We recently helped The Little Juniata River Association (LJRA) with their annual spring river clean-up. I can tell you that it is with great pride to give a back to this watershed. If you think about how much enjoyment we get by having a healthy environment then it goes without much convincing to help keep it that way and further improve it.
Bill Anderson, founder of the (LJRA) is a great guy. He knows the river like the back of his hand. If you get a chance pick-up his book Trout Boomer: And the Little “J”.
The “J” is a true success story. It was severely polluted and looked beyond repair. With the help of like-minded conservationist and anglers the river has made a miraculous comeback. You can thank Bill and the gang for being an integral part of this success. Furthermore you can help by joining the LJRA.
I had a chance to discuss things with Bill and ask a few questions:
When did you hold the first river clean-up?
April 2005 following the Ivan hurricane of September 18, 2004.
How many volunteers were at the first clean-up?
How many did you have at this year’s clean-up?
Altogether up river and down we were expecting 300. Because we had the “snow delay”, we had somewhat fewer.
What is the greatest challenge facing the Little Juniata River?
Storm water due to run off from Altoona streets and buildings remains a serious issue.
These threats keep me awake at night:
– Deliberate hazardous waste release (it happened before);
– Loss of process control by one of the three waste water treatment plants (this too has happened).
– A train wreck which could release any of the numerous noxious chemicals being transported over our many bridges by Norfolk Southern freights (two previous occurrences)..
Mostly we have opportunities to make the fishery even better:
– Providing more cold water from AWA reservoirs when needed (summer drought)
– Extending C&R All Tackle special regs further upstream to Sandy Run (an additional 14 miles)
– Achieving more protection through changes in “Designated Use” to “High Quality Cold Water” or “Exceptional Value” throughout the watershed
– Elimination of the paper mill dam that impedes migration in the Little Bald Eagle
– Continue fish habitat improvements above Tyrone In the main river and the tributaries
– Expand the Public Fishing Easement Program from the current 5 miles to the entire fishable river (approx. 25 miles);
– Improve and expand the brook trout habitat in the J tribs while protecting existing brook trout populations from invasions by browns.
What is the LJRA doing to help these issues?
Our goals are set as are plans for improvement for all the above.
Your final comments and thoughts.
The Little j is an outstanding fishery. We will continue to win friends for this little river and to protect it from harm while we make it even better.
I love the “J”. Although not a stones throw away from my house, I consider it one of my home waters. I am a lifetime member of the LJRA. Please join me.