STREAMLINES: News and events from BWA
Discover a new park in Paradise
Opportunities for getting outside are everywhere in the Poconos. Few are easier to find than Paradise Discovery Park, a nature-play space on Route 191 in Paradise Valley.

No plastic swings or manmade climbing walls here. Instead, kids climb and explore in the natural world — boulders and rocks, a log bridge, a circle of timber stakes they can imagine into a tipi, fort, pirate hideaway or igloo. And of course, the woods.

For details about the moderate, 1.75-mile hike, click here. Many other trail combinations are possible.

The Get Outdoors Poconos series is administered by Brodhead Watershed Association and supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.
Did you know that our Get Outdoors Poconos hikes are featured in downloadable booklets? Keep these PDFs – complete with trail maps, photos and directions – on your phone for easy reference when you’re inclined to take an impromptu hike.

Lisa Wayland took this Christmas Eve photo of the Slateford Creek waterfall in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Picture the beauty of water in winter
Need a reason to get outdoors and appreciate winter’s beauty? Exercise your natural creativity in Brodhead Watershed Association’s “Water in Winter” photo contest!

Photographers are invited to submit beautiful images depicting water in winter – frozen waterfalls, ice formations, winter fishing and more. There are countless possibilities when the weather is right, so bundle up, get outside, and get creative!

All submitted photos will have a chance to be featured in BWA’s Get Outdoors Poconos campaign, across BWA’s social media and on BWA’s website with proper credit given to the photographer.

All ages and families are encouraged to participate. For information and submission guidelines, click here.

Let's keep 'rock snot' out of our watershed
Didymosphenia geminata – aka didymo or rock snot – isn’t slimy. The visual “ewwww” factor is high, but to the touch, its texture is more like moist cotton or wool.

Didymo thrives in cool, clear streams like ours, and according to American Angler “forms massive blooms resembling shag carpet,” that can be 8 inches thick. It smothers plants and rocks, fouling the clean gravel trout need to lay eggs, and out-competes the native diet of mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies — which trout feed on. It may bury freshwater mussels completely.

Didymo is overwhelming waterways and waterbodies in at least 18 states, including Pennsylvania. It’s been found in the main stem of the Delaware River, Dyberry Creek in Wayne County, and elsewhere. Fortunately, so far, experienced anglers haven’t seen it in the Brodhead watershed.

But didymo spreads easily and infects new waters when an unsuspecting kayaker or angler transplants even a few cells from an infected waterway.

Learn more here about how to keep it out of local waterways, in our Invasive of the Month feature.
After the mid-December snow, tracks along the trail at Brodhead Creek Heritage Center told quite a tale.

In this photo taken by BWA member Dave Trainer, rabbit tracks (toward the left in the photo) approach the camera’s direction.

“The rabbit was attacked by a big bird (hawk or eagle with wing traces visible in the snow, along with blood and fur),” Trainer said. “The bird took off, leaving a trail to the right, bouncing its prey several times (12 wing beats) before getting airborne, thus ending that trail. We didn’t see the action, only the tracks in the snow. Interesting that the rabbit was out in the open so long. Perhaps it was in the process of being chased.”
Join BWA for its first Facebook Live event – winter bird feeding. BWA board members Darryl Speicher, director of Pocono Avian Research Center, and Brittney Coleman of Kettle Creek Environmental Education Center will discuss winter birds, appropriate feed choices, feeders and more. The event will begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27, on BWA’s Facebook page. The event is free.
How are our streams?
We’ve added important information to our Streamwatch page. See the results of an extensive analysis of local waterbodies, and what experts think we need to focus on in future. Click to read the Monroe County 2020 Water Quality Study.
For 20 years, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has annually recognized one river as the River of the Year. The winner is celebrated throughout the year to raise awareness of the important recreational, ecological, and historical resources associated with the state’s rivers and streams.

This year’s nominees:
  • Buffalo Creek
  • Lehigh River
  • Loyalhanna Creek
  • Shenango River
  • Tunkhannock Creek

Longtime BWA member Mark Lichty, after talking to many fellow Pennsylvania citizens, realized that some did not know their rights under the Environmental Rights Amendment to the state constitution – the right to pure water and clean air. The result of this realization: “PA: A Fractured State,” a short film. Click here to see it.

Lichty also interviewed Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper, on the issue. Click here to see the video.
Streams and groundwater are vital resources to all of us. Snowmelt is an important source of recharge for both. Read this article by Bryan Swistock, Penn State Extension water resources coordinator, to learn why snow in the woods is good for our streams.
Just as too much salt in your diet can be bad for your health, too much salt on roads and sidewalks can be bad for the health of our rivers and streams.

The cascade of negative impacts is ominously called the Freshwater Salinization Syndrome. Read more here about what this is and what you can do to combat it.
Have you seen one of these in your favorite park lately? Be glad if you did! It’s part of Monroe County Municipal Waste Management Authority’s “Live Without Litter” campaign, which includes placing cigarette butt disposal units across Monroe County.

