Survey shows universal concern for Susquehanna: provide your feedback to help us protect river resources
It has been half a year since we first shared our 2021 Susquehanna Survey. We greatly appreciate everyone who has taken the time to provide feedback and help us better protect and promote our river-based resources!
We have received responses to our survey from a variety of people in our community, including:
Additionally, about 54% of respondents spend time on the river or its tributaries at least once a week doing a variety of activities such as:
Regarding how people first heard about the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, responses showed that about 43% of people found us through our social media platforms. About 20% found us through outlets like newspaper stories and email, and another 20% through friend referrals as well.
In terms of concerns for our watershed, it does not matter if a person claimed to only spend time on the river or its tributaries once a year or every day. Nearly every respondent had concerns and/or reported experiencing some sort of pollution within our watershed.
The most common concerns include various kinds of runoff and point source and non-point source pollution. Agricultural, industrial, and urban-area runoff were all mentioned by respondents as main concerns to our waterways. Pollution and its impacts on water quality and fish populations were another major concern for people. Litter and dumping into the river have made people nervous to swim in the river and its tributaries or allow their children to. Invasive species, mine drainage, natural disasters such as floods and storms, erosion, and excessive water use were additional points of concern brought up by some respondents.
While our survey continues to be a great way for people to share issues in our watershed, it has also allowed us to see all the wonderful connections our community has with the river and its tributaries.
One of our last questions asks respondents about what drives their passion for our river-based resources. Many shared personal experiences that have strengthened their relationship to our river. Someone shared that their father used to take them fishing in McKean County for native brook trout and noticed changes in frog and salamander populations over the years. Another shared how working with local environmental organizations has strengthened their passion and appreciation for our river.
Many people also shared memories of growing up and living by the river and fishing, kayaking, hiking, swimming with family and friends. One respondent shared that they have spent 72 summers on the Loyalsock Creek, calling it their “special place”.
Wanting future generations to experience the beauty of our watershed and preserve its history were other common factors driving people’s passion for our river. Watching nature change over time and an appreciation for the interconnectedness of life in our watershed were also mentioned by respondents.
As most people would agree, the beauty of our watershed is enough to feel a need to protect it.
If you have not already, we highly encourage you to take our survey and share it with others who live in our watershed (light blue region in the map above). In addition to reporting concerns and sharing your care for our watershed, you can also provide us suggestions and feedback on programs, projects, and social media outreach. You can also express interest in becoming more involved with our association through volunteering, donating, or by becoming a Susquehanna Steward. As always, you are welcome to contact us directly via email by clicking here.
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.