penn State’s Sustainability Institute held joint events in 2021. The Soundings water film series was co-presented by Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, Penn State’s Water Council, and WPSU. This series explored the intersecting issues surrounding water conservation and the innovative research and policy solutions addressing these issues around the world.
Extension programs include webinars and workshops on the role of river basin commissions and water use, groundwater protection, water management, stream ecology, the relationship between agriculture and Chesapeake Bay water quality, and watershed-friendly property certification.
A Stormwater Knowledge quiz on the Office of Physical Plant website promotes and raises awareness about watershed protection.
5) Does Penn State work directly (research and/or engagement with industries) to maintain and extend existing ecosystems and their biodiversity, of both plants and animals, especially ecosystems under threat?
Penn State’s Agriculture and Environment Center Community Watershed Engagement Program brings Penn State researchers, educators and students together with community members to work directly, through research and engagement with industries, to maintain and extend existing ecosystems and their biodiversity to solve water quality problems in local priority watersheds.
The Chiques-Conoy-Conewago Regional Partnership is a diverse set of agriculture and conservation partners working together to provide sampling and data collection, outreach, technical assistance, and funding assistance to interested farmers in the region.
The Greening the Lower Susquehanna watershed engagement program engages partners and citizens to accelerate the implementation of green infrastructure to restore local streams and manage runoff.
The Sustainable Watersheds Program promotes, restores, and maintains healthy local watersheds through collaborative community engagement and engaged scholarship.
6) Does Penn State work directly (research and/or engagement with industries) on technologies or practices that enable marine industry to minimize or prevent damage to aquatic ecosystems?
The university works directly on technologies and practices that will enable the marine industry to minimize and prevent damage to aquatic ecosystems. This is conducted through engaged scholarship projects focused on stormwater management; Extension materials, workshops and webinars on water resource management; Riparia Center research and tools for conservation and restoration of wetlands, wildlife, and aquatic resources; Sea Grant research and resources such as educational materials, fact sheets, maps, manuals, and reports; and by curating the Water-Energy-Food Nexus Discovery Map that aids in fostering comprehensive sustainable development projects around the globe by providing filterable research and data visualization that allows users to locate areas of need, growth, partnership, and action.
7) Does Penn State have water quality standards and guidelines for water discharges (to uphold water quality in order to protect ecosystems, wildlife, and human health and welfare, etc.)?
Penn State has water quality standards and guidelines for water discharges that follow EPA Clean Water Act standards. In addition, the university has Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting for all discharges to the environment. In addition, we have a policy to not discharge any wastewater to any surface water body (since 1983, we spray apply all wastewater to a Living Filter to recharge the groundwater).
The university Waste Reduction Task Force outlined an action plan in their 2019 Report. A primary recommendation they outlined is to encourage waste reduction across campus via reusable mugs, beverage cups, and other reusable food containers and to reduce single-use plastic bags.
The university is exploring, with the guidance of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Programs Manager and the interim director of the composting facility, how to improve the composting operation that, if done, will enable us to reduce single-use plastics and convert to compostable food service ware. The dining commons have reusable to go packaging available.
The university Recycling Policy establishes a Recycling and Reuse Policy with a targeted goal to develop and implement a policy that will promote waste reduction at the University to include recycling, reuse, composting, and green purchasing.
9) Does Penn State have a policy on preventing and reducing marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities?
To prevent and reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, we have a policy on disposal of pollutants, a Stormwater Master Plan, as part of the Susquehanna River basin we follow the Susquehanna River Basin Commission permitting for water withdrawals to protect downstream water flows, and most recently revised is a Joint Pollutant Reduction Plan which provides a contractual obligation for the continued monitoring of the existing Regional Chesapeake Bay Pollutant Reduction Plan and Impaired Waters Plan.
Penn State Extension Saving the Chesapeake initiative brings together farmers, industry, and government agencies to come up with science-based solutions for reducing pollutants in Pennsylvania’s watersheds impacting the Chesapeake Bay.
Our PA Dept. of Envir. Pollution National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit regulates nutrient discharge into surface streams that flow to the Susquehanna River and to the Chesapeake Bay.
10) Does Penn State have a plan to minimize physical, chemical and/or biological alterations of related aquatic ecosystems?
