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Update from DEP about the Condition of Smallmouth Bass on the Susquehanna River

Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:55 AM
Subject: Susquehanna River Study Press Release & Video

Dear Colleague,

As concerned partners in the protection of Pennsylvania’s water resources, I want to update you on our important Susquehanna River study – the work completed over the summer, where it stands now, and what lies ahead.

Today, the Department of Environmental Protection issued a news release regarding our progress since last summer and our plans for 2014.

The news release also contains a link to a new video on our YouTube channel about the study that I hope you will find informative. Produced by Commonwealth Media Services, it’s the second in a new series of educational videos DEP is developing as part of its Public Participation and Education Initiative launched last fall. The new video is available at http://youtu.be/oYYS7Ok0eag.

We encourage you to share this link with others who have an interest in learning more about the Susquehanna River Study.

All information regarding the study is posted in an online repository on DEP’s website at www.dep.state.pa.us . Click on the Susquehanna River Study Update graphic on the homepage.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any comments or concerns.

Kelly Heffner

Kelly Jean Heffner | Deputy Secretary

Office of Water Management
Department of Environmental Protection
Rachel Carson State Office Building
400 Market Street | Harrisburg, PA 17101

Rock Snot (Didymo) Found in PA's Pine Creek - Help Spread the Word (not the snot)

Invasive species are those which are introduced to an area or region whether it be accidental or on purpose, whose presence negatively affects the environment, ecosystems, and economies of where they are found.  There are many invasive species found along the middle section of the Susquehanna River Trail.  This document outlines seven of the most common species and their threat to the area. 

  Island Improvements

Although SRTA island campsites will continue to be maintained as “primitive” settings, we are using donations to make some “improvements” so the sites can continue to be used by our water-born visitors. The visitors have to be able to find them to use them  – not always easy at water level in an archipelago of islands.  To that end, larger landing area signs and a few directional arrows have been added recently.  PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) logos have been added to the signs to assure that the sites are public property, available for responsible use by all visitors. Small, silver PA Bureau of Forestry (BoF) medallions are posted on some area trees to support the public ownership. 

Landing spots, portage trails and campsites are being marked with signs to counter the ever-growing vegetation (i.e. knotweed, poison ivy, etc.) that constantly obliterates evidence of human visitation. That is the largest job of our crew of island steward volunteers. Our visitors have been of great help in keeping the campsites user-friendly for subsequent visitors, by subscribing to the Leave No Trace principles. Thanks visitors! 

Our current goal is to decrease the challenge of island landing areas. Except to local otters, there is nothing like the challenge of climbing a steep, wet, mud bank from boat to campsite, especially while carrying gear. A nearby, shallower ascent may work on a few islands. Other landings will call for on-site assistance, such as the steps, a belaying rope, or a non-slip recycled tire type of mat like those used for door mats – whatever will withstand the forces of water and ice. See you on the river! 

Wildlife Leadership Academy

For three years, SRTA has sponsored a scholarship to the annual five-day Wildlife Leadership Academy field school, administered by the Pennsylvania Institute for Conservation Education (PICE). The program is a cooperative education initiative, equipping future leaders with a better understanding of wildlife and conservation. 

The mission is “to empower high school youth with the necessary skills and knowledge to become ambassadors for conservation in order to ensure a sustained wildlife legacy for future generations.” It is “not to recruit or train future wildlife or conservation professionals, but to equip future leaders from all walks of life with a better understanding of wildlife.”

The Wildlife Leadership Academy is a year-round program that engages youth in conservation throughout their high school years and beyond, beginning with the summer field schools. It begins with an intensive week in the field, engaging in hands-on learning about wildlife biology, habitat, and ecosystem management in PA. Students learn through field studies and classroom activities. Labs are taught by leading wildlife biologists and professionals in the state. 

The program develops critical thinking, the ability to work in teams, and public speaking - important life skills. The activities emphasize team building skills and critical thinking. Students learn from media professionals how to tell their own stories through print media, educational programs, and television and radio interviews. After the school, students commit to engaging in at least three public outreach and/or conservation service projects. 

To date, participants have conducted 159 conservation education and service projects, engaged in 730 contact hours with the public and have reached an audience of over 6,000 people across 24 counties in the state. SRTA has sponsored a student scholarship because of the belief that this program directly supports our purpose as stated in the bylaws: “promote sustainable use of the river and work toward the continued stewardship of the river and surrounding watershed in partnership with private individuals, environmental and recreational organizations, and government agencies at local, county, state, and federal levels”.