POWR Announces 2015 Pennsylvania Sojourn Grants Now Available

2014 Perkiomen Creek Sojourn POWRLuzerne – The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR) has announced the opening of the 2015 Pennsylvania River Sojourns Grant cycle. Grants are available on a competitive basis for single and multi-day paddling events on Pennsylvania’s rivers. Events must incorporate significant educational programming, and be open to all participants (i.e., private trips are not eligible). Up to $900 per on-water day for multi-day sojourns and $500 for single-day sojourns in Pennsylvania.

Applications are now available online at our website (www.pawatersheds.org). Applications are due February 27, 2015.

As a nationally unique program, the PA Sojourns reach over 4,000 people, paddle over 500 rivers miles, offer more than 100 educational programs, and distribute more than $60,000 in grants across the state.

POWR, an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, administers the Pennsylvania Sojourn program. POWR has been in place for over a decade and has sponsored trips on many of the Commonwealth’s rivers. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR) is the prime sponsor of the program.

Media contacts:

Janet Sweeney, POWR, 570-718-6507

Conewango Creek Named Pennsylvania’s 2015 River of the Year

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Conewango Creek Watershed Association to Receive $10,000 Leadership Grant

Photo by Kirk Johnson, board member for the Conewango Creek Watershed Association

Photo by Kirk Johnson, board member for the Conewango Creek Watershed Association

Harrisburg – Rich in aquatic life and home to at least two rare fish species, the Conewango Creek in northwestern Pennsylvania has been voted the 2015 Pennsylvania River of the Year.

The general public was invited to vote online for the designation from Nov. 10-Dec. 15, choosing from among five waterways nominated across the state.

A total of 9,959 one-time votes were cast by email. Final tallies showed the Conewango Creek receiving 4,154 votes, or 42 percent; Loyalhanna Creek: 2,981, 30 percent; Lackawanna River: 1,469, 15 percent; Neshaminy Creek and watershed: 881, 9 percent; and Ohio River: 474, 5 percent.

“There are winning qualities in all five of these waterways that their supporters recognize and respect,” DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti said. “The number of waterways nominated, coupled with a vote tally that increases every year, showcases both the unique diversity of Pennsylvania’s rivers and the strong community allegiances that protect and enhance them.”

The applicant for the winning waterway, the Conewango Creek Watershed Association, will receive a $10,000 Leadership Grant to help fund River of the Year activities.

“We want to thank everyone — all the businesses, organizations, media and individuals — that made this possible,” Conewango Creek Watershed Association Chairman Steve Kimball said. “Just promoting Conewango Creek for 2015 Pa. River of the Year has brought a lot of awareness of the creek locally and regionally. The creek is now ‘on the radar’ for many people that never really thought much about it before.

“Getting the award and the grant will allow us to take advantage of the awareness we have started to raise and ‘ride that wave’ while it’s fresh in people’s minds. We have a fantastic resource right here in our own backyard and we want people to cherish, improve and protect it. We want to get more of the community involved and take ownership of the creek,” Kimball said.

The association will integrate “the River of the Year message” in a river sojourn focusing on the watershed’s history, wildlife, local fisheries and related topics, according to board member Elizabeth Dropp. Other creek-based activities may include a poker run, special fall celebration, cleanup, photo contest and public water safety courses. The association also is exploring the possibility of starting a pilot “stream ambassador” program, Dropp said.

In cooperation with DCNR, selection of public voting choices was overseen by the Pa. Organization for Waterways and Rivers (POWR), an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. POWR and DCNR will work with the association to create a free, commemorative poster celebrating Conewango Creek as the 2015 Pa. River of the Year

A tributary of the Allegheny River, Conewango Creek flows 71 miles through northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York and is part of a 900-square-mile-area drainage basin. Though challenged by sediment pollution in some areas, the Conewango’s water quality sustains two rare fish species — the burbot, once thought to be eradicated, and the paddlefish, which was reintroduced to the area. The waterway also is home 19 native, freshwater mussel species, and boasts a biodiversity rich in river otters, bald eagles, ospreys, herons and other wildlife.

