This past summer SkyTruth and the Downstream Project went up to Northern Pennsylvania to document Marcellus Shale gas development in and around the Pine Creek Watershed, a watershed known to Pennsylvanians as the “Grand Canyon of the East.”
Our trip was facilitated by LightHawk, a volunteer conservation pilot association who took us up in a single-engine aircraft to get anaerial perspective on unconventional shale gas wells popping up across the Northern Tier. However, one of the most unique features we found was the waterdogs.
“Waterdog” is a nickname for a type of Hellbender, North America’s largest salamander. But because of local citizens’ concern for the habitat and health of these elusive creatures, and the amount of time volunteers spend in the streams they care about, these citizen-scientists have taken to calling themselves the “Pine Creek Waterdogs.”