Poconos residents have expressed overwhelming support for protecting the area’s pure water (94%), particularly streams that are so pure that they meet the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) exceptional value requirements.
Fortunately, the Poconos is home to some of the most pristine waterways in the Commonwealth. Of all the streams rated as exceptional value, the highest possible rating, 80% fall in Poconos.
77% of Poconos residents have noticed increases in commercial development in recent years, while 67% are concerned that greater development has negative impacts on water quality in the streams of the Pocono area.
Surveyed residents acknowledge the fact that economic growth, environmental sustainability, and personal well-being are all intertwined. The exceptional value flows are having an enormous impact on the quality of life in the Pocono Mountains region, while providing significant economic opportunities through the burgeoning outdoor leisure and tourism sectors.
“The unique environment of the Pocono Mountains depends on the application of smart, environmentally conscious development practices that do not undermine the quality of our streams and rivers,” said Donna Kohut, Pocono Waters Campaign Manager. “Protecting our economy means protecting streams and streams. We can – and must – have strong protections for clean flows that simultaneously support local economic development.”
Pocono residents are largely opposed to developments that threaten to undermine the region’s precious water resources. A large majority of both parties (73%) said they were more likely to vote for a political candidate who shared the common goal of protecting and preserving exceptional value streams and waterways from added commercial development.
While more than two out of three respondents noted greater commercial development in every county across the region, nearly eight in ten acknowledged that economic development should continue, as long as it is well planned and environmentally sound.
“The survey results are consistent with what I hear from residents all the time: the natural beauty of the Poconos is a major reason they choose to live and raise their families here,” said Hamilton (Monroe County) superintendent Robert Hill. “Natural beauty, driven by clean water, greenery and fresh air, is what makes our region a special place that we call home,”
“As a business owner, I fully support economic development across Poconos,” said Sierra Vogal, COO and co-owner of Pocono Whitewater and Skirmish. But we need to develop in a way that ensures the preservation of our local currents. Clean waterways are essential to creating tourism demand and employment opportunities for all ages, allowing future generations to experience outdoor recreation in the Poconos.”
Respondents found strong links between clean water protection and economic opportunity – with 57% saying that clean stream related recreational activities have a positive impact on the local economy.
“Clean streams have been a major driver of the region’s economy for decades,” Emily Balduff, Mid Atlantic Organizer for Trout Unlimited told Trout Unlimited. “Protection associated with the state of the exceptional value stream is vital to ensuring that this economic driver continues to enhance the recreational access and opportunities that the Pocono Mountains offer – for decades to come.”
The survey was conducted on behalf of the Our Pocono Waters campaign by Susquehanna Polling & Research, one of the country’s leading qualitative and quantitative research firms. The study included a total of 500 residents of Monroe, Carbon, Wayne and Pike counties who were contacted by phone in late March.
PFBC appoints officer of the year;
Announcing the winners of the other prizes
This week, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced several awards to employees for outstanding achievement.
The 2021 PFBC Bureau of Law Enforcement of Law Award has been presented to Waterways Conservation Officer (WCO) Chad Doyle.
WCO Doyle, whose region includes south-central Crawford and eastern Mercer counties in the Northwest, is credited with creating a Model Boat Under the Influence (BUI) and Brief Violation Detection Program within its region.
In 2021, Doyle successfully arrested four BUI individuals, assisted in the arrest of three BUI arrests by other officers, and successfully investigated five environmental violations.
In addition. Doyle investigated three boating accidents, including one fatal and one that caused more than $200,000 in damage to boats and other docks. Photo
The Top Gun Award Introduced to WCO Sean Lake.
This award is given annually to the World Customs Organization that demonstrates outstanding effort in the detection and arrest of boat owners with disabilities.
Lake, whose region includes South York County in the southeast, facilitated the arrest and prosecution of 20 individuals for BUI, and helped arrest one by another officer in 2021. Most of the arrests occurred while Lake was patrolling the Susquehanna River.
