River of the Year voting ends; winner unknown till 2018

December 23, 2017 Times-Tribune (Scranton)
PEC in the News

Online voting in the Pennsylvania 2018 River of the Year contest ended Friday at 5 p.m., but the winner won’t be announced until after the new year, a contest official said.

The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds & Rivers oversees the annual competition, with voting on pariveroftheyear.org and the group’s Facebook page.

The Lackawanna River is up against the Connoquenessing Creek, Little Juniata River, Lower Susquehanna River/Susquehanna Riverlands and Loyalsock Creek in the contest that got underway Nov. 21

During the first three weeks of voting, the Lackawanna River steadily rose from fifth (last) place, to fourth place, to third place, according to standings that had been posted on the website.

However, the running vote totals and standings were removed from the website earlier this week, and the winner won’t be announced until 2018, said Angela Vitkoski of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Northeast office and a project manager of the Pennsylvania Organization of Watersheds & Rivers involved in operating the contest.

“We have removed the updated results from the voting platform to ensure that the correct winner is announced once the votes have been verified at the end of the campaign,” Vitkoski said in an email. “Our press release on the announced winner and final results will go out after the new year.”

The contest aims to highlight rivers and waterways and their environmental qualities and challenges.

“Regardless of what waterway finishes first, this competition fuels community support around our rivers and streams, and puts them in the public limelight,” said Cindy Adams, secretary of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, in an announcement at the contest’s start. “All have truly unique attributes, offer incredible recreational opportunities and offer significant boosts to local economies.”

Nominations were based on each waterway’s conservation needs and successes, as well as celebration plans should the nominee be voted 2018 River of the Year.

The Lackawanna River Conservation Association nominated the Lackawanna for the accolade, citing its rebound in recent decades from polluted waterway to prized fishery.

Vote standings on Dec. 14 showed the Lackawanna River in third place with 11.9 percent of the vote.

The Connoquenessing and Loyalsock creeks were locked in a virtual dead heat for first place, with 35.2 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

The Lower Susquehanna River/Susquehanna Riverlands was running in fourth place, with 10.7 percent of the vote, while the Little Juniata River trailed with 7.2 percent.

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