Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Tioga County Couple Honored By Susquehanna River Basin Commission For Unwavering Efforts To Restore Tioga River Watershed

On December 14, the
Susquehanna River Basin Commission honored a couple whose devotion to the restoration of the Tioga River Watershed will soon turn its orange, polluted waters into clear, healthy flows. 

Charlie and Joyce Andrews of Blossburg, Tioga County received the William Jeanes Sr. Award from SRBC Commissioners at their quarterly business meeting held in Corning, New York on December 14.

For more than a century, much of the Tioga River and many of its tributaries have been devoid of aquatic life, polluted by acid mine drainage left behind from decades of coal mining. 

Since the 1980s, Charlie and Joyce, backbones of the Tioga County Concerned Citizens Committee (TCCCC), have maintained an unwavering commitment to heal their area waterways.

The Andrews, knowing an active treatment plant costing millions of dollars would be needed to restore the Tioga watershed, kept their community active and engaged during the long search for funding. 

“This patience and passion for their river, their town, and their neighbors is why after all these years the Tioga community is set to finally see recreational fishing restored, wildlife habitat improved and value added to their properties,” said Tom Clark, former SRBC Mine Drainage Coordinator and Kleinfelder Inc. Project Development Manager, who nominated the couple.

The current project, which includes an active treatment plant that will restore more than 20 miles of streams and tributaries, is being funded by The Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, SRBC, The Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy and more than $125,000 of raised dollars by the Andrews and the TCCCC. 

The plant is being designed by Kleinfelder Inc. and is slated to begin operations by early 2026.

Charlie and Joyce have donated countless personal hours coordinating multiple agencies, organizations and private companies, creating community outreach signage and activities, performing water quality monitoring, and even spearheading a passive treatment system on Fall Brook, a tributary of the Tioga River. 

“The Andrews are outstanding examples of what it takes to volunteer and make life and the environment a better place for everyone,” said Todd Wood, BAMR Mining Engineer Manager, who has witnessed their hard work for more than two decades.

The William Jeanes Sr. Award is named after the late William Jeanes, Sr., a Pennsylvania native who as a Maryland resident was a strong advocate of water quality protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.  

Learn more about the Tioga River Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment Plant Project through this story map or on the TCCCC’s website

Click Here to watch a short video honoring the Andrews’ efforts on the Commission’s YouTube page.

Click Here for the complete SRBC announcement.

For more information on programs, training opportunities and upcoming events, visit the Susquehanna River Basin Commission website.  Click Here to sign up for SRBC’s newsletter.   Follow SRBC on Twitter, visit them on YouTube.

Related Articles:

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission Approves Water Withdrawal Requests For Shale Gas Drilling In Loyalsock, Pine Creek Exceptional Value Watersheds  [PaEN]   

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission Invites Comments On Cooperative Fish Nursery General Permit; Hearing Set For Feb. 1  [PaEN] 

[Posted: December 19, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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