How can we help the Chesapeake?
Listen to Ali Stevens' full story here
HARRISBURG – Now
that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation 2010 State of the Bay Report has
been released, what can we do here in Pennsylvania to help improve
the health of the bay? According to the report, the Chesapeake Bay
is showing encouraging signs of rebounding, but is still in critical
condition due to pollution.
deputy director of the
Pennsylvania office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, says we can
all help change that by doing our part. He says reducing the amount
of fertilizer we use on our lawns, using good farm practices and
improving stormwater treatment facilities will result in cleaner
He says the most
important step will can take to help with pollution is protect our
“forested buffer," to not only restore the Bay, but also restore our
local streams. Our streams and everything that lives in the streams
are supposed to be flowing through unbroken blankets of forests.
Trees shade the streams and protect stream banks from erosion and
also filter runoff from the land. (Ali Stevens)
Mercury's affect on aquatic life
UNDATED -- Fish
consumption advisories are present in Pennsylvania, and that
includes the Susquehanna River. Dr. Brian Mangan of King's College
has been studying mercury in the environment.
He says the presence of mercury is in the aquatic
life, but now they are
trying to figure out the pathways in which mercury gets to fish.
Mangan and some of
his students have been studying
how mercury is
getting here and why it is a hazard.
Mangan is also
studying the affects of what happens when mercury leaves the aquatic
environment, such as to spiders of salamanders that live near
water. Mercury is most known to cause neurological problems, as
well as cardiac issues in humans. (Sara Bartlett)
Interns working on water projects this summer
LEWISBURG -- Not
everyone out on the Susquehanna River this summer is shooting the
breeze. Over 30 interns from six different universities are hard
at work getting their feet wet in environmental projects across the
Valley. The interns were introduced at a recent Susquehanna River
Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies meeting. Skip Wieder,
convener of the coalition,
wide variety of projects the students will be tackling.
Wieder also talks about the
interns to the region.
The results of
the projects will be displayed at the annual Susquehanna River
Symposium at Bucknell University in October. (Stephanie Klock)
Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition busy this summer
UNDATED -- The
Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies has
a busy summer. The group, which is a partnership between six
colleges and universities, Geisinger Center for Environmental Health
and a number of environmental groups in the Valley, focuses on a
number of issues in the lower west branch, lower north branch and
confluence of the Susquehanna River.
Mel Zimmerman, of
Lycoming College, is part of the coalition.
Zimmerman says the group continues some
that they started last summer.
they are also hoping to supplement fish data on different portions
of the river this summer. He also says the six colleges and
universities are each working on separate projects that they will
expand on at future meetings of the coalition.
foundation for Pennsylvania Watershed receives grant
LEWISBURG -- Money
is flowing into the Foundation for the Pennsylvania Watershed to
promote awareness to the environmental and economic impacts of
Marcellus Shale. Brandon Diehl, grant program consultant, says the
foundation has received a $50,000 payment, is expecting a $125,000
grant by the end of the year, and another $125,000 for 2010.
how this money is going to be used.
In addition to
this, the foundation hopes to develop a website to act as a digital
tracking device, for public and scientific use, to mark where the
wells are placed throughout the state. (Stephanie Klock)
Reintroduction of eels to the river
Listen to Sara Bartlett's full report here
SUNBURY -- Soon,
eels will be returned to the Susquehanna River. Officials are
planning to reintroduce to the river the once popular game and food
fish. Tom Deans, project coordinator for the city's Riverfront
Project, says the city will pay to restock the river with eels.
According to Andy Shields, who is the Chief of Fish Production
Services for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, eels have an
important impact on the ecology of the river. They also serve as a
'taxi' for fresh water mussels, a species that can significantly
improve water quality.
Shields says eels
mature anywhere between six and 20 years, where they will then
migrate to the ocean to mate, and then make their way back
upstream. He says this is where the fish ladder, along the western
shore in Shamokin Dam, will come in handy.
in the last 30 years, improvements in water quality have made towns
take a closer look at how the river can boost an area. He also
commends Sunbury and surrounding communities for reattaching
themselves to the Susquehanna through the Riverfront Project.
Pollution is having a big impact
on some fish in the Susquehanna River
LEWISBURG – One of the most popular game fish in
our region—is being negatively affected by pollution—so says a
scientist who is studying the Susquehanna River. At the 4th Annual
Susquehanna River Symposium at Bucknell University last weekend,
Brian Mangan—a professor at Kings College, said his findings are
consistent with other research.
He says 80% of the male small mouth bass
population that they sampled—showed intersex characteristics,
meaning male fish have eggs showing up in their body. Professor
Mangan says, the good news is, not all fish are being affected by
contaminants in the river in that way. He said ‘white suckers,’ for
example, have not shown these symptoms.
Listen to all of Professor Mangan's
The change in the bass is thought to be because of
trace chemicals in the water—including pharmaceuticals, which make
it through sewage treatment plants unaffected and end up in the
river in relatively strong concentrations.
Newsradio WKOK’s Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond
reports first told you four years ago that pharmaceuticals—including
those we have ingested and expelled (and those which are simply
discarded into the waste stream) are suspected of having a negative
impact on fish.
He said the Susquehanna River Coalition for
Environmental Studies will be conducting additional tests and
monitoring to determine the impact of these trace chemicals in the
Susquehanna River. You can read more about the symposium at
Electric sensors keeping
a close watch on the river
Since the beginning of the month, two electric sensors have been
placed in the Susquehanna River and are measuring different aspects
of the water’s quality. Matthew McTammany, Assistant Professor of
Biology and Environmental Studies at Bucknell University, is working
with students on the research. He says the sensors are in the north
branch in Danville and the west branch in Milton, and even in a
collected a lot of data.
the sensors measure data on water temperature, oxygen, river depth
and more. Data is collected every five minutes and uploaded every
hour to a website that the public can check out. He says besides
collecting data for scientific reasons, people may be interested to
know the state of the river for recreational
they plan to collect data and keep the sensors in the river
indefinitely. The website is a real-time interactive site, which
you can be linked to through our website
Merle Phillips: Sunbury
fabridam fish ladder still progressing
SUNBURY – In
view of the tightest state budget in recent memory, what is the
status of the fabridam fish ladder at Sunbury? State House member
Merle Phillips (R-108th, Sunbury) says applications are still in
place to fund construction of the passageway that would allow shad
to swim upstream more easily. The construction might take place next
He also says governor has
applied for stimulus money to build the ladder on the Sunbury side
of the river. Phillips notes construction of a fish ladder was meant
to be part of the original Fabridam plan, and is thus required by
law. The fish ladder is needed for many migratory fish to get past
the dam, which is a block to their migration routes.
Phillips’ comments here.
construction of the fish ladder can restore shad fishing above the
Fabridam, and make it comparable to the revival of shad fishing in
the Delaware River. (Matt Farrand)
Senator talks about the benefits of drilling in the
Senator Gene Yaw (R-23rd, Williamsport) Senatorial District is in
favor of the drilling work at the Marcellus Shale Formation in
northern and western Pennsylvania. Yaw says this has the potential
to be the type of thing to turn the state around and change us into
an energy producing state.
He says state
officials are new to this undertaking and right now, they are in the
infancy stages. Yaw says some think it will be the savior to the
state’s budget issues, but it’s too early to look that far ahead.
Yaw also talked about over-regulation and protecting the water where
the drilling is taking place.
He says the DEP
and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission are doing their job of
protecting the water, which is a priority of Governor Ed Rendell.
The shale contains largely untapped natural gas reserves, and its
proximity to the high-demand markets along the East Coast of the
U.S. make it an attractive target for energy development. Yaw is
excited to see how the drilling develops and impacts the state in
the years to come. (Ali Stevens)
Is mercury in fish, harmful for humans?
UNDATED – We’ve talked in our Boroughs to the Bay
and Beyond segments about high amounts of mercury in fish and
aquatic life, but is it a serious problem for humans? That is a
question that Environmental Epidemiologist at Geisinger Medical
Center, Dr. Min, is looking into. Min says he has been interested in
this research in order to figure out if it is a health risk for
residents of the Central Susquehanna Valley.
Min is a member of the Susquehanna River Heartland
Coalition, which is in the process of setting up the first
comprehensive mercury monitoring system in the Valley. Grants
purchased the $40,000 mercury analysis machine, which will be
located at Susquehanna University. It will test water, air and
wildlife for mercury. (Sara Bartlett)
impacts of burning waste coal
UNDATED – It’s something that
the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Governor Ed Rendell support,
but something Director of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra
Club, Jeff Schmidt, calls the single biggest danger from energy
use. It’s the burning of waste coal, and Schmidt says there are
many environmental downsides. He says it’s not energy efficient,
and there is a higher volume of waste material after the burning
process is done. And, if those waste materials aren’t disposed of
properly, there could be a long-term threat to groundwater.
Schmidt says Pennsylvania generates well over 50% our
electricity from burning coal, which makes us one of the biggest
emitters of toxins. They not only include mercury, but lead,
arsenic, chromium and dioxide. Schmidt says there are many
alternatives to burning waste coal that we are not adequately
tapping into. On a more local level, he says becoming more energy
efficient doesn’t have to mean making drastic changes; it’s all
about using energy wisely. Schmidt will talk more about this topic
and other topics on an upcoming Leaders & Lawmakers program. (Sara
How the Susquehanna
River Basin Commission monitors safe gas drilling
Natural gas drilling continues in the northeastern portion of the
state and it’s part of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission’s job
to make sure that the drilling stays environmentally friendly.
Section Chief for Monitoring and Assessment, Jennifer Hoffman, says
the SRBC mainly looks for water withdrawal violations. She says
they make sure companies have the correct permits, and make sure
they are withdrawing water in a sustainable way.
Hoffman says they also
monitor gas companies’ proper disposal of flow-back water that could
be contaminated. She says they continue to do a lot of data
collection. They collect data to make sure that they are protecting
resources in an environmentally correct manner. The Susquehanna
River Basin Commission continues to observe many locations along
waterways with 1,500 monitoring stations throughout New York,
Maryland and Pennsylvania. They also collect data for state and
federal partners along with watershed groups. (Sara Bartlett)
advocating for proper stormwater management
UNDATED – The
over 2,500 municipalities in Pennsylvania are all responsible for
their own stormwater management. How is our region is doing with
stormwater plans and issues? Brian Hill is the President and CEO of
the Pennsylvania Environment Council, a group that works with
organizations, local and state officials and citizens to deal with
environmental concerns. Hill says stormwater issues that aren’t
addressed can become a big issue. Hill says locally, they are
working with Montour County to develop a stormwater management plan
that engages citizens and they are also looking to improving
statewide policy as well.
Hill says a good
plan for stormwater management includes knowing what kind of flows
to expect, how to address them and how to minimize their impact on
the community. He says there also must be legislative solutions.
Hill says many municipalities
are in the process of upgrading their stormwater systems. In
addition to stormwater management, the PA Environmental Council also
deals with energy conservation, climate chance and creating
sustainable communities. They work with numerous state
organizations including the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds
Rivers and the Environmental Advisory Council Network. (Sara
How land reclamation benefits both urban and suburban areas
Reclamation of land affected by acid mine drainage can alleviate
numerous problems and get land back to the way it looked prior to
mining. Robert Hughes is the Executive Director of the Eastern
Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandon Mine Reclamation, known as EPCMAR,
and says they have been working with community organizations in the
area to fix old stripping pits and re-vegetate sites. Hughes says
doing this could be a huge benefit for urban areas, by helping
economic development and creating sewer or water lines.
also help in outlying areas by making turning them into recreations
sites, such as safe ATV parks or trails and also help with wildlife
habitat restoration. The process of reclamation assists with
reducing the amount of water that flows underground through silt
piles. EPCMAR has recently been working on this along nearly 36
miles of Catawissa Creek and along Shamokin Creek. For more on
EPCMAR you can visit their website at
www.orangewaternetwork.org. (Sara Bartlett)
Stream bank stabilization at Little Shamokin Creek
SHAMOKIN – Over a dozen people
from numerous environmental groups around the Valley got together
earlier this month in an effort to stabilize the stream bank along
Little Shamokin Creek. The creek is Sunbury’s main supply of water.
Jackie Harner is a Watershed Specialist for the Northumberland
County Conservation District and says this site was a priority
because the creek was eroding the bank, which was close to Comfort
Road in Rockefeller Township. Installing a log deflector, which
they did at a number of spots along the creek, would improve fish
habitat and water quality, remove sediment and stabilize the bank,
therefore saving the road.
with the Little Shamokin Creek Watershed Association to stabilize
six spots along the waterway. She explains that the log defectors
are angled upstream and re-channel the water into the middle of the
stream, rather than having it hit the bank. President of the
Watershed Association Bob Herman says they worked hard and had a lot
of help with the process.
