Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Spring Creek Trout Unlimited Receives $160,700 NFWF Grant In Centre County

The Spring Creek Chapter Of Trout Unlimited in Centre County received a $160,700 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to improve habitat along two sections of Spring Creek and fund a riparian planting in the G. D. Kissinger Meadow on Slab Cabin Run.
The Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited will match the NFWF $160,700 grant with local contributions of $100,640 for a total project value of $261,340.
“The purpose of these restoration projects is to improve water quality by reducing erosion, sedimentation and nutrient inputs while creating habitat for a self-sustaining trout population,” said Robert K. Vierck, SCCTU President. “We are deeply appreciative of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant which will be a continuation of 15 highly successful stream restoration projects implemented in the Spring Creek watershed since 1990.”
This current project consists of three impaired sites that will benefit in measurable terms from stream restoration work.
The first site near Rock Road focuses on reducing sedimentation and erosion entering the stream while providing enhanced habitat for trout and associated species. This section is lacking diverse cover, and substrate within the stream is embedded with silt from the eroding streambanks, preventing the stream from reaching its full potential.
The scope of the project includes installing in-stream structures like log and stone deflectors and random boulder clusters, and riparian planting of native trees and shrubs along 315 feet of stream.
The second site, located between Houserville Road and Trout Road, has areas of high erosion and sedimentation and lacks a riparian buffer. High levels of erosion and sedimentation have led to embedded stream gravel and lack of overhead fish cover prevents trout from using the area as spawning habitat.
Exposing clean spawning gravel and providing thermal protection by installing structures with overhead fish cover for trout would be one of the major benefits of a restoration project implementation at this site.
The scope of the project at this site includes installing structures such as mudsills, toe logs, rock cross vanes, rock vanes, log vanes and random boulder clusters. The project will also include several debris jam removals, a willow tree revetment, the installation of a one-acre pollinator plot, 1.25 acres of poison hemlock treatment/removal, and five acres of riparian restoration to include planting native trees and shrubs.
The third site, Slab Cabin Run, is a major tributary to Spring Creek and supplies a majority of the drinking water to the State College region.  Prevention of further erosion, sedimentation and nutrient pollution is vital at this site.
Currently, the scope of the project includes installing a riparian buffer along the length of the stream owned by College Township. This riparian planting is significant to the watershed in that the area was previously under heavy agricultural influence and completely lacked a riparian buffer.
Centre Region Parks and Recreation has partnered with SCCTU on this site to restore the buffer and help to prevent further erosion in Slab Cabin Run and sedimentation of Spring Creek.
Overall, a reduction of approximately 1,138 pounds of nitrogen, 298 pounds of phosphorus and 145 tons of sediment are projected to be avoided annually by the project’s full implementation.
The project includes 915 native trees and shrubs, 4.27 acres of riparian buffer planting, 1.27 miles of stream cover and 0.58 miles of streambank restoration.
Restoration of these three sites will not only benefit Spring Creek but will also have a positive effect on bigger watersheds downstream: Bald Eagle Creek, the West Branch of the Susquehanna and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.
As part of the planning and evaluation of this project, SCCTU and its partners incorporated the FieldDocs model to evaluate 15 separate projects including 26 site practices completed on Spring Creek since 1990.
The results have produced reduced nutrient inputs by 9,725 pounds of nitrogen, 2,641 pounds of phosphorous and 459 tons of sediment per year.
The projects include riparian buffer plantings of more than 6,000 native shrubs and trees covering more than 17 acres, over half a mile of fencing, and 0.16 miles of stream restored along Spring Creek.
Partners for this project include the Fish and Boat Commission, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Centre County Conservation District, ClearWater Conservancy, Chesapeake Bay Conservancy, University Area Joint Authority, and Centre Region Parks and Recreation.
For more information about the programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited website.
(Photo: Spring Creek TU members installing a log vein.)

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