|HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and several partners are inviting the general public to an upcoming public forum on conservation issues, to be held May 23 at Lycoming College in Williamsport.
The PFBC will be joined by the Lycoming College Clean Water Institute, the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, and the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies.
Three topics will be discussed during the forum.
PFBC Executive Director John Arway will explain the agency’s recent decision to enter into a non-surface use oil and gas cooperative agreement for the development of natural gas under its Rose Valley Lake property.
“It’s important for the public to understand the decision-making that took place before we entered into the agreement,” said Mr. Arway. “It’s equally important for the public to know that the Fish and Boat Commission is dedicated to maintaining the ecological and recreational integrity of the lake and the surrounding lands under our stewardship.”
All money from the Rose Valley contract and other natural gas agreements will be deposited into a special account where they will be used to fund efforts to repair or rebuild Commonwealth-owned high-hazard, unsafe dams managed by the PFBC. The PFBC is responsible for managing dams which need approximately $34 million in repairs, and the Natural Gas and Water Access Program is one way of raising the funds to fix these facilities so communities can continue to enjoy them.
The evening forum will also include a presentation by PFBC Susquehanna River Biologist Geoff Smith, who will present the latest data related to the water quality in the Susquehanna River and the staggering decline of much of the river’s world-renowned smallmouth bass fishery. Mr. Smith will explain the work that has been done to date to try to diagnose the causes of the disease that has been killing young-of-year smallmouth bass for almost a decade and has most recently resulted in unsightly lesions and open sores on adult bass.
Finally, Dr. Mel Zimmerman from Lycoming College, Larry Brannaka from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and PFBC Fisheries Biologist Tom Shervinskie will offer an ecological perspective on the emotional issue of stream channel clean-up. They will turn the discussion form one of channelization to one that focuses on how habitats that support healthy aquatic communities can be compatible with long-term flood minimization.
The event will take place from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. in Room G-11 of the Heim Science Building at Lycoming College. School will not be in session, so there will be plenty of parking available. Directions to the college can be found at: http://www.lycoming.edu/admissions/ourCampus/directionsToCampus.aspx.