HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Monongahela River, flowing through Green, Fayette, Washington, Westmoreland and Allegheny counties, has been named Pennsylvania's 2013 River of the Year following public, online voting across the state. For the third year in a row, public voting determined the selection from among six candidates for River of the Year honors. Among 25,450 ballots cast, the Monongahela River received 8,156 votes. "Like so many of our great state rivers once sullied by mine drainage and other pollution, the Monongahela is surging back as a vital link to unlimited recreational potential and rich natural and historical resources," Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan said. "From the West Virginia border to the heart of Pittsburgh, visitors are rediscovering our newest River of the Year and the scores of historic town and villages it showcases." Noting strong public participation in the 2013 voting process, Allan said, "This online format continues to generate local enthusiasm for conservation and recognition of the importance of our waterways.'' "Once again the River of the Year designation raises awareness of our rivers and their conservation needs." The five other finalists and total votes received were: Schuylkill River (8,010); Lackawanna River (5,286); Kiskiminetas River (2,310); Swatara Creek (1,213); and Juniata River (475). "All of these contenders were nominated because they are special and important in their own way," Allan said. "To the local groups who nominated these waterways and rallied support for them - not only for this vote, but through all of their continued activities and advocacy - we offer our heartiest congratulations." DCNR and the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR, administer the River of the Year program. Local organizations submit nominations.