Guided tour of Schuylkill River reveals evidence of debris

DOUGLASS TWP., Pa. - There's a lot you can learn from a float down the river, according to river guide and educator Gregory Wood, with his company Zerokill Guiding Fly Fishing and Education.

"Show them that there's something more out there than just fishing," Wood explained. "There's more that you can enjoy, the atmosphere, the people on the water, the wildlife, the fish quality."

He said in his 10 years of experience giving fishing and river survey trips, it's been more recently where he's noticed some dramatic changes.

"Past two years have been wet, wet, wet," Wood said. "Rain all summer long."

Wood took us out on the Schuylkill River in the Douglassville area of Berks County to show us debris that ended up in the river after recent floods.

"Post-flooding creates a lot of disturbances from the side of the river. "Branches, trash, tires, you name it," he said. "Also, with the flooding, it pushes chemicals into the water from people who farm, agricultural, industrial places, things of that nature."

There's also evidence of erosion to the river's banks, as seen in a large tree with its roots exposed. Fish are also affected.

"Their food quality and their food quantity is not as high as it is when the waters clearer," he said. "It makes them go to the sides. It makes them search for food a little more."

With the chance for more wet weather in the months ahead, Wood said plans around area waterways need to be carefully constructed.

"It's people's lives they need to take care of," Wood cautioned. "If they are gonna put a boat in the water like we did today, they need to do the education part of it, the research part."

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