Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Susquehanna University Freshwater Research Institute, Chesapeake Conservancy Formalize Relationship On Watershed Restoration Projects

On March 7, the
Freshwater Research Institute at Susquehanna University in Snyder County and the Chesapeake Conservancy formalized their ongoing relationship through an agreement that ensures the organizations’ continued cooperation on restoration projects within the Susquehanna River watershed.

“Susquehanna and the Conservancy have enjoyed working closely together in shared space at the Freshwater Research Institute,” said Matt Wilson, director of the FRI. “I look forward to deepening and expanding our relationship with them as we pursue our mutual goal of improving the health of the Susquehanna River watershed and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.”

“I truly believe that the Conservancy’s partnership with the FRI’s staff and students has helped launch a new chapter in Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts,” said Carly Dean, director of the Conservancy’s Chesapeake Tributaries Initiative. “Rooted in strong partnerships and data-driven decision-making, the Conservancy just launched our Chesapeake Tributaries Initiative to scale the approach bay-wide, based on what we’ve learned right here in central Pennsylvania.”

Moving forward, Susquehanna and the Conservancy will work together to:

-- Deliver applied research to inform local and state decision-makers while providing professional skill development for the next generation of conservation leaders.

-- Support restoration, prioritization and research to meet sediment load-reduction goals for the Chesapeake Bay.

-- Integrate Susquehanna students into research to determine the effectiveness of ongoing restoration projects.

-- Provide Susquehanna students with internship opportunities with Conservancy staff in support of Conservancy projects.

-- Implement and maintain restoration projects on campus, using these projects as teaching opportunities for students, staff and partners.

Susquehanna University and the Conservancy have collaborated over the years to support research, education, environmental remediation and advocacy to improve the ecological health of the regional watershed, as well as the ways this work can be applied to restore the health of other nearby habitats.

For the past six years, five members of the Conservancy’s staff have been hosted at Susquehanna’s FRI, thanks to seed funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. 

The pilot program brought together dozens of partners to restore local streams using the Conservancy’s GIS-based precision conservation approach that was tested in the field by Susquehanna’s faculty and students. 

Together, the organizations have scaled the program to six Pennsylvania counties, secured partnerships with over 60 organizations, worked with over 75 students on data collection and processing, had over 50 student-led conference presentations, attracted over $25 million in private, state and federal funding to implement the strategy, with restoration completed or underway on 162 farms along 56 streams.

For more information, visit the Freshwater Research Institute webpage and the Chesapeake Conservancy website.

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-- Coalition For Delaware River Watershed: Bipartisan Bill Introduced In Congress To Expand Equity In Delaware River Conservation Program  [PaEN]

-- Bay Journal: Chesapeake Bay Foundation Leader Hillary Harp Falk Calls For Shifts In Bay Cleanup Strategies 

-- Chesapeake Bay Foundation Now Accepting Entries To 2023 Save The Bay Photo Contest  [PaEN]

-- Brodhead Chapter Trout Unlimited Hosting March 11 Conservation Advocacy 101 Workshop In Monroe County  [PaEN]

[Posted: March 9, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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