Stream restoration work is happening — a lot
Stream restoration and monitoring activities have become commonplace in Lycoming County, as anglers, environmentalists, and volunteer groups target spots along creeks that have been adversely affected by Mother Nature or the heavy hand of mankind.
Carey Entz-Rine, watershed specialist, Lycoming County Conservation District, noted the various projects of the area.
Small streams, such as Laurel Run, a tributary of Muncy Creek are not ignored.
Most recently, the Muncy Creek Consolidated Sportsmen and Muncy Creek Watershed Association banded with other groups to target a section at a small dam site on Laurel Run in Van Rensselaer Park in Picture Rocks.
“They had a large hole break through the dam,” Entz-Rine said. “We ended up installing upstream and downstream wings to make it more secure. It eliminates erosion.”
The wings, she explained, are logs placed along the streambanks.
“They are backfilled with rip-rap,” she said.
This particular section of the stream has been the site of an annual kids trout fishing derby and also provides water supply for the Picture Rocks Vol. Fire Co.
Laurel Run is classified as an exceptional value stream and considered very healthy for aquatic life.
Lycoming Creek is a popular trout fishing destination for many anglers. Not surprisingly, it has been targeted by those concerned with preserving its water quality.
Along the creek at Sheshequin Campground in Marsh Hill, 18 log vanes were installed to stabilize the streambank and provide cover for trout.
“They (log vanes) push the current out to the middle of the stream,” Entz-Rine said.
On a section of Mill Creek along Route 973 in Hepburn Township, three log vanes and two mudsills were placed along the streambank.
Mudsills are installed to provide cover and habitat for trout.
Unfortunately, some of that work was damaged by last October’s flood waters.
David Craig, of Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited, noted the stream monitoring work taking place along Rock Run near Ralston and its tributaries.
He noted that many wild trout can be found in those streams, despite past mining activity in the area.
Rock Run lies in a forested area and in recent years has been targeted for possible natural gas drilling.
TU volunteers have taken samples of the stream to gauge water quality.
“If there is degradation (from mining activities) occurring, you can prove that they caused it,” Craig said. “Then remediation will be needed. You hold them responsible. That’s what we are doing. We are establishing a legal baseline for all time.”
Loyalsock Creek Watershed Vice President Steve Szoke noted a stream and trout study being done on Scar Run.
The small tributary of Loyalsock Creek holds a healthy population of native brook trout.
The research being done in cooperation with Susquehanna University and the state Fish and Boat Commission is considering those fish populations over time with respect to climate change and other environmental factors.
“We are taking water temperatures and water quality such as pH levels,” he said.
Fish are captured after being electroshocked, before being weighed and measured.
“We take diet samples of the bigger fish,” he said.
The trout are then released back into the stream.
All the data is being looked at by the Fish and Boat Commission.
Scar Run is among a number of wild trout waters being researched by a Susquehanna University’s Freshwater Research Initiative to help assess long-term impacts of severe flooding on organisms and the effects of fracking-related landscape change on wild trout streams.