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State senator seeks hike in stream cleaning

KATELYN HIBBARD/Sun-Gazette Herman Logue, vice president of Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc.’s eastern region, gestures out over Loyalsock Creek from the state Department of Transportation’s recently completed barrier created to protect the stream bank and shoulder of Route 87, just downstream of Pier 87.

State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, met with local, municipal and state officials Wednesday to take a tour of areas known for flooding along Wallis Run Road and Route 87.

During the tour, Yaw spoke about the importance of regular maintenance for waterways.

“It’s a problem that’s indicative no matter where you live,” Yaw said.

The tour began along Wallis Run in front of Hoffman United Methodist Church, an area that used to be “the premier fishing stream in Lycoming County,” Yaw said. However, due to insufficient stream cleaning, the section that was once prime fishing ground has seen a dramatic downturn in the number of fish.

This was only one of the effects of improper stream cleaning, he said.

As he moved down the road, he pointed to areas of downed trees, which would act as natural dams in the waterway. He noted that this would become an issue for more than just Lycoming Creek as rising water levels would exceed their banks and spill out onto roads.

“What is going to happen is it’s going to dam up the stream. The water is going to come out, and you’re dealing with road, farms and fields, then it just snowballs.”

Yaw said he views regular stream cleaning as a preventative measure against damages to roads from waterways rising like what was seen over this past year.

However, Yaw admitted that the issue of who is responsible for cleaning the streams is still not completely clear. “Who makes the first move? I don’t know,” Yaw said.

Yaw is looking to those invited to the tour to come up with solutions. “We have a bunch of very bright people here. Maybe we need some sort of legislation here,” Yaw said.

Yaw made it clear that his long-term preventative solutions for our waterways instead of short-term and noted that this would benefit not only the environment but local taxpayers as well.

“In the long run, it is going to be cheaper to do something here (at the local waterways) than it would be to fix the fields and everything else afterward.”

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