The Catawissa Creek, an incredibly beautiful, 41-mile tributary of the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, was one of four nominees for the 2022 Pennsylvania River of the Year. Despite the impressive outreach efforts of the emerging coalition between the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), Catawissa Creek Restoration Association (CCRA), conservation districts in Columbia and Schuylkill counties, and other groups, the Catawissa was not voted as this year’s winning river. However, this story has a silver lining!
The excitement, engagement, and interest generated in the watershed community and among all four community watershed organizations in Columbia County (Briar Creek Association for Watershed Solutions, Fishing Creek Watershed Association, Roaring Creek Valley Conservation Association, and Catawissa Creek Restoration Association) leading up to and during the voting process was immense. So much so, that the organizations, along with staff of the Columbia County Conservation District, decided to plan and host the first ever Susquehanna Valley Watershed Festival.
The festival took place on Saturday, July 30th at Cara Park in Catawissa, PA. More than 20 organizations and agencies set up educational, interactive, and informative booths and tables for attendees to visit and learn about local watershed and water quality efforts, recreation opportunities, land conservation, invasive and native plants, acid mine drainage (AMD) remediation, Pennsylvania’s native mammals and fish, and more.
Families and children were invited to tie-dye t-shirts with iron oxide removed from AMD streams, practice their fly-fishing casts, make “water cycle” bracelets, select native plants to take home, race rubber duckies in the nearby Catawissa Creek, and learn how water quality is tested by volunteer watershed organization members. A band played fun tunes and food trucks were on hand throughout the day. POWR staff were also there to support the watershed organizations at the event and share information about rain gardens and other green stormwater management ideas for homeowners, as well as to promote the new Pennsylvania Waterway Stewards Program, a new initiative just launched by our partners Keep PA Beautiful.
The excitement, engagement, and interest generated in the watershed community and among all four community watershed organizations in Columbia County leading up to and during the voting process was immense.
The warm sunny day drew an impressive crowd for a first-time event, and everyone appeared to be enjoying the festivities, activities, food, music, and giveaways.
Planning and coordinating a successful event such as this one takes a lot of effort. POWR extends both a heartfelt Thank You and very enthusiastic Congratulations to the volunteers of the community-based watershed organizations who came together to bring the Susquehanna Valley Watershed Festival to local residents and community members. Whether there is another bid for River of Year for the Catawissa or any of the other waterways or not, you should be proud of your efforts!
Anyone interested in learning more and getting involved with these or other watershed organizations, can visit www.pawatersheds.org or contact the watershed specialist at your county conservation district.