Kayaking

Water Resources Engineering (CE 32)

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Civil and Environmental Enginnering Professor Brian Younkin took his Water Resources Engineering (CE 320) class out on the river. We only had a few hours on the river and so we paddled around the island at Milton, looking at the river, stream bank protection and storm water structures at Milton, and scour and deposition around the bridge piers. We also discussed water resource issues currently facing the Susquehanna River, especially waste water treatment, assimilative capacity, and disposal of frac water from natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale.

Air temps were cool (64°F) and cloudy skies, with water temperatures hovering around 58°F. We entered the river at the PAFBC ramp at Milton State Park around 2 pm and paddled like mad against the current to make our way upstream. A lot of frogs and eggs on the cobbles in the shallows around the islands.

River discharge at Lewisburg was 8,580 ft3 sec-1.


2009 Summer Research Faculty and Students

Summer research faculty and student paddle the Susquehanna River
The summer was coming to an end and the Environmental Center summer students and Civil Engineering interns wanted to enjoy a day together on the river. Water levels in the West Branch of the Susquehanna remained high enough for us to float the Long Reach from Montoursville to Muncy. We paddled 7.6 miles from Montoursville to the Great Bend at Muncy, going at a leisurely pace and stopping to look at things along the way. We put in at the municipal access park by the Montoursville airport (RM35.3) around 10:20 am and took out at the PFBC access at Muncy (RM27.7) by 1:50 pm.

The discharge in the Susquehanna River at Williamsport was 3,980 ft3 sec-1, which is slightly above the 114-year average discharge of 3,460 3 sec-1 for Aug 19th. The rapids were smoothed over and the water a bit more turbid. Click the "play" button on the Quicktime video to the right to see what is was like to drift down the gentle rapids near King Island (RM 32.5).

The weather was mild (75°F) and quite humid (62%), with no wind. By the early afternoon, convective thunderstorms build up and it poured on as we were loading the boats. We didn't see a lot of birds on this trip, except for the occasional blue heron and canvas back ducks.
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The most depressing thing was the overwhelming presence of Japanese knotweed along the right banks of the river. It was flowering and covered with tall, pale-white inflouresents. If I wasn't opposed to using herbicides so close to the river, I would have called the Federal government and asked them to spray it with Glyphosate to kill it. Click on the photo to the left to see what it looked like.

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

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Led a delightfully curious and polite group of physics and engineering students from around the country here on campus for NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates. Professors Tom Soloman (physics) and Joseph Tranquillo (engineering) were the instructors.

We talked about water quality in the river and the impact of logging and industrialization on the ecology and aquatic habitat of the Susquehanna. The water levels remain high for July, enabling us to paddle this reach when normally it is far too low to glide over the gravel bars.

The discharge in the Susquehanna River at Williamsport was
4,170 ft3 sec-1, well above the 114-year average discharge of 3,730 3 sec-1 for July 28th.

Institute for Leadership in Technology and Management

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Got to spend the day with twenty four summer interns participating in Bucknell's summer Institute for Leadership in Technology and Management. Professors Mike Toole (engineering) and Eric Santanen (management) were their primary instructors and accompanied us on the float trip. They had spent eight weeks of intense workshop experiences and a day of paddling on the river was a great way to wrap things up.

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We paddled 7.6 miles from Lycoming Creek at Montoursville, down the Long Reach from to the Great Bend in Muncy, going at a leisurely pace and stopping to look at things along the way. We put in at the municipal access park by the Montoursville airport (RM35.3) around 2:40 pm and took out at the PFBC access at Muncy (RM27.7) by 5:50 pm. Lots of wildlife along this stretch of the river - we saw an immature bald eagle, numerous blue herons, a turtle, and hatch of Common Spreadwings damselflies.

The discharge in the Susquehanna River at Williamsport was
2,210 ft3 sec-1, which below the 114-year average discharge of 3,880 3 sec-1 for July 16th.

