Allegheny selected as Pennsylvania’s 2024 River of the Year

The Allegheny River has been named the state’s River of the Year for the second time in the last 10 years.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) made the announcement Tuesday morning.

The decision was made via public vote and the Allegheny edged out the Youghiogheny 8,307 to 7,212 votes with the Lackawaxen River in a distant third at 4,740.

“We are excited to honor the Allegheny River as Pennsylvania’s 2024 River of the Year, and I cannot wait to celebrate this incredible river during a sojourn later this year,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “Congratulations to Three Rivers Waterkeeper for the successful campaign and earning this prestigious honor. Thank you to everyone who voted in this wonderful competition highlighting one of our most precious natural resources.”

The historic Allegheny River starts as a stream in Potter County, meandering through a field of wildflowers before crossing briefly through New York and then through six counties in Western Pennsylvania, according to DCNR.

The 325-mile river ends in Pittsburgh where it meets the Monongahela River and flows into the Ohio River, providing drinking water to more than one million people and acting as an ecologically and economically precious water trail.

They say that the “fertile valleys and abundant biodiversity have led many communities to call this place home, including the O-non-dowa-gah (Seneca Nation) who call the Allegheny Ohi:yo’ (beautiful river), the Lenni Lenape (Delaware Nation) who named it welhik-heny (most beautiful stream), and French settlers who referred to it as La Belle Riviere.”

According to the DCNR, the US Forest Service has documented over 50 mammals, 200 birds, 25 amphibians, 20 reptiles, 80 fishes, and 25 freshwater mussels in and around the Allegheny, including the threatened Salamander Mussel, who help improve the water quality by filtering out sediment and pollutants.

Three Rivers Waterkeeper nominated the Allegheny River, and will receive a $10,000 Leadership Grant to help fund a slate of year-long 2024 River of the Year activities.

A free, commemorative poster celebrating the Allegheny River as the 2024 Pennsylvania River of the Year will be available.

“We were so excited to see just how many people came together to show their support for the Allegheny River after we nominated it for River of the Year,” Jess Friss, the director of community programs at Three Rivers Waterkeeper said.

“We are looking forward to everything we are able to do this year to promote all the wonderful resources the Allegheny River provides to us, including a summer kickoff! We are dedicated to protecting the water quality of the Allegheny River and all its uses, and knowing that it was awarded the River of the Year because of the support of the community shows the collective commitment to environmental stewardship, recreation, and love for our waterways that defines this community.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today