Little Shamokin Creek Watershed Association were members from the
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Rockefeller and Upper Augusta
Townships and the Sunbury Municipal Authority. They hope to see
immediate results of stabilization during times of high waters and
expect their efforts to hold for many years. (Sara Bartlett)
Listen to part
of Mark Lawrence's interview with Jackie Harner here
of the big institutions fighting for the river and the bay, on
SUNBURY – This weekend on our Roundtable program
we continue our annual series of stories on the Susquehanna River
and the Chesapeake Bay. Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond is the
award-winning, year-round series which looks at the issues facing
these critical watersheds, and focuses on solutions.
This weekend, three major institutions helping The
Valley environment, are represented on the show. The North Central
Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds
and the SEDA-COG Community Resource Center.
We discuss the mission of these groups, their
accomplishment and their ongoing projects. We talk about the
watershed’s relationship to human health, the Greenway initiative
and the ‘State of the River’ in our region. You can hear Roundtable
update on the future of the Marina building at the Shikellamy State
SUNBURY – The plan is to turn the Shikellamy
Marina building into an environmental research and education center,
however, what exactly will the project entail? The Susquehanna River
Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies is moving forward with
plans for the marina building.
Skip Wieder is convener for the group and says the
building will be expanded from the back toward the parking lot side
of the building. This will allow for exhibit space, research space
and also classrooms. The project has the backing and involvement of
several groups, including the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Additionally, six local colleges and universities,
Trout Unlimited and other local watershed organizations are part of
the SRHCES. Wieder was a guest this week on our sister station,
WKOK’s live talk show, “On the Mark”.
listen to the program online here. You can see more about
the SRHCES at www.srhces.org. (Ali
National recognition for Susquehanna River Trail
HARRISBURG – A portion of the Susquehanna River
has recently joined the prestigious ranks of the National Recreation
Trails Network. A special event was held Tuesday in Harrisburg to
recognize the accomplishment.
David Lange, Northeast regional manager for the
National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program says the middle
section of the Susquehanna River Trail flows from Sunbury through
Harrisburg and it was one of three that were added to the list from
Pennsylvania. He says the resources of the river are tremendous and
it’s probably one of the finest rivers in the state.
Lange says characteristics such as the way the
river cuts through the water gaps, its bass fishing and its
extensive network of islands that have been created over time, all
combine to make for a wonderful outdoor experience.
Lange says there are only a handful of other
rivers throughout the country that have water trails, which have
received such unique recognition. Secretary of Interior, Dirk
Kempthorne, made the announcement in the spirit of the 40th
anniversary of the National Trails System and to celebrate National
The Susquehanna River Water Trail was one of 24
trails, which were designated throughout 16 states to the network.
You can hear more about the Susquehanna River and how it affects our
region as we continue our Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond Series. For
a look at past features, go to www.wkok.com. (Sara Lauver)
Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond looks at an emerging mercury study
UNDATED – It will soon be easier to collect
mercury samples from waterways for a Susquehanna University
professor and his team. Head of the Chemistry Department at SU,
Chris Janzen, says a new mercury analysis machine was recently
He says the benefit is that preparation is
minimal; samples can go directly into the instrument. Plus, it is
less costly to do so. Janzen says the machine is automated, so
samples can be loaded up and run by themselves.
He says a benefit of the new machine will give
testers the ability to test a number of samples including fish,
mammal, soil and more. Janzen has been working on mercury analysis
in Shamokin Creek, as well as looking at the effects of acid mine
drainage there. Most recently, Janzen has been looking at metal
concentrations above and below the mitigation site to see what sort
of impact that is having. (Sara Bartlett)
Roundtable helps us continue our series: Boroughs to the Bay and
SUNBURY – This weekend on our Roundtable program,
we continue our series of stories entitled Boroughs to the Bay and
Beyond. We air the first of two Roundtable programs focusing on the
Susquehanna River, the Chesapeake Bay and how we all are affected by
Our panelists include Mike Bilger, of Eco-Analysts
Incorporated, and he tells us some of the issues facing watersheds
include agricultural impact, development pressure, and lately, the
Penn Valley Airport devastation, where riparian buffer’s were
removed, allowing soil to erode into the Penns Creek. One road has
been closed in that area because of the problem.
The Roundtable program also features professor
Steve Rier of Bloomsburg University, Dr. Jack Holt of Susquehanna
University and Ben Hayes of the Bucknell University Environmental
Center. You can hear all of the Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond
stories at www.wkok.com. You can hear Roundtable at www.wkok.com.
Wednesday, July, 9, 2008
SUNBURY – It’s often overlooked
and maybe some don’t even know about the wetlands in Sunbury near
Race and 6th Streets. And, that is what we’re talking about on
today’s segment of Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond. Ben Hayes is the
Susquehanna River Coordinator at the Bucknell University
Environmental Center. He says it is a naturally occurring wetland,
with the town of Sunbury built around it. But, it has suffered from
urban neglect including much pollution in and around it.
water was drained from the wetlands, and the outlet that ponded back
groundwater and surface water, which maintained amphibians and
plants, disappeared. This caused concern among many and also
prompted the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition and other local
groups to begin maintaining and restoring it. Hayes says students
have begun to do research on the water. Also, if the wetlands were
restored it could create a great community outreach for Sunbury,
according to Hayes.
were purchased by Sunbury architect Stan Seiple, who also started
the Sunbury Wetlands Association. We’ll learn more about the
wetlands as we continue our Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond series,
and you can hear more from Ben Hayes on our Roundtable program
Sunday at 9:00a.m. (Sara Bartlett)
Monday, July 7, 2008
Part Two: Susquehanna River Basin Commission:
The state of the River
UNDATED – The state of the Susquehanna River is improving. That’s
the opinion of Susquehanna River Basin Commission Executive Director
Paul Swartz, who also admits that many parts of the watershed still
need some improvement, including the West Branch, which are degraded
by abandon mines. Swartz says the good news is that they have been
seeing consistently improving long-term trends regarding the
concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus and suspended sediments in
Commission continues to monitor the quality of the water, Swartz
says the River Basin, because it is so water-rich is getting a lot
of attention for energy production projects. The most recent is gas
exploration, where companies collect millions of gallons of water
and eject it to create fractures in rocks where gas can then be
extracted. Swartz says doing this in small streams is risky, and
operations have the potential to use more water than should be
Swartz says this summer they have been working with over 50
different companies who are undertaking these projects; to make sure
they understand the Commission’s requirements. (Sara Bartlett)
Listen to Paul Swartz's full interview on Leaders & Lawmakers
Friday, July 4, 2008
Part One with Susquehanna River Basin Commission:
Who are they and what do they do?
– As we begin our Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond segments, we first
talk about the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. Their job? To
safeguard the watershed. This means, among other things, protecting
streams and aquatic resources, monitoring water quality and watching
out for floods and droughts. Executive Director of the SRBC, Paul
Swartz, says it also means they make sure that those who need water
get enough of it, and no one gets too much. He says they want to
make sure during dry times that the water is evenly split. He says
he doesn’t want a power or energy producer having water, when a
why should we worry about water? Swartz says because it is a finite
resource. He says it must be planned for and managed for the long
term, and we should conserve water not just during drought times.
SRBC continues to manage resources so there is enough water for now
and for generations to come. The Commission, which consists of a
staff of less than 40 people and operates with a budget of about $5
million, takes care of the over 27,500 square miles of the Watershed
from Cooperstown, New York to the Chesapeake Bay. (Sara Bartlett)
Listen to Paul Swartz's full interview on Leaders & Lawmakers
June 26, 2008
being made on Shikellamy Marina
– Plans are moving forward at the Shikellamy Marina. Skip Weider of
the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition says the group recently
met with members from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural
Resources and the state is now in the process of requesting bids
from architectural firms who will do work on an environmental
research and education center at the Shikellamy Marina. Weider says
it will most likely be a few months before the contract is awarded
to a bidding architectural firm.
firm is chosen, they will work with a group from the College
Coalition, which includes five scientists who will help determine
what the building will be used for. From there, construction is
slated to begin in early or mid 2009. Weider says the Coalition is
pleased to have progress being made on the Shikellamy Marina because
it shows the growing number of organizations that are active in
environmental projects that affect the Susquehanna River. (Sara
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
years of a three-year study on Penns Creek are complete
SELINSGROVE – Another report on monitoring and
assessment of Penns Creek has been completed by a Susquehanna
University professor. Dr. Jack Holt is Director of the Ecology
Program at SU and a professor of biology. He is more than halfway
finished a three-year study on Penns Creek and the future of the
watershed. Holt started the project last year by monitoring the
creek in 12 different spots.
In the second year of the study, samples were
collected and a habitat analysis was completed by Mike Bilger of
EcoAnalysts Inc. So far, Holt says the creek is in good shape and
they have a good foundation to work on. The problem area is to
prevent sediment runoff with boundaries for the creek. You can hear
the report from Dr. Holt, Mike Bilger and SU student Nate Moore at
the Penn’s Creek Adult Resource Center on Thursday at 7p.m. The
event is sponsored by the Lower Penns Creek Watershed Association,
who hopes to use the information from the study in the future for
the benefit of Penns Creek.
Listen to Ali Stevens'
story with Dr. Holt
January 7, 2008
drugs hurt fish?
SUNBURY – Could the drugs that humans take to aid
in their health actually be lethal to fish and other aquatic life?
Although it’s not a topic brought up very often, it is part of the
study known as ecotoxicology. Dr. Brian Mangan, Director of
Environmental Studies at Kings College in Wilkes-Barre, says the EPA
found that some pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs)
have emerged as a pollutant source in waterways and are not being
treated by sewage treatment.
According to EPA, humans can contribute PPCPs to
the environment when medication is passed out of the body, when
externally-applied drugs are washed down the shower or sink drain or
when unused or expired medications are placed in the trash. Mangan
and his students have been working for about a year and a half with
antidepressants to find out if they have any effect on fish. He
says they have found that the three medications they tested do
change the behaviors of aquatic life.
says the ecotoxicology studies have changed from the past, as they
used to test drugs on fish to see if it was fatal. Now, they test
the sub-lethal effects and behavioral changes. The EPA says the
number of PPCPs are growing, with over 100 of individual products
identified in environmental samples and drinking water in 2007.
They say, although the study is rather new, the advances in
technology will improve the ability to detect chemicals and find out
what type of effect they have on human and environmental health.
Listen to Mark Lawrence's full interview with Dr. Mangan about this
Thursday, January 4, 2008
Effects of Mercury in Susquehanna River
Mercury is not only a threat to the river and its
inhabitants, it can also be dangerous to people. Dr. Brian Mangan,
Director of Environmental Studies at Kings College in Wilkes-Barre,
says mercury is a byproduct of burning coal and once it is in the
can concentrate itself into the food chain. Mangan says the
destructive effect of mercury was
first discovered at Minamata Bay in Japan during the 1950’s.
Mangan says the damage done by mercury can be very hard to reverse,
as it can find its way into nerve tissue in both humans and other
Mangan says there are many things that can be
done to remove these pollutants from rivers and streams, but it
ultimately comes to
costs verse benefits. He says coal is a very cheap source of
energy and a company may not be able to afford the expensive means
of removing mercury.
Pennsylvania has recently adopted a stance to
no longer allow the trading of mercury emissions. Mangan says
the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition is working with the
Department of Environmental Protection and the Fish and Boat
Commission to get an assessment of where the area stands now in
regards to mercury.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
coal mining can be helpful to the environment
SUNBURY – Some people may think that coal mining
is a polluter to the environment, but it’s the opposite, says
Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Anthracite Council, Duane
Feagley. In this addition of our Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond
segment, we take a look at the positive aspects of mining for the
environment. Feagley says the process of mining has
radically changed over the past 30 years.
says as long as miners continue this active reclamation of the land,
there will be a positive effect on the environment. He says coal
mining plays a major part in Northumberland County, as the county
still controls quite a few coal lands in the area that are leased to
miners and help provide income. You can read this and other
Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond segments online at wkok.com.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Bad species invading the river
WILKES-BARRE – A very invasive species of mussel is showing up in
our river. This week on our Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond segment,
we take a look at another dangerous species invading the Susquehanna
River. They are called Zebra Mussels, and have been officially found
in the North Branch of the River, mainly near Hallstead in
Brian Mangan, Director of Environmental Studies at Kings College in
Wilkes-Barre, has been monitoring Zebra Mussels in the Susquehanna
River for the past 20 years, and says the way they make their living
from filter feeding can be dangerous to the ecology of the river.
Mangan previously spoke about another invasive species called the
Asian clam, which has also been found in the main stem and the
West Branch of the river.
These two species of mollusks, plus harmful human activity, such as
the building of dams and the dumping of hazardous materials have put
the Susquehanna on a list of endangered rivers for the past 10
years. Mangan says the community must be vigilant when these issues
come to the forefront. (Sara Bartlett)
Monday, October 1, 2007
State of the River report released
SUNBURY – A comprehensive annual report of the Susquehanna River is
now available. Presented by the Susquehanna River Heartland
Coalition for Environmental Studies, the report summarizes projects
and activities dealing with the river that are currently underway in
our area. Executive Director of the North Central PA Conservancy,
Renee Carey says it also focuses on the big environmental issue of
abandoned mine drainage.
Intern for the North Central PA Conservancy, Molly Clay, did most of
report includes a list of all of the county conservation districts
in the region, so if people want to get involved at the local level,
they can contact their own watershed specialist. You can read the
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Local conservation districts are doing soil testing
SUNBURY – We have been talking lately on Boroughs to the Bay and
Beyond, about what you can do to help the Susquehanna River and
Chesapeake Bay watersheds. The question now is, where to get
local conservation district office is one of the places. Shannon
Burkland of the Union County Conservation district told us last week
that they spend a lot of time on education. Here she says, they are
the ‘go-to’ place for all kinds of
funding and assistance.
can contact the Union County Conservation District at 524-3860, or
contact the conservation district office in your county. The
conservation district’s hold regular monthly meetings and offer a
variety of services.
have a staff dedicated to helping all residents and property owners
with environmental and conservation questions. Boroughs to the Bay
and Beyond is our series of stories dedicated to the local
watersheds and what individuals can do to help our environment.
Friday, August 31, 2007
The time is now to get involved
SUNBURY - Now is the time for you to help…save the bay…and the
watershed in your backyard. That's the call for action issued by our
guests on Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond. In the latest segment, Dr.
Mel Zimmerman, a professor of biology at Lycoming College, the head
Clean Water Institute, and chair of the
Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environment Studies,
tells us, there are plenty of
opportunities coming up.
Go to www.wkok.com for links to the upcoming symposium and the other
agencies working to help the river. From Trout Unlimited, Rebecca
Dunlap tells us, we should all get informed and
All of the Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond stories and associated
links are posted at www.wkok.com. Our stories focus on the
Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay and what you can do to help
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Defining your watershed…on Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond
SUNBURY – Today we continue our series of reports, Boroughs to the
Bay and Beyond. We’ve been talking about the West Branch Valley and
various ‘watersheds’ around here, but the question arises, what is a
watershed? Dr. Mel Zimmerman, a senior professor of biology at
Lycoming College and the head of their Clean Water Institute, tells
us, it starts
in your back yard:
we are all in various watersheds. We are in our local watershed,
typically defined by the nearest significant creek or stream. We are
in the Susquehanna Valley watershed and we are in the Chesapeake Bay
Watershed. Zimmerman said that is why there are so many local
watershed groups—each serves a narrow slice of our regional
environment and works to affect positive change on that waterway.
You can find out about the local watershed near you, but going to
DEP’s main website…you can see that link, at
Thursday, August 16, 2007
The West Branch is getting lots of help from DEP
SUNBURY – There are numerous local watershed groups helping to clean
up the West Branch of the Susquehanna River…and the government is
there to help. In our Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond segment today,
we find out that the state Department of Environmental Resources is
a big ally of watershed groups. Mike Smith, a DEP mining manager
says the department is hard at work regulating the active mining
industry. Hear his comment
The efforts have paid off…the river is greatly improved in the Lock
Haven area. Above the community of Clearfield, the river is much
better now. Also, the Babb’s Creek and Pine Creek projects were big
Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond is WKOK’s effort to focus attention
on the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay, the critical issues
facing these watersheds, and identifying solutions.
Saturday and Sunday, August 11 & 12, 2007
More information about the West Branch restoration effort
SUNBURY – The West Branch of the Susquehanna is the smaller of the
two branches but is getting far more attention when it comes to
restoration and conservation. Our Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond
story today looks further into the efforts of Trout Unlimited.
has identified the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, as a
restorable trout fishery, Amy Wolfe, is the the Director of
Abandoned Mine Programs at T-U says, there is
just one problem.
Trout Unlimited is leading the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration
Coalition, a group of local watershed groups, and local businesses
who are promoting the restoration efforts on the West Branch of the
Susquehanna River. The coalition is concerned about Acid Mine
Drainage from mines, which pollute the Deer and Moshannon Creeks;
both of those streams feed into the West Branch and are polling
are also helping other groups. Lycoming College is helping with
education and outreach, doing monitoring of the West Branch, and
they hope to include the West Branch information in the State of the
River report coming out this fall.
August 10, 2007
A thriving group busy in the West Branch
SUNBURY – Our Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond story today deals with
trout in the river. There are no trout in the Susquehanna River
today, but not so years ago. Trout Unlimited has identified the West
Branch of the Susquehanna River, as a restorable trout fishery, and
so they have devoted countless hours on this part of Pennsylvania.
Wolfe, is the Director of Abandoned Mine Programs at T-U and says
the coalition is concerned about Acid Mine Drainage from mines,
which pollute the Deer Creek and Moshannon Creek; both of those
streams feed into the West Branch and are polluting them badly.
Hear her comment here.
Trout Unlimited is now serving as the catalyst of the West Branch
Susquehanna Restoration Coalition, a group of local watershed
groups, and local businesses who are promoting the restoration
efforts on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
are also helping other groups. Lycoming College is helping with
education and outreach, doing monitoring of the West Branch, and
they hope to include the West Branch information in the State of the
River report coming out this fall.
We’ll hear more about their efforts in our next report. Boroughs to
the Bay and Beyond is WKOK’s focus on the Susquehanna River and
Chesapeake Bay watersheds.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
The latest on a toad issue
SUNBURY – We’ve been telling you about a very special tenant of the
Milton Area Industrial Park…but its not a business, it’s the rare
Eastern Spadefoot Toad. There is an update on its fate. At a recent
meeting of the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for
Environmental Studies, Renee Carey of the Northcentral Pennsylvania
Conservancy talked about
a compromise in the works.
Carey said the Milton Area Industrial Development Authority is
interested in developing the site, but they don’t want to, and can’t
threaten the endangered species that is the Eastern Spadefoot Toad.
The toads turned up on the site, and is one of only two or three
places in Pennsylvania where the toad is found. It lives in wet
areas, stays buried and emerges rarely.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
How a clam is changing the river
SUNBURY – Our Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond series today looks at a
new invasive species that is spreading up the Susquehanna River.
Brian Mangan, the director of the environmental program at Kings
College, told us about an invasive species
they are concerned about.
problem with the clam can be, what do they eat that used to be
consumed by other species, and what happens to their waste—what does
that do to our drought affected river. More about the Asian clam in
the Susquehanna…in our next segment of Boroughs to the Bay and
Monday, August 3, 2007
More on a clam, changing the river
SUNBURY – Our Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond series today looks
another look at a new invasive species of clam, which is turning up
in the main stem, and the North Branch of the Susquehanna River.
Brian Mangan, the director of the environmental program at Kings
College, told us the impact of the increasingly
Asian clam is the corbicula fluminea and has been in the main stem
of the river for some time and is only recently turning up in the
North Branch. Its effect on the Chesapeake Bay is not really known.
But it is new to central Pennsylvania and is being spread in the
river by boaters and anglers. More about the river and bay, in our
transcripts of Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond. Read more at
Friday, August 3, 2007
A 'Willing to Pay' survey is underway on the West Branch
SUNBURY – The Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond segment today continues
our conversation with a specialized consultant who is helping Trout
Unlimited. T-U has focused a lot of its attention on the West Branch
of the Susquehanna River.
They have asked Evan Hansen of the firm, Downstream Strategies LLC,
to quantify how much a clean up of the West Branch would pay off in
the long run. But first, the work must be paid for now, and Hansen
said that’s where one of their latest surveys
West Branch of the Susquehanna River is impaired by high volumes of
Acid Mine Drainage, coming primarily from tributaries in Clearfield
and Centre Counties. There are numerous efforts underway to clean up
and stop these discharges.
Trout Unlimited is hoping that their very specific plans and numbers
will help them leverage additional state and federal dollars to help
with the clean up. Hansen told us in our last report, that restoring
the West Branch would be a huge economic benefit for the existing
and future residents of the West Branch valley..
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Economic development on the West Branch
SUNBURY – So far this year, our Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond
segments have focused on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
We continue that focus today and we talk to a very specialized
consultant, who is helping Trout Unlimited. He is looking at the
economic development potential that goes with cleaning up the West
Branch of the river.
Hansen is with the company, Downstream Strategies LLC said
initially, there is an economic boost when the stream or river
undergoes a complete assessment, then remediation efforts can be in
the millions of dollars, then recreation opportunities follow, and
property values rise.
Next, he’ll describe how a survey of people, will help determine
‘how much people will pay, to fund a clean up of the West Branch of
the Susquehanna River. Boroughs to the Bay and Beyond is WKOK’s
examination of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds.
We look at issues facing these waterways—and what is being done to
help. You can hear our interview
Monday, July 30, 2007
Chesapeake Bay Commission talking 'REAP'
SUNBURY – In today’s segment of Boroughs to the Bay…and Beyond, we
find more out about the REAP bill that was passed in Harrisburg
recently. We’ve spoken to the non-profit organization that is the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation, but now we talk to the Chesapeake Bay
Commission (which is a governmental agency).
Marel Raub, the Pennsylvania Director of the Chesapeake Bay
Commission said REAP should help farmers. Farmers will able to
reduce phosphorus, nitrogen and other runoff, and reduce sediment
erosion. REAP provides tax credits to farmers who implement ‘best
management practices.’ Hear more
goal is to help reduce nutrient and sediment pollution from farms.
Raub said the goal of the effort is to help clean up the Chesapeake
Bay. More about this clean-up effort, in our next segment of
Boroughs to the Bay…and Beyond.
Friday/Saturday, July 27 & 28, 2007
A State of the River report is being compiled
LEWISBURG – The Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for
Environmental Studies is overseeing the compilation of a first ever,
State of the River report for our region. Renee Carey, of the
Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, told us they are working with
a student at Bucknell, and hope to pull together all the various
studies, assessments and clean-up efforts, into one State of the
River report. Here is her full
Carey said the conservancy is serving as the ‘organizational conduit
for study’ because the conservancy is already the coordinator of the
Lower West Branch Susquehanna River Conservation Plan and is a
partnership in the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership. Boroughs to the
Bay…and Beyond is our continuing look at the Susquehanna River and
Sunday/Monday, July, 22 & 23, 2007
The head of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was on
the WKOK newsline
SUNBURY – The head of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was on the WKOK
newsline recently, talking about the reality of global warming and
its affect on watersheds in this part of the world. Will Baker also
gave us a critique of our national and state lawmakers, and their
actions protecting the environment. He said their results are mixed,
but REAP was a victory.
with that victory in mind, Will Baker said it is time for federal
and state lawmakers to fight even harder for the Susquehanna River
and the bay…he says the foundation wants politicians to stop
thinking about a clean environment as ‘optional.’ He said the CBF
will continue pushing for action on these key critical environmental
and conservation issues.
As for the future?
foundation is calling for a reduction in greenhouse gases; the use
of more energy efficient light bulbs, more fuel-efficient cars and a
reduction in long commutes. He says, the effects of the subtle
changes in our warming environment are already being felt, with the
bay level rising and strong storms having a greater impact on the
water and land.
can read more at the foundation’s main website,
www.cbf.org. You can read our Boroughs to the Bay…and Beyond
stories, and hear our interviews here. Next on Boroughs to the
Bay…and Beyond…thinking of conservation as economic development…on
Thursday, July, 19, 2007
Climate change poses threat to Chesapeake, group
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – The Chesapeake Bay faces more problems than
just pollution and development. In our Boroughs to the Bay…and
Beyond segment, we find out today, that the Chesapeake Bay
Foundation released a report today that says the bay is increasingly
threatened by global warming. Will Baker, the president of the
foundation told us on the newsline,
what’s at stake.
Baker said that rising temperatures are already stressing brook
trout here in Pennsylvania and striped bass in the bay, and are
responsible for a massive die-off of eel grass in the lower bay two
As for what we can do.
Baker, of the says the bay could rise three to four feet by the end
of the century. The Foundation is expected to call for reductions in
greenhouse gases to help prevent more damage.
Wednesday, July, 18, 2007
Big news for folks concerned about the Susquehanna
River and Bay
HARRISBURG - The state budget that was passed this week has some
good news for farmers-and for people interested in preserving and
enhancing the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay. The state house
and senate passed, and the governor signed, the Resource Enhancement
and Protection Act. It is known as REAP, and will allow farmers to
receive tax credits, or a reduction in their taxes, if they install
'state of the art' conservation practices. Matthew Ehrhart of the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation explains the process. Listen
goal is give farmers help as they try to reduce water pollution.
Improvements on the farm can include barnyard enhancements, stream
buffers, fencing and developing other measures, which will help
insure clean water and soil. REAP passed in Pennsylvania with the
first-year cap of $10 million. That means the state could lose no
more than $10 million in revenue because of the tax incentives given
to farmers. More tomorrow, on Boroughs to the Bay…and Beyond…on
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Boroughs to the Bay…and Beyond…another look…west
SUNBURY - We've focused on the most impaired branch of the
Susquehanna River so far, as we continue our Boroughs to the Bay…and
Beyond segments. At a recent meeting of the Susquehanna River
Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies, a representative of
the Susquehanna River Basin Commission gave a 'state of the river'
report for the west branch. Listen
Clark from the river basin commissioner said, it may surprise folks
that the West Branch is the most impaired, but it has more miles of
dead streams than the North Branch (or the main stem of the
Susquehanna River. That means it has more streams-compromised-or
dead-because of Abandoned Mine Drainage. It also has more efforts
underway to clean up these problems.
