Allegheny River – 2017 River of the Year Update

Details about the River of the Celebrations Announced

Penn Soil RC&D is beginning to add information to their web page about the upcoming River of the Year activities.  Go to to learn more.

Sponsorship Materials information and application can be found there.  Don’t miss out on Supporting this Western PA and New York State celebration

Mini-Grant Program – Penn Soil is offering a min-grant program with grants up to $500 to others fund their own River of the Year Events.  See the web page for full details and application.

A Calendar of Event is being developed.  If you have event to add contact Penn Soil thru the website or call Wes Ramsey at 814-726-1441


We still have 2016 Calendars, T-Shirts, and FREE Posters

Still need to get a 2016 calendar?  Are you slow to bring in the New Year? Did you miss someone on your Christmas list who would love to have a 2016 calendar featuring our Conewango Creek Watershed? Or maybe a commemorative River of the Year T-shirt?  Well, if you missed visiting us at the Outdoor Show at the Warren Mall this past weekend, take heart, because we still have plenty of River of the Year Calendars ($10 donation), T-Shirts ($12), and FREE Posters. Just contact us at 814-726-1441.

River of the Year Gala Update

Register quickly and easily online for the Gala at  Online Registation

As a wrap up of our 2015 River of the Year celebration, The Conewango Creek Watershed Association is hosting a year-end Gala on Thursday, October 22, 2015 at Jackson Valley Golf Club on Rt. 69 between North Warren and Sugar Grove.  This is our last celebration event of the River of the Year events.

The Gala will start with a happy hour starting at 5:30 pm (cash bar) followed by a dinner served, buffet-style at 6:30 pm. The main course will be a “Low Country Boil” with potatoes, corn, shrimp, and sausage with spices. The price will be $21.50 per person including coffee, soft drinks, tax and gratuity. An alternate meal for those with allergies or other needs will be provided on a limited basis.  RSVP by 3 PM, Monday, October 19!

After dinner our featured speaker, Robin Foster, PhD candidate from SUNY at Buffalo, NY will talk about an elusive and intriguing resident of Western New York and Northwest PA: the Eastern Hellbender. The Hellbender is a sign of the general health of a waterway and efforts are underway to to see if these primordial amphibians exist on the Conewango. 

Robin Foster is a PhD Candidate at the University of Buffalo Graduate Program in Evolution, Ecology and Behavior.  After several years as an elementary school teacher, she decided to pursue her passion for wildlife and began a new career in conservation biology.  She obtained both her BA and MA degrees in biology from SUNY Buffalo State.  Robin has been involved with eastern hellbender research and conservation since 2004.  She has spent many hours in the field handling these gentle giants and is passionate about sharing these experiences with others to help spread the word about the importance of these salamanders and their freshwater habitats.

The Hellbender:  Allegheny’s Living Fossil

The Eastern Hellbender is a unique aquatic salamander found only in the eastern United States.  Hellbenders are “living fossils” that have remained virtually unchanged for millions of years, giving us a glimpse into our ecological past.  In recent years, this iconic species has declined significantly in New York and throughout its entire range.  We will discuss the natural history and conservation of this fascinating species, and learn how we can all aid in its conservation here in the Conewango watershed and throughout the Allegheny region.

We will also have a slide show and videos of highlights of all of our River of the Year activities playing throughout the evening. And the winner of our kayak package will be announced.

This Gala will also serve as our annual member meeting, and the election of directors will take place then. Any member in good standing (dues paid, etc.) may nominate another member in good standing for a director position. Each member in good standing has one vote for election of these positions. We are looking for directors willing to serve, especially from the Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties area (New York State portion of our watershed). If you are interested in serving or in nominating someone else, you can do so by making the nomination at the Gala at the time of the election.  A director term lasts 3 years.

If you have questions, you can call 814-726-1441 or email us at

If you have not paid your dues for 2015 or know someone who would like to join, dues will be collected at the event or you can renew beforehand. Checks can be mailed to our office or you can renew/join on our website here at

We look forward to seeing you at our one-of-a-kind, year-end wrap up event for our River of the Year Celebration.      RSVP by 3 PM Monday October 19!

For more information you can email us through the site or call our office at 814-726-1441.

