Environment
3:30 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Which PA Waterway Will Win River of the Year?

Which stream in Pennsylvania will succeed the Monongahela as River of the Year? 

Voting for the annual River of the Year competition closes Dec. 27.

For 30 years, Pennsylvanians have been able to vote for their favorite waterways in the commonwealth.

This year the five nominees are the Schuylkill, Kiskiminetas-Conemaugh, Ohio, Brodhead Creek Watershed and the West Branch of the Susquehanna.

Amy Camp, Pennsylvania Environmental Council Land and Water Trails specialist, said they look at the waterway’s conservation successes and needs over the years.

“The goal really is to highlight Pennsylvania’s rivers and waterways and to raise awareness of rivers as a resource not only in the way of conservation but also a recreational resource and a resource economically as well,” Camp said.

She said a watershed association or some other nonprofit entity typically nominates the rivers and receives the prize.

“There’s a $10,000 leadership grant that helps the nominating organizations to take on activities related to River of the Year, there’s also a poster created … and then of course there’s bragging rights and just the honor of being Pennsylvania’s River of the Year,” Camp said.

Local groups organize activities year-round to celebrate the winning waterway including a sojourn, or paddling trip, a speaker series, clean-up days and photography contests.

The competition began in 1983 with the goal of raising awareness of the recreational, ecological and historical importance of the state’s waterways.

More than 25,400 ballots were cast last year, and the Monongahela River was the victor with 8,156 votes.  Second place went to the Schuylkill River.

Camp noted that the rivers are recognized for their successes, but there is still work to be done.

“There are a number of conservation success stories on each of them there also are continued conservation needs, and that’s part of what the program is all about, is showing success stories and also highlighting our continued need,” Camp said.

State residents can vote on the Pennsylvania River of the Year website.