Agencies clashing over Susquehanna find some common ground

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Mar 27, 2013 4:01 AM
Susquehanna River

(Harrisburg) -- Two state agencies that have been clashing over the health of the Susquehanna River are finding a piece of common ground.

The Department of Environmental Protection plans to test the Susquehanna for water quality, pesticides and more -- all in hopes of finding out what's making smallmouth bass in the river sick.

For years, anglers have been hauling in fish with black lesions on their bodies.

The state Fish and Boat Commission supports the plan, but Director John Arway says the DEP should be doing more.

"It addresses one of the issues, and that is recognizing that the river is sick to the point that we have to study it more to determine the sources and causes of the sickness, but it really doesn't start the plan that we've been calling for in terms of cleaning up the river," Arway says.

He and the commission want the Susquehanna to be classified as an "impaired" waterway, something the DEP has so far refused to do.

The classification would require regulators to come up with a treatment plan.

Arway says fishermen are not casting their lines in the river in the numbers they used to, which could have a ripple effect on the midstate's economy.

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