Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Halfmoon Creek Restoration In Centre County Improves Trout Stream

In an effort to restore wild trout population on a three mile stretch of Halfmoon Creek at Centre Stables, significant stream restoration, spearheaded by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, remains ongoing thanks to the Wildlife For Everyone Endowment Foundation.
Halfmoon Creek, from its headwaters on Bald Eagle Mountain in western Centre County to the confluence with Spruce Creek near Pennsylvania Furnace in Huntingdon County, is designated as having impaired water quality and degraded fish habitat from agricultural runoff.
Halfmoon Creek serves as a major tributary to Spruce Creek and the Little Juniata River, both nationally famous for "blue ribbon" trout waters and an economic engine to the local communities. With impaired stream water from Halfmoon Creek, the future of those waters could be jeopardized.
The entire watershed was listed with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2008 as not meeting its Clean Water Act designated use and is a "priority watershed" for restoration by the Pennsylvania DEP Northcentral Regional Office.
A pair of grants to the Wildlife For Everyone Endowment Foundation are focused on restoring a 7,200-foot stream segment near the village of Marengo. Known for its location at Centre Stables, the project encompasses a particularly important site adjacent to an upstream reach of 1.5 miles, where several contiguous stream restoration projects have already been implemented to address similar trout habitat and water quality problems.
Restoration practices will include: over 3,400 feet of log and stone fish habitat structures; 2,500 feet of streambank bioengineering and shrub plantings to reduce sediment and lower summer water temperatures; 2,000 feet of cattle fencing; and three gravel stream crossings for livestock and farm equipment.
The Wildlife For Everyone Endowment Foundation received a $148,404 grant from the Department of Environmental Protection's  2013 Growing Greener Grant Program to continue restoration of fish habitat and improvement of water quality in Halfmoon Creek.
Stream restoration work began in 2014. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's "Partners for Fish and Wildlife" program, the Foundation for California University of Pennsylvania, Habitat Forever and Seven Willows LLC are collaborating with the Wildlife For Everyone Endowment Foundation on the Halfmoon Creek stream restoration design and construction.
Students at the Center for Watershed Stewardship at Penn State also completed stream surveys and trout census work in 2004 and 2005 prior to the restoration process.
Students found self-reproducing wild trout at Weaver Forest upstream of Centre Stables and at a downstream site. No trout were found at Centre Stables, thus the goal of this current project is to restore a wild trout population over the combined length of more than 3 miles.
The published report with fisheries data is online. More than 30 graduate students in the program received practical educational experience in watershed stewardship now being applied in their professional careers.
For more information on activities and events, visit the Wildlife For Everyone Endowment Foundation website.
NewsClip: Halfmoon Creek Restoration Underway

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