“The tremendously important work being done by this partnership has improved water quality in our local creeks and streams and the Susquehanna River as well as the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay in a quick and cost-effective manner,” DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell said on Friday during a tour of two projects on tributaries of the river just south of Sunbury. “It’s a key component of DEP’s bay restoration strategy aimed at meeting EPA’s 2025 nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment reduction goals.”
DEP and its partners prioritize projects to work from the headwaters downstream in watersheds that have been listed as impaired by DEP biologists and where DEP and other partners have made previous investments.
By putting in place fencing, livestock crossings, riparian buffer plantings and in-stream stabilization structures, such as log vanes and mudsills, the team is countering the effects of stream bank erosion caused by livestock. Erosion carries nitrogen- and phosphorus-loaded sediment into the water, smothering aquatic life as it covers the stream’s substrate. The restoration work improves water quality and aquatic habitat locally, which ultimately also benefits the Susquehanna and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
The 2016 stream restoration projects began in May and are scheduled to continue into September. The DEP Growing Greener grant program awarded $354,972 to the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy (NPC) for project implementation.
This is the seventh year of stream restoration work. The partners have completed 85 projects in almost seven miles of agriculturally impaired streams in north-central Pennsylvania and won a Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in 2014. DEP’s biologists are reviewing previous restoration sites as part of an ongoing effort to measure recovery.
“The partners involved in the stream restoration partnership are getting a lot of good on-the-ground conservation work done,” NPC Executive Director Renee Carey said. “We’ve learned a lot during the previous six construction seasons and are looking forward to learning more this season. It’s been great to see landowner interest grow, and improvements to the streams take place.”
The 2016 project partners and waterways are:
• Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
• Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy
• Clinton County Conservation District - Fishing Creek tributaries
• Columbia County Conservation District - Hemlock Creek
• Lycoming County Conservation District - Mill Creek
• Montour County Conservation District - Limestone Run
• Northumberland County Conservation District - Warrior Run, Little Shamokin Creek
• Snyder County Conservation District - Middle Creek
• Tioga County Conservation District - North Fork of Cowanesque River
• Union County Conservation District - Limestone Run, Turtle Creek
For more information, click here.