Your #GivingTuesday donation may win a prize, trigger matching funds as we strive to improve river system
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.
It would also be appreciated if you could share out this post and encourage your friends, family and other contacts to consider a donation.
I personally thank each of you for joining us in this vitally important work via your time volunteering and/or your donations. I can't what new achievements and waterway protections we can achieve over the next year by working together.
– Riverkeeper John Zaktansky
P.S. Please take some time to scroll down to check out a short promotional video of some of the work we've recently accomplished and then scroll some more to meet our current Board of Directors and find out more about the passion behind their dedication to our work and why you should also get involved.
Dr. Joseph Simons III, MSRKA board vice president: Water. What is more important to life? Water is Life. Water is our most precious commodity. Water has been taken for granted and has been terribly abused. Everything flows downstream.
The small tributary streams in the watershed are extremely critical to keep pollution free. If we destroy the capillaries then everything downstream is affected. These small streams, creeks brooks and runs are the lifeblood of the ecosystem.
Native brook trout are an incredible determining factor if the water quality is exceptional. Class A Wild Trout streams can’t exist in a polluted environment. Long live cold clean water. Long live the wild and native trout. Long live homo sapiens – the caregivers of our incredible planet.
Long live the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association. Please consider a donation to this wonderful organization that protects and promotes the magnificent Susquehanna River Watershed.
Ann Fisher, MSRKA board treasurer & secretary: All life depends on water, and clean water helps create healthy human and ecosystem communities. The Susquehanna River has suffered severe insults to its water, ranging from heavy siltation due to logging in our Nation's early days, to industrial wastes during the past century, and to continuing problems with water withdrawals, sewage and agricultural runoff. Substantial progress has been made since the Clean Water Act was passed 50 years ago. However, much more needs to be done so the river and its watershed can reach their potential in making the middle Susquehanna River basin a more vibrant and healthier place to live.
Like any young organization, the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association has had growing pains. The guidance of an active Board of Directors has meshed well with the leadership skills of Riverkeeper John Zaktansky in working to enhance and promote the watershed while holding polluters accountable. Its accomplishments are impressive.
However, with more than 11,000 square miles in the watershed, more resources are needed to work with volunteers, increase education and outreach, and monitor concerns about threats to water quality. We need more people-power to be on the river and tributaries, reporting on problems and helping achieve successes in solving problems. We also need volunteers and/or staff to conduct training sessions for tasks such as water quality monitoring and educational outreach – and training trainers to expand our reach across the watershed.
Kelly Caudle, MSRKA board member: Pennsylvania has approximately 86,000 miles of rivers and streams within its borders. These waterways are critical supplies of drinking water, irrigation for crops, serve as habitats for fish and aquatic wildlife, and they provide residents and visitors with many opportunities for recreation including kayaking, canoeing, fishing and swimming. Unfortunately, there are multiple sources of pollution that can render these waterways as unsafe — having a negative impact on both humans and animals who rely on them as vital sources of water.
Having grown up in the Lehigh Valley, many of my fondest childhood memories revolve around playing in and exploring creeks and streams with friends and during family picnics. Now, as a resident of the Susquehanna River Valley, I have become much more aware of the role that local creeks and rivers play in the daily lives of its residents while at the same time noticing the amazing natural beauty of these waterways.
You can do your part to help prevent, identify or resolve issues which are a threat to our waterways by donating to the Middle Susquehanna River Association (MSRKA) on Giving Tuesday. The MSRKA is committed to investigating reports of river pollution and working toward a resolution of those issues. We also provide numerous programs and opportunities to educate citizens of all ages in our community. These programs help to increase awareness of the issues our waterways face and ways each of us can work to keep our rivers clean for generations to come.
Today, I have the pleasure of re-living many of these moments through my son’s eyes. Like my parents did for me, I remind him that the fish can hear him. I smile as his eyes light up as his bobber goes under the water. I can relate to his sadness when I inevitably have to act like a parent and tell him: “No, you can’t keep Mr. Toad.”