Monday, July 16, 2007
The Western Pennsylvania Watershed Program is
SUNBURY – Today, in our next segment of Boroughs to the Bay…and
Beyond, we find out more about the many efforts to clean-up the West
Branch of the Susquehanna River and clean-up other waterways in the
western half of the state.
Western Pennsylvania Watershed Program is thriving, under the
direction administrator, John Dawes. Our reporter Mark Lawrence
conducted a short interview with Dawes, who told us, one of their
primary duties, is to use donated dollars, to ‘draw down’ federal
and state matching dollars. You can hear that interview
here. You can hear more Boroughs to the Bay…and Beyond segments,
in future newscasts, on Newsradio 1070 WKOK, and posted at WKOK.com.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Cleaning up the pollution on the West Branch of the Susquehanna
SUNBURY – This weekend, on our Roundtable program, we launch our
second year of focus on the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake
Bay. Boroughs to the Bay…and Beyond is the name of our series this
year. On Roundtable, we find out about the West Branch Susquehanna
Restoration Coalition. Trout Unlimited is a main player in this
group, and Amy Wolfe of Trout Unlimited tells us, the big job of the
She said their job is to serve as lead catalyst for the many
initiatives in the West Branch Valley. The coalition also provides
services for everyone, interested in cleaning up the West Branch
represented on Roundtable this weekend, the Lycoming College Clean
Water Institute, the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for
Environmental Studies, DEP and several watershed groups.
You can hear Roundtable (Sunday) on:
Eagle 107 (107.3FM) at 6a.m.
100.9, The Valley, at 6a.m.
WKOK at 9a.m.
Talkradio 1380 WMLP, 11a.m.
94KX at 11p.m.
And anytime by
Monday June 5th, 2006
Looking at the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay
SUNBURY – Today, WKOK and our sister stations at Sunbury
Broadcasting Corporation, begin an informational series of
broadcasts regarding the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.
This series is entitled, Boroughs to the Bay, and everywhere in
between. Each day we’ll have a news story about efforts to clean up,
improve, conserve, preserve or enhance the river and the bay. We’ll
have several Leaders & Lawmakers segments and Roundtables too.
Today, we have an update on Byers Island, the name for the largest
of six islands recently donated by PPL to the North Central
Pennsylvania Conservancy. The islands are near Shamokin Dam, and
Renee Carey, the Executive Director of the conservancy tells us, the
Susquehanna Water Trail Association is currently making a portage
trail and camping site on the islands. They hope to have that work
done in time for the Susquehanna Sojourn’s visit to our area
Saturday, June 17th.
Ultimately, the conservancy will donate the islands to the State
Department of Forestry. That department is still determined how they
will manage the bird and island habitat on the islands.
Tomorrow afternoon, we’ll hear from the Western Pennsylvania
Watershed Program, who are already concerned about the West Branch
of the river, and are extending that concern—and funding—to the rest
of the Susquehanna River basin. (Mark Lawrence)
Tuesday, June 6th, 2006
Local Watershed groups could be funding from
SUNBURY – The Boroughs to the Bay—our summer 2006 focus on the
Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay continues with word that dozens
of local watershed groups could get some new funding from an
unexpected source. The Western Pennsylvania Watershed Program has
been helping groups in their part of the state for years, but now
they are looking at helping watershed restoration efforts on the
West Branch of the Susquehanna River and the Main Stem.
Branden Diehl, the Program Assistant for the program recently told
area environmental leaders that there are now funds available for
local watershed groups, “The message today is that (we) are moving
into the Susquehanna Region, working with groups on the West Branch
of the Susquehanna as well with groups as the main stem of the
can provide them with restoration dollars…and help them coordinate
their efforts, and bringing them not only financial resources, but
manpower resources, technical resources and any other resources that
we provide to help them achieve their mission of watershed
restoration,” he said.
said people should be happy about the new partnerships that are
being developed between Central Pennsylvania watershed groups and
the western Pennsylvania programs. He called it an economic
development program because it improves recreation opportunities and
helps in revitalization efforts.
Tomorrow…lots of floaters coming to our area soon…
Wednesday June 7th, 2006
There is a pair of canoe trips scheduled through
SUNBURY – Now another installment of our Boroughs to the Bay focus
on the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay. Within the next 30
days, two groups of canoeists will float, and paddle, and portage
through our area.
First, the 16th annual Susquehanna Sojourn, sponsored by the
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, will launch next week from the
Susquehanna Riverlands Environmental Preserve, near the Susquehanna
Nuclear Power Plant near Berwick. Their 9-day destination is Safe
Harbor Dam, in southern Pennsylvania, about 128 miles downstream.
They’ll stop at Shikellamy State Park Marina June 16th, and the next
day, portage on Byer’s Island near Shamokin Dam.
second canoe trip, June 18th, in Cooperstown, New York, the
Chesapeake Bay foundation’s Expedition Susquehanna 2006, gets
underway. Twelve Future Farmers of America members will canoe about
444 miles over five weeks and end up in Annapolis, Maryland. They
will be at the Shikellamy State Park Marina, Saturday, July 1st, for
a public Watershed Expo. A local student, Brian Gray of Selinsgrove,
will be on that expedition.
Patten with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation says, “They will be
canoeing most of that time with side trips off the river to explore
watershed issues to talk to experts and community people and other
watershed stakeholders about what’s going on in various parts of the
watershed, what the issues are and what people are doing to help.”
will continue to follow the expeditions as they near, we’ll report
on the two canoe trips through our area and we’ll talk to students
and participants along the way. Tomorrow on Boroughs to the Bay: The
Kreamer connection to the Chesapeake Bay.
Thursday, June 8th, 2006
Helping to ‘Save-the-Bay-in-Kreamer-P-A’
KREAMER – The Boroughs to the Bay series continues today with word
that the Kreamer Municipal Authority and their newly expanded sewage
treatment facility is part of the solution. The newly expanded plant
has nearly double the capacity as the previous facility, but more
important, it treats wastewater more thoroughly. Pat George of
Kreamer is a member of the municipal authority, she tells us the
Susquehanna River, and Chesapeake Bay are threatened by nitrogen and
phosphorus in sewage effluent.
new plant can treat sewage and more effectively remove these
elements from the discharge. She said of the 121 sewage treatment
plants in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, most, nearly 80% are rated
as unacceptable by the Chesapeake Bay foundation. She did note that
storm-water run-off and agriculture discharges are still threatening
the bay, but in Kreamer, they are proud to say that they part of the
solution—and not part of the problem.
Another big problem with sewage treatment facilities—is untreated
overflows, when the plant capacity is overtaxed and untreated sewage
enters the river and the bay. George said their new plant has a much
higher capacity and that will reduce sewage overflows.
Friday, June 9th, 2006
Our Boroughs to the Bay series continues
SUNBURY – Our Boroughs to the Bay series continues…this week we’ve
looked at some problems and some solutions related to the
Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay. However, what needs to be done
to restore and enhance this watershed?
Baker, the Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation tells
us, they have identified some systemic solutions: First, get the
vast majority of sewage treatment plants in full compliance with
long term goals of releasing no nitrogen or phosphorus into the
river. Next, address agriculture run-off in a greater way—that’s the
biggest source of nutrient pollution in the water, and third, burn
fewer fossil fuels.
means reducing emissions from cars, power plants and other sources.
The next priority will be addressing storm water runoff in
municipalities (which he says is full of contaminants) and get
homeowners to fertilize responsibly.
Ironically he said the pollution and the death of the bay, isn’t a
problem in search of a solution, it’s a easily defined set of
solutions in search of funding, and the will to make the change. You
and I can drive less, conserve water, make sure our furnaces are
working well, and live a more earth-friendly life. He encourages
people to get more information, at www.cbf.org. Next on Boroughs to
the Bay: Sunday and Monday on WKOK, the Susquehanna River Trails,
and their waterproof map.
Saturday/Sunday Weekend Update 6/10/06
Boroughs to the Bay looks at the Susquehanna River
SUNBURY – The Boroughs to the Bay series continues today with word
that a very busy trail goes through our area—and you might not even
noticed. The Susquehanna River Trail is an organization, which has
mapped, in detail, several river trails, including the middle
section—from Sunbury to Harrisburg. The mission of the Susquehanna
River Trail project is to promote and facilitate recreation on the
Susquehanna River and its many islands.
trail association has produced maps, which aid canoeists, and
kayakers as they utilize the river. The maps give detailed data on
islands, portage information and where various riverside facilities
can be found. Brook Lenker of Camp Hill is a co-founder of the river
trail and a past president of the association.
says they produce GPS ready water-proof water-trail guides. They
also oversee 20 islands between Sunbury and Harrisburg which they
prepare for camping and portaging by clearing some brush and debris,
and erecting informational signs. They also coordinate the many
volunteers who are Island Stewards…those individuals visit the
islands frequently, maintain the association’s work and monitor the
can get more information at www.susquehannarivertrail.org. Next, on
Boroughs to the Bay, we’ll talk to the Selinsgrove area Student who
has a 444-mile canoe trip in his future.
Monday, June 12th, 2006
It is all about the environment—so says a
Selinsgrove teen going on an expedition
SUNBURY – An area teenager is tough to track down, making FFA trips
to summer competitions, attending 4-H and other activities, and
picking up some awards along the way. Our Boroughs to the Bay series
continues today with word that 16-year-old Brian Gray of rural
Selinsgrove, is one of the 12 high school Future Farmers of America
students going on the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Expedition
Susquehanna 2006. He lives and works on the family farm, and said
watershed issues have been a big part of his life already.
He’ll canoe from Cooperstown New York, to Annapolis Maryland, and
participate in side trips along the way. The Foundation is using the
trip to promote conservation and enhancing the Susquehanna River and
Chesapeake Bay watershed. Gray said he hopes to learn more about
aquatic wildlife and the threats to the river and the bay. He said
he signed up because it sounded like a good, fun trip, and a good
educational, informational cause. As for his future, he wants to be
an engineer and stay associated with agriculture.
Tomorrow, we’ll hear from the head of Lycoming College’s Clean Water
Institute, about local watershed restoration efforts locally.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
The river is much cleaner…thanks to our guest on
Boroughs to the Bay today
SUNBURY – The Susquehanna River is full of boaters and anglers, and
is lined with campsites at some locations. Canoeists enjoy the river
and creeks…so what is all this talk about problems in the
Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay Watershed? Today in our
Boroughs to the Bay segment, we start to talk about the Chesapeake
Bay Commission and their role in monitoring recreation, and
invisible pollution in the river.
Marel Raub is the Pennsylvania Director of the commission and she
tells us about their work. She says, they are a tri-state,
legislative commission, “I work as a staff person to the legislators
and citizen members who serve on that commission. One local member
is Representative Russell Fairchild (R-85th, Lewisburg), he’s been a
member for a long time, and has served well in leadership of that
commission through the years, and we look at what is the role of
state government, helping to facilitate local efforts, helping to
facilitate state efforts, there have been lots of laws and
regulations that have been put in place over the last 20-years,
because the river is improving.”
is the key…lots of progress so far, and far more progress to go.
Currently, she says major point source polluters have been
controlled, but hidden nitrogen and phosphorus, and phenomenal
amounts of sediment from erosion, are flooding the bay and killing
thousands of aquatic plants and wildlife each year.
Tomorrow, more about the commission’s work, helping to Save the Bay,
and more talk about, the Susquehanna Greenway.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
The bay is being cleaned up, thanks to local folks
SUNBURY – We keep talking about the Chesapeake Bay, and that is
good, but the work to clean up the bay doesn’t have anything to do
with Maryland or anyone else in the bay. The problem, starts, here.
In our Boroughs to the Bay feature today, we hear from the
Chesapeake Bay Commission, and we hear that local efforts are the
key to the clean-up.
Marel Raub is the Pennsylvania Director of the commission and she
tell us, watershed organizations have been popping up,
lot of local groups have been working over the past 20-years and
even more intensively in the past decade, we’ve had Growing Greener
funding of local watershed groups to do a lot of work at the local
level to address some of the issues that have been talked about.
Looking at their local watershed to identify exactly what are the
sources of nutrient and sediment pollution in that local watershed
and helping to secure grant money or other sources of funding to go
in and actually help make a difference. We help them put ‘best
management practices’ on the land and a lot of work has been going
on, at the local level.”
There are numerous local watershed groups who continue to address
local water problems, helping to mitigate acid mine drainage,
cleaning stream banks and adding buffers to keep muddy run off water
from going in the local watershed. We’ll hear from some of those
groups in the weeks ahead and next on Boroughs to the Bay, we’ll
talk about the Susquehanna Greenway.