The university has several long-standing plans that are followed to minimize alterations of aquatic ecosystems related to campus. Treated effluent from Penn State’s wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) has been land-applied year-round at sprayfields since 1983 rather than stream-discharged. An estimated 90% of the irrigated water, over 500 million gallons per year, recharges the region’s water table. The land application of treated wastewater helps to maintain base flows in streams and reduces the impacts of drought conditions. Penn State’s WWTP has not discharged to Thompson Run since 1983 and is thought to be one of the many reasons that the water quality of Spring Creek is considered to be better now than any time in the last 100 years. In addition, we have extensive stormwater management on site to minimize impacts to surface water bodies and streams. The University overall is a net zero discharger of surface runoff. Learn more about water conservation and preservation plans and practices here.
The university uses several approaches to monitor the health of aquatic ecosystems. It has water quality sampling in surface waters where we discharge to as part of our stormwater management program. The Riparia Center on campus conducts long-term studies of the ecology and management of wetlands, streams, and riparian areas on a watershed basis, develops and tests ecological indicators for wetlands, streams, and forests. We also partner with local agencies and organizations (Trout Unlimited, Spring Creek Watershed Management, etc.) to monitor water quality in the Centre Region.
12) Does Penn State develop and support programs and incentives that encourage and maintain good aquatic stewardship practices?
Penn State offers programs such as Watershed Stewards that encourage good aquatic stewardship practices. We also offer water management and conservation programs such as pond management and watershed restoration programs. We have developed programs such as a Water Resources Preservation (WRP) land-use classification for approximately 455 acres of land at University Park which has resulted in the University overall becoming a net zero discharger of surface runoff. The university completed the first Source Water Protection Plan in the region and has adopted a fundamental philosophy that all new development and redevelopment projects at the University have the goal of reducing peak runoff rates downstream. Penn State’s Extension offers webinars, workshops, and articles about water quality and management that are available for free online to all. The Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center is focused on solving today’s water quality challenges related to the impacts of land use and land management.
13) Does Penn State collaborate with the local community, e.g. through partnerships, in efforts to maintain shared aquatic ecosystems?
Penn State partners with numerous local community organizations to maintain shared aquatic ecosystems. Partners include Spring Creek Watershed Management, Trout Unlimited, the local townships and the Borough of State College. Together, we evaluate and manage water quality in the region, primarily through the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems Partnership with Ferguson, Harris, Patton, and College Townships and the Borough of State College.
Penn State’s Agriculture and Environment Center Community Watershed Engagement Program brings Penn State researchers, educators and students together with community members to solve water quality problems in local priority watersheds.
14) Does Penn State have an implemented watershed management strategy based on location specific diversity of aquatic species?
The university has implemented a watershed management strategy that is location specific to protect aquatic diversity. There are limitations on temperature of stormwater discharge to the environment to protect the downstream cold water fishery (Spring Creek). Which are outlined in the stormwater management permit (MS4 permitting – Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System)
15) Does your university as a body have a policy to ensure that food on campus that comes from aquatic ecosystems is sustainably harvested?
Targets & Indicators
Target 14.1: By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
- Indicator 14.1.1: (a) Index of coastal eutrophication; and (b) plastic debris density
Target 14.2: By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
- Indicator 14.2.1: Number of countries using ecosystem-based approaches to managing marine areas
Target 14.3: Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
- Indicator 14.3.1: Average marine acidity (pH) measured at agreed suite of representative sampling stations
Target 14.4: By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
- Indicator 14.4.1: Proportion of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels
Target 14.5: By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
- Indicator 14.5.1: Coverage of protected areas in relation to marine areas
Target 14.6: By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation4
- Indicator 14.6.1: Degree of implementation of international instruments aiming to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
Target 14.7: By 2030, increase the economic benefits to small island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
- Indicator 14.7.1: Sustainable fisheries as a proportion of GDP in small island developing States, least developed countries and all countries
Target 14.a: Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
- Indicator 14.a.1: Proportion of total research budget allocated to research in the field of marine technology
Target 14.b: Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
- Indicator 14.b.1: Degree of application of a legal/regulatory/ policy/institutional framework which recognizes and protects access rights for small-scale fisheries
Target 14.c: Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of “The future we want”
- Indicator 14.c.1: Number of countries making progress in ratifying, accepting and implementing through legal, policy and institutional frameworks, ocean-related instruments that implement international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and their resources