The Gerald L. Greener Prize for Environmental Protection Presented to WCO Rachael Thurner-Diaz.
This award is presented annually to the World Customs Organization representing the best example of ‘resource first’ – the protection, preservation and promotion of the Commonwealth’s water resources.
In 2021, Thurner-Diaz, whose region includes Adams and West York counties in the south-central region, investigated 12 environmental incidents that involved four pollution incidents and eight disruptions to waterway violations. A high-profile investigation in York County resulted in the perpetrator paying more than $50,000 in damages.
a Life Saving Award It was submitted to the World Customs Organization Justin Powright.
On February 9, 2022, Powright was attending a law enforcement meeting in Tiadaghton State Forest, Lakening County, when cries for help were reported coming from the nearby mountain.
Team Boatwright, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the game’s controller in Pennsylvania, responded to the Waterville rail track area where requests for help were identified, and a victim was found struggling to cling to the steep slope above them covered in ice and snow.
Waterwright scampered off the cliff to help the victim, who noted that he was walking his dogs up the mountain when he fell and slid about 100 feet down the cliff and believed he had broken his legs. The victim’s hand turned purple, as it was tightly pressed by a rope, which he wrapped around his hand to help him hold onto a small tree. Powright was able to take the pressure off the victims’ hands and help him survive while he sought extra help. While waiting for the other rescuers to arrive, the snow receded under Poetraite and the victim, causing them to slide further down the slope. Under treacherous conditions, Pottert kept the victim safe for several hours while coordinating with other rescuers, who eventually managed to get the victim to the hospital for treatment. Photo
PFBC has the honor to receive the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for its online and education portal activities. In 2022, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection honored 15 projects completed statewide by schools, businesses, and community organizations that demonstrated creativity and innovation in improving the environment.
Initially developed as a response to challenges presented by COVID-19 guidelines for educators, parents, and the Angling and Boating community in Pennsylvania in 2020, PFBC Education staff continues to expand the Activities and Education portal into a comprehensive eco-education store to provide a meaningful experience of “fishing, boating and resources” water” for the participants at home.
The Activities and Education Portal is an extensive resource for anyone interested in water resources, fishing and boating opportunities across the Commonwealth, which includes videos, activities, printable documents, Pennsylvania League of Angling Youth (PLAY) newsletters, crafts, coloring pages, background information, and more. Topics featured on the portal include boating and water safety. fishing, fly fishing and kayak fishing; habitat, watershed and pollution; local fish species; Amphibians and reptiles. and large aquatic invertebrates.
The portal also includes downloadable coloring pages and a variety of educational activities and packages. To facilitate access to content for visually impaired users, the portal also includes “side-by-side reading” with PFBC audio versions of the most popular newsletters.
Striped peregrine falcons
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission staged the latest Peregrine Falcons in Harrisburg this week.
Domain registration is available on DEP’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaDEP/.
“The hawks nesting in the Rachel Carson State Office building continue to be an environmental success story,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Without improvements to Pennsylvania’s ecology, these birds wouldn’t have the track record they do here in the Rachel Carson Building.”
Game Commission biologist Patti Barber led a team to fetch her young from the 15th floor ledge. The barber weighed the birds, checked their health, and tied them up.
Connecting falcons allows biologists and bird watchers from across the continent to track the birds and help us learn more about where they travel, how long they have lived, and whether they will establish new nests elsewhere. Hawks born on a ledge in the Rachel Carson Building have been tracked to locations from Florida all the way to Canada.
The peregrine falcon was removed from the federal list of endangered species in 1999 and the Pennsylvania List of Threatened in 2021, but it remains federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the state’s Game and Wildlife Act.
Eighty-three peregrine falcons have now hatched since breeding began in 2000. This makes the Rachel Carson Government Office’s nest site the most productive in the Commonwealth.