Friday, June 16, 2006
The Susquehanna Greenway, explained, today on
Boroughs to the Bay
SUNBURY – The Susquehanna Greenway is not exactly a household phrase
around here, but some people we talked to for our Boroughs to Bay
segment hope that will change soon. The Susquehanna Greenway is the
name of a unified series of land and water, recreational locations
and other attractions, which will be connected by signs and maps.
Greenway reports in their latest materials that they hope to renew
awareness of the river valley, its distinctive scenery and natural
and cultural heritage. Sounds ’conceptual’ but Brian Auman, the
interim coordinator of the Susquehanna Greenway tells us, they have
very practical concerns about addressing water quality as part of
partnership is really in a transitional phase right now. For the
last four years, we’ve been planning the Susquehanna Greenway,
‘Whats the vision? What can this achieve?’ and we’re really now
making this transition to an organization that will be established
to provide implementation and putting projects on the ground. Water
quality and environment stewardship is a major part of our vision
for the Susquehanna Greenway and everybody talks about this
connected system, making this connection the realization that water
quality is a barometer of how well we’re being stewards of the land,
making that connection to people, and bringing the big picture of
the bay—home to people in their backyards.”
Currently, the Susquehanna Greenway effort involves a broad regional
partnership, which is in search of more funding. Next, we’ll hear
from Brian Auman, on specific water quality concerns.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
You can't have a Greenway without clean water
SUNBURY-- In the coming days, our Boroughs to the Bay features, we
will focus on the close ties between economic development--and
having a high quality watershed (like the Susquehanna River and the
Chesapeake Bay). Brian Auman, the interim coordinator of the
Susquehanna Greenway partnership says the Greenway is a concept that
ties together numerous recreational, natural, historical, and
cultural sites along the Susquehanna River. Improving the watershed
is critical, according to Auman, and so is educating local residents
that everybody in this area impacts the river. He says chemical
contamination of river water indicates that many are poor stewards
of the upper part of the watershed.
problem he says, is that when our soils run off and travel in the
bay--it is bad that they have to deal with the sediment, but what’s
worse--is that we no longer have those soils in our area.
Tomorrow--Clean & green--clean water and green dollars are one in
Monday, June 19, 2006
Money rolls into our region—thanks to the…river
SUNBURY – The Sunbury area is unique—the Susquehanna River and Lake
Augusta are at a location where major highways converge, where there
has been tremendous growth in business and housing, and there
recreation has become a busier industry. In our Boroughs to the Bay
segment today, we follow the money to the river.
Kissinger, the president of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber
of Commerce told us, Sunbury’s Riverfront project is just one way,
you’ll see, water leading the way toward economic development,
“Bring vibrancy back to Front Street in Sunbury, leveraging the
river, bring tourism and visitors who then see what a great Market
Street business environment is prevalent there, creating and
generating new types of businesses that are focused on serving those
visitors as well as other types of service oriented companies is
just going to create a renaissance project.”
don’t have to go very far to see an example, Mayor Reed in
Harrisburg has done a phenomenon job in recognizing how you need to
leverage river front redevelopment in terms of encouraging downtown
revitalization, Harrisburg has seen a tremendous renaissance on city
island and the river front.” He adds, the river and recreation are
worth fighting for, because they prove to visitors (and continually
show local residents) that they are in a thriving area, a growing
area, with a high quality of life.
on Boroughs to the Bay…the Creative Class and the Central
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
The Boroughs to the Bay, and the Creative Class
SUNBURY – The entire Central Susquehanna Valley has something now
other area in the U-S has: a high quality of life, hunting, fishing,
and other outdoor sports. Close proximity with urban areas, an eager
work force…and great education. These are a few of the attractions
for the Creative Class.
Today on our Boroughs to the Bay segment, Kurt Kissinger with the
Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce tells us about this
class of new job seekers and entrepreneurs, who regard the assets of
our area as indispensable.
“Diversity plays a role in this, but also quality of life aspects,
building a quality of life place, where people can work here,
because they want the quality of life that sets this region apart
from other regions, but can provide their services as a labor force
to local companies, globally active. So this creative class, one
that is geared on idea generation, product development, fostering
diversity…is one that demands quality of life aspects to where they
live and work. So, enhancing the river, leveraging the river as a
community and economic development resources is every important to
nurturing that creative place,”
key—is recreation. The Chesapeake Bay watershed—including our
area—includes many of the attractive outdoor opportunities for the
people who are looking for a growing, rural area, with a lot of
offer. Kissinger said our area has some deficits in this area—but
there is progress and the problems have been identified.
Next—the head of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, talking about our
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Time to talk about more solutions…on Boroughs to
SUNBURY – We’ve been talking about the threats to the bay for weeks
now; the farm runoff, sewage plant overflows, and over fertilizing
our lawns. We know the threats and the real problems now, but what
about the solutions. In our Boroughs to the Bay segment today, we
hear a call to action.
Ehrhart, the Pennsylvania Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation
tells us, we have to keep up the ‘riparian’ zones near streams.
Those are the buffers of brush and trees near streams, which help
prevent soil from eroding into the waterway. Beyond that—everyone
needs to take action.
need folks to be engage, more involved, and we all flush. Therefore,
when it comes time to upgrade our wastewater treatment plants (many
of them haven’t been upgraded in 20-30-50 years) and it is really
time. There’s a cost to that and its not always easy, but it is time
to move ahead with that. So be a proponent of that, and get engaged
with the process, with your local watershed association, with your
local trout unlimited chapter, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, all these
groups have avenues where people can weigh in with their legislators
and policy makers. We need to keep funding the Growing Greener
program; we need to have advocates when these issues come up.
People also need to know, their vote really counts…get involved with
local and regional groups, and find out about watershed groups who
are having a big impact around here. We’ll hear from those groups in
the coming weeks. Next, we will walk the Sunbury Riverfront, and
talk about the big changes coming there.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Sunbury’s riverfront project has the attention of many people
SUNBURY –There are certainly local people who are big supporters of
the Sunbury River Front Project and there are also, most certainly,
local people who are aren’t supporting the project…but in this
Boroughs to the Bay segment today, we find out the eyes of a lot of
state leaders are focused on Sunbury.
Catherine Scheib, the community development coordinator for the City
of Sunbury tells us, the riverfront project is viewed as a flagship
effort for the Susquehanna Greenway. The entire greenway pivots on
Sunbury and she tells us why Sunbury—and the project are so
location of Sunbury on the Susquehanna River and the ability to
access Lake Augusta (which is a 3,000 acre recreational lake) is
just an incredible opportunity to bring young people with families
that are looking for a quality of life because life along the
riverfront can be incredibly engaging. You have recreational
opportunities, you have environmental opportunities and just the
beauty of the river is very compelling for some people to live by.”
Catherine Scheib also tells us that the riverfront project is
progressing, some exploratory excavation has been completed, efforts
are underway to get more funding, and soon a consultants report will
lead to some final design ideas.
on Boroughs to the Bay…more the Greenway’s big interest in Sunbury.
June 26, 2006
What can you do to help the Susquehanna River
SUNBURY – The work of cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay is taking
place…in our area. The local tributaries and small streams in the
Central Susquehanna Valley feed the river, and the river provides
50% of the fresh water in the bay. And the work to enhance the local
tributaries is also taking place around here--by local people, doing
local projects and helping any way they can.
this Boroughs to the Bay segment today, Matt McTammany, an assistant
professor of Biology at Bucknell tells us, what you and I can do to
you’re concerned about small streams, you should look up your local
watershed group and try to become active. Try to join it if you can.
I’m on the board of the Buffalo Creek Watershed Alliance and we have
a great group of people, but it’s a small group we’d like to get
bigger. I know every watershed group has the same goal. You can talk
to your county conservation district, they have watershed officers
for every county and they’re really helpful people. Otherwise, just
enjoy the water and try to enjoy your healthy streams and think that
all of them could look like that.”
Every area around here has or will have a local watershed group. You
can find out about a watershed group in your area, but contacting
DEP, or attending a ‘Watershed Event’ this Saturday at the
Shikellamy State Park Marina. That is when the 12-FFA students on
the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Expedition will be there, and the
foundation will conduct a public watershed educational seminar. The
seminar is from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday.
June 29, 2006
You are invited to a Watershed Expo and cookout
SUNBURY – The students from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s
Expedition Susquehanna 2006 are camping in our area—and they would
like to meet you. In this Boroughs to the Bay segment, we talk about
the invitation for you to find out more their trip—and to find out
more about local watershed groups. Kim Patten is from the Chesapeake
foundation is holding a Watershed Expo and Cookout Saturday
afternoon, from 4 to 7p.m., at the Shikellamy State Park Overlook
(The event was originally scheduled to take place at the Shikellamy
State Park Marina, but was moved because of flooding).
Local Watershed groups, including the Buffalo Valley Watershed
Alliance will be represented, and Lycoming College’s Clean Water
Institute will have a presentation. Students will also be discussing
their expedition so far, and their off-river activities after the
flooding began Tuesday on the North branch of the river.
Students did assist in some of the flood response efforts there, and
got to see first hand, a sewage treatment plant overflowing into the
Susquehanna River. You will find out what you can do to help the
Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay. The students are now camping
in our area.
Watershed event is Saturday, 4 to 7 p.m. at the Shikellamy State
July 1, 2006
This summer’s flood is very bad news for many, many people
SUNBURY – The Summer 2006 flood victims aren’t just the people whose
property was damaged or destroyed, but the victims include the local
recreation and fishing industries, the huge industry that was
Chesapeake Bay fishing and crabbing, and…us. In this Boroughs to the
Bay segment, Senior Naturalist John Paige Williams is speaking of
last year’s lesser flood, killing a big part of the river and bay.
was just that it trashed the bay, but it trashed the entire river.
Friends, small mouth guides, small mouth anglers down on the lower
part of the river around Middletown (told me they) were crying the
blues just as much as folks down in the bay. There was an awful lot
of Pennsylvania water that got beat up badly in the process. It was
one of those (things where), ‘We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Example, Bloomsburg’s sewer plant is now discharging all of the
town’s raw, untreated sewage into the river—and continues to do so.
That plus, the 330,000 cubic feet of contaminated water, per second,
that flowed by Sunbury at the peak of the flooding. That will have a
multi-million dollar—and a devastating environmental impact.
Next, we’ll look at more of the flooding impact, on Boroughs to the
July 5, 2006
Watershed groups, the next focus of our Boroughs to
the Bay segments
FORKSVILLE – The Chesapeake Bay drainage basin is the broad
overriding area that our Boroughs to the Bay segments are looking
at, but within that big area, are hundreds of smaller watersheds.
Sattler is the Watershed Manager for the state D-E-P in this region.
She tells us, the street level work to clean up the watershed begins
“Everybody can prevent pollution in their own backyard. Every thing
that hits the ground ultimately goes somewhere. So, reduce
fertilizer, reduce pesticide applications. Recycle. Reduce emissions
if you have woodstoves. Everything that goes up comes down in the
rain water, so all the things that people have been touting for
years; conserve, don’t be wasteful of anything.”
is where you come in. People are encouraged to join local watershed
groups. Those are the local clubs, and there are about 40 in our
region. They are groups where local environmentalists work to help
improve water quality and the bay.
example, in our area, there is the Roaring Creek Valley Conservation
Association, the Buffalo Valley Watershed Alliance, and the Shamokin
Creek Restoration Alliance. We’ll hear about one of the latest
projects in our next report.
July 6, 2006
Boroughs to the bay looks at a watershed group
LEWISBURG – The Buffalo Valley Watershed Alliance is a new, growing,
watershed group that has big plans. They hope to restore the Buffalo
Creek to the once thriving trout stream that it was centuries ago.
In this Boroughs to the Bay segment, we find out about their
Sattler is the Watershed Manager for the state D-E-P in this region,
she says part of her job is to help local watershed groups grow, and
accomplish their goal. The Buffalo Valley Watershed Alliance is one
such group she’s helping. They want to install an “acid deposition
headwaters of that stream are affected by acid rain and certain
areas in that watershed are basically sterile. The aquatic life has
died and the watershed group has identified a six-mile reach that
they could repair with a single passive treatment system and
actually bring trout back to that area and they’ve applied for a
grant to do the design on that system. They did obtain that grant
from the state, the design is now finished they are currently
waiting to hear if their most recent application for constructing
the system is going to be approved.”
says she is in charge of the ‘care and feeding’ of local watershed
groups. You can get more information from Joan and your local
watershed by going to the main DEP website, or use the blue pages to
find the state Department of Environmental Resources.
July 7, 2006
Boroughs to the Bay meets a local watershed group
SUNBURY – You don’t have to go too far to find small creeks being
adversely affected by acid rain and acid mine drainage. The Shamokin
Creek near Sunbury, the Catawissa Creek in Columbia County and
Buffalo Creek in Union County—all need help.