This is why I am active with the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association. From fishing to camping, many family traditions and memories rely on a healthy ecosystem and conservation. Children need the wild and clean water to explore and learn in. The best days are always spent outside. Mud is good for the soul.
Will you help protect tomorrow’s memories? Are you able to donate or volunteer? While you consider what you can do, please remember: The fish can hear you!
Doug Fessler, MSRKA board member: Clean water is resoundingly vital to our overall health, surrounding communities and the economy. People depend on clean water for their health. The health of the Susquehanna River depends on the streams and wetlands where they begin. Clean streams and wetlands provide many positive impacts to surrounding communities by trapping floodwaters, recharging groundwater supplies, filtering pollution and providing habitat for our Pennsylvania fish and wildlife. Our society’s way of life depends on clean water.
Benefits like healthy ecosystems provide wildlife habitat and places for humans to fish, hunt, boat and swim. Our current and future economy depends on clean water: manufacturing, farming, tourism, recreation, energy production and other economic sectors need clean water to function and flourish. By supporting the MSRKA, you are supporting efforts to protect that resource.
Morgan Thomas, MSRKA student board member: As a college student majoring in Ecology and Earth and Environmental Sciences, I have come to truly understand the importance of clean water on a large scale and in our own streams and rivers. Appreciating our local environment also means protecting the things that support it, including our water quality.
Donating to the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association will help us to better protect our river-based resources like clean water not only for us, but also for the species that our streams and rivers support. Your generosity is beyond appreciated and we sincerely thank you for your consideration.
Cheryl Terpak, MSRKA board member: Clean water is important to me because of the many ways that the quality of the water in our rivers, streams and lakes affects so many aspects of people's lives. The Middle Susquehanna region of Pennsylvania has a wide range of water activities to choose from such as fishing, kayaking, boating and swimming. If we don't all do our part to keep our local waterways clean, we will find ourselves unable to use these waterways for recreational activities and the delicate ecosystem in these bodies of water can be damaged. The effects of pollution in water can take many years to reverse so not being careful to protect rivers, streams and lakes today will have an impact that will affect not only us but also future generations.
Looking beyond our local communities, half of all the water that flows to the Chesapeake Bay comes from the Susquehanna River. This means that keeping our local waterways clean is also important for maintaining a healthy ecosystem in the bay and surrounding ocean. Imagine visiting the beach and worrying about whether it is safe to fish in the bay or swim in the water. Keeping our local waterways clean will help to ensure that we don't have to worry and can fully enjoy all that the bay and ocean have to offer.
If clean water is important to you as it is to me, I ask that you consider making a tax- deductible donation to the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association (MSRKA) during Giving Tuesday on Nov. 29. The MSRKA is a nonprofit organization that spends many hours finding meaningful and effective ways to keep waterways clean and educate future generations about the importance of preventing water pollution.
I encourage you to check out the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeepers Association. We are always looking at, learning about and reporting on water quality throughout central Pennsylvania that we all enjoy. I am asking you to make a donation on this Giving Tuesday to the MSRKA. Check out to explore and learn the many things that we are doing and learning and teaching.
Andrew Bechdel, MSRKA board member: When I think about water, there is always an initial thought that comes to mind – connectivity!
While water is the vital resource and utility that we all need to survive, it is also a transportation system that can extend hundreds and even thousands of miles. It can connect ecosystems and habitats, people and their communities, and ideas and beliefs.
Runoff water entering the Susquehanna River in Cherry Tree, the headwaters of the West Branch, travels 337 miles downstream to Havre de Grace, Maryland, linking the rugged terrain of Alleghany Plateau to the vast open waters of Chesapeake Bay. People in the
remote community of Renovo and the bustling city of Harrisburg both belong to a river town, creating a solidarity among Susquehanna River community members. Outdoor recreationists from every corner of the country come together to kayak the waters of the Susquehanna River, an opportunity for people to share their own unique set of ideas and beliefs with one another.
I want to protect water not only because it is a resource that humanity is dependent upon for our survival, but because it serves as a conduit between different individuals and cultures and their respective ideologies, norms, and customs, enriching our lives and ensuring a more vibrant and sustainable future.
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.