2015 River of the Year Nominees

PA River Map 2015

The Conewango Creek

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.

The Lackawanna River

The Lackawanna River

The Lackawanna River flows for 60 miles through Susquehanna, Wayne, Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties.  It confluences with the North Branch Susquehanna River at Coxton Point between Duryea and Pittston in Luzerne County, mid-way between the Cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.

The Lackawanna River has been adversely impacted by the Anthracite coal mining industry, railroad, industrial and urban development over the past 200 years.  With the abandonment of the Anthracite Mines in the 1960’s and the development of modern sanitary treatment works, the river has staged a remarkable recovery.  The Lackawanna now sustains a vibrant cold water “Class A” fishery in its middle and upper reaches.  It attracts more paddlers every year.  The Lackawanna River Citizens Plan of 1989 and the Lackawanna Heritage Plan of 1990 are leading to the development of an extensive River Trail and Greenway system.

The Loyalhanna Creek

The Loyalhanna Creek

The Loyalhanna Creek offers an exceptional array of fishing opportunities, including a 1.5 mile delayed harvest section plentiful with trout, as well as lower reaches rich with pike, muskie, and bass.  An abundance of other life including rare plants species, beaver, mink, egrets, blue herons, raptors, turtles and snakes thrive along the winding creek despite historic coal mining, farming, and development that threaten the water quality of this creek and many tributaries.

Over recent decades, because of the investment of millions of dollars to fund projects that treat abandoned mine drainage, repair eroding stream banks, protect riparian areas, and increase public awareness and recreation opportunities, what once was an orange, shallow stream that passed by mills and factories, is now a cleaner, vibrant passageway through our beautiful region.

The Neshaminy Creek & Watershed

The Neshaminy Creek and Watershed

Propelling its way through approximately 40 miles and spanning both Montgomery and Bucks counties, the Neshaminy Creek corridor is a defining feature of the region.  The watershed of the Neshaminy Creek covers an area of approximately 236 square miles, and is a tributary to the Delaware River. As the Delaware River being a key watershed for hundreds of thousands of residents, preserving the Neshaminy’s water quality is a critical component of a healthy, sustainable, livable community.

In 2003, the Neshaminy Creek Watershed Alliance, a coalition of more than 60 individuals from diverse watershed, municipal and conservation organizations, was established to work collaboratively on improving the quality of the watershed. Through innovative outreach, planning, and restoration efforts, the Alliance has begun to make progress in improving one of the most impaired watersheds in Pennsylvania.

The Ohio River

The Ohio River

The Ohio River runs through largely urbanized and industrialized landscapes, brownfields, and main river channels managed largely for commercial interests. The Ohio runs through or along the border of six states, and its drainage basin includes parts of 14 states. This inland waterway serves as an important thoroughfare for commerce. It brings producers and consumers together and connects much of America to the oceans and the rest of the global marketplace.

Just 50 years ago, the Ohio River ran red with unregulated pollution and was quite inhospitable to aquatic life, which decimated fish populations. The great Ohio River, has experienced a rebirth, and today, the Ohio River and its tributaries represent one of the most diverse freshwater ecosystems on earth. The Ohio and its islands have been identified as one of the most important ecosystems for conservation.  The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge works to protect, restore, and enhance habitat for wildlife native to the river’s floodplain.

Thank you to everyone who participated!  The voting period is now over.  Check back soon for more information!

For more information contact Angela Vitkoski at avitkoski@pecpa.org.

29 thoughts on “2015 River of the Year Nominees

  • Sue Fairbanks

    Our kayak gang loves all the rivers we kayak in PA, but the riffles on the Conewango Creek can’t be beat. What a riot!

    Reply
  • J. Kurtis

    I’ve walked alongside and paddled many stretches of the Conewango over the last 20 years and have enjoyed seeing the creek come back to life. Watching the river otters in the upper reaches is wonderful testimony to the improved water quality that so many people have worked so hard to improve. The Conewango deserves to win River of the Year.

