Save Our Susquehanna campaign aims to save smallmouth bass population

Category: press release

 Jun 4th, 2015 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jun 4th, 2015 at 12:00 AM

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today announced that it has launched an “S.O.S. – Save Our Susquehanna!” campaign to fund water and soil conservation projects along the Susquehanna River, whose young smallmouth bass population has been plagued over the last decade by illness and elevated mortality rates.

“The Susquehanna River is sick and someone has to take steps to fix it before it is too late,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “This is about conservation and protecting our aquatic resources so they may be enjoyed by future generations as guaranteed by our state constitution. We need leadership to begin working on fixing problems that we know exist.”

“The PFBC’s very mission of Resource First requires us to step up our efforts to help our smallmouth fishery before it’s too late,” he added. “The time for action is now. This campaign will help fund projects to reduce known sources of pollution in critical areas where diseased bass have been found.”

Examples of some projects include:

Identifying sites and working with willing farmers and colleges and universities to test soils and reduce nutrient and sediment run-off to control nuisance algae blooms that produce low oxygen levels and high pH conditions that are harmful to young bass; and

Working with physicians and hospitals throughout the basin to keep pharmaceutical drugs and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) out of the river because of the harmful effects that they cause to fish.

From now until the end of the year, the PFBC expects to receive $3 million in revenue from sales of approximately 130,000 resident annual, senior resident annual, and non-resident annual licenses. Under the S.O.S. – Save Our Susquehanna! campaign, once the $3 million threshold is met, all additional sales from the three licenses will be dedicated solely to funding Susquehanna River projects.

“To kick off the campaign, we are pledging $50,000 in matching funds from the Commission,” Arway said. “I’m optimistic that we will raise and exceed the $50,000 from anglers, other conservationists, and anyone who cares about our natural resources and supports our efforts to do everything in our power to protect and conserve them.”

“Once we raise $50,000, the S.O.S. – Save Our Susquehanna! campaign will have its first $100,000 to begin working on projects to fix the river,” he added.

The campaign coincides with the upcoming start of bass season on June 13.

“Bass fishing is about to start, and memories of what bass fishing used to be like on the Susquehanna are on the minds of all anglers,” Arway said. “By announcing the campaign now, we hope that our avid anglers will share the news with colleagues and friends who may not fish, but care about the river and will want to contribute to help save it.”

Arway added that anyone can contribute to the campaign by purchasing a fishing license.

“The fishing license is simply the mechanism we’re using to raise the funds,” he said. “You don’t have to be an angler. You just have to care about the Susquehanna River. By buying an annual fishing license, you can help make this campaign a success.”

Arway added that by supporting this campaign, individuals can also help the Chesapeake Bay, which is fed by the Susquehanna River. “If you care about the Chesapeake Bay, buy a Pennsylvania fishing license to help us fix the river, which will also help to ‘Save the Bay.'”

A resident annual fishing license is $20; senior resident annual $9; and non-resident annual $50.

Also, individuals can further demonstrate their support by purchasing a special S.O.S. – Save Our Susquehanna button for just $10. A fishing license is required in order to purchase the button and all proceeds from the button sales will also go to fund the campaign. Buttons will be available to purchase on June 8.

Arway added that anglers and individuals also have the option of contributing to the campaign by writing a check to “S.O.S. – Save Our Susquehanna” and mailing it to the PFBC headquarters at P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106.

Fishing licenses and buttons can be purchased online through the PFBC’s Outdoor Shop or at any of 900 licensing agents across the Commonwealth.

“Help us help the river,” Arway added. “The smallmouth bass need your support today.”

More like this