Local watershed groups to the rescue. These local groups are the way
local streams get cleaned up and one such group is focusing on
Catawissa Creek. Jim Gotta, with the Catawissa Creek Restoration
association is about one hundred volunteers, from various walks of
life, retired, working, whatever. The goal is to return the
Catawissa Creek to a world-class trout stream. We’re putting in
passive treatment systems on five mine tunnel drainages. We’ve done
two already. One was just completed last year. I always say, 'I’m
not an environmentalist, this project made sense.' The people I’ve
been working with made sense. I enjoy doing something like this.’
group and others around here use funds they gather on their own,
plus money from the DEP and the Growing Greener program. You can
find out more about the local watershed groups around here, at
Next, on Boroughs to the Bay, we’ll hear from another agency
supporting the local watershed groups.
July 9, 2006
The watershed expert who wants to help you
BLOOMSBURG – Most people don’t know it, but there is a watershed
expert who has been hired to help you. The goal—but scientific and
practical advice in the hands of the people who can use it: you and
I. For the next few Boroughs’ to the Bay segments, we’ll meet one of
Cathy Haffner is the Watershed Specialist, with Columbia County
Conservation District, and she says the goal of her job, is to put
information in your hands:
conservation district’s mission is always to assist communities,
whether it be farmers—or in this case the people who live in the
watershed (because everybody lives in a watershed no matter where
they are), and so the Department of Environmental Protection
actually started funding 80% of this position six years ago.
Watershed specialists have employed with every conservation district
now for about six years and our contract is renewed every two
agrees, it is an untold story, that all of these local watershed
groups exist, and that she is part of the solution—trying to help
residents in our region. She suggested you contact your watershed
specialist by contacting your local county conservation district.
She also suggested—that you help the watershed indirectly by joining
and supporting your local watershed group.
July 10th, 2006
Some practical advice from your watershed specialist
BLOOMSBURG - Today, on our Boroughs to the Bay segment, we continue
our conversation with Cathy Haffner, the watershed specialist with
the Columbia County Conservation District. She starts to call
attention to our need to be aware, that we are all part of the
think its important for people to realize, and they may not even
understand, that a lot of the pollution that exists in our waterways
is mostly what we call non point source pollution. That means that
its coming from you and me, every time we change the oil of your car
in your driveway, a little spills on to the driveway and then
eventually it will wash off during the next rainstorm into the next
closest creek downstream."
"Eventually all that water from all those creeks is going into the
Susquehanna River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. That's why the
Department of Environmental Protection, who usually handles mostly
point source pollution, which is pollution from factories, for
example, they realize that's only accounting for 4% of this
pollution and 96% is from everybody else. So we need to start
funding these communities who care about their streams and the
creeks to be able to educate others about watershed stewardship and
how they can conserve water or to prevent pollution from reaching
those streams, just by what they do everyday."
for what we can do, she says we can join a local watershed group,
know that we all have an impact on the environment, conserve water
in the home, don't over fertilize, and do contact your local
watershed specialist in your county.
July 13th, 2006
S-U and the Chesapeake Bay…we'll explain the
SELINSGROVE - Four area high schools (Lewisburg, Juniata Valley,
Montoursville and Shikellamy), are involved in Susquehanna
University's Science in Motion program. The program has existed at
S-U for years, but now is taking high school students 'streamside'
to study water quality and take water samples.
Stout is one of S-U's mobile educators, and tells us, there is no
substitute for taking the students out of the classroom, and putting
them in water, "Whats really neat about it is to see them get a hold
of the equipment, and there's no substitute for getting your hands
on the equipment. Theory is one thing but when you get your hands on
the equipment, put on the waders, and get in the stream, that's when
they really seem to enjoy it."
think what I'm personally excited about is the fact that we have an
opportunity, and the students by being involved in the program, have
an opportunity to tell the folks in this area, that what is done in
this area on the streams that go into the Susquehanna and
subsequently go into the Chesapeake Bay. What we do here has an
impact. I'm especially proud of the students because often times in
the younger ages they get a lot of criticism, about being self
centered and its nice to see these students who appreciate, 'What I
do as an individual can affect a larger group of people.'"
Stout says they started the high school Science in Motion Water
Quality program with four high schools, and they hope to double that
number next year. Next on Boroughs to the Bay…what and where the
students study, what they find out…and who else wants to know their
July 14, 2006
Water, the bay, and our health…we’ll talk about the
DANVILLE – In our segment today, we don’t need to worry about the
health effects of some water on the Chesapeake Bay…we know some
water is already having health effects on us. Geisinger Health
Systems initiated the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for
Environmental Studies. It is a regional think tank, which brings
scientists, educators and others together, to study issues facing
the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Steve Browning is a senior Epidemiologist at Geisinger, and he tells
us, why it was logical for him to get involved in the coalition,
“Epidemiology is kind of a multi-disciplinary field and a lot of the
folks that are biologists and geologists collect data that we can
use in the medical field to look at how exposures are related to
disease outcomes. For example, there are hotspots in Pennsylvania
where we have relatively high arsenic levels in the well water. We
also know that arsenic is related to certain kinds of cancers, like
bladder cancers, and liver cancers, so, we’re in the process right
now trying to correlate exposure to arsenic in well waters to with
incidence patterns of these cancers in the state. These guys are the
ones that are actually collecting data on the exposure side.”
Geisinger is taking a lead role in studying the exposure from
environmental contaminants. The Center for Rural Advocacy will be
taking a very close look at how a clean, healthy environment, helps
insure good health outcomes for people. Next, we’ll examine
Geisinger’s watershed role more closely.
July 16, 2006
Our health, and the Chesapeake Bay watershed
DANVILLE – When it comes to the connection between our health and
the environment, Geisinger Health System is one of the interested in
this correlation. Geisinger and Skip Weider started the Susquehanna
Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies, and Steve Browning is
an epidemiologist from Geisinger, who serves on the coalition.
tells us, why it makes perfect sense to add medical doctors to an
“Well, I think its significant in that, the coalition is really
interested in how the environment is important for both human health
outcomes and for just preserving a clean environment and ultimately
all our lives kind of depend upon that, and so, that part is
intriguing to me. They’re focused on water, which is basically the
staple of life in some ways. If we don’t have clean water and good
health, we’re kind of fundamentally shot in the foot, so it’s really
just an important issue.”
Browning says, the field of Epidemiology looks at the causes of
disease and ailments. The environment and water quality directly
affect our health. He says the presence of the pollutant, arsenic,
in our well water, is a corollary to various types of cancer. In
addition, smoke in the air, ends up in the water, so industrial
sources affect us all locally. Next, another local watershed tells
us about their work.
July 17, 2006
The Muncy Creek Watershed Association has done
MUNCY – Some local watershed groups are dealing with devastating
acid mine drainage—and acid rain—but others have more subtle
problems. In the Muncy Creek watershed, the new watershed
association is trying to keep stream banks from eroding, keep
topsoil out of the stream, and control excess runoff.
president of the Muncy Creek Watershed Association Andrea Young
tells us, keeping the creek, within its banks, is a big issue, “Our
main focus is education and banks stability. Bank stability is our
biggest problem, we’re fortunate not to have other really nasty
pollution, but we find that the top soil washing into the creek is a
very, very significant factor and nobody needs anymore of that than
we already have. So we have done several banks stability projects
already, that is bringing in stone, not particularly rip-rap, but
stone structures that look, surprisingly natural.”
says the group is trying to control the incredible amount of
‘runoff’ water that goes with more and more industrial and
residential development in the Muncy valley. She said homes,
businesses, roads and all forms of development are the sources of
this increased runoff water. Next, she tells us the specifics of
their stream bank restoration efforts.
July 18, 2006
How the Muncy Creek efforts are helping the West
Branch of the Susquehanna River
MUNCY – As muddy was the West Branch of the Susquehanna River was
during the late June flooding, it could have been worse. Already,
number of watershed groups in the West Branch valley have taken
steps to reduce excess runoff and soil erosion.
met the Muncy Creek Watershed Association in our segment yesterday,
and today, the Vice president of the Association Andrea Young, tells
us, how that have successfully reduced some erosion:
objective of the bank stability program is to put in stones, at a
particular gradient, of about 7% slope, so water is focused toward
the center of the stream again, even during storm events. The 7%
slope of these stones, helps to dissipate part of the flow in high
water events, but still to return to the stream bank into its
general focus—therefore—hopefully cause less erosion.”
said the Muncy Creek Watershed Association will be taking on more
restoration and remediation efforts in the months ahead. An
educational outreach program is also planned. Next, she’ll tell us
about how you can plant your own riparian area.
July 19, 2006
How to build…a natural stream
MUNCY – The Muncy Creek Watershed Association has been
busy…building. Building natural stream channels. We have talked
about their stream bank restoration project (which returns the creek
to its proper channel). We’ve also discussed their efforts to reduce
erosion and excess runoff.
Their Natural Stream Channel Design took a lot of work, and money,
but is working well today, and problems from last months flooding
were kept to a minimum. Andrea Young, the vice president of the
association told us, they’ve done some big projects, but small
ones—on everyone’s property—can make a difference too:
“Well, we hope that they would pay attention the riparian planting
(that is the streamside plantings), because the more vegetation
along the edges of the streams, the better off we all are. And also,
learn about the factors that contribute to bank instability,
particularly impervious roads, even rooftops. If you can control the
water that’s coming off of surfaces that cannot absorb it and use it
so its gently returned to the groundwater system or to a
stream—they’re way better off.”
Muncy Creek has been especially hurt by stream bank and topsoil
erosion, so they have worked with students in Lycoming College’s
Clean Water Institute to document and initiate repairs on the
troubled stream banks. They’ll continue this work, and finish their
stream bank restoration projects. Next…is there a Hellbender in your
July 20, 2006
Boroughs to the Bay looks at hellbenders
WATERVILLE – Hellbenders exist around here…not in abundant numbers,
but they are present. A hellbender is a sometimes foot long
salamander (the largest salamander in North America) sometimes
called a ‘mudpuppy. At the Worlds End State Park recently, Peter
Petokas, a research associate with Lycoming College Clean Water
Institute, told us about his hellbender study,
hellbender study is the study funded by the Pennsylvania Fish
Commission to determine the distribution (that is—the occurrence) of
hellbenders in streams in Central and Western Pennsylvania. And in
an effort to determine how well the animals are doing and whether we
need to implement any conservation measures to protect them.”
“We’re finding that the animal is not as widespread as we once
believed it might be. The populations are very patchy, the occur in
very few small locations of habitat is especially good for these
There used to be hellbender hunts, “Back around 1931 and 1939,
sportsmen’s associations had a program to (in an organized way) to
eliminate hellbender salamanders from streams in North Central
Pennsylvania and they would go out in groups of anywhere from 10 to
40 men at night, with lights, and spears, and attempt to kill as
many hellbenders as they possibly could, in the mistaken belief that
these salamanders were feeding on trout and trout eggs, and there by
decimating game fish populations, which we’ve discovered is not true
since they eat primarily crawfish.”
Petokas told us, the hellbenders are not endangered…yet, but they
may need protection in the future. Next…where you can find a
hellbender in area streams.
July 21, 2006
Hellbenders Part II
WATERVILLE – The hellbender salamander is becoming a household name
in the north central part of the state—thanks to the efforts of
Peter Petokas, a research associate with Lycoming College Clean
Water Institute…his hellbender study (and findings) have made region
headlines. Up until then, he told us, they were almost forgotten
“Well, hellbenders are…little seen and a very intriguing part of our
natural fauna in Pennsylvania. Its an animal that we know very
little about but we do know that is an animal that needs to be
considered possibly for protection from disturbance due to human
activities, due to water pollution and I think people in
Pennsylvania should be better educated about these little know
resources so that they can take them into consideration when they
take action that can harm the environment.”
does one find a hellbender? “One spends a lot of time turning over
rocks in streams that have fairly clean, fast flowing water in the
hopes that you may actually get to see one. Many times we find them
in water anywhere from six to 15 feet deep, and searching those deep
water habitats especially difficult and its not likely in an average
day of turning rocks, you might even find a single hellbender.”
Petokas said the frequent flooding of creeks and streams these days
presents both a challenge and a boost to the hellbender population.
Frequent, pollutive flooding, stresses the hellbender habitat, but
floods often create new, deep, rock-bottom areas too—and that’s
ideal habitat for hellbenders. Next, another local watershed group
is getting started.
July 24, 2006
Last months flooding was helpful to one watershed
ELYSBURG – They call it Roaring Creek for a reason. Last month, the
Roaring Creek in Columbia County went over its banks and flooded
roads, and caused a lot of damage. However, to the Roaring Creek
Conservation Association it was an opportunity. It was a chance for
the watershed group to identify the storm water runoff problems in
the creek, in South Columbia County.
Rush, the president association gives us an overview of their
watershed group, “Most of the watershed groups are put together
because there is already an established problem—we didn’t want to
wait until we had a problem. We wanted to be there before the
problem started so that we could determine if we were going to have
a problem. Clean water…that’s the whole story…and trout…yes…and
bass. Whatever we need to do as long as it pertains to the
environment, water in general; we’ll be there.
new watershed group said the Roaring Creek valley is not plagued by
acid mine or acid problems yet, but in the years ahead, increasing
development and storm water problems are likely to hold their
attention. Next…making the best of a bad situation.
