One day just wasn’t adequate to mark the 20-year anniversary of the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition (in Butler County). A celebration was held October 9-10 to highlight the remarkable work by the many dedicated individuals who have worked to address water quality issues impacting Slippery Rock Creek and its tributaries.
Because of these efforts, over 15 miles of streams have been greatly improved due to the environmentally-friendly treatment of billions of gallons of degraded water from abandoned coal mines.
On Friday October 9, the individuals and organizations most involved in restoring the watershed were thanked. SRWC participant Cliff Denholm of Stream Restoration Incorporated gave a “State of the Watershed” address, sharing water quality data from the 1990s to today, which showed a remarkable improvement in the quality of streams, thanks to the continuous operation of the passive treatment systems.
Co-founder Margaret Dunn was reduced to tears as she recounted and publicly thanked many of the people who have supported the SRWC, most notably through significant public-private partnerships.
Others who spoke at Friday’s celebration included Wil Taylor, Manager, and Dave Johnson, former Manager, Jennings Environmental Education Center; Robert C. Dolence, former DEP Deputy Secretary; Tim Gillen, DEP; Tim Danehy, BioMost, Inc.; Dr. Dean DiNicola, Biologist, Slippery Rock University; Dr. Helen Boylan, Chemistry, Westminster College; Dr. Fred Brenner, Biologist, Grove City College; and Dr. Valentine Kefeli, Biologist, Robert Morris University.
A delicious lunch was provided and several poster displays were set up for folks to learn more about the latest efforts of the SRWC and Clean Creek Products.
After lunch, the group boarded a bus to tour the passive treatment systems at SR114, which has been continuously operational for over 20 years and at Erico Bridge (photo), which was recently rehabilitated after more than a decade of operation.
Saturday October 10 marked Day 2 of the Celebration, as Jennings Environmental Education Center opened its doors to the general public for anyone and everyone interested in joining the festivities.
Dozens of people came to Jenings on a gorgeous autumn day to enjoy hands-on family activities, stream “stomps,” wetland hikes and more.
Beautiful blue skies and all the colors of Fall were a breathtaking site for those who took part in the passive treatment system bus tours and walks around the Center.
A tour of the erico Bridge and McIntire systems were provided, as visitors were given explanations of the history of these sites and all the basics of passive treatment for acide mine drainage.
Cliff Denholm served as the designated tour guide providing educational explanations on the design, construction, monitoring and maintenance of the passive treatment systems.
Stephanie Taylor and Shaun Busler, SRWC, led individuals on a fun kayak sojourn, paddling portions of Slippery Rock Creek. Shaun shared information on stream bank restoration, data loggers and other projects as they floated by each respective location.
The Watershed Science Lab in the Jennings classroom was opened throughout the day and hosted kids and adults who enjoyed the chance to perform some fun experiments and participate in hands-on learning activities. Cookies, cake, cheese trays and other goodies were provided to all visitors.
Thanks to all who came out to share in the festivities of our 20th Anniversary.
Thank you to our sponsors the Foundation for PA Watersheds, an anonymous donor and Campbell Bus Company.
A special thanks to the Jennings staff, without whom, the event would not have been possible.
The Slippery Rock Creek watershed is located North of Pittsburgh and is 410-square miles encompassing portions of Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Beaver counties.
For more information on initiative, special events and how you can help, visit the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition website.
Support mine water treatment efforts by visiting Clean Creek Products for pottery and other unique gifts made with pigments created from mine drainage treatment.(Reprinted from the November issue of The Catalyst from the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition. Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)