French Creek named state’s river of year

From staff reports

French Creek has been selected as Pennsylvania’s 2022 River of the Year.

The creek is one of the most biologically diverse waterways of its size in the U.S., meandering 117 miles from its headwaters in southern New York through four Pennsylvania counties to the Allegheny River.

The creek is home to 27 species of freshwater mussels, more than 80 species of fish, and numerous waterfowl and songbird species, including bald eagles and four Audubon-designated Important Bird Areas.

French Creek is also home to the Eastern Hellbender, the largest species of salamander in North America, which was recently named the official amphibian of Pennsylvania.

The public was invited to vote online, choosing from among four waterways nominated across the state. A total of 13,972 votes were cast with French Creek receiving 6,604 votes, the Monongahela River receiving 3,311 votes, Catawissa Creek receiving 3,188 votes, and Connoquenessing Creek receiving 869 votes.

The French Creek Valley Conservancy will receive a $10,000 Leadership Grant to help fund a slate of year-long 2022 River of the Year activities.

A commemorative poster will be created to celebrate the river of the year honor.