Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nature Conservancy Receives Grant To Cleanup Cumberland County Trout Stream

The PA Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has been awarded a Growing Greener grant from the Department of Environmental Protection to restore water quality and fish habitat in a half-mile segment of Tom's Run.
This grant is one of more than 100 recently announced by DEP, with $23.2 million being invested in water quality throughout the Commonwealth.
Tom’s Run, a High Quality trout stream, originates in the Michaux State Forest of South Mountain and flows into the Yellow Breeches, in Cumberland County. The stream is important for its High Quality water, but this particular stretch has added historical importance as well.
"TNC and our partners would like to thank DEP,” said Sara Nicholas, Watershed Restoration Manager for TNC. “This grant will enable us and our partners to improve the overall condition of the stream, and will result in healthier fish and other aquatic species in Tom’s Run.”
Historically, many stories link back to this small area along Tom’s Run, known as Camp Michaux. The site had been used for farming and iron industry operations, dating back to the late 1700’s.
In the 1930’s Tom’s Run was diverted for daily water uses, and to fill a concrete recreational swimming pool. At that time it became the first Civilian Conservation Corp Camp operated on state land. Later, in the 1940’s, the U.S. Army converted the site and used it to house and interrogate World War II German and Japanese POWs.
Today the concrete diversion system blocks trout and other fish species from moving upstream, and the swimming pool is filled with sediment. The project work will remove the concrete structures and restore the natural channel and flow of the stream.
In addition to restoring one-half mile of water quality and fish habitat in Tom’s Run, the work will also transform the swimming pool into a two acre wetland which will further improve water quality while also providing habitat for birds, amphibians, and other wildlife.
A major partner in the effort, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is providing in-kind engineering services and matching funds.  Other partners include PA Trout Unlimited, and the Fish and Boat Commission. Additionally, TNC will be working with local historic groups to develop interpretive signage that will add historic interpretation to the site.
For more information on activities in Pennsylvania, visit the PA Chapter of The Nature Conservancy webpage.

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