Celebration, education at center of July 30 festival on Catawissa Creek, with activities planned for all ages
While the Catawissa Creek may not have won the 2022 River of the Year contest earlier this year, partners who helped drive the vote for the only finalist in the eastern half of the state have decided to proceed with the celebration anyway.
“The process kind of sparked something within the creek’s watershed group (the Catawissa Creek Restoration Association) and the Columbia County Conservation District,” said district watershed specialist and educator Abby Sieg. “We didn’t need the recognition to celebrate this creek and raise awareness for the issues it faces, so we decided to proceed with the festival.”
“The biggest remaining portion of mine drainage is from the Audenried tunnel, and things are moving in the right direction once land ownership issues are handled. Once this treatment system is up and running, it will clean up approximately 40 miles of stream along one of the most beautiful messed up creeks in the state.”
The festival is designed to help increase awareness and education about AMD issues and the creek’s plight in the effort to help get more people involved in restoring life to the waterway.
“I hope people get an education that a watershed isn’t about the water, but moreso the lands that drain into a particular waterway. Whatever we do to the land, we do to the water,” said Wytovich. “It is also important to realize that we are a subset of a greater watershed, and it is vital to get involved to help keep it enjoyable. We could use some more people assisting our association. Many of us are getting a little long in the tooth, and it would be great to bring in some new blood as we could all use the reinvigoration.”
The festival will include at least 20 different nonprofit or governmental groups all focused on conservation, according to Sieg.
“There will be different booths and displays – some more informational and others interactive – including groups such as the game commission, DCNR with some of the park environmental educators and the DEP,” she said. “We will have live music all day, a food truck, the Lions Club will be selling hot dogs and running games.”
There will also be two rubber duck races for the kids, with prizes on the line, Sieg added.
“Trout Unlimited will be doing fly tying programs all day and the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation will be bringing materials to tye dye T-shirts with AMD materials as a way to spark conversation about AMD issues,” she said.
“The ultimate goal here is to celebrate the waterway, its resources and the people who care for it and who work in the community to promote conservation. It will be a fun day that will also help raise awareness for clean water and promote things you can do at home to make a difference. It will be a real mix of both celebration and education.”
For more info on the Susquehanna Valley Watershed Festival to be held along the Catawissa Creek on July 30, call 570-317-9456.
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.