July 25, 2006
Trout Unlimited, the West Branch and Boroughs to
SUNBURY – The hidden efforts on the West Branch of the Susquehanna
River are finally getting some attention. There are dozens of
watershed groups, a number of major remediation projects and
national attention focused on the West Branch. Amy Wolfe, Director
of Abandoned Mines Programs with the national Trout Unlimited, and
director of Kettle Creek Home Rivers Initiative tells us, the area
stays hidden for several reasons, “I think now, a lot of people,
through the efforts of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Chesapeake
Bay program, our state agencies and organizations (such as
mine—Trout Unlimited), they’re starting to make the connection
between all of the river systems involved in the Cheseapeake Bay.
Because the West Branch of the Susquehanna is far away from the
Chesapeake Bay and even far away from this area (in Sunbury), guess
that’s why its kind of been hidden—a lot of people seem to focus on
the problems in their own backyard. It also has to do with very low
population within the West Branch Susquehanna watershed. A lot of
people go to the West Branch to recreate, to hunt, fish in streams
that aren’t impacted by abandoned mine drainage a lot of people live
there, and there is not a lot of media coverage of the area.”
she says there is a wide range of effort being expended to return
the West Branch to its former glory. We’ll find out about those
efforts in our next segment.
July 26, 2006
Boroughs to the Bay looks at a national Kettle
SUNBURY – Deep in the western corner of Clinton County, and in Tioga
and Potter Counties, is the Kettle Creek Watershed. It includes the
Kettle Creek State Park and is also, where a national group, Trout
Unlimited, has initiated a Home Rivers Program. That is designed to
bring T-U’s efforts to a local watershed to support conservation
Wolfe, Director of Abandoned Mines Programs with the national Trout
Unlimited, and director of Kettle Creek Home Rivers Initiative tells
us, “We’ve been working in the Kettle Creek Watershed for the last
eight years with local Kettle Creek Watershed Association and other
partners and one of our primary goals in the Kettle Creek Watershed
has been the restoration of waters from abandoned mine drainage.”
We’ve learned a lot over the years and we’ve been very successful
with that program, and so we’ve decided to expand our focus, from
the Kettle Creek Watershed to the entire West Branch Susquehanna
River watershed. It is impacted by over 1,100 miles of streams
impacted by Abandoned Mine Drainage and we’re basically acting as
the lead catalyst in organizing a broad based partnership consisting
of local, state and federal agencies and all of the local groups
involved in the effort”
says they are working with well over 20 local watershed
associations, sportsmen’s groups and Trout Unlimited chapters that
are addressing acid mine drainage on the West Branch of the
July 27, 2006
Trout fishing could return to parts of the West
SUNBURY – Its been a century since any trout were caught on the West
Branch of the Susquehanna River, but a lot of effort—and money—is
trying to remedy that. Trout Unlimited has a national project
focusing on the Kettle Creek Watershed, and they would like those
positive effects to help the rest of the watershed—and the
Wolfe, Director of Abandoned Mines Programs with the national Trout
Unlimited, and director of Kettle Creek Home Rivers Initiative tells
us, why the Trout Unlimited is interested, “The mission of Trout
Unlimited to protect, conserve and restore our nations trout and
salmon fisheries and their watershed. And since trout, in
Pennsylvania and on the east coast, our native trout is brook trout;
they are kind of the keystone indicator of watershed health. Because
they are very, very sensitive to all types of pollution.”
basically, if you find a stream that has brook trout in it, you know
that you have good water quality and so its serves as an indicator
of watershed health. Our goal is to restore brook trout fisheries,
we’re also impacting everything else, everything else stands to
benefit from that; quality of life, drinking water quality, various
things, so work we do impacts more than just trout fisheries and
fishermen. Our motto is, ‘If we take care of the fishing, the
fishing will take care of itself.’”
invited people to find out more about the Kettle Creek initiative,
and efforts to clean up the West Branch of the Susquehanna, by going
to www.kettlecreek.org. Next, we’ll look again at the high tech
history project involving the river at Sunbury.
July 30th, 2006
The Merrill Linn Conservancy is back on Boroughs to the Bay
SUNBURY - We've been talking about water all summer, but much of the
water that ends up in the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay,
was on the land in our area first. We've talked about the problem of
too much storm water runoff. One of the many solutions to this
problem-is to protect wooded land and fields from development.
Enter, the Merrill W. Linn Land and Waterways Conservancy. They
buy-or accept for free-Conservation Easements, which protect tracts
of land from future development. Sue Auman, the director of the
program tells us, first-property owners have to decide they want to
preserve the land, "This is a voluntary thing. In our case, unless
it's a special situation-folks who decide to preserve their
property-don't even necessarily get paid, they just decide to do it
because it's the right thing to do and also there is a tax incentive
and a tax benefit for preserving the land."
we work with private owners who say, 'You know, I really like my
working farm, my woodland, the property that we're on, and I would
rather not see a fast food chain here someday, I want my kids and my
grandkids to see it in this state forever, and to preserve the flora
and fauna that's here.' So that voluntarily, we work with
landowners, who would like to see that happen on their property."
said people can be part of the solution-rather than part of the
problem, but they have to take a stand and decide to work toward
land preservation. You can get more information at
www.linnconservancy.org. Next, we'll revisit Sunbury's river
July 31st, 2006
High tech river project in Sunbury?
SUNBURY - Long before Sunbury had a floodwall, it had a direct
connection with the Susquehanna River. Sunbury was a 'river town'
and even before then, it was a 'crossroads.' Bucknell senior Jenny
Stevens found that out as she studied Sunbury and the river to
create an on-line hypertext tour, "We'll hopefully, they'll be able
to find out a lot about they culture and the industry. Sunbury was a
very thriving place years ago and maybe they'll be able to look at
what it had then and what it has the potential to be and be able to
put some of that to use."
"There was tons of history, way back, in the 1700's, with the
Indians, with the confluence of the river right there. Traders and
travelers always went through Sunbury. Anybody who's going from
Philadelphia to the frontier, passed through Sunbury. And that was
basically their last stop before they branched off into the
"With the confluence, that influence the early settlers, and then
obviously the river had a lot of impact with the canals and the
industry that took place with the industrial age. Right now there's
a lot of recreation involved too." We'll keep you posted as Jenny
and another student work on their four maps of the Rivertown that is
Sunbury. Next…The local conservancy helps us look at the river.
August 1st, 2006
The Boroughs to the Bay store looks back in time…a
few hundred years
SUNBURY - Sunbury is making a concerted effort to reconnect to the
Susquehanna River. The riverfront project and the upcoming River
Festival are examples of this effort. It makes sense that that the
city hopes to use the river for revitalization, since the river was
crucial in the city's early growth.
Shaffer and Cindy Inkrote are members of the Board of Trustees of
the Northumberland County Historical Society. They tells us, the
area that is Sunbury-was an important river crossroads, and that's
why Fort Augusta became a key location. Cindy: "The fort was the
first substantial structure and from there everything just kind of
fingered out and grew from there. Its just the basis from where we
all came from."
"Northumberland County has a vast history in a lot of different
areas, you know we have a lot of vibrant farming communities within
the northern part of the county and the southern tier. As you move
out toward the eastern part of the county, there is a lot of
industry. Of course, Sunbury being the county seat, there was a lot
of great things that went on there throughout the years. But putting
all those things together and looking at how diverse the county is,
it does have an impact on the river. Just those elements-the
farming, the industry, has had negative impacts as well as positive
impacts on the Susquehanna River."
it goes, Sunbury's resurgence depends on the river again. A clean
river continues to be ideal for recreational boating and
fishing-important elements of Sunbury's revitalization. Next' we'll
talk about an upcoming symposium at Bucknell University…the focus:
The Susquehanna River.
August 2nd, 2006
Symposium and conference at Bucknell next month will focus on the
LEWISBURG - The Susquehanna River watershed and the Chesapeake Bay
will be the topic of an upcoming conference at Bucknell University.
The event is open to the public, and will allow interested citizens,
watershed professionals, scientists and scholars to gather for a
major symposium. Entitled, From the Branches to the Confluence: The
Upper Susquehanna River Basin and its Communities.
Wieder, a senior staff member of the Geisinger Health System
Development and Communications Department, and the convener of the
Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies tell
us, it will be a great event:
"Saturday, September 23rd, at Bucknell University, there is going to
be a one day conference, the first annual conference on the state of
the river. Watershed associations, folks interested in the
environment, folks interested in the watershed, are going to be
encouraged to attend. Our keynoter that morning is going to be Will
Baker, the president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. It's going to
be a one-day conference"
Presenters will include also representatives from the Susquehanna
River Basin Commission, SEDA-COG, Bucknell University and the
Western PA Watershed Association…and many others.
public is invited and encouraged to attend the conference, Saturday,
September 23rd, at Bucknell University, from 8:30a.m. to 5:30p.m. If
you are interested in attending, call 577-1421 or go to wkok.com for
an email address: email@example.com Next…more specifics about the
upcoming conference at Bucknell.
August 3rd, 2006
More on the Bucknell 'river' symposium
LEWISBURG -From the Branches to the Confluence: The Upper
Susquehanna River Basin and its Communities…is the name of next
month's one day conference at Bucknell. Skip Wieder, a senior staff
member of the Geisinger Health System Development and Communications
Department, and the convener of the Susquehanna River Heartland
Coalition for Environmental Studies said it will focus on the state
of the river:
"It's going to have not only components environmental issues but
also community regeneration, the importance of the Susquehanna
Greenway Project on the river and on its communities along the
river. So there's going to be an opportunity for everyone who has
any kind of interest in our quality of life, to come and hopefully
participate in a discussion that's going to be extremely useful for
all of us."
Presenters will include also scholars from Lycoming and Kings
Colleges as well as Penn State, Bloomsburg, Bucknell and Susquehanna
Universities. There will be representatives from the Susquehanna
Greenway Partnership, DEP, the Northcentral PA Conservancy and
others. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the
conference, Saturday, September 23rd, at Bucknell University, from
8:30a.m. to 5:30p.m. If you are interested in attending, call
577-1421 or go to wkok.com for an email address:
firstname.lastname@example.org Next…why is WVIA TV following some kids
August 4th, 2006
You may have seen the river…on TV
SUNBURY - If you've been an avid watcher of public TV in
Northeastern Pennsylvania, you may have seen the documentary,
Looking to the River. The hour-long documentary focused on the
river's history, the culture of people who live near it and thrived
because of it, and how we use the river today.
Earlier this summer, the WVIA High Definition cameras were back on
the water, following the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Expedition
Susquehanna 2006…the 13 FFA students who floated most of the river's
distance from Cooperstown New York to Annapolis, Maryland. Bill
Kelly, president of WVIA tells us, this focus on the river, is part
of their mindset, that the first documentary…leads to the next:
"Well, it continues to be the story of the Susquehanna. We made a
commitment to the people with whom we work, when we put the first
documentary together, that it would not be one documentary> This
would not be one documentary we put two years into and we put it on
a piece of video tape…and put it on a shelf and it would end there.
We made a commitment, which we're keeping, that the story is a
continuing one. We'll continue covering it, as we do documentarily
and in talk shows like this, as the story goes on. We'll be doing a
live show from the Chesapeake Bay Foundations in Annapolis."
Bill Kelly said, public TV will continue to focus on the river, the
people living near it, those in harms way because of it, and those
who continue to work hard to preserve and protect the river. Kelly
said the TV station is a proud and willing part of the 'solution' to
the problems facing the river and the bay. Next…we look at the
river, through the eyes of an aquatic biologist.
August 7th, 2006
The state of the river…from a native aquatic biologist
SELINSGROVE - This week, we check out the river through the eyes of
a 'Stayer.' You'll remember, that's our classification of local
residents who have made a very deliberate choice to either stay, or
return or move to our area. Mike Bilger, as a child developed a
'love of place' involving our waterways. Now he is aquatic biologist
and heading-up the Selinsgrove office of EcoAnalysts…a national
independent environmental consulting firm. We asked him about the
state of the river.
"Growing up in Selinsgrove, and spending a lot of time on the river,
and in Penns Creek in particular, I've got a fondness for this
system. After becoming an aquatic ecologist (probably due to the
fact that I lived here), I spent a lot of time, almost 10-years
studying the Susquehanna drainage from the fabridam to Havre de
Grace. From my research, particularly with U-S Geological Survey,
the river is vibrant still, even though it does receive insults. The
fishery is good, the animals that live in the stream, they have a
good community, geomorphology of the river itself is interesting,
heavily bedrock, shallow, lots of light penetration. I'm a little
concerned about the sedimentation that I've been seeing in the river
in the last number of years. So, in essence, it is a pretty place to
be, pretty place to live and we still have a good river out there.
said, there are really two halves of the river, from the confluence
here, to Harrisburg. That's because there is little blending of the
two branches until then. That means the wildlife; fish and even the
plants are very different on the separate halves of the river.
Tomorrow…the pollution factor.
August 8th, 2006
Whats wrong with a little run-off?
