Howdy River Folks,
As always, we are busy as can be representing your interests in the Susquehanna Valley and Chesapeake Bay Watershed. We’ve been working on our top five priorities: smallmouth bass die-offs in the Susquehanna and other Chesapeake tributaries; effects of fracking on our waterways; effects of Susquehanna sediment on the Chesapeake Bay; the Chesapeake watershed pollution reduction plan (TMDL); and the expansion of Lancaster’s landfill on the banks of the Susquehanna. Here are some updates, and a request for action.
Cobie Bean (1969-2014)
First I want to recognize one of our great volunteers, and one of my closest friends, Cobie Bean. Cobie was a volunteer with us from the earliest creek clean-up I organized in 2002. More recently, she was standing up for her Wrightsville/ Long Level community against the expansion of the Lancaster landfill. She was a friend and gift to all river-lovers and all who knew her. She passed away unexpectedly in her sleep late last month. We will miss her hard work and sunshine. Thank you to her friends and family that asked mourners to donate to Stewards of the Lower Susquehanna in lieu of flowers. Read more about the landfill expansion that Cobie was opposing here: http://www.lowersusquehannariverkeeper.org/2013/08/the-best-choice-for-the-susquehanna-river-choose-to-re-open-creswell-landfill/
Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, Smallmouth Bass, and new pollution from fracking
We need your HELP on this one. Please join us in commenting on the proposed Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. This is a voluntary agreement between the states, D.C. and federal government about what they are willing to do to protect our waterways and the bay. Unfortunately, the draft that is out for comment is deficient in content, including nothing about protecting our river and the Shenandoah and Potomac from what is killing our smallmouth bass, or the increasing runoff pollution caused by all of the new dirt roads, pipelines, and well-pads associated with the rapid growth in natural gas drilling. In addition to content, the “Agreement” has an opt-out clause where even if they sign the agreement, they can say they don’t want to actually do what the Agreement says. Please read our comments on our website and send your own (the address to send them to is on our letter). A copy of the draft Agreement is also available at the link below. Deadline for comments is this Monday, March 17th. http://www.lowersusquehannariverkeeper.org/2014/03/lower-susquehanna-riverkeeper-aims-to-correct-faulty-chesapeake-bay-watershed-agreement/
Conowingo Re-Licensing and Research
On January 31st, working with EarthJustice and Waterkeepers Chesapeake, SOLS filed nearly 50 pages of comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission demanding that FERC require the re-establishment of the American eel in the Susquehanna ( a key species in the ecosystem), proper passage for these migratory fish, a plan for Exelon to commit to further studies and plans to address sediment build-up at Conowingo Dam, and the re-opening and improvements of recreational fishing opportunities at the catwalk below the dam. Read our extensive comments here:
Comments to FERC relicensing of Conowingo Dam
Meeting with SRBC on how they regulate water withdrawals for fracking
On March 6th SOLS organized a meeting between the staff of SRBC and a group of concerned organizations including the League of Women Voters, Sierra Club of PA, PennFuture, EarthWorks, and the Responsible Drilling Alliance. During this two-hour meeting we learned a great deal about the processes and monitoring that SRBC has in place to protect our waterways from impacts of withdrawals of water. From our side we explained that the withdrawals are still the “gateways” to all of the other negative impacts that shale gas development causes such as the erosion and fragmentation from land use changes from forests and farmlands to well-pads, dirt roads and pipelines. These impacts fall under PA DEP oversight, and they are not doing their jobs to protect our waterways and communities. We also told them that we will continue to pressure them to do an overall Environmental Impact Study of every aspect of the natural gas fracking industry, including effects of projected growth. DEP should be doing this, but they refuse, so we believe the SRBC is the next responsible party. This pressure for SRBC to do the needed studies continues to grow as we build evidence of DEP’s many failures to protect us.
Doing your part
If you agree with the direction that we are going, we need your help. Send us your contact info and your interests so we can send you information specific to your interests. If you are not yet a member, please become a member at http://www.lowersusquehannariverkeeper.org/join-us/become-a-member/ . You can also make contributions (and save paypal charges) by sending donations to us at: SOLS 2098 Long Level Rd Wrightsville, PA 17368. We recognize that most people don’t have time to commit to these issues themselves, and that’s why we are here every day, working for you, your children, and your communities. We take no government funding, so our work will only continue if you believe in it, and can share a little of your “green energy” with us.
From the Mighty Susquehanna,
Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper