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MOVING SALE EVERYTHING MUST GO RAIN OR SHINE- LOTS OF HOUSEHOLD ITEMS AND FURNITURE FOR SALE July 9, 10, 11- We will follow the CDC recommendations for safe distancing. Please do not attend if you are sick. Masks are recommended 68 Watson Farm Road Austin pa 16720 8:30 am to 5:30 pm Follow the signs from the intersection of Rt 6 and Rt 872


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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

God’s Country Waterdogs: Stewardship through Stream Monitoring

God’s Country Waterdogs: Stewardship through Stream Monitoring

Years ago, Potter County adopted the name “God’s Country” to promote its bounty of natural scenic beauty. Today the hills, forests, picturesque farms, and small towns of this county continue to offer a “getaway” appeal to the thousands of sportsmen, outdoor enthusiasts, and tourists who come in all seasons to enjoy the many recreational activities the area offers.

God’s Country. The name implies blessings, peace, harmony, and, to some, stewardship.

Of particular importance to many who live in Potter County are the clear, cold, high quality streams that flow from the hills to merge and meander through the valleys. In fact, Potter County marks the beginning of three important river systems: the Allegheny, the Susquehanna, and the Genesee.

In recent years as energy exploration and development have increased throughout Pennsylvania, many groups have formed to protect the Commonwealth’s natural resources. Inspired by the activities of Tioga County’s Pine Creek Waterdogs and Trout Unlimited’s Coldwater Conservation Corps, a group of Potter County citizens organized the God’s Country Waterdogs with the stated mission of monitoring the county’s waterways, recording the data, and providing that information to the proper agencies involved in protection. By gathering such data now, volunteers also hope to establish a base line of water quality, which can be used for future reference in analyzing possible impacts to stream ecosystems.

The Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) of Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, provided the initial training for volunteers and continues to train new recruits. One of the goals stated in ALLARM’s manual is to “enhance local action for the protection and restoration of Pennsylvania’s watersheds by empowering communities with scientific knowledge and tools to implement watershed assessments.”

In sampling the water, volunteers record the temperature and chemistry, using electronic meters that read conductivity, total dissolved solids (TDS), and salinity. The pH, a measure of acidity and alkalinity, is also tested and recorded. Waterdogs also measure the width and depth of the streams to assess the flow, which can affect conductivity readings.

Loren Fitzgerald is the president of God’s Country Waterdogs, and Robert Volkmar has provided many in-stream trainings for volunteers. Currently, there are 22 Waterdogs working together with 8 members of Trout Unlimited and several county watershed associations to monitor 70 sites on Potter County streams.

The data these volunteers collect is stored in a county-wide survey administered by the Potter County Educational Council. The data is also shared with and analyzed by the Potter County Water Quality Group, which meets monthly and whose members include the Potter County Commissioners, the Triple Divide Watershed Council, the local Conservation District, and representatives of the Educational Council , Penn State Cooperative Extension Service, and various volunteer watershed groups.

Clean water is vital to all Pennsylvania residents and communities, as well as to natural ecosystems and agricultural production. Downstream counties and municipalities, such as Williamsport, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh, rely on waters that originate in Potter County, so the Waterdogs and other stream monitoring groups contribute a service that extends far beyond God’s Country borders.

This important effort does not require a scientific background. Volunteers are ordinary citizens who care about the health of our waterways. Some monitor once a week, some monitor monthly. Some monitor three or four streams, some monitor the stream that flows through their property. The procedures of monitoring are quick and simple, and trainings will teach volunteers everything they need to know.

The group will be providing training for new volunteers in the fall. Interested citizens should contact Loren Fitzgerald ( to register.

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