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Responding to Emerging Threats to Water Quality in the Poconos


The Pocono Mountain region of Pennsylvania is at an urgent crossroads. During the last few years, the headwaters located in this region of the Delaware River Basin have seen a surge in industrial and commercial development – including warehouses and distribution centers – that threaten the ecological infrastructure underpinning the region’s water quality, recreational economy, and natural beauty.

Business interests insist that local communities must choose between economic growth and strong clean streams protections, and local municipalities either support this development or feel that they have no authority to deny it. In response, PennFuture has developed a multifaceted strategy that includes legal, outreach, and communications tools to combat this false narrative, effectively educate community leaders, elected officials, educate and mobilize community members, and, when necessary, engage in regulatory and legal actions to protect our communities and environment.

We know that the Poconos is not alone in experiencing these types of threats. Join this conversation to learn more about the threats to some of the cleanest waters in Pennsylvania and how we can work together to protect them.






Donna Kohut | Campaign Manager, PennFuture

As the Campaign Manager for the Delaware River Basin at PennFuture, Donna oversees the work and coordination of PennFuture’s campaigns to advocate for clean water protections within the region. This work includes developing, managing, and leading campaigns that support special protection waters and Pennsylvania’s stream redesignation process. Donna also represents PennFuture as the State Lead for the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed in Pennsylvania by convening partners to work on watershed issues. Before joining PennFuture’s team, Donna spent fifteen years in the outdoor recreation and environmental education industries, immersed in the waters she now protects.


Abby Jones | VP Legal and Policy, PennFuture

Abby is Vice President of Legal and Policy at PennFuture. As Vice President, Abby is responsible for integrating PennFuture’s legal, regulatory, and policy activities in furtherance of the organization’s mission of protecting Pennsylvania’s air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations. In her role as an attorney based out of PennFuture’s Poconos office, her work focuses on water quality and watershed protection, special protection waters, and stormwater management. Abby also works on the issues related to the petrochemical and fracking industries that are threatening the health of Pennsylvania’s people and environment.

Prior to joining PennFuture, Abby was a Staff Attorney at Riverkeeper, where her work focused on civil litigation and administrative enforcement actions targeted at safeguarding the water quality and ecological integrity of the Hudson River and its tributaries. Before that, Abby worked as an environmental attorney in New York City and Cheyenne, Wyoming. She has written about and presented on a variety of environmental issues including the regulation and legal challenges of Marcellus Shale development in New York, energy leases for private property owners in Western States, and the Superfund cleanup of the Hudson River.



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