Rich Best, owner of the renowned Sunken Treasure SCUBA Center near Jersey Shore, talks about trends and threats he has noticed within the Susquehanna River, efforts to pull more than 12,000 tires from our waterways and a sunken canal barge he found.
Editor's note: This column was written as a personal response to the story "Mindful mitigation: Environmental impact of the Susquehanna Thruway." Read that piece first by clicking here.
I live along the Penns Creek near the wetlands mentioned in our story about the environmental impact of the Central Susquehanna Thruway, and I never realized it was created as part of the greater thruway project.
Those wetlands include an eagle nest I enjoyed earlier this spring when the leaves were more sparse -- a sight that helped inspire my final decision to accept the role as the new Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper. You can read that story by clicking here.
A $156 million river bridge project expected to run more than 4,500 feet with a peak elevation of 180 feet over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River -- containing more than 12,000 tons of steel and even more concrete -- has faced numerous hurdles over the past four decades of planning, permits and paving.
One of the largest threats? The 2 to 3-ounce, 3 to 4-inch Eastern Spadefoot toad.
Tali MacArthur, the program manager for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) and Pa. Organization of Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), is committed to helping watershed groups throughout state find the resources -- especially volunteers -- they need to continue their essential work.
"These are the waterways that are right in our backyard. These are the waterways where kids love to peel off their socks and shoes and jump in to explore. These are the places we can kayak and canoe and stand-up paddleboard and fish and hike along. This is a resource that is yours -- and it’s yours to protect," she shared in our most recent podcast. "Without all of us paying attention and getting involved and asking what we can do for these resources, they’re not going to be there for those sort of activities."
Mike Dupuy, a longtime falconer out of Snyder County, shares some feedback about various species of raptors (such as ospreys, bald eagles, etc.) we can find along the river and its tributaries in our region. He also talks about current-day threats they face.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Communications Director Mike Parker shares some background about growing up on the shores of the Susquehanna near Sunbury, the inside scoop on the challenging decision behind an unexpected trout opener, how the agency is attempting to handle a COVID-induced increase in fishing and boating this summer, how the increase in incoming fees will be put to use and the potential of a fishing license increase in the future.
Looking closer at “20 dead carp and suckers” along the banks of the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River on Friday, Aug. 28, John Coxey couldn’t get past the unexpected odor.
“It was like that grease used at amusement parks, only much more pungent,” he said.
A pitted cork fishing rod handle clutched tightly in my small 8-year-old left hand, I carefully grasped a length of line from above the open-faced reel with the first two fingers of my right, just as Dad had shown me countless times before.
That touch was the key to his trout-fishing success, he had told me. You feel every bump and snag the worm-laced line and split-shot sinker makes across the bottom of the creek's limestone-littered bed.
Emily Sliski is the center director for the Wesley Forest Camp along the Penns Creek near Weikert. Her passion for the outdoors started at a young age, and she strives to share that experience with the young people who visit Wesley Forest.
Through partnerships with local schools and other programs, Sliski has analyzed numerous water samples from the Penns Creek and conducted fish shock studies with students. She talks about her observations over the past six years of work, and a few personal stories of how young people have been transformed through the outdoor experience.
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.