Shenango River Watcher Projects – What we do:
- Educate the community and schools regarding the value of the Shenango River Watershed and why it’s important to keep it clean.
- Clean up litter from the River and its shores and work to discourage further pollution.
- Promote restoration of our streams and plant native plants to protect our waterways and improve habitat.
- Conduct and promote educational research to study watershed health.
- Provide scholarships to encourage environmental involvement and community leadership.
- Partner with local communities and other interested organizations to address common goals in our watershed.
- Provide direct investment and secure grants to increase recreation access and improve the health of our waterways.
- Promote and assist in recycle initiatives throughout the watershed.
Shenango River Watcher Projects – How we do it:
Our educational programs, informational presentations and scholarships bring together donors, volunteers, civic organizations and businesses to engage, encourage and excite our residents of all ages about the importance of our environment and our watershed.
Environmental Education Days – SRW and Buhl Park Corporation
Since its inception in 2011 nearly 1,800 area 5th grade students have participated in this day of outdoor, hands-on-education. Volunteers from many areas of our watershed and from many professions, provide a fun and informative day. Our young students learn about watersheds, stream conservation, fishing, orienteering, food webs and much more.
Educational Presentations – Learning has no age limits.
An SRW representative is available to speak to your social, professional or civic organization to learn more about what we do and the importance of the Shenango River and its watershed. Contact our office for more information.
Scholarships: Del Williams Memorial Environmental Scholarship
With the help of many generous donors and the generosity of the Del Williams Family, SRW has awarded $7,000 in scholarships to high school seniors. In 2010, the scholarship was renamed in memory of SRW founding board member, Del Williams.
Del provided valuable insight into the start-up of SRW, writing by-laws and articles of incorporation. He was active on the board and held different offices, chaired committees, and served as vice president. He was an integral part of SRW and a true friend whose generosity, humor, and love of the river is greatly missed.
Cleanup and Recycling:
Thanks to hundreds of dedicated volunteers who have contributed thousands of hours, SRW reports that 1.3 million pounds of illegally dumped trash has been removed from our river and watershed within the last 15 years. Our cleanup efforts help to remedy long standing blight caused by illegal dumping of metal, tires, construction materials, household litter, and other non-biodegradable debris from neglected and abused sites. We have worked in communities as far north as Jamestown and in many communities along the way south to Neshannock in Lawrence County.
Cleanup Days: Our clean-up and recycling events generally include an Earth Day Cleanup; a Family Cleanup Day and a Tire Recycling Day. We also help other organizations such as the Sharon Beautification Commission, WaterFire Sharon and Buhl Park in their efforts to remove trash and other debris from our watershed communities.
Tire Recycling: Our tire recycle efforts have resulted in 50,000 tires being disposed of properly and not being dumped into the river and watershed. Our Memorial Day Tire Recycling Drop-off is held at Buhl Park and it’s as easy as driving up to our collection bins and having an SRW volunteer help unload and toss your tires into the bin. We do ask for a voluntary donation to help defray the cost of collection and disposal. This program has recycled thousands of tires and helped to clean out hundreds of backyard sheds and household garages.
Aluminum Can Drop-off Site: You can recycle your aluminum cans and support the Shenango River Watchers by using our drop-off in the parking lot of the Engraving Place, 1945 E. State St., Hermitage, PA.
River and Aquatic Life Research:
Bed Sediment Composition in the Shenango River, Before and After Large Woody Debris Removal. Mark Russell, (Shenango River Watchers, Water Testing and Research) 2012. Funded by Shenango River Watchers
Sublethal Effects of Manganese Pollution. – Mark Russell, (Shenango River Watchers, Water Testing and Research) 2009. Funded by NSF
Determining Spawning Occurrence and Reproductive Potential of Shenango River Lake Walleye. – Michael T. Hamilton (Youngstown State University), 2009. Funded by Shenango River Watchers
An Exploration of Fish Diversity and Drainage Areas in Tributaries to Reservoirs in Northwestern Pennsylvania. – Mark Russell (Shenango River Watchers, Water Testing and Research) 2006.
Effects of Large Woody Debris Removal on The Shenango River, Pennsylvania.– WPI, Mark Russell and Brandi Baros, (Shenango River Watchers, Water Testing and Research) Ongoing. 2011. Funded by Shenango River Watchers
Sampling Fish Assemblages Along the Shenango River, Pennsylvania. –Mark Russell (Shenango River Watchers), Andrew Turner (Clarion University), Peter Timashenka (Clarion University student), Bri Reed (Indiana University of Pennsylvania). Ongoing . 2015. Funded by Shenango River Watchers, and Act 13.