SELINSGROVE - We've been talking about erosion and its effect on
streams and the Susquehanna River. We now know…we are the problem.
Erosion from small neighborhood properties in our local towns, from
dirt driveways, from construction sites, from any place where the
water can pickup and carry…some dirt, that contributes to sediment
Sediment may be the single biggest threat facing our watershed, says
Mike Bilger, the Selinsgrove office of EcoAnalysts. He says it
simply chokes the waterway:
have our point sources pretty well defined, Pennsylvania DEP has
done a good job in defining those sources that come in at the end of
a pipe, but it's the non point sources and unfortunately some
agricultural practices could certainly be better."
"Sedimentation-and along with that top soil going in-lets face it,
we have a lot of nutrients going in with our manure, our current
manure management procedures, so that is setting up a little bit of
difficulty for the river system in the fact that sedimentation plugs
areas in the rocks that animals live in as well as resulting drops
in dissolved oxygen because of the excess nutrients."
can be done? People can think about the river. Don't let sediment
get off your property, contact DEP if you know some is running off
somewhere, and learn more about the watershed. Next…more about what
we all can do to help the watershed.
August 9th, 2006
What should everyman do for the river?
SELINSGROVE - We've been talking to an aquatic biologist about what
threats the Susquehanna River is facing today. Main issues are
nutrient runoff from farms and homes, excess water runoff and a lot
of erosion-or sediment getting into the water. But where do you and
I come in?
Bilger of EcoAnalysts suggests we can do a tour of our own
properties, identify potential problems and work on solutions. And
what other suggestions does he have. First…if you see pollution:
"Call to regulatory agencies if they see some sort of major insult
being done to the Susquehanna River system, but overall, don't do
any illegal dumping of any substances that would obviously be
hurting the ecology of the rive system. Trying to abide by
regulations that affect the river. I think the main thing to do is
to keep up with your local representatives, county, state, federal
representatives, keep funding up for what can go on here on the
river as far as scientific research is concerned and any restorative
efforts. I'm particularly sensitive to the fish ladder construction
at the Sunbury fabridam, promoting that for shad restoration
potentially American eel also."
Bilger has been working with some of the local watershed groups,
including the Lower Penns Creek Watershed Association. We'll hear
August 14th, 2006
Childhood memories are helping a local watershed group
PENNS CREEK - Penns Creek was there for Charles Mattern and Jim
Roush when they were growing up. The creek held fish, small
creatures like crawfish, places to swim and occasional visitors. As
children, the two men said they remember a handful of small dams
being erected each summer, and people, including other young people,
showing up each year for summer fun.
Hurricane Agnes may have marked the beginning of the end of that era
for Penns Creek. Agnes flattened small dams, filled deep holes and
destroyed some summer cabins. Now, a year-round population dominates
the creek, development is filling the Penns Creek Valley and the
creek is threatened. Charles said, the creek today, is much
different than decades ago, "Penn's Creek is not the creek I
remember, the fishing is almost non-existent in the warm water area.
The cold water part of the stream is stocked with trout, which is
fairly good fishing in the spring of the year. Back in the 1950's,
Penns Creek was rated as one of the top 100 fishing streams in the
continental United States. I don't know what that rating would be
today, but I'm sure it wouldn't make the top 100 and it would be
very nice to get back on a list."
Penns Creek is still there, but it needs work. That's where the
Lower Penns Creek Watershed Association hopes to help. The group
started in 2004, now has about 10 people. They do a newsletter, hold
meetings and have brochures. They are now officially a non-profit
group and they have some goals.
Charles and Jim hope to improve the health of Penns Creek, educate
residents about the importance of the Lower Penns Creek and its
tributaries, promoting environmentally friendly agricultural
practices and Best land and waterway Management Practices,
encouraging proper land use and recreation within the watershed and
preserving the aesthetic values of the watershed
say, the problem with Penns Creek seems to be many little problems,
in sub-watersheds, tributaries, threatened by development,
pollution, agriculture, on-lot septic systems, storm water and just
plain dirt…from…everywhere. Jim Roush is a member of the group, and
the Watershed Specialist at the Snyder County Conservation District,
"Sediment from either farming operations or construction sites, open
patches of bare ground, wherever they may be, they're a concern
statewide. Just because sediment can get into the stream and it
clogs up the substrate (the holes in the bottom of the stream), and
a lot of the aquatic life that uses those areas are being choked
out, and those species are disappearing."
"That and nutrients from sediment, ag runoff, lot of problems with
septic systems for private residences and we have some trouble with
sewage treatment plants, but those are little more highly regulated
than the sediment and the storm water is. Those are the really big
things that I see as problems for the creek and they're not just
specific to this creek, they're having a statewide impact."
said education is one of their main goals, and if people find out
about their local watershed group, they would most likely get
involved. Jim said, a growing issue, is the population boom on Penns
Creeks banks, "Probably our biggest impact in the future is going to
be storm water. It's a pretty big problem now, but the more the area
gets more and more developed, we getting a lot more impervious
surfaces, which are like driveways, sidewalks and rooftops, things
like that, where the water can't get into the ground."
"We're getting a lot more when we get big storms and that gets into
the creeks and it erodes the banks and so pretty much the creek ends
up having to compensate for all the extra water which can degrade
habitat as well as they water quality, sediment and things like
that. So I think that's probably going to be a big concern in the
near future. Right now, the big concern statewide is nutrients and
group plans a massive study of the creek and its tributaries. First,
they'll do a full assessment of the watershed, a baseline study from
which they'll able to suggest future actions. Over 3-years, they'll
go near the Centre/Union County line, and study, in detail, the
creek. At 12 locations, they'll look at temperature, oxygen, Ph,
turbidity, algae, aquatic life, and find sources of water and
'threats.' Susquehanna University's Science in Motion crew and
EcoAnalysts of Selinsgrove will assist in this study.
Roush said they'll find out what's living in the creek. He said a
water sample gives you a snap shot, but the macro-invertebrates give
you long-term record of what is happening on the creek. Results will
help farmers, help the association determine grant availability, and
see what is living on the creek.
the baseline study is complete, then get grants and restore the
creek as much as possible, "It'll never be the way it used to be
just because of the demographics of the area. They have changed, the
site consistencies have changed due to development and build out and
loss of forested areas, but a restoration is possible to a certain
point, Roush said.
can get it to where it's a more pristine watershed than what it is
now. It'll never be as pristine as it was at one time just because
of what has changed, its been so dramatic. I feel a restoration is
possible, it'll take a lot of work, and possibly a lot of money, a
lot of education for residents. It's a doable goal and its not going
to happen overnight, it's going to take years. Maybe the people that
start it won't be around see it when its complete, but I think it's
a goal to look forward to."
Roush and Charles Mattern pleaded with people to become more active,
to take the initiative to clean up their own back yards. They said
local groups are becoming more active those groups are productive.
It gives like-minded people a way to get things done.
group is having their next meeting, Thursday, August 17th, at Penns
Creek Adult Resource Center. They have a mailing address, 403 West
Market Street, Middleburg, PA 17842 Both men said they are looking
www.pennscreekwatershed.org is the website if you can help the
Lower Penns Creek Watershed Association.
August 17th, 2006
River Festival and the Susquehanna River
SUNBURY - Sunbury River Festival 2006 is getting underway, and it is
the perfect time to focus on the Susquehanna River as a major asset
in our region. The River is the theme of this year's River Festival
and the theme of (Fridays) parade.
Gittens is on the committee that organized the festival and he said
they choose the river theme so they could take an asset that we
already have and market it to people. Their goal, remind everyone
about the great recreational bonus in our area:
often, we look at other areas and what makes them special and I
think we've ignored some of the resources that we have that make us
special or that could actually benefit economically. That is the
river, the river is there, its not going away, we're not moving it
and so we might as well take pride in it in saying, lets give its
recognition, lets give its praise that's due to it, its there, lets
let people remember that its there. I think the same thing when we
are prideful to be American, we respect it, we support it, we do
whatever we have to to educate people about it and I think those
things come by people that have pride, they want people to be
informed and want them to know the qualities and the benefits and
also how to we take care of what we have. How do we keep it so that
it remains an asset for years and years to come?
said the goal of all the River Festivals has always been-remind
people that we have great region, that we are all charged with
preserving and protecting our economic and natural environment and
that we must see our natural resources as threatened and worthy of
our attention. Next, the river through the eyes of an engineer.
August 18th, 2006
The river…through the eyes of an engineer
SUNBURY - Sunbury's Riverfront Project hopes to connect the city to
the river once again. The city's Community Development Office will
be at River Festival talking about that connection. Mark Dawson of
Sasaki Engineers told us, why the river connection is important:
"They'll be animation out there. Water is like fire in a fireplace
on a cold day-there's something that's really and mesmerizing about
being near it, looking at it, and walking along it. Its part of a
bigger Greenway plan that the state has. It's about public access to
public waterways, and that's really important.
think when this morning we walked it again, it was great. It was
really exciting, it was beautiful! The light was beautiful, there
weren't any boats because it's a Thursday morning but you could hear
the traffic on Route 11, people were going to work. You could hear
the community wakening, and to me, its about being able to find
those moments in public open space and you have 2,000, 3,000 linear
feet of lake frontage, of river frontage, that is the communities
and they should be touching it, they should be using it."
said that connection to the river-is why the openings in the
floodwall are part of their plan. He said it will help people get
back to the city's roots: the river and the water.
August 24, 2006
Working toward the return of aquatic life in Shamokin Creek
SHAMOKIN - Shamokin Creek begins in Columbia County, and cuts all
the way through Northumberland County where it hooks up with the
Susquehanna River at Sunbury. And, for the past 10-years the
Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance has been working to clean up the
areas from just east of Mount Carmel, through Shamokin. Vice
President of the Alliance, Leanne Bjorkland, says the creek is
highly polluted by mine water that's left over from "the old ways"
of mining. Their goal now is to restore these "dead" streams to
their natural state. Bjorkland says they used to call it acid mine
drainage, but now it's called abandoned mine drainage. That's
because not all of the polluted sites have an acidic Ph.
says some have a neutral Ph. Acidic areas have a Ph between 2-4,
neutral areas have a Ph around 5. But, Bjorkland says fish like to
live in waters with a Ph of 6 or 7 and drinking water is a 7. A site
with a neutral Ph, Bjorkland says, is treated one way, and acidic
main drainage sites are treated another way. To learn more about the
Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance, you can visit
www.shamokincreek.org. They have multiple projects in the works,
including their fourth passive min drainage treatment system that's
under construction now. More on that system…next time…on Boroughs to
the Bay. (Matt Paul)
August 25, 2006
Cleaning the water that flows into Shamokin Creek
SHAMOKIN - The Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance has multiple
projects underway as they combat abandoned mine drainage in their
watershed. But, the biggest one this summer is at the Corbin Mine
Drift Discharge - near Ranshaw. Sue Zaner says the passive mine
drainage treatment system will capture the polluted runoff, and pass
it into several vertical flow ponds. "Vertical flow" means the water
comes in on the top, and filters down through mushroom compost and
high-grade limestone that helps to improve the water's Ph. Form
there, Zaner says, a series of pipe at the bottom of the pond will
collect the clean water.
process involves a series of three ponds, which will also include
wetland plants, helping to filter the water. Zaner says the ponds
change the water's iron content from roughly 30-parts-per-million to
less than one-part-per million. From that point, Zaner tells us, it
will enter the Shamokin Creek as clean water.
water at this site is highly acidic, with a Ph of about 3.5. It's
been labeled a priority site by the Shamokin Creek Restoration
Alliance - among some 60-abandoned mine drainage sites in the
watershed. This treatment site alone is costing several hundred
thousand dollars, with funding coming from the state DEP and Growing
Greener initiative. Next on Boroughs to the Bay - a look at the
research being done at dozens of these polluted discharges. (Matt
August 26, 2006
Cleaning abandoned mine drainage is big work
SHAMOKIN - We've already talked, on Boroughs to the Bay, about the
passive treatment site, which the Shamokin Creek Restoration
Alliance currently has under construction at one of the most
polluted abandoned mine drainage sites in the watershed. But, more
than a year of research must be done at any discharge site before
they can even begin to think about treatment. That all starts with a
"weir." Alliance President, James Koharski, says they started out
with wooded weirs, which involved a 4 x 8 sheet of wood, cut with a
V-notch, to show how much water was flowing from a particular
discharge. But, recent high waters have washed away some wooden
weirs - meaning the SRCA has gone to metal versions.
Measurements from the weirs have shown the SCRA that some polluted
discharges in the Shamokin Creek can put 10-12-million gallons of
water, per day, into the watershed. Many of the weirs the SCRA has
installed include pressure transducers that allow them to
continuously monitor the flow rate and check the chemical analysis
monthly. With the discharge information in hand, the Shamokin Creek
Restoration Alliance can determine what treatment method is
appropriate at specific polluted discharges. This summer's $500,000
construction project at the Corbin Mine Drift will be the third
treatment site installed in the Shamokin Creek Watershed. For more
information on the SCRA, you can visit