“As the last acceptable form of plastic litter, cigarette butts make up 30% of ALL litter collected in the United States,” the authority said. “Our goal is to raise awareness of how cigarette litter affects our environment and how you can create better habits in disposing litter.”
Stream repair program for landowners

Is your stream getting deeper or wider? Are you losing some of your land every time it rains? Have you wondered why your streambanks are changing so rapidly?

Penn State Extension’s five-part webinar series, Backyard Stream Repair, to be held in February and March, can help you answer these questions.

Each week will introduce a step-by-step DIY process, with simple and affordable techniques. Benefits of backyard stream repairs include: improved bank stability and reduced erosion, saving property from washing away; added aesthetic property value; a new sense of place and reduced noise; less cost and need for mowing, watering, and fertilizing; intercepted and reduced water pollution; available habitat for many types of wildlife.

The series costs $30. Registration deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 9. Click here for information.

Interested in the subject, but not sure about attending a series? Penn State Extension will also hold a free one-session Backyard Stream Repair webinar from 9:15 to 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 15, as an introduction to this topic. Register by 9 a.m. Friday. Click here for information and to register.
Thank you, Bob Stevens

“A gentleman and a gentle man” – that’s how BWA Streamwatcher Ann Harmon describes Bob Stevens, right, a long-time BWA member and Streamwatcher. Bob passed away at age 96 in December.

Bob started as a Streamwatcher when the program began in 1990, testing Brodhead Creek below the “paper mill.” He then worked to expand the program, in 1993, to the Pocono Creek watershed, where he lived, and served as team leader until he retired in 2012. Bob was honored by BWA in 2012 for 21 years of protecting Pocono streams.

He was also a charter member of the Brodhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited, a board member and secretary for many years. He was trained as a chemical engineer and spent a 35-year career at General Electric, where he worked in research and management.

According to Don Baylor of BWA and Trout Unlimited, “Bob was a quiet, unassuming gentleman but a tireless worker, always assisting in projects, an excellent watercolor artist and a consummate fly tier. BTU named its Silver Trout Award for Bob Stevens, a reflection of how respected he was among members.”

Would you like to become more involved in the important hands-on work of our organization? Do you have special knowledge or skills that can help your watershed? BWA welcomes members to join its committees. Among those committees are:

  • ACTIVITIES: Oversees Ramble, BWA Earth Day program and other public events as determined by committee.
  • ADVOCACY: Identifies emerging threats to water resources and recommends response to board.
  • BUDGET, FINANCE, SPECIAL PROJECTS: Seeks funding and runs grant-funded projects; oversees budget, finance and audit.
  • CLIMATE ACTION: Sponsors programs on climate change and makes recommendations for action.
  • COMMUNICATIONS: Advises staff on external communications.
  • DEVELOPMENT: Organizes annual celebration, general fundraising for BWA operations.
  • GOVERNANCE: Reviews existing and proposed policies, bylaws, insurances, employee handbook and identifies necessary operational and policy changes.
  • MEMBERSHIP: Builds member relationships, identifies new audiences to build membership, plans outreach programs.
  • STRATEGIC PLANNING: Helps manage BWA’s strategic planning process to plan for future growth.
  • STREAMWATCH: Manages Streamwatch program.

If you’d like join a committee, please email admin@brodheadwatershed.org.

We welcome new members this month: Mark Gaylo of Pocono Pines and Holly Wood of East Stroudsburg.

We also are happy to have four new Environmental Partners: The Berkheimer Foundation; Pocono Township; David Lewis of Washington, D.C.; and Mark Chehi of Durham. Welcome!
The Clif Bar Family Foundation has renewed its grant to BWA for this year, at $3,000. Thanks, Clif Bar!

The extended Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act continues to provide incentives for donors to contribute to their favorite charities in 2021.

There is a $300 above-the-line ($600 for couples!) charitable income tax deduction. If you make a donation in 2021, and don’t itemize on your 2021 taxes, then you can give $300 to charity and get a full $300 tax break in addition to the standard deduction. That means your donation is 100% deductible!

You can still benefit even if you do itemize. The CARES Act allows for cash contributions to qualified charities to be deducted up to 100% of your adjusted gross income for 2021. There are also benefits for making a tax-free transfer from an IRA to a charity. Please check with your financial advisor regarding these policies.

This is a difficult time for everyone, and we truly appreciate your continued support!
Kelly Gallo
executive director
Water in winter

Dear friends,

Throughout the January eNews, you hopefully noticed all of the opportunities to learn more about water in winter. January is a beautiful time to bundle up and get out in the Poconos to experience water in winter.

Winter brings an array of opportunities to recreate and enjoy nature’s frozen beauty, and so many of them are dependent on water. The Pocono area is a playground for those of us who love to slide across the snow with our skis and snowboards. Many woodland trails traverse through public lands offering the chance to snowshoe and cross-country ski. Tubing and sledding opportunities make us feel like a kid again. And what a beautiful and peaceful time of year to get our fly rod out in the pursuit of a native brook trout on one of our Exceptional Value (EV) wilderness trout streams. Have a favorite waterfall? If you can safely access it, this is a great time of year to see it with a cascade of ice. Many lakes are freezing over and offer ice fishing opportunities.

So don that parka. Find your gloves and hat. And Get Outdoors, Poconos!