HARRISBURG— State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23rd, Loyalsock) will join Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and other supporters during a bill signing at the state capitol this week. Senate Bill 9 designates the Eastern Hellbender the official “State Amphibian” of Pennsylvania. The legislation created by the Chesapeake Bay Foundations Pennsylvania Student Leadership Council and Lycoming College’s Clean Water Institute was sponsored by Sen. Gene Yaw.
Yaw says the hellbender is an excellent barometer of water quality, and where compromised waters exist, the hellbender population is diminished. The designation will help promote conservation programs that protect and sustain the unique amphibian resources of the commonwealth. Hellbenders were at one time abundant in Pennsylvania, but now only a few streams can support the amphibian.