Protecting Pike’s ‘Water Wonders’
Intact land contributes greatly to water quality; in Pike County, 19% of land is in state forests, 10% is in private fishing and hunting clubs, 7% is in state gamelands, 4% is in federal land and 1% is in state parks.
Ersbak also discussed the connection between high-quality waterways and the benefits to the regional economy due to outdoor recreation and tourism. He cited statistics showing that tourists spend more than $220 million in the county, generating $53 million in taxes and supporting approximately 7,000 tourism-related jobs.
“People come to Pike because the recreational resource is excellent,” he said. “We have bird watchers and waterfowl hunters who seek out a diverse selection of species; anglers, boaters and hikers who enjoy numerous opportunities for recreation on Pike County waters and trails; and residents who live here for the natural serenity and unparalleled beauty that the county offers.
Ersbak also identified some immediate and long-term threats to county waters, such as atmospheric and chemical pollutants, industrial spills, aging community and individual sewage systems, riparian buffer alterations, commercial and residential development, erosion, sedimentation, stormwater runoff, expansions of electric and gas transmission lines and consumption of water for natural gas development.
All of this points to the need for greater understanding and vigilance when it comes to Pike’s waters, according to Ersbak. “Our hope is that PCCD can now take this program out to schools and municipalities, to whatever public entity that wants to listen, and make it clear that we understand how lucky we are to be living in this county.”
Ersbak is general manager of the Forest Lake Hunting and Fishing Club and partner with Aquatic Resource Consulting, a professional resource management service providing fishery assessments and watershed, stream habitat, lake and pond management.
Visit www.pikeconservation.org for more information or call 570/226-8220.