Sojourn a Success–Up NEXT: Hatch Fun Geocaching Aug 1, 2015

The Conewango Creek River of the Year Sojourn was a success and people commented how much they enjoyed this educational group paddle trip. Thank you State Representative Kathy Rapp for reading and presenting a proclamation naming us River of the Year for 2015! Thank you to our four expert presenters who spoke on a variety of topics along the way:  Tom Erlandson, JCC-retired: Geology of the Conewango Creek Watershed; Nate Welker, USFS: Aquatic Biodiversity of the Conewango Watershed; Cecile Stelter, PA Forest Bureau: Importance of Healthy Diverse Forests to the Conewango Creek Watershed; and Chase Putnam, Warren County Historical Society-retired: Local History of the Conewango Creek Area.

Up Next:

Title: Hatch Fun Geocaching Event
Location: Hatch Run Conservation Demostration Area – Corner of Hatch Run Road & Conewango Avenue Extension
Description: This event is hosted by CCWA, the Warren County Conservation District and Penn Soil RC&D Council. It is part of our River of the Year events calendar. This is a fun event designed for current geocachers as well as anyone interested in learning more about geocaching. This event is FREE, but there are also two paid registration levels which include a lunch and a souvenir. Geo-Art will be featured and there will be a beginning geocaching seminar for anyone interested. This event is open to the public.
Start Time: 09:00
Date: 2015-08-01
End Time: 17:00

Hatch Fun Geocaching Event

Title: Hatch Fun Geocaching Event
Location: Hatch Run Conservation Demonstration Area – Corner of Hatch Run Road & Conewango Avenue Extension
Description: This event is hosted by CCWA, Warren County Conservation District and Penn Soil RC&D Council. It is part of our River of the Year events calendar. This is a fun event designed for current geocachers as well as anyone interested in learning more about geocaching. This event is FREE, but there are also two paid registration levels which will include a lunch and a souvenir. Geo-Art will be featured and there will be a beginning geocaching seminar for anyone interested. Open to the public.
Start Time: 09:00
Date: 2015-08-01
End Time: 17:00

CCWA Announces A Photo/Calendar Contest


The Conewango Creek Watershed Association (CCWA) is holding a photo contest.  All you shutterbugs that enjoy the outdoors and have photos from anywhere in the Conewango Watershed can submit them by email to by August 1st for consideration in the contest.  The photos will be judged with the top photo going on the cover of a 2016 calendar the CCWA is putting together.  Twelve other photos will be picked, one for each month of the year.  All photos must be submitted digitally in jpeg format.

Please include with your email submission your name, phone numbers, email address, location and date of photo as well as the camera used.  There is a maximum of two (2) photo submissions per person.  The photographers chosen will need to sign a release allowing CCWA royalty-free and copyright-free use of the photos. Each winning photographer will be acknowledged in the calendar with their photo.

The calendar will be sold to help raise funds to protect and keep clean this treasure in our own backyard.  The Conewango Creek was recently voted the 2015 Pennsylvania River of the Year, but it is only part of the entire watershed.  To view a map of the entire watershed, visit the CCWA website homepage at, or click HERE.  Any questions on the photo contest can be directed to the email address for photo submissions above.

This is open to all photographers but remember there is a 2 photo limit so pick your best and hopefully your photo will land in the calendar.  Good Luck To All!

We Need Your Help!!

Help us make Conewango Creek the Pennsylvania River of the Year!

The Conewango Creek was nominated for 2015 PA River of the Year by the Conewango Creek Watershed Association (CCWA). The River of the Year will be determined by popular vote on the internet. We need everyone’s vote to make it. That includes all friends, relatives and family members regardless of whether they are in the Conewango Creek Watershed or in Pennsylvania. Everyone and anyone can vote if they have access to the internet and have an email address.  Spread the word to all your friends, neighbors and family! Deadline is Dec 15th. Vote now before you get caught up in holiday preparations.

Vote at

It only takes about 30 seconds to vote. Click on the Conewango Creek Photo, enter your email address and click “vote” and that’s all there is to it.

Conewango Creek


Applications were submitted which cover assets of the waterway, conservation challenges and conservation successes for the river or creek. The winning stream will be featured on a poster with that creek’s photo on it which will be distributed statewide and in the watershed. Also the winning organization will receive a $10,000 grant from PA Dept of Natural Resources and Conservation (DCNR) to celebrate the stream for one year.

If the Conewango Creek should win, the money will be used by CCWA to hold some public events to bring attention to our own local gem: The Creek itself. One requirement is to hold a sojourn or paddle trip open to the public with emphasis on education and getting people out on the water. We would like to use some of the money to have a community project to improve one of the boat launches along the lower Conewango. We plan to do something really special for our annual creek cleanup as well. Plans have yet to be finalized.