    Reply
  • Kris R

    Loyalhanna creek is a beautiful waterway that offers quiet, serene, peaceful and picturesque places and trails to enjoy nature and recreational activities all along its banks and surroundings, definitely deserves the nomination and our votes.

    Reply
  • Doug Ostergard

    The Conewango Creek is a beautiful & unique body of water. I spent my boyhood days on the Conewango. I cast my vote that the Conewango Creek should be named 2015 River of the Year.

    Reply
  • Bill Tersteeg

    The Lackawanna River is a tremendous asset to our community and the individuals that have committed to it’s revitalization deserves the recognition as the 2015 River of the a Year.

    Reply
  • Kishan Markarian

    Love The lackawanna River! It’s been across my street from our home all my life and offered many fun things to do and still does. Memories still forming all the time to this day.

    Reply
    • Bryan Yatsko

      I grew up around the river in the Green Ridge section and learned to fish there as a kid. Was by that river all year round. Still have many great memories! 😉

      Reply
  • glenny messinger

    Our daughter lives on the Conewango. I really enjoy sitting on her back porch, watching the birds, turtles, ducks and geese. I have seen an eagle fly down the creek. We ended saying hi to people going down and upstream in kayaks, canoes, and even pontoon boats. Our grandkids enjoy the fishing. The creek has a lot of beautiful scenery, and deserves to be honored.

    Reply
  • Gene M.

    The Lackawanna River produces some very large native Brown Trout. I have met people who come from other parts of the country and world seeking information on where to find these fighting fish. In addition, Bald Eagles frequent the river and have established nests along its banks in recent years. Something that hasn’t been seen since the 19th century! Canoeing and kayaking are very popular, too. So much more could be said about this magnificent waterway that has rebounded from tragic circumstances dating back to the 19th century.

    Reply
  • Bob Stanton

    The Conewango is an overlooked gem. In addition to the assets listed in the above description, it is a major tributary of the Allegheny River and thus the Ohio, has great historical significance dating from the pre-French and Indian War era, and is a tremendous fishery for Smallmouth Bass and Northern Pike, among others. If you’re in the area, it’s well worth checking out.

    Reply
  • Dan Albaugh

    I’ve caught and released many nice smallmouth bass in the lower part of the Conewango. My grandparents spent the final years of their lives as residents of the Conewango Towers and had a special view of the Conewango Creek emptying into the Alleghany River. The funding needed to maintain this treasure of nature warrants your vote for the Conewango Creek.

    Reply
  • Tina Watson

    The Loyalhanna Creek is a place I go to gather my thoughts and talk to the one’s I’ve lost in my life. It’s the one place I can be alone. Also it’s a place where family memories are created and remembered in the last days of your life. I am thankful these places are undeveloped and hope they remain unchanged for future generations to enjoy. Thank you for seeing this as a place to save and cherish.

    Reply
  • gene kravits

    The Loyalhanna Creek is an outstanding gift of nature and has been and inspiration of many
    accomplished artists for centuries . Visiting many Museums one can see the magnificent water
    way that has graced the Laurel Highlands and is enjoyed by Nature lovers as well as Artists
    The watershed has worked tirelessly to protect this Creek and and maintain its beauty for today as well as future generations.

    Reply
  • Joe Pacacha

    The Loyalhanna has always been a wonderful place to introduce & educate my young sons in the field of aquatic entymology to better understand what constitutes a healthy watershed and what it entails to protect & preserve it for both their future as well as coming generations. Getting to fly fish with them is icing on the cake!!!

    Reply
  • Linda Gwinn

    I have seen the improvements over the decades and watch people fish, swim and sunbath in what was once an ugly, orange cesspool of AMD! Congratulations to those who have worked so hard to return it to the vibrant life that it has and gives to all species of animals!

    Reply

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