The purpose of the Kidder Township Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) is to conduct a monthly meeting to review the status of ongoing EAC projects, define and discuss new projects as appropriate, and comply with Kidder Township Ordinance 115.

The council is made up of residents of Kidder Township all of whom volunteer their time.

The Wednesday meeting was brief and addressed a number of items. Member Bob Dobash has been overseeing the creation of a township-wide system on multiuse trails. Most recently, Dobash put together the basic concepts, including staging areas and preliminary maps.

The next step would be for Dobash to meet with the representative for Hickory Run State Park to determine which trails can be incorporated into the system and determine which of the trails will have prohibitions on certain uses.

"Some existing trails may permit use by snowmobiles, while new trails will not. There are some trails that may limit or disallow mountain bikes because they can cause erosion. These are things that still need to be discussed," said Dobash.

A proposed map for the trail is part of the township's comprehensive plan, which can be seen at the municipal building.

The EAC plans on holding a spring workshop again in 2013. The tentative schedule calls for the workshop to take place sometime in mid-May. Possible topics this year include bees and honey, bats and their purpose, and trout and fly fishing. The final schedule and topics should be decided by mid-January.

Last year the EAC published the "Green & Blue Pages." The book was a resource for residents encouraging good environmental practices. The council estimates that it has distributed 2,200 copies of the book so far.

The EAC has had discussions in the past regarding a watershed study for the township. According to Dobash, there is money available from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for the study. Dobash suggested that council review the requirements for the grant and present it to the Carbon County Commissioners for consideration.

In new business, Dobash also noted that there is a grant available from PDE (Partnership for the Delaware Estuary) for freshwater mussel restoration.

"I can remember, years ago, mussel shells used to liter the shores of Lake Harmony. I can't remember the last time I saw a mussel there," said Dobash.

According to the PDE website, "About a dozen species once thrived in the Delaware River Basin, but now they are the most imperiled of all animals. Since each adult mussel filters gallons of water every day, healthy streams with mussels can help sustain good water quality, and when the mussels are lost from streams, we believe this contributes to degraded water quality."

The EAC meets the second Wednesday of every month.