Monday, May 8, 2017

Tulpehocken Creek Project Channels Cold Water Flow In Berks County

As 2016 came to a close, so did a major project by the Tulpehocken Creek Chapter of TU. The chapter placed three stone de ectors in Tulpehocken Creek below the confluence of the Cacoosing Creek in Wyomissing, PA.
The deflectors, structurally totaling more than 200 feet in length, were placed in an effort to utilize the cooler  flows of the Cacoosing.
Temperature monitoring above and be- low the confluence historically indicated the Cacoosing contribution is much cooler than the usual  flows of the Tulpehocken, especially in the heat of summer. Unfortunately, downstream of the confluence the creek becomes much wider and shallower, thus wasting the cooler addition.
Constantly on the lookout for opportunities immediate past president Dan Shaffer met with Mike Kauffman of the Fish and Boat Commission and Tony Gehman of TCO Fly Shop to discuss a project in early 2015.
At Kauffman’s recommendation, utilization of the Cacoosing  flow was considered.
“Cacoosing Creek creates a plume of cooler water that was being pushed against the (nearside) bank,” says Kauffman, area fisheries manager for the southeast region, “Trout could always be found hugging the bank, and this project was an opportunity to serve more trout by channeling the  flow to the middle where they’re better protected.”
Small chapters must choose their projects carefully, though placing multiple defectors isn’t simple the high impact project would allow for an easy access staging area enabling the process to unfold at a comfortable pace.
Fundraising for the defectors included a banquet, support from the Conservation District and a grant from TU’s Embrace-A-Stream Program.
The EAS application approval served to validate the project even more and the $2,000 grant provided a much needed boost in getting the work started.
“We look at the projectable merit, conservation impact, and the impact to the chapter when approving project grants,” said Greg Malaska, EAS committee member, “This project was a big plus; it serves an urban fishery and coincided with the Tully chapter’s 40th anniversary.”
Ongoing monitoring of the stream will continue and official feedback will be submitted to the EAS committee.
In May of 2016 the chapter held a fundraising banquet. With legendary PA angler and conservationist Joe Humphreys as the keynote speaker, a loyal group of attendees donated more dollars to the projects funding. Supporters contributed by donations, purchasing raffle tickets and participating in an auction.
Among the donors was TCO founder Tony Gehman, an avid supporter of TU who has long seen the need for this project.
“Over the years that section of the stream has been eroded tremendously,” says Gehman, “We needed to create a way to mix that cold water from the Cacoosing with the Tully and prevent it from heating up as it heads downstream. These defectors should achieve that goal.”
The chapter worked closely with Berks County Parks and Recreation, who owns the areas surrounding the stream. Once permitting was completed the department gave the go ahead to utilize an open area as a staging point and to clear cut and alter the bank as needed.
“TU has always been a terrific partner,” says Chris Stress, director of the Berks County Parks and Recreation Department, “In my opinion this project was an absolute success that will improve the waterway and stabilize the bank.”
The department also worked with the chapter to understand best practices when completing bank repairs at the project completion.
Another key ally in placing the defectors was the Berks County Conservation District.
According to District Executive Dean Druckenmiller, this project  fit well into their mission.
“The BCCD is dedicated to the wise stewardship of soil and waters of Berks County so future generations have healthy land to live and work, and clean water for drinking and recreation,” said Druckenmiller, “This project stabilized the banks of Tulpehocken Creek, while improving trout habitat and hopefully enhancing the cold- water refuge below Cacoosing Creek.”
The stones used were actually boulders unearthed by a development project in close proximity to the defector site. After getting the stone donated chapter leaders also negotiated having them hauled to the staging area at a discounted rate courtesy of M&A Excavating.
With the stones in place Highland Excavating services, a partner in past stream projects, was tasked with actually building the structures. Chapter board members, past and present, were on site at every major step, measuring and planning with Highland personnel to ensure project fluidity.
Finally, with the defectors complete, board members and volunteers from the Wilson High School Earth Club set out to repair the bank with environmental matting donated by East Coast Erosion Blankets.
Securing the matting along with seed and straw was the last step of a project which took several weeks to complete, but much longer to plan and prepare for.
Founded in 1976, the Tully Chapter has completed many projects in its footprint and looks forward to moving ahead with other habitat improvements and stream repair in the near future.
(Reprinted from the Spring PA Trout newsletter from the PA Council of Trout Unlimited.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy (box at top of page).)

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