Several watershed associations gathered Jan. 14 at the fourth annual Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited Watershed Meeting to share details of their projects, which include improving stream flow, eliminating erosion and creating better fish habitat.
Habitat can be improved when logs channel the current. Banks are excavated to accept logs, said Dick Leaver of the Muncy Creek Watershed Association. His group uses steel bars as reinforcement when wood is set into a stream.
Virgil Rabasco of the Rose Valley-Mill Creek Watershed Association said his group implanted log extensions into the tail end of Mill Creek nearly three months ago.
"Erosion on the bank has already ceased and we're really
excited about that," Rabasco said.
Log and rock vanes were essential to a Roaring Branch stream restoration project, said Russ Cowles of the Lycoming Creek Watershed Association.
Members of many watershed associations expressed appreciation to various organizations who donated time and supplies to supplement grant money for the projects, but Cowles expressed why this is so important.
"We wanted locals to feel like it was their project," he said.
Existing logs proving their worth have encouraged plans for more, embraced by the two watershed specialists assisting the groups.
"I'm really hopeful they're going to work in our streams," said Sullivan and Eastern Lycoming watershed specialist Corey Richmond.
Western Lycoming watershed specialist Carey Entz will work closely with a Nippenose Valley group as it plans a stream improvement, adding to the 52 projects in Lycoming and Sullivan counties that have occurred over the past eight years.
Log installation is planned this summer on Antes Creek, according to Laurie Nau of the Greater Nippenose Valley Watershed Association.
Until then, Nau said her group is preparing for a spring fishing tournament on the creek, solely for fly anglers who catch and release the fish reeled in.
Other groups are pursuing other projects.
The Pine Creek Watershed Rivers Conservation Plan aims to preserve resources, according to Jerry Walls of the Pine Creek Watershed Council. He said the plan contains a list of recommended management options based upon existing data and public input.
The council is actively involved with the Pennsylvania Wilds planning team, Walls said.
Two major tunnels have been treated for acid mine drainage, said Ruth Rhodes of the Loyalsock Creek Watershed Association.
Based in the Montgomery area, the Black Hole Creek Watershed Association is planning a small dam removal project near the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex. The Black Hole group hopes the project will improve water quality, Becky Sanguedolce said.
The Lycoming College Clean Water Institute continues to educate students, according to Mel Zimmerman. Students will continue to monitor the overall water quality of area streams and the health of fish inhabiting them.
Organizations interested in learning more about the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy can learn from a slideshow that can be brought to them, according to county Commissioner Jeff Wheeland. He said Megan Lehman, county environmental planner, can be contacted about the approach intended to minimize costs and promote environmental stewardship.
Gene Field said the Larrys Creek Watershed Association is the youngest such group in the county, as it didn't begin until last year. Field said the covered bridge in Cogan House Township is near the headwaters of Larrys Creek.
Although his group is new, Field said he's excited that there's about 25 people who regularly attend Larrys Creek meetings.
Joe Radley, a member of the Susquehanna Trout Unlimited board of directors, said that volunteerism is critical to completing projects. Watershed enthusiasts were urged to spread the word and get more people involved in stream improvement projects.