Summer Writer's Institute

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Led a fun group of english and literature majors spending a week on campus learning about nature writing. Professors Alf Siewers (english) and Katie Faull (foreign languages) were the instructors. We paddled 12.2 miles from Montoursville, down the "Long Reach" and around the "Great Bend" in Muncy, going at a leisurely pace and stopping to discuss the history of the region and look at things along the way. We put in at the municipal access park by the Montoursville airport (RM35.3) around 10:00 am and took out at the PFBC access at Montgomery (RM22.9) by 3:00 pm.

We talked about water quality in the river and the impact of logging and industrialization on the ecology and aquatic habitat of the Susquehanna. Saw mergansers, herons, bald eagle, and numerous water birds. Very nice caddis fly hatch around 2 pm.

The discharge in the Susquehanna River at Williamsport was 3,400 ft3 sec-1, below the 114-year average discharge of 4,900 3 sec-1.

From Earth to Home (Geog 100)

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Had a terrific time with geography professors Duane Griffen and Adrian Mulligan and several students from their class entitled, "From Earth to Home." Part of the course experience is to paddle the Susquehanna River and so we put in at Watsontown and paddled south to Lewisburg.

Overcast skies with slight drizzle early on. Temperature: 75°F; Humidity: 52%, winds out the NW about 2 mph. Discharge in the river was
6,7303 sec-1; well below (almost half) of what is was last year (2008): 12,0003 sec-1 on May 1, 2008. Saw some big fish (presumably catfish) scurry away from the shadows of the boats as we drifted over the riffles near Milton and Lewisburg.

Water Resources Engineering (CE 320)

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Civil and Environmental Enginnering Professor Jessica Newlin took her Water Resources Engineering (CE 320) class out on the river. The weather was perfect and this was one of the most helpful and fun-loving group of students I've ever taken kayaking. Two laboratory sections - first group in the morning and a second after lunch.

The weather was beautiful - around 72°F when we started around 9 am, climbing to 95°F in the late afternoon! Distance: 8.9 miles; duration: 2 hours 20 minutes at a leisurely pace. Morning group launched at 9:20 and took out at 11:20; afternoon group launched at 12:30 and took out around 3 pm. We started at the PFBC access at Watsontown and ended at the facilities picnic area on the Bucknell campus in Lewisburg.

River discharge at Lewisburg was 8,580 ft3 sec-1.

Rocks, water, and bugs

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What a day! Jeff Trop and Craig Kochel gathered a number of faculty, geology students and we loaded the kayaks and bicycles and headed up the Pine Creek gorge in north-central Pennsylvania. Stopped at a few roadcuts along the way where Professors Trop, Kochel, and Gray explained the sedimentary rocks and geologic history of Appalachian Plateau. Put in at ___ and paddled downstream to . Professor Gray stayed back with the boats while the rest of us rode bikes on the rails-to-trails back up to the cars. A long day, made longer because it was the maiden voyage of the kayak trailer and we didn't have a good setup for securing the boats. Learned a lot about outfitting.

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Total distance paddled was 15.9 miles, then rode that distance back! Here's the breakdown: 2.0 miles from Babb Creek to Rattlesnake Rock; then 5.1 miles to Gamble Run; then 4.2 miles to Slate Run; then 2.2 miles to Black Walnut Bottom; then 2.5 miles to Ross Run.

The air temperature warmed up to mid-70s and we paddled most of the trip in short sleeved shirts. The discharge in Pine Creek at Cedar Run was 784 ft3 sec-1. It was the opening day of trout season - we saw numerous fly fishermen working the riffles and pools, but didn't see any fish being caught. Most were using whooly buggers and various nymphs. The breezes (averaged 2 mph, with gusts up to 8 mph) made casting difficult.

Discharge - Pine Creek at Cedar Run, PA

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We saw numerous bufflehead ducks (Bucephala albeola) skirting around the edges of the river (see photo). It's the smallest diving duck in North America and nests almost exclusively in holes excavated by Northern Flickers and, on occasion, by Pileated Woodpeckers. Unlike most ducks, the Bufflehead is mostly monogamous, often remaining with the same mate for several years.