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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Let Freedom Ring

I spent July 3rd on an extended road trip throughout northeastern PA. My first planned stop was at the Battle of Wyoming's Commemorative Service (132nd) at The Wyoming Monument in Wyoming, Pennsylvania. There is a nice write-up in today's Times Leader, so I'll keep my comments to a minimum. I was slightly misquoted, and there are a few other miscues, but these things happen.

Anyway, from my perspective, as well-attended as this event seems to be every year, and as hard as everyone works putting it together, I believe the crowds should overflow onto Wyoming Avenue and there should be far more fanfare for what was truly a defining moment in the history of the early settlement of the region and - equally important - the early years of the American Revolution. 'Nuff said.

I did pick up a copy of a book written by a local author, and I know what I'll be doing on my daily commute to work over the next few days.

I left the event early to pick up my Dad and get him to "Mousey's" ( South Street & Park Ave. ) for a haircut. My Dad and I have been going there for 30+ years, and whatever the topic; sports, politics, baseball, football...you name it, Phil is always ready to engage in conversation while he deftly snips away. In addition to a great haircut at a very reasonable price, if you want some engaging discourse from a tonsorial maestro with a sharp instrument in his hands, check out Phil's Barber ShopCautionary: If you wanna discuss politics or baseball, definitely bring your "A" game.

P.S. - Don't mention my name while he's shaving your neck.  

Once Dad was delivered back to his place, I headed north to see Tunkhannock Creek and Bowmans Creek firsthand. As you can see, with the lack of rain, recent high temperatures and ( in my opinion and that of many others ) continued water withdrawals by natural gas drilling companies, the streams are slowly drying up. Note: if you didn't catch it in a prior post, there is no USGS Station on Bowmans Creek and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission uses the flow on Tunkannock Creek to monitor withdrawals from Bowmans. That is Mistake #1.

They may be close geographically, but they are two totally separate and distinct ecosystems. 

If you want a visual of what this level looks like on Bowmans Creek on 7/3/2010...here you go.

Above - looking upstream.  Below - looking downstream from the Rte. 29 bridge.

My friends, this is getting critical. While this stream continues to shrink, the SRBC continues to allow Cabot Energy - the modern day environmental equivalent of Jack the Ripper - to take water from Bowmans Creek because their "guidelines" allow it.

I then decided to try to find the next/closest withdrawal site on Bowman's Creek, which I figured was a mile or so down Rte 29 toward Tunkhannock. It was easy to find, and I'll let the pics of the site tell the rest of the story. As you'll see, they've temporarily disconnected the hoses, and no withdrawals were taking place on July 3rd.

Above: Required signage.       Below: Pic of withdrawal site from the bridge.

Above: Pic of pumping units without hoses.   Below: Pic of the stream right below pumps.

Above: Me in the creek exactly where they withdraw water. Look deep to you?
Below: Bowmans Creek just above the withdrawal site. Even deeper looking...( hint: sarcasm )

While I was there, two folks stopped and got out of their cars. One took a few pics of the stream, both upstream and down, and left without saying a word. The other walked slowly toward me and asked: "This where they're taking out the water?" When I pointed to the water tanker & pumps, he stared for a few seconds and started shaking his head. I'm paraphrasing from this pint, but he indicated he's been fishing this creek all of his life ( looked to be somewhere in his 40's ) and he can't remember seeing the creek this low this early in the year. He also offered that he'd just been downstream at one of his favorite fishing spots, and he was stunned to see hundreds of fish ( claimed mostly trout ) congregated in the the pool. He said he didn't have the heart to fish there, and finished with something like "just doesn't seem right" before he turned and walked away, still shaking his head.

This issue has received a lot of press the last few days. The SRBC claims the withdrawals that are still being taken further downstream as you read this are "within guidelines." You see, the SRBC has this formula "that looks at the lowest seven-day flow rate over the past 10 years, the SRBC has determined by geographical location the volume of water it will allow a potential supplier trying to serve the hydrofracturing appetites of gas drillers."

I wonder if the trout hanging out in the pools downstream are aware of this formula? I wonder if their appetites for clean, cold, well-oxygenated water matters...to anyone?

Bl*nk their bl*nking guidelines. We need to stop this.

The waters in Tunkannock Creek and Bowmans Creek are flowing below half of their normal volume this time of year based upon 96 years of data. And yes, I know what median means. The SRBC says "Nothing to Worry About" because of their Q7-10 formula or something similarly created by bureaucrats to try to obfuscate explain natural cycles and justify nature's continued exploitation for profit.

My friends, these pictures and these charts do not lie and anything more from me would be superfluous. This stream is in dire straits and needs our help. We must be its voice.

Between now and Tuesday morning, please consider joining me to not only save a stream, but to send a very powerful message to the SRBC and all who are watching this issue. 

Here's what I am going to send:



Dear SRBC:

Based upon its current and critically-diminished streamflow, I demand that all water withdrawals on Bowmans Creek be shut down; effective immediately. I further demand that all approved withdrawal permits on Bowmans Creek in northeastern PA be revised to follow the readings at USGS Station 01534000 and the minimum streamflow limits set forth in SRBC Docket #20100310.



Happy 4th of July, everyone.

Let Freedom Ring!

1 comment:

  1. I sent my email to the SRBC.

    Matk Dziak's book is great. Was he at the event? I was hoping to be able to go, but I had work that day. I actually just visited the Monument for the first time this Wednesday.