Investigating the relationships between land use and heavy metal concentrations in soils and shallow groundwater along the Shenango River Corridor.– Diana Alexander (Youngstown State University), 2011 Advisor Dr. Jeff Dick. Funded by Shenango River Watchers
Diversifying a wet meadow in Greenville that has been overtaken by a non-native invasive grass species. -Jonathan Kinney, 2010 Advisor Dr. Felicia Armstrong. Funded by Shenango River Watchers
Greenville High School student-led research project:
“What’s the Deal With Nelumbo: Decomposition of Nelumbo lutea, and the Affect on Dissolved Oxygen”- Megan Montalvo, 2010.
Recreation and Community:
Included among our many recreation and community projects, both large and small:
The Upper Shenango River Water Trail
Sharon Bicentennial Park and Handicap Accessible Fishing
Buhl Park Get Outdoors Day; Hermitage, PA
Riverfront Park Revitalization; Sharon, PA
Riverside Park, Canoe Launch and Drive; Greenville, PA
Rails-to-Trails Project – River Bank Stabilization; Greenville
Storm Drain Stenciling Project; Sharon, PA
Budd Street Canoe Launch; Sharon PA
Bench Restoration, Outflow Area of Shenango Dam; Sharpsville, PA
The Upper Shenango River Water Trail 2011 – 2014
The Upper Shenango River Water Trail is now an official PA Water Trail. It is one of twenty-five trails recognized in the state of Pennsylvania. The trail offers 21 miles of easy, scenic paddling from Pymatuning State Park all the way to the Army Corps of Engineers’ Shenango River Lake. Shenango River Watchers has been working diligently on this project for over six years and raised well over $165,000 in grants and donations to fund our work.
This project, launched with seed money from the Jamestown and Greenville Lions Clubs, was made possible through cooperation with, or donations from, the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PA Department of Environmental Protection, PA Fish and Boat Commission, the Northwest Commission, Mercer County Visitors Bureau, Borough of Greenville, Greenville Water Authority, and the US Army Corps of Engineers, as well as many private citizens and businesses. The Mercer County Commissioners, the Western PA Conservancy, and the Shenango Conservancy also contributed, and of course the Shenango River Watchers and its members made significant contributions to the effort.
In August of 2011, SRW reduced blockages in the river from Pymatuning State Park to Riverside Park in Greenville. In August of 2012, SRW was able to continue this process and clear river blockages from Kidds Mill Covered Bridge Park down to Shenango River Lake. On July 17, 2014 SRW was proud to cut the ribbon for the latest addition to the Upper Shenango River Water Trail, the New Hamburg Paddlecraft Access in the Borough of New Hamburg.
With the addition of the New Hamburg launch, there are now access points about every five miles along the Shenango River from Pymatuning State Park to Shenango River Lake. Having more frequent access points gives paddlers more options for floats, and makes the river more accessible for emergency personnel if needed. In addition to being more accessible, the Upper Shenango River Water Trail now has location signs on every major highway bridge from Pymatuning State Park to Shenango River Lake to give paddlers a better idea of where they are, in case of an emergency. These signs were paid for and installed by our friends at the PennDOT Oil City District office.
We encourage you to take advantage of this great recreational opportunity that we have in our community. We would like to remind you that we embrace the “Leave No Trace” code of outdoor ethics that promotes the responsible use & enjoyment of the outdoors. Maps & Guides for the Upper Shenango River Water Trail are available in our office in Buhl Park (the “Gatehouse”) at 730 Forker Blvd. Hermitage, PA.
Sharon Bicentennial Park and Handicap Accessible Fishing Pier
In cooperation with the Sharon Beautification Commission, and for the benefit of the Shenango River’s recreational use, SRW is working toward the installation of a new Handicap Accessible Fishing Pier in the park near Budd Street.
This project began in 2006 when SRW recognized a need to improve the condition and access to the public river area of downtown Sharon. We sought out to study the concept and with the aid of matching funds from our organization, local businesses, individuals, and the City of Sharon Beautification Commission, SRW applied for and received a Pennsylvania DCNR Grant to conduct a professional study and plan for the rehabilitation of the City of Sharon’s Bicentennial Park and adjacent riverbank. The park and plans are now in the hands of the City of Sharon Beautification Commission.
As of 2015, the Sharon Beautification Commission has replaced the park benches, installed 12 new light posts, and installed a community compost pile and sustainable garden. They have also removed poison ivy from the area, cleared the area of fallen trees, removed the dilapidated wooden Grand Stand, and removed the playground due to a safety hazard.