Vote for the Lackawanna River
Pennsylvania River of the Year Nominee

Vote the Lackawanna River as 2019 River of the Year!

The Lackawanna River flows for 60 miles through Susquehanna, Wayne, Lackawanna, and Luzerne Counties. Its headwaters begin just north of the Stillwater Dam in Union Dale, Susquehanna County, and it confluences with the North Branch of the Susquehanna River at Coxton Point, between Duryea and Pittston, Luzerne County.

The Lackawanna River has been adversely impacted by the Anthracite coal mining industry, railroad, industrial, and urban development over the past 200 years. With the abandonment of the Anthracite coal mines in the 1960s and the development of modern sanitary treatment works, the River has staged a remarkable recovery. The Lackawanna now sustains a vibrant ‘Class A’ cold water fishery in its middle and upper reaches. It attracts more paddlers every year.

The Lackawanna River Citizens Plan of 1989 and the Lackawanna Heritage Plan of 1990 are leading to the development of an extensive River Trail and Greenway system. However, there are still many unmet needs for the River’s complete restoration.

The LRCA collaborated with the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission in 2012 to produce a Watershed Restoration Assessment Plan that addresses Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) from the Old Forge Borehole, the largest AMD discharge in the eastern United States. This AMD point source degrades the lower three miles of the Lackawanna River and contributes 25% of the iron-loading in the North Branch of the Susquehanna River. This plan has led to an expanding coalition, involving private sector investors and several universities, in further collaboration with the LRCA, to resolve this AMD issue.

As for stormwater issues, all of the public sanitary systems along the Lackawanna River are being upgraded to meet the Chesapeake Bay program needs. The Scranton system is undergoing a 140 million dollar rebuild to reduce and eliminate Combined Sewer Outflows (CSOs). The LRCA is leading the outreach to local municipalities to address their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4).

There are clear and extensive needs for additional open space and natural area conservation in the Lackawanna River watershed. However, there is no publicly supported program of sufficient capacity in the watershed to address these conservation needs. Having the Lackawanna River chosen as 2019 River of the Year will provide an opportunity to showcase our successes and highlight the restoration and conservation of the River and her continuing need for further stewardship!