The contest is sponsored by DCNR and Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR). POWR is administering the voting on You can vote from your smart phone, tablet or computer. It’s one vote per email and per device. There are some highly populated areas we are competing with so we need a high turnout of the local people to have a chance. So ask everyone to vote for Conewango Creek.  For more information on POWR Click HERE.  For more information on DCNR’s Streams programs Click HERE.   POWR is a part of the PA Environmental Council

The Conewango Creek is a beautiful creek with a lot going for it. It really is a gem of our region with unique biodiversity. One of the purposes of the contest is to bring attention to the local streams and help people appreciate what they have in their own backyards.

Other creeks/rivers in the running are Loyalhanna Creek (SW PA), Ohio River (Pittsburgh area), Lackawanna River (NE PA), Neshaminy Creek (SE PA). The honor has only come to three streams in NW PA in the 31 years of the contest: Allegheny River, French Creek and Clarion River. The honor needs to return to NW PA for 2015!

Map with 5 Candidate Rivers
Map with 5 Candidate Rivers

The Conewango Creek is a PA based IRS designated 501 c (3) but covers the whole Conewango Creek watershed. It has board members from NYS as well as PA. Regular members come from all three counties in the watershed (Chautauqua Co. Cattaraugus Co., and Warren Co. PA.

The watershed is 900 sq. miles which is over 500,000 acres. Over half of Chautauqua County is in the Conewango Watershed and makes up 65% of the Conewango Creek watershed. Twenty percent of the watershed is on Cattaraugus Co. Only 15 % of the watershed is in Warren Co. The majority of the watershed is in NYS along with a majority of the population. That’s why we need everyone in PA and NYS to vote!

Pennsylvanians Choose Delaware as 2011 River of the Year

 Harrisburg – The people have spoken: the Delaware River is Pennsylvania’s River of the Year for 2011.

 Chosen for the first time through a public vote, the Delaware bested five other candidates in an online contest that saw more than 10,000 ballots cast from across the state. The Delaware received 2,520 votes.

 “The Delaware River is the longest un-dammed river east of the Mississippi and is steeped in history, diverse in resources, and is vital to protect,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary John Quigley said. “Its waters serve the needs of more than 15 million people from four different states, including more than 5 million Pennsylvanians. It boasts the largest freshwater port in the world, as well as threatened and endangered species, and a thriving tourism industry.

 “A goal of the River of the Year designation is to raise awareness of the river and its conservation needs. The public voting format used to nominate and select the River of the Year for the first time this year certainly generated local enthusiasm for conservation and recognition of the importance of our waterways,” Quigley said.

 The five other finalists were: Clarion River, Conewango Creek, Kiskiminetas River, Pine Creek, and the Stonycreek River.

 DCNR and the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR, administer the River of the Year program. Local organizations submit nominations.

 “Although we could only have one winner, each of the waterways that were nominated is special and important in its own way,” Quigley said. “Congratulations to all the local groups who nominated their rivers, and rallied support for them not only for this vote, but through all of their activities and advocacy.”

 POWR helps train and organize local watershed associations, as well as the groups who lead a dozen sojourns on rivers around the state each year.

 “The Delaware River is simply an incredible resource — not just for Pennsylvania, but for the nation as a whole,” said POWR Executive Director Jon Meade. “To honor it with the River of the Year award reflects the importance of preservation to those who live near it and experience it every day.”

 There are a number of organizations that work in partnership to support conservation and recreation activities along the Delaware, including: the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC); Delaware Canal State Park; National Canoe Safety Patrol; National Park Service; and Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition.

 These groups will organize several events throughout the year, including the 17th annual Sojourn paddling trip, a symposium, photo contest and river legacy fundraiser. The eight-day sojourn will include educational programs, and give paddlers a chance to experience the Delaware River to encourage greater understanding of the river and stewardship needs.

 “On behalf of the steering committee and all our partners, I would like to thank everyone who voted for the Delaware. Having the Delaware be Pennsylvania’s 2011 River of the Year is truly an honor, especially since it is the people’s choice and with this the DRBC’s 50th Anniversary year,” said Kate O’Hara, co-coordinator of the Delaware Sojourn Steering Committee. “This designation will not only showcase the Delaware and all it has to offer, but also highlight the numerous organizations, agencies, and individual volunteers who work together to protect and enhance the river for future generations.”

 The Delaware also will be celebrated with an annual Rivers Month poster issued in June.   Pennsylvania’s River of the Year has been presented annually since 1983.   For more sojourn event information, visit POWR’s website at or contact Jon Meade at    To learn more about DCNR’s Rivers Program, visit

(Media contacts: Christina Novak or Terry Brady, 717-772-9101)