October 8, 2020


Buzzi Scholarship Award Winner 2020

Every year, WRA awards a scholarship in honor of the late Dr. John Buzzi (1936 – 2003), a former WRA Board Chair, and chair of numerous other boards who was a published scientist many times over and a beloved community and regional leader.

 

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Every year, WRA awards a scholarship in honor of the late Dr. John Buzzi (1936 – 2003), a former WRA Board Chair, and chair of numerous other boards who was a published scientist many times over and a beloved community and regional leader.



WRA is proud to introduce our 2020 Scholarship recipient, Jacob Smith, a 2020 graduate with honors from Northwest Lehigh High School. Jacob is an Eagle Scout and nationally ranked fly fisherman. Both the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the Game Commission recognized Jacob with their Conservation Awards. Jake is a founding member of the newly established Pennsylvania chapter of the Native Fish Coalition. He is now a freshman at Wilkes University, where he received the Provost Scholarship. Jacob intends to study engineering or hydrology.



Schuylkill River Systems Restoration


Jacob Smith, WRA Buzzi Award Winner 2020



Buzzi Scholarship Award Winner



Thank you to WRA for this great scholarship, which will help pay for my college education at Wilkes University where I plan to further my education in preserving our cold water fisheries here in Pennsylvania, and especially the Delaware river watershed.



The Delaware river watershed is a very special place to me. I live in the watershed, and also am working to improve the water quality through the watershed. As an avid fly fisherman, I deeply appreciate our local waterways. I am extremely vested in both the Schuylkill river system and especially the little Schuylkill river. This is my closest wild trout river with a good population of wild brown trout, brook trout, and even wild rainbows.



The river does have its fair share of problems. There is a large amount of nonpoint pollution and also a large amount of acid mine drainage (AMD) throughout the watershed.



Recently, I was driving up to the town of Tamaqua to catch some really nice browns. When I got to the river, there was only about two inches of clarity to the water. Below the town of Tamaqua is an AMD pond which is dredged daily to remove sediment and such. But on this day, the company operating the dredge made a critical error, and pushed sediment out from the pond and into the river. The river was filthy. The people who live in the town were upset, but no one spoke to local officials, perhaps because they did not know who to call.



Buzzi Scholarship Award Winner 2



I called the organization I am most familiar with, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and reported the issue. I also reported the issue to the local conservation district, the Bureau of Mine Reclamation, the PADEP, and the EPA.



The company was fined and required to initiate a new set of best management practices (BMPs) to prevent from happening in the future. I spoke to the company owner to convey my disappointment and commitment to protecting the river. I am bringing an old, abandoned USGS station back online down river so we can measure the river turbidity and monitor the company.



In my lifetime I am hoping to restore two different rivers within the Delaware river watershed that I think could become world class trout fisheries - the Lehigh river, and the Little Schuylkill river.



I am extremely thankful to be able to devote my life to restoring our cold water fisheries here in the Delaware river basin!



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Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin
Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin
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