Column: Tour offers a moment to praise efforts toward reclamation and a challenge for more to step up
A week ago, members of the Eastern PA Coalition of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR) hosted US Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, and U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, at a few reclamation sites within our greater watershed to highlight investments in Abandoned Mine Land (AML) clean-up in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
"There is no commodity on this planet more precious than water. Water is Life. Small headwater streams and wetlands are the capillaries of a watershed. They are the life blood of a healthy ecosystem," said EPCAMR Board President Dr. Joseph Simons III, who also serves as vice president of the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association (MSRKA), during opening remarks of the tour.
"As an avid fly fisherman, you quickly learn that macroinvertebrates and native brook trout are the benchmark of the purity of a stream. We have so many dead streams, devoid of life, poisoned from acidic mine water and laced with heavy metals."
Early Bird Sports Expo returns to Bloomsburg Fairgrounds Jan. 27-30 with more than 110 vendors, events
Concerns over the pandemic and uncertainty about ownership led to the difficult decision last spring to cancel the 2021 Early Bird Sports.
However, new owners Jarrett and Jenna Swartz, of Bloomsburg, refused to let the cancellation completely end efforts for the annual show, held for more than three decades in Bloomsburg.
“We got busy right away in the spring (of 2021) sending contracts to previous vendors and reaching out to new options,” said Jenna. “Our goal was 100 vendors and on Christmas Day, just one month before the show, we still had about 80. We had reached out to so many people so many times, and it was frustrating in thinking we wouldn’t be able to make this work.”
Through “prayer and working extremely hard,” however, the Swartz family is excited to welcome more than 110 vendors, and potentially thousands of guests, to what will be the 2022 Early Bird Expo at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds starting Thursday, Jan. 27, through Sunday, Jan. 30.
2021 Susquehanna Survey: Majority rate river health concerns high, citing wide range of current threats
Our 2021 online Susquehanna Survey received 63 responses from people all over the greater watershed, overwhelmingly sharing their concern about the health of our river and its tributaries.
Of the responses received, nearly a third (30 percent) ranked their concerns about the river’s health a 10 out of 10. Nearly half (47.6 percent) ranked their concern at a 9 or 10 and nearly two thirds (63.5 percent) an eight out of 10.
How winter storms, road salt and increasing salinity in our creeks and river impact our aquatic resources
Last winter, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation applied 12.3 million gallons of salt-based brine to the state’s roadways and has spread an average of 807,766 tons of rock salt a year over the last five winters.
“They are just one entity that spreads road salt in Pennsylvania, but there is a comparable amount of additional road salt spread by municipal and private entities,” said Ben Lorson, Watershed Analysis Section Chief for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. “When someone says road salt, you think PennDOT, but it is just one part of a larger problem.”
That problem, Lorson added, is closely tied to bigger issue – increased salinization of our freshwater resources across the state.
The most recent addition to the growing Board of Directors for the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, Kelly Caudle has a lifelong passion for our aquatic ecosystem sparked as a child by family trips to various waterways.
She appreciates the sheer number of waterways and experiences the region has to offer, along with the diverse variety of species you can enjoy locally. A member of the R.B. Winter Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Caudle is committed to protecting our natural resources and inspiring others to do the same.
Musicians offer songwriting advice ahead of Songs of the Susquenanna Jan. 31, 2022, submisson deadline
The Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association’s second annual Songs of the Susquehanna program is accepting original songs inspired by the river, its tributaries and the aquatic resources that depend on them through Jan. 31, 2022.
“This songwriting event is the perfect motivation to breathe life into your songwriting ideas that may be sitting on the shelf, waiting for the right moment to shine,” said Johanna Kodlick, who submitted the song “Return to Blue” in last year’s program.
“The sense of community surrounding this project is warm and embracing, so it is a safe place to allow your talents to unfold. You never know what residual benefits you may experience by just taking the leap.”
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.