Ohio River Watershed Celebration Attracts 800 Participants, Awards Presented
Hundreds of participants spend more than four hours networking, talking about new projects and looking a exhibits as the Gateway Clipper sailed on the Allegheny and Ohio rivers around Pittsburgh.
The 4th annual Ohio River Watershed Celebration is designed as a way to improve communication on watershed issues in the region and to celebrate another year’s accomplishments, although one participant came all the way from Sydney, Australia.
New this year was the tie in to the CITGO Bassmaster's Classic and an energy component with posters on Pennsylvania as an Energy Leader, Green Buildings, and University Green Practices.
Among the officials attending the celebration were Dr. Douglas Austen, Executive Director of Fish and Boat Commission, Jay Parrish the State Geologist, DEP Deputy Secretary's Mike Sherman (Field Operations), J. Scott Roberts (Mineral Resources) and Thomas Fidler (Air, Waste and Radiation Protection) and Ken Bowman, Director of DEP’s Southwest Regional Office, Lisa McClung of the West Virginia DEP, several local mayors, council people and county commissioners, and ORSANCO Commissioners Melvin Hook and Chuck Duritsa, Dennis McGraff, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy CEO, former DEP Secretary David Hess and the Right Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh.
The U.S. Coast Guard escorted the Celebration on the entire trip.
As part of the program, a series of Environmental Excellence Awards were given to organizations and individuals throughout the region for their contributions to protecting and restoring watersheds. The winners included—
Denny Tubbs, with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Denny created the “touch the water” concept to promote the simple concept of giving people easy access to rivers so they could experience them directly and develop a personal stake in keeping them clean. He works with many partners—boaters, anglers, young and old in a variety of education program.
Denny was also instrumental in helping to bring the CITGP Bassmaster Classic to the Pittsburgh region, a 12 year effort.
He is a true “river guru” who has worked tirelessly for Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams.
Independence Marsh Foundation, is a nonprofit group founded in 1999 to bring together a variety of interests to improve the environment in Allegheny, Beaver and Washington counties.
The Foundation has supported long-term projects to cleanup Raccoon Creek, including taking ownership of the JB2 abandoned mine drainage treatment system that removes 30 tons of iron and 105 tons of acidity a year.
It is also involved in supporting citizen water monitoring and environmental education programs.
West View Water Authority: The Authority started in 1900 in West View Borough, Allegheny County to bring much needed clean water to the residents of Neville Island.
Today the Authority supplies water to 28 communities and over 200,000 people.
The Authority uses both the Ohio River and the Valley Fill Aquifer as sources of water and employs advanced water treatment techniques.
The Celebration was supported by 26 sponsors and 40 partners that included watershed groups, state agencies, private business, the League of Women Voters WREN Project and many volunteers. (See the attachment for a complete list.)
Among the sponsors were: Stream Restoration Inc, Dominion Foundation, Cemex, Consol Energy, the Western PA Watershed Program, the Washington County Conservation District and many others.
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