“No paycheck can deliver the kind of satisfaction that we receive from putting a little sweat and effort into helping reverse the detrimental effects of human activities on our streams,” says Frank Weeks when discussing the work of the Upper Allegheny Watershed Association (UAWA).
The mission of UAWA is to establish a comprehensive, locally-driven watershed management program that will preserve, protect, and improve the Upper Allegheny Watershed for future generations. The Association’s work in Potter and McKean Counties was made possible by a 2003 Growing Greener grant that provided the basic funding needed to get the organization off the drawing board and into the streams.
“Because of Growing Greener, UAWA has been able to begin the job improving the water quality and environment in our area,” said Weeks.
Thanks to partnerships with local and statewide organizations, as well as local landowners, UAWA has maximized its efforts to protect water quality, preserve plant and wildlife habitat, and educate the public about the value of proper stream and watershed management. UAWA has completed many erosion control and fish habitat enhancement stream projects, aided by the hard work of dedicated volunteers.
“The only reward these individuals receive is the thanks of the landowners and the personal satisfaction of having made a tangible improvement to a stream,” said Weeks.
UAWA has also worked with Dominion Resources, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Trout Unlimited, and the Department of Environmental Protection to restore important waterways.
The Association’s message of stream stewardship reaches the public in multiple ways. UAWA sets up displays at county fairs and other venues, and it has partnered with the Roulette Fish & Game Club to sponsor a Kid’s Fishing Derby.
“The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania should be heartily congratulated for having the foresight and commitment to support the Growing Greener initiative,” said Weeks. “This is a true a case of a government program directly benefiting the people and the environment.”