Monday, October 30, 2023

Quittapahilla Watershed Assn. Interns Present Stream Morphology Surveys On Lebanon County Streams

On October 30, interns for the
Quittapahilla Watershed Association recently presented their findings from stream morphology surveys and on-the-ground agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) in relation to some of the main tributaries of the Quittapahilla watershed in Lebanon County, including Gingrich Run, Killinger Creek and Snitz Creek.

The Lebanon Valley Conservancy, a partner and sponsor of QWA, administered the 2023 summer internships, held by Hannah Horengic and Ilyssa McLaughlin, both students from Lebanon Valley College. 

The students presented a brief overview of their research during a QWA meeting in October. 

Their stream assessments included livestock access to a creek, severe bank erosion, water-treatment discharge, as well as several sizeable sinkholes.

 “Two out of the three creeks ended in a sinkhole…Gingrich Run and Killinger Creek,” noted Horengic.

In addition to these impacts, the interns also discovered fallen trees causing creek diversion and a bridge collapsing into one of the streams.

 “An abandoned bridge… made of brick and stone is currently collapsing into the stream. If that continues, it’s going to create a pretty significant blockage,” shared McLaughlin. 

The interns will submit a complete report of their findings to the QWA. 

“Between all three streams, I think I took close to 3,000 pictures,” added McLaughlin.

The internships were paid through a grant provided to the Lebanon County Conservation District Lebanon County Clean Water Team by the Department of Environmental Protection. 

“The project was a collaboration between QWA, LCCD, TLVC, LVC, and Rocky Powell -- president of Clear Creeks Consulting who provided training to the interns,” shared Courtney Reimann, land protection director for TLVC. “It brought funding into Lebanon County to support our stream health and also provided local students with hands-on monitoring experiences with our waterways.”

The data gathered by the QWA interns will help determine the next steps to improve local stream health. 

“Local monitoring efforts are important,” said Michael Schroeder, President of the QWA. “A quarter-century ago, PA-DEP determined that 98% of the Quittapahilla watershed’s 89 miles of waterways are impaired. With these updated data about these three tributaries and the main sources of agricultural runoff and sediment, we can prioritize our future projects accordingly.”

QWA and its partners are currently seeking volunteers to help monitor streams in Lebanon County throughout the year. 

Anyone interested in getting involved can contact QWA President Michael Schroeder, at or Courtney Reimann