Friday, August 26, 2022

Fish & Boat Commission Voluntary Permits Project Feature: Shoreline Restoration At Yellow Creek In Indiana County

By Mike Parker, Communications Director, PFBC

There is an old saying when it comes to buying land— implying that it is almost always a wise investment, because “they are not making any more of it.”

The latter part of that saying went out the window during a recent project at Yellow Creek State Park, Indiana County, where the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Lake Habitat crews did make more land, or at least restored some that had been lost. 

The project was funded in part by the sale of Voluntary Bass Permits.

Beginning in December 2020, the PFBC partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for a large-scale shoreline stabilization project at Yellow Creek Lake that included the construction of 33 shoreline deflector structures. 

After identifying areas where severe erosion had resulted in the loss of up to 15 feet of shoreline near the lake’s North Shore Boat Launch and McFeaters Cove camping area, crews designed and constructed the stone and earthen structures, filled in dangerous 3- to 4-foot drop-off areas, and stabilized a total of 1,300 feet of shoreline.

“These shoreline deflectors are meant to blend into the environment while providing benefits to fish habitat, water quality, public safety, and create expanded recreational opportunities for all park users,” said Mike Swartz, PFBC Lake Habitat Manager, Division of Habitat Management. “Not only will the enhanced shoreline be safer for anglers and others to walk on, but these structures will prevent unwanted sediment and nutrients from entering and polluting the local watershed.

“Deflectors make great rock habitat for crayfish, minnows, young bass and other gamefish, and macroinvertebrates that attract larger bass that anglers love to target.”

Completed in two phases, Phase One of the project included the construction of 21 shoreline deflectors and was funded with $35,000 from the PA DCNR Resource Section and $8,000 from the PFBC’s Cooperative Lake Habitat Improvement Program.

Phase Two, completed in April 2022, was funded by $30,000 from Voluntary Bass Permits sold in 2021. 

To reduce costs and maximize the benefit to anglers and park visitors, heavy machinery operation for the project was provided by the PFBC’s Division of Construction and Maintenance and PA DCNR’s Yellow Creek State Park maintenance staff.

“For the second phase of the project, we added another 12 deflectors and installed additional rock armor to further protect vulnerable sections of shoreline. While this was a multi-year team effort between the PFBC and PA DCNR, anglers who purchased the Voluntary Bass Permits in 2021 really took this project across the finish line. We cannot thank them enough," said Swartz.

The shoreline deflectors, which protrude approximately 15 feet into the lake, will make casting into deeper water easier for shoreline anglers and benefit boat anglers casting towards shore.

Areas of shallow water between structures will warm in the spring and summer months, providing ideal spawning habitat and protection for bass and other species, and contribute to the overall health of the fishery and angler success.

[For more information on how you can support this program, visit the Fish & Boat Commission’s Voluntary Permits webpage.]

(Reprinted from Pennsylvania Angler & Boater Magazine.)

[Posted: August 26, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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