by Alicia Pimental
October 26, 2010
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) has released the first-ever State of the Susquehanna report, which details successes, partnerships, threats and opportunities for seven key indicators influencing the Susquehanna River basin’s health.
The State of the Susquehanna includes data, maps, feature stories and other information that tells the story of the Susquehanna River basin. The report also highlights how the seven indicators relate to the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
The seven indicators in the State of the Susquehanna are:
- Water use and development draws attention to new water uses being driven by increased activity in the energy sector.
- Floods and droughts showcases the Susquehanna Flood Forecast and Warning System and drought response activities throughout the Susquehanna River basin, which is one of the most flood-prone watersheds in the United States.
- Stormwater includes data that show increases of stormwater runoff and projected urban development pressure in the basin.
- Abandoned mine drainage has impaired about 1,940 stream miles in the basin, making it the second largest and the most severe contributor to stream impairment.
- Sediment and nutrients are the two largest contributors to stream impairment, polluting about 3,800 stream miles in the basin.
- Human health and drinking water protection lists impaired streams, fish consumption advisories and contaminants that are regulated by federal and state standards.
- Habitat and aquatic resources lists the benefits of and threats to healthy aquatic resources in the basin.
“Despite gradual improvements, the Susquehanna will continue to experience enormous pressure, calling for additional research, including on potential impacts from the development of natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale on the watershed, especially in its headwaters areas,” said Dr. Benjamin Hayes, director of the Susquehanna River Initiative, Bucknell Environmental Center.
Along with Bucknell University, other partners in the State of the Susquehanna include the U.S. EPA Region 3 and the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies.