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Group ensures trout populations thrive

Many organizations each year do projects to ensure wild trout are in abundance in streams, lakes and rivers.

Before the opening day of trout season on April 17, members of the Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited met for their annual watershed summit.

Reducing acid mind drainage by removing two old coal refuse culm piles that were causing water impairment near Mildred and Loyalsock Creek was a project discussed.

Acid mine drainage destroys the aquatic life, turning streams orange with toxic chemicals from mining, said Marc Lewis, spokesman for the Loyalsock Creek Watershed Association.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation is helping to monitor the upper reaches of the creek. Water quality and the effluent from two abandoned mine discharge treatment systems are being looked at as is gas withdraw impacts, Lewis said.

Stream bank stabilization is a big part of what was done by the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, a land trust devoted to conserving the working farm and forest lands and watersheds, said Renee Carey, conservancy director.

Progress has been made on the floodplain restoration project near Camp Mountain Road north of Barbours, she said.

Last year, 500 feet of stream bank was stabilized, including log work and tree plantings, with the tree roots serving as “rebar.”

The final phase will be to reconnect Plunkett’s Creek to its floodplain by removing a 1,840 foot long earthen berm that was installed in 1950, Carey said.

Maintenance work was done on the Wallis Run project that was impacted by the 2016 flood, she said.

Lycoming Creek Watershed Association remains active on the Mill Creek fish habitat projects in Hepburn Township and anglers have recovered from the flood damage to the hatchery and are doing well with their stocked trout.

Gloria Norcross, the watershed specialist, said the Sullivan County Conservation District partnered with the Eagles Mere Conservancy to give presentations about the geology, ecology, and preservation of the lake.

It also made use of the Envirothon kit and Enviroscape model at the conservancy and in a presentation about the environment and careers with the Trehab Center in Dushore, Norcross said.

Greg Bonsall, district manager of the Lycoming County Conservation District, described fish habitat improvement projects at the Loyalsock Creek Restoration Project near Keebler Farm Road and others on Mill Creek, Plunketts Creek at the Proctor Game Garm, the Midway Project on Lycoming Creek and Pine Run Restoration.

Major flood events have had a significant impact on trout populations, with the October 2016 event resulting in the loss of all eggs in Dry Run.

Weed Creek had the same population trends as Dry Run but not as extreme the hypothesis is that it is not as incised and may have better access to its floodplain, Bonsall said.

To get to high value trout streams, roads are needed, and the flooding in 2016 took its toll on many north of Williamsport.

Richard Glinski, state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Loyalsock State Forest District, provided an update on the forest road repairs from the extensive damage.

He said the department has acquired a railroad grade along Pleasant Stream and 2.5 miles of the road will be relocated with the project contracted out and expected to be completed by July 30.

Other highlights included:

• A new road has also been constructed along Mill Creek.

• Several roads will be renamed to match up with their destinations. For example, the new Pleasant Stream Road will be called the “Masten Road.”

Walt Nicholson, vice president of the Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited, said the cold water fisheries are better because of these and other volunteer efforts and accomplishments of the area’s watershed groups.

Conservation organizations help preserve, protect and enhance area streams. and watersheds, he said.

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