The Conewango Creek is a designated Pa. Water Trail, with six launch areas along its 13 miles flowing through Pennsylvania.

“POWR would like to commend everyone across the Commonwealth for their support for the nominated rivers, especially for the efforts and strong showing of support for the Conewango Creek,” POWR Vice President Janet Sweeney said. “The River of the Year program is a wonderful opportunity to showcase all of the nominated rivers and the great work being done in Pennsylvania communities on these valuable resources. We are excited about this opportunity to promote the successes and challenges facing the Conewango Creek, as well as all of Pennsylvania’s waterways.”

Presented annually since 1983, the 2014 designation was awarded to the Schuylkill River in eastern Pennsylvania. Each year, finalists are determined based on each waterway’s conservation needs and successes, as well as celebration plans should the nominee be voted River of the Year.

The River of the Year sojourn is just one of many paddling trips supported by DCNR and POWR each year.  An independent program, the Pennsylvania Sojourn Program, is a unique series of a dozen such trips on the state’s rivers. For more information about the sojourns, visit www.pawatersheds.org.

To learn more about the River of the Year program, the nominated waterways and past winners, visit www.pariveroftheyear.org. To learn more about DCNR’s Rivers Program, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us  (click on “Conserve,” then “Waterways”).

Media contacts:

Terry Brady, DCNR, 717-772-9101

Janet Sweeney, POWR, 570-718-6507

2015 “River of the Year” Nominations Open

$10,000 grant to go to winning river

Pennsylvania nonprofit organizations and municipalities are invited to nominate waterways for the 2015 Pennsylvania River of the Year.
The nomination period is open through October 24, 2014, and then selected nominations will be voted on by the general public beginning in early November.

“Every year we look forward to seeing which rivers are nominated by Pennsylvanians. We hear why one particular river is special, how the river plays a role in the community, how residents and visitors enjoy all the recreational opportunities the river has to offer, how groups have rallied to clean up sections of the river.” said Ellen Ferretti, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “Each and every river has a story to tell and we all connect to “our” river in different ways. For 2015, it will be exciting to see which river becomes River of the Year!”

“We are asking for nominations and for the fifth year in a row will allow citizens to vote and choose their River of the Year.”

All Pennsylvania rivers are eligible for nomination, with the exception of winning rivers since 2010.

 

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About the River of the Year Program

The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), administer the River of the Year program. Pennsylvania’s River of the Year is an honor designed to elevate public awareness of specific rivers and recognize important conservation needs and achievements. River of the Year designations have been presented annually since 1983.

Pennsylvania’s 2014 River of the Year is the Schuylkill River in southeast Pennsylvania.

“It is always great to see how the state’s rivers get supporters to vote for them. Every year, this voting reaffirms the connections that Pennsylvanians and others have with our waterways.,” said Davitt Woodwell, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, an affiliate of POWR.

“We look forward to once again highlighting the achievements of these local organizations who tirelessly work to protect and promote Pennsylvania rivers.”

After a waterway is chosen, local groups implement a year-round slate of activities and events to celebrate the river, including a paddling trip, or sojourn. The nominating organization of the winning river will receive a $10,000 leadership grant to help fund their River of the Year activities.

The River of the Year sojourn is just one of many paddling trips supported by DCNR and POWR each year. An independent program, the Pennsylvania Sojourn Program, is a unique series of a dozen such trips on the state’s rivers. These water-based journeys for canoeists, kayakers and others raise awareness of the environmental, recreational, tourism and heritage values of rivers. Applications for sojourn funding support will be accepted beginning in January.

To Nominate a river for the 2015 River of the Year, please click on the nomination form and follow the directions. 2015 River of the Year Nomination Form

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

Schuylkill River Named Pennsylvania’s 2014 River of the Year

DCNR-left-rgbSchuylkill River Greenway Association to Receive $10,000 Leadership Grant

 

peacock'sbridge_cody08Harrisburg  Once among Pennsylvania’s most heavily-polluted waterways, the Schuylkill River in southeastern Pennsylvania has undergone a dramatic recovery and has been voted the 2014 Pennsylvania River of the Year.

