The Conewango Creek
The Conewango Creek in northwestern Pennsylvania has been voted the 2015 Pennsylvania River of the Year. The general public was invited to vote online for the designation from Nov. 10-Dec. 15, choosing from among five waterways nominated across the state. The Conewango won with 42% of the popular vote.
The applicant for the winning waterway, the Conewango Creek Watershed Association, will receive a $10,000 Leadership Grant to help fund River of the Year activities.
“We want to thank everyone — all the businesses, organizations, media and individuals — that made this possible,” Conewango Creek Watershed Association Chairman Steve Kimball said. “Just promoting Conewango Creek for 2015 Pa. River of the Year has brought a lot of awareness of the creek locally and regionally. The creek is now ‘on the radar’ for many people that never really thought much about it before.
“Getting the award and the grant will allow us to take advantage of the awareness we have started to raise and ‘ride that wave’ while it’s fresh in people’s minds. We have a fantastic resource right here in our own backyard and we want people to cherish, improve and protect it. We want to get more of the community involved and take ownership of the creek,” Kimball said.
The rivers nominated include the Conewango Creek in the northwest, the Loyalhanna Creek in the southwest, the Lackawanna River in the northeast, the Neshaminy Creek and Watershed in the southeast, and the Ohio River in the southwest.
Among 9,959 ballots cast, the Conewango Creek received 4,154 votes. The four other finalists and total votes received were:
The Loyalhanna Creek: 2,981 votes
The Lackawanna River: 1,469 votes
The Neshaminy Creek and Watershed: 881 votes
The Ohio River: 474 votes
The Conewango Creek is a designated Pa. Water Trail, with six launch areas along its 13 miles flowing through Pennsylvania.
About The Conewango Creek
The Conewango Creek has a quality and biodiversity which rivals French Creek of northwestern Pennsylvania despite sediment pollution problems caused by rural, agricultural, and urban stormwater issues. Unique fish confirmed in the Conewango include the burbot, once thought to be extirpated, and the paddle fish which was reintroduced to the area. The Conewango Creek is also home to 19 native species of freshwater mussels including the northern riffleshell mussel. Also common along the creek are river otters, bald eagles, osprey, and herons; just to name a few.
The Conewango Creek Watershed Association (CCWA) is dedicated to educating the public and reconnecting them with the creek so as to foster a relationship that will lead them to steward this amazing resource. Over the past several years American Rivers has partnered with CCWA to remove two orphan dams on the lower Conewango Creek which now allows free-flowing accesses for both people and aquatic life.