Trout Unlimited: PA Coldwater Habitat Program Releases 2021 Annual Report

On March 2, Trout Unlimited released the 2021 Annual Report for the Pennsylvania Coldwater Habitat Program highlighting the estimated 360,062 pounds of sediment were reduced through the completion of 23 projects on nearly 13 miles of trout streams by the Coldwater Habitat Program crew.

Projects completed include stream stabilization and fish habitat improvement projects, as well as stream crossing replacements.

An estimated 410 pounds of nitrogen and 189 pounds of phosphorus were also reduced through the projects.

Other highlights include--

-- Unassessed Waters: In 2021, TU's Coldwater Habitat Program field crew worked in the Delaware River, North Branch Susquehanna River, and West Branch Susquehanna River basins to complete 169 surveys on previously unassessed streams. Wild trout were documented in 37 of the 169 streams surveyed in 2021.

-- Stream Crossings: Trout Unlimited, the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies, and the PA State Conservation Commission collaborate on the construction of stream which in 2021 results in 17 projects that went to construction in 31.5 miles of streams.

-- Acid Mine Drainage Technical Assistance: Biological and water chemistry surveys, AMD assessments, and remediation treatment recommendations were completed in 12 watersheds in 9 counties across Pennsylvania.

-- Conservation Portfolio Update For PA: Trout Unlimited developed the Conservation Portfolio and Range-wide Habitat Analysis to characterize the key elements of population diversity and the continuum of viability, habitat condition, and vulnerability present in brook trout populations from Maine to Georgia.  In 2021, TU completed an update to this analysis for Pennsylvania.

-- West Branch Susquehanna Recovery Benchmark II: Trout Unlimited developed the West Branch Benchmark Project in 2009 for the purpose of documenting and quantifying the results from dozens of abandoned mine drainage (AMD) remediation projects and millions of dollars that had been invested in abandoned coal mine cleanup across the watershed.

The objective of this repeat study was to document current water quality and biological conditions and identify changes through time in response to the continued efforts to restore the West Branch Susquehanna River to its full potential.

This study was completed in 2020 and a summary report and detailed technical report of the results were released in early 2021.

In brief, the results from the water quality, aquatic insects, and fishery surveys indicate continued improvements throughout the watershed.

The mainstem of the river has maintained a net alkaline condition from its headwaters downstream to Lock Haven.

The upper 26 miles of the river was recently designated as supporting naturally reproducing trout populations, an impressive accomplishment for a section of the river that had been ravaged by AMD pollution for so many years.

Water quality in the tributaries also continued along a trajectory of improvement, although improvements between 2009 and 2017 were less dramatic than those reported between 1984 and 2009.

Aquatic insects and fish continue to improve throughout the watershed. Several sites throughout the watershed, based on water quality, aquatic insects, and/or fish surveys may warrant further consideration for delisting from Pennsylvania’s list of impaired streams.

-- Training & Outreach: Coldwater Habitat Program staff provided nine training opportunities to 327 participants.

The report features updates on a variety of specific projects completed or in progress by the Coldwater Habitat Program.

Click Here for a copy of the Annual Report.

Visit Trout Unlimited's PA Coldwater Habitat Program webpage for more information on the program.

Related Article:

-- DEP 2022 Water Quality Report Shows 27,886 Miles Of Streams With Impaired Water Quality In PA (33%) - An Increase From 25,468 In 2020

[Posted March 3, 2022]


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