The following statement can be attributed to John Arway, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC):
“The EPA’s endorsement of the DEP report is extremely disappointing since it delays action on beginning to develop a cleanup plan for the Susquehanna River for at least another two years. We continue to believe that ample scientific evidence exists to demonstrate that the river is sick and needs help sooner than later. Smallmouth bass are dying and it is imperative that we begin to take steps to clean up the river. This delay will result in another two years of inaction and will result in more bass dying leading to less recreational fishing and a continued economic impact to those who benefit from a healthy river.
“The recently published EPA National Rivers and Streams Assessment Survey found that over 55% of our nation’s streams and rivers do not support healthy populations of aquatic life. A total of 40% of our waters have been identified to have high levels of phosphorus and 27% have high levels of nitrogen. Four sampling sites of the national survey were located on the Susquehanna River and the two Pennsylvania sites rated poor for fish, periphyton, water quality and total phosphorus. Since EPA’s own data corroborated the PFBC’s findings that the river is of poor quality, we are surprised that EPA did not conclude that we need to list the river as impaired and develop a plan to fix it.
“Despite this setback, we will continue to work collaboratively with DEP and others to collect the necessary data to prove by whatever measurement necessary that the river is impaired. Our anglers and the smallmouth bass that remain in the river deserve our full attention while we continue to debate their fate.”