The Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Water Quality Standards has designated the upper Lehigh River Basin as “exceptional value” waters in response to a petition from North Pocono CARE (Citizens Alert Regarding the Environment), a non-profit organization formed to protect the Lehigh River. Until recently, the streams were classified as “high quality cold water fishery” waterways. The elevation to exceptional value is the state’s highest level of water quality and reflects the unique ecological and aquatic value of these waters. Approximately 219 stream miles of the upper Lehigh River and its tributaries have been elevated as a result of North Pocono CARE’s action. These flow through Lackawanna, Monroe, Wayne, and Luzerne counties. The designation is critical to preserving the excellent quality of these waters, which are continually monitored by North Pocono CARE.