Today we had the opportunity to paddle approximately 7 miles of the Susquehanna River. With Susquehanna Outfitter worker Steve as our guide, we put in in the chilly freshwater. We paddled over two ledges, or ‘mini rapids,’ saw various sub aquatic vegetation (mostly celery weed), examined sediment and bottom type, as well as caught some macro invertebrates to classify. With the vegetation and high turbitity, it was hard to believe that so much concern is focused on the Susquehanna effecting the Chesapeake Bay.
The Susquehanna is the largest supply of freshwater that flows into the bay (about 47%). The river extends up into Cooperstown, PA and opens up into the Chesapeake Bay. Where we paddled, farm land was not dense, hence the rivers high turbitity and various sub aquatic vegation beds. However, the lower Susquehanna is the problem. The farm land is more dense and the nutrient runoff becomes immensely problematic. The Chesapeake Semester group has not seen the lower part of the Susquehanna except for driving over the Conowingo Dam.
It was a drastic change being able to canoe on the middle part of the Susquehanna River compared to our own Chester River. The turbidity and the sub aquatic vegetation were definitely the most shocking aspects to me. Surrounded by this fresh, clear water, and viewing the mountains in the distance, on such a crisp autumn day is something I will not forget.