Upper Susquehanna River Watershed
The Susquehanna River is the largest river basin on the Atlantic seaboard and the largest tributary in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Susquehanna River basin drains 27,500 square miles, providing 90% of the freshwater flows to the upper half of the bay and 50% overall. In south-central New York State, the Upper Susquehanna Basin is comprised of 94 sub-watersheds, encompassing 7,500 square miles. It contains 8,185 miles of rivers and streams and includes 130 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs.
Many communities, from the headwaters in New York State downstream to the Chesapeake, depend on the quality of river water for drinking and recreation. It is incumbent upon those who inhabit the watershed to recognize and understand the environmental impact that agricultural, industrial, and human activities have on the basin ecology. Septic tanks and community waste water treatment facilities in New York contribute 4-5 million pounds of nitrogen to the Chesapeake Bay watershed annually. According to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, nutrients that are introduced into the Susquehanna make up 21% of the phosphorus and 40% of the nitrogen that is found in the Bay.
Efforts to improve, maintain, and protect the Upper Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay watershed must focus on four integrated components: research, education, outreach, and restoration. TAP-US offers an educational approach that trains teachers in watershed research methods (water quality monitoring, biological inventories, weather and climate, etc.) so they can prepare and teach Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) in their classes and undertake local restoration activities.