Stream cleaning needs defined responsibility, long-term funding

Stream cleaning may not be a top priority for lawmakers and residents in many parts of Pennsylvania.

But in our region, where hunting, fishing, biking and hiking are integral parts of the quality of life and flooding is a persistent threat, stream cleaning is important.

And there’s not enough of it.

That much was apparent last week when state Sen. Gene Yaw, a Loyalsock Township Republican, met with local, municipal and state officials to take a tour of areas known for flooding along Wallis Run Road and Route 87.

They saw stream areas that used to be prime fishing areas and are now impacted negatively by insufficient stream cleaning.

They saw downed trees clogging narrow waterways, creating natural dams that lead to flooding and damaged roadways whenever there are heavy rains, which is often in our region.

Yaw believes regular stream cleaning would be a preventative measure against damages to roads, but he admitted the issue of who is responsible for the cleaning is not completely clear.

He was looking to those on the tour to come with that solution.

And he conceded that solution may include some legislation.

Historically, without legislation, it’s hard to make preventative solutions such as stream cleaning a priority that can stick.

And if it doesn’t stick, it will cost a lot more to restore farms and roads from heavy flood damage than it cost to keep streams clean and clear.

Hopefully, the Legislature, with a push from municipal and county officials, will grasp that reasoning in the next legislative session.