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As we wrap up the final month of 2022, it is impossible to reflect on the past year as the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper without a great deal of excitement and gratitude.
While we remain a small nonprofit organization in the middle of a massive 11,000-square-mile watershed facing a wide variety of clean-water threats, the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association (MSRKA) continues to be intentional in its growth while maintaining its mission to promote and protect the health and vibrancy of the Susquehanna River, its tributaries and the life that depends on these aquatic resources.
Invasive flathead catfish: Diet study among ways to understand species' impact as public encouraged to help
Surrounded by the pungent odor of rotting fish flesh and other organic matter, Penn State research student Sydney Stark meticulously dissects the contents of flathead catfish from the Susquehanna River basin in an attempt to better understand what they eat and how the invasive species impacts the aquatic ecosystem.
“Flatheads have a very fast metabolism rate, so it can be really hard to identify prey species inside of their stomachs because they are so degraded,” said Stark. “We have begun incorporating molecular analysis via DNA to better identify what we are finding.”
Her findings so far indicate a very diverse diet with more than 30 species represented.
Like white tufts of shaving cream floating atop bathwater toward a nearby drain, seemingly bright-white patches of foam have been a regular early morning sight on the lower Penns Creek lately.
In a May 2020 blog post, we talked about foams on waterways and how to tell when they are naturally occurring vs. when they could be a sign of pollution.
Usually, foams that have a dirty look and an earthy or fishy smell can typically be connected with natural organic matter such as fats, lipids and deteriorating leaf matter getting whipped up in rapids much like egg whites can be whipped into stiff peaks of frothy meringue.
Original songs inspired by the river accepted now through Jan. 31 for Songs of the Susquehanna: Vol. 3
The Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association is accepting new submissions for consideration on its Songs of the Susquehanna: Volume 3 album now through Jan. 31, 2023.
Songs of the Susquehanna was started as a new way to engage new people about the river and the issues it faces by showcasing the talent of musicians throughout the watershed as they write and produce songs that highlight the river’s history, ecology and important therapeutic and recreational impacts.
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.