Four other rivers were nominated finalists.  They were: Kiskiminetas-Conemaugh rivers in the southwest; Ohio in the west; Brodhead Creek Watershed in the northeast; and the West Branch of the Susquehanna in the north central section of the state.

The general public was invited to vote online from November 25th to December 27th, with a total of 5,527 votes being registered.  Final tallies in voting overseen by the Pennsylvania Organization of Watershed and Rivers (POWR) showed the Schuylkill River receiving 43%; Kiskiminetas-Conemaugh Rivers, 21%; Ohio River, 12%; Brodhead Creek and Watershed, 12%; and West Branch of the Susquehanna, 12%.

“The number of waterways nominated, coupled with a vote tally that increases every year, showcases both the unique diversity of Pennsylvania’s rivers and the strong community allegiances that protect and enhance them,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Ellen Ferretti.  “All five of these waterways have winning qualities that their supporters recognize and respect.”

The winning applicant in the competition, Schuylkill River Greenway Association, will receive a $10,000 Leadership Grant to help fund River of the Year activities.  The association manages the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area.

“We are elated to have the Schuylkill be selected as Pennsylvania River of the Year for 2014,” said Schuylkill River Greenway Association Executive Director Kurt Zwikl.  “We are particularly pleased to be named because in last year’s balloting we lost out by less than two hundred votes.

“We would like to thank the Schuylkill River Development Corp. and Montgomery County, who also nominated the Schuylkill and will partner with us in 2014 to bring some outstanding river programming to southeast Pennsylvania.  It is a statewide honor to be chosen, and our thanks go out to all of the individuals and organizations that endorsed us and voted for the Schuylkill.”

This is the second time the Schuylkill has been named River of the Year, having last received the distinction in 1999.

The organization plans to integrate the River of the Year message into its existing programs, including the Schuylkill River Sojourn; newer pedal/paddle events; and a bike tour series on the adjacent Schuylkill River Trail.  Also, POWR and DCNR will work with The Greenway Association to create a free, commemorative poster celebrating the Schuylkill as the 2014 Pennsylvania River of the Year.

The Schuylkill stretches 128 miles from Schuylkill County headwaters to its confluence with the Delaware River in Philadelphia.  On the brink of becoming a wasteland, the river was targeted by the state in the Schuylkill River Project, beginning in 1945.  The first major government-funded environmental cleanup saw millions of tons of coal culm dredged from the river.

In roughly half a century, on of the nation’s most polluted bodies of water has improved to a point where it is now a popular recreational destination for paddlers, trail users, and anglers.  The Schuylkill is a source of drinking water for 1.5 million people, and waterfront communities along its corridor now look to the river to bolster community revitalization efforts.

“POWR would like to commend everyone for their support for the nominated rivers, especially for the strong showing of support for the Schuylkill River,” said POWR Vice President Janet Sweeney.  “The River of the Year program is a wonderful opportunity to showcase all of the nominated river and the great work being done in Pennsylvania communities on these valuable resources.  We are excited about this opportunity to promote the successes and challenges facing the Schuylkill River, as well as all of Pennsylvania’s waterways.”

POWR administers the River of the Year program with funding from DCNR.  Presented annually since 1983, the 2013 designation was awarded to the Monongahela River in southwest Pennsylvania.  Each year, finalists are determined based on each waterways’ conservation needs and successes, as well as celebration plans should the nominee be voted River of the Year.

Part of those plans include a River of the Year sojourn, which is just one of many paddling trips supported by DCNR and POWR each year.  This water-based journey down the winning river will include canoeists, kayakers, and others to raise awareness of the environmental, recreational, tourism, and heritage values of rivers.  For more information visit www.pawatersheds.org.  To learn more about the River of the Year program, the nominated waterways, and past winners, visit www.pariveroftheyear.org.

