2019 River of the Year Nominees

Clarion River

Aquatic communities along the Clarion River were historically impacted and degraded from watershed stressors, such as mining and logging, but the river presently supports healthy aquatic communities thanks to many restoration, enhancement, and protection efforts over the years. The Clarion River is a thriving cold water fishery from its headwaters to its confluence with Mill Creek in Strattanville, where it transitions to a warm water fishery until its confluence with the Allegheny River. The Clarion River has National Wild and Scenic River (WSR) designation, which protects and enhances its free-flowing state to promote recreational and scenic values.

The river is continuing to recover thanks in part to the concerted conservation efforts of many agencies and organizations along its corridor. The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy along with the Elk County Conservation District (ECCD) and the Allegheny Watershed Improvement Needs (WINs) Coalition are partnering to nominate the Clarion River. 

Conodoguinet Creek

The Conodoguinet Creek meanders north-eastwardly across a broad plain between Blue Mountain on the north and South Mountain on the south through fertile lands of Cumberland County. The Conodoguinet Creek is a very valuable economic, recreation, and environmental resource. The creek is still guarded by riparian buffers, providing wildlife habitat and a scenic setting for uses of the creek including swimming, boating, wildlife watching, exploration, fishing, and other recreation.  Activities that pose challenges include urban and suburban development and farming. Increased impervious surfaces such as roads and roofs divert rainwater from percolation and replenishment of groundwater.

Conodoguinet Creek Watershed Association (CCWA) is dedicated to teaching the connection of how a person effects their local creek through environmental education in local school districts, partnering with Boy / Girl scouting groups, and public forums.

Delaware River

Starting in upstate New York and winding down to Delaware, the Delaware River has many roles. It is a state boundary, a habitat to hundreds of species, a famous recreational resource, and a drinking water source for over 15 million people, among many others uses. Because of its proximity to so many people, as well as its value as a recreational resource, the Delaware River is heavily used. This requires a focused eye on protection opportunities through federal funding programs, clean water legislation, as well as a consideration of land protection and agricultural management practices. The longest undammed river east of the Mississippi, the Delaware River is home to over 200 fish species, as well as a wealth of other biodiversity.

The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) has been a longstanding member of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, in addition to working to protect the lands of the Pennsylvania Highlands and the waters that flow into the Delaware River.

Photo credit: Joseph Simons

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 Conservation Association is currently developing a Watershed Stewardship program to train and involve active participants in hands on watershed stewardship work.

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