Highlights from the Stream Cleaning Listening Session

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania hosted a listening session on 'Stream Cleaning' on Thursday, January 19th at the Sullivan County Conservation District/Agricultural Center in Dushore, PA. The session was hosted by State Senator Gene Yaw, the Center's board chairman.

Rep. Tina Pickett and Charley Hall of Rep. Garth Everett's office also attended the session.

Local elected officials and local business owners and residents from Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan and Susquehanna counties, and members of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau offered testimony regarding issues surrounding stream cleaning in the wake of recent flooding across Pennsylvania.

After hearing testimony from the presenters, Sen. Yaw said it was apparent how daunting the regulatory aspects of stream cleaning are and how a common sense approach is necessary to address stream cleaning and maintenance.

"We need to look into the regulatory issues to address some of these problems," Sen. Yaw said. "As the presenters testified, a method to maintain stream channels that are sensitive to local conditions is essential. And we need to let regulators know that landowners and citizens are not the enemy but rather partners."

As a result of this listening session, Sen. Yaw's office will be working directly with Secretary Michael Krancer of the state Department of Environmental Protection, as well as other state and local agencies, to address the current regulatory and permitting process. In addition, he and his staff will be working directly with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and its membership to tackle this issue head on.

For more details about the session, visit www.senatorgeneyaw.com.

(Left to right) Charley Hall of Rep. Garth Everett's office, Barry L. Denk, director of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, Sen. Gene Yaw, Center board chairman, and Rep. Tina Pickett hear testimony at the Center for Rural Pennsylvania's Steam Cleaning Listening Session on Jan. 19.

(Left to right) Bradford County Commissioners Mike Smith, Doug McLinko and Darryl Miller, and Joe Quatrini of the Bradford County Conservation District described the affects of flooding in Bradford County. McLinko described it as the number one issue among county residents.

(Left to right) Sullivan County Commissioners Bob Getz, Darla Bortz and Wiley Norton, and Corey Richmond of the Sullivan County Conservation District said that protecting stream banks and dedicated funding for rapid response for stream cleaning and debris removal are essential actions to address flooding in the county.

(Left to right) Pennsylvania Farm Bureau representatives Dennis LaRue, Dennis Bunnell, Janice Webster, Kendall Scott and Joel Rotz said a plan for stream bank maintenance is essential. They stressed that if stream bank maintenance is performed regularly, it could save money and land loss in the future.

Supervisors Joe Gaughan and Sheila Guinan of Great Bend Township, Susquehanna County, stressed the need for a common sense approach to stream cleaning and the need for better coordination and cooperation among all government agencies.

Bill Sherwood, resident of Wolf Township, Lycoming County, said that gravel bar removal in the Muncy Creek channel is paramount to allowing proper stream flow and protecting adjacent creek banks and farmland.

Herman Logue, regional manager of Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., reiterated the importance of a plan for stream bank maintenance.