Media Contacts:

Terry Brady, DCNR, 717-722-9101

Janet Sweeney, POWR, 570-718-6507

Spotlight on River of the Year Nominee: The Brodhead Creek and Watershed

Brodhead Creek WordPressThroughout this year’s contest, we have been following stories on our nominees, this is one, from The Pocono Record, about the Brodhead Creek and Watershed in Northeastern, PA:

“Celebrate the Brodhead, and vote for it”

If you know of other news stories on the contest or nominees please send them our way!

Spotlight on River of the Year Nominee: The Schuylkill River

Schuylkill WordPressThroughout this year’s contest, we have been following stories on our nominees, this is one, from The Mercury News, about the Schuylkill River, which is currently in first place:

“Your Vote Can Make The Schuylkill ‘Pa’s River of the Year'”

If you know of other news stories on the contest or nominees please send them our way!

Spotlight on River of the Year Nominee: The Kiskiminetas-Conemaugh Rivers

Kiskiminetas-Conemaugh WordPressThroughout this year’s contest, we have been following stories on our nominees, this is one, from the Tribune Review, about the Kiskiminetas-Conemaugh rivers, which have recently shot into second place in the polls:

 

“Boosters try to drum up votes for Kiski-Conemaugh rivers”

If you know of other news stories on the contest or its nominees please send them our way!

Voting Begins for Pennsylvania’s 2014 River of the Year

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Harrisburg –The public is invited to again vote online for the 2014 Pennsylvania River of the Year, choosing from among five waterways nominated across the state.

Rivers nominated are: Schuylkill in eastern Pennsylvania; Kiskiminetas-Conemaugh rivers in the southwest; Ohio in the west; Brodhead Creek Watershed in the northeast; and West Branch of the Susquehanna in the north central section of the state.

“So many unique natural resources and so much recreational potential are showcased individually in these nominations,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Acting Secretary Ellen Ferretti. “Collectively, these rivers and streams demonstrate just how blessed Pennsylvania is with its wealth of major waterways.”

Nominations were based on each waterway’s conservation needs and successes, as well as celebration plans should the nominee be voted 2014 River of the Year.In cooperation with DCNR, selection of public voting choices was overseen by the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.

The public can vote for their favorite state waterway beginning today through 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27. Visit www.pariveroftheyear.org to vote and learn about the nominated waterways and the River of the Year program.

“As it enters its fourth year, we have seen the online public selection process become increasingly popular,” Ferretti said. “We also know this spirit of good-natured competition rallies community support around our waterways and puts deserving rivers and streams in the limelight.”

Voting will be managed through Woobox, an online contest application that restricts voting to one vote per email address.

POWR, an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, administers the River of the Year program with funding from DCNR. Presented annually since 1983, this year’s designation was awarded to the Monongahela River in southwest Pennsylvania.

“The River of the Year contest allows all Pennsylvanians to highlight the many fabulous waterways they enjoy, whether by boating, fishing, walking, eating, or shopping along the river trails,” said Paul King, president of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. “While we formally recognize only one river with this award, we acknowledge the unique value of all rivers and their contribution to the overall environmental quality of Pennsylvania and the quality of life of all who enjoy them.”

After a waterway is chosen for the annual honor, local groups implement a year-round slate of activities and events to celebrate the river, including a paddling trip, or sojourn. The organization nominating the winning river will receive a $10,000 leadership grant to help fund their River of the Year activities.

The River of the Year sojourn is just one of many paddling trips supported by DCNR and POWR each year.  An independent program, the Pennsylvania Sojourn Program, is a unique series of a dozen such trips on the state’s rivers. These water-based journeys for canoeists, kayakers and others raise awareness of the environmental, recreational, tourism and heritage values of rivers. For more information about the sojourns, visit www.pawatersheds.org.

POWR and DCNR also work with local organizations to create a free, commemorative poster celebrating the River of the Year.

To learn more about DCNR’s Rivers Program, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (click on “Conserve,” then “Waterways”).

To learn more about the River of the Year program, visit www.pariveroftheyear.org.

Media contacts:

Terry Brady, DCNR, 717-772-9101

Amy Camp, POWR, 412-918-6563