Mt. Pocono, PA (Oct. 30, 2018) -- Our Pocono Waters Campaign today hosted a panel discussion about Exceptional Value streams in the Poconos and the economic, environmental, and recreational benefits they provide for the region.
This event provided an opportunity for community members and local business owners to learn about the meaning of Exceptional Value streams and how they impact the Poconos region in a number of ways, as 80 percent of the state’s EV streams are located in this area.
Jacquelyn Bonomo, PennFuture President and CEO made opening remarks for the crowd of nearly 120 people who attended at the East Stroudsburg University Innovation and Entrepreneur Center.
“There is no denying that laws and regulations keep the air that we breathe clean, the water that we drink healthy, our streets, highways, food, and workplaces safe. But we live in anti-regulatory times, and while there is no doubt that regulations make our lives better, and that some regulations can be ‘improved,’ it’s just not right that there are corporations that prioritize profits, shareholder returns and competitive advantage over their social responsibility to play by these laws and rules,” Bonomo said.
The first panel explained and demystified streams regulations in Pennsylvania, with speakers including Robert Weber, Unassessed Waters Coordinator for PA Fish and Boat Commission; and Paul B. Wilson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology at East Stroudsburg University.
Wilson discussed the importance of protecting clean streams and the threats that loom in the case of degraded waters.
“Invasive species rarely come into a stream when it is intact, because ‘all of the rooms are full’ and they can’t find the space to live. But when we break up these communities and change them from a cold water system to a warm water system, there are open rooms and we have invasive species coming in, and those cause environmental problems and economic problems as well,” Wilson said.
The second panel of the evening focused on everyday resident and recreational uses of streams, with speakers including Gary Bloss of Josie Porter Farms; Fred Gender, a Poconos angler; Chuck Gould, a Chestnut Hill Township Supervisor; and Gary Leander, a Poconos canoeist.
“Economic growth and environmental conservation can and must co-exist if we want a sustainable future,” Gould said. “There’s no cookie cutter for this - every site of development is different and if you use a little bit of common sense, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.”
“This forum shows, and our panelists demonstrated tonight, the explicit link between clean water regulations and how they protect the health of people who need and enjoy our waters -- for drinking, for recreating and for their livelihoods,” Bonomo said.
Our Pocono Waters Campaign is unifying the community while educating citizens, business leaders, and local leaders about the importance of protecting “Exceptional Value” (EV) streams, highlighting the many ways in which clean streams and economic development coexist in a region known for its natural beauty and booming tourism industry. Clean streams are at the heart of the Poconos, where 80 percent of the state’s EV streams are located, primarily in Monroe, Pike, and Wayne counties. For more information visit www.ourpoconowaters.org.
Stephanie Rex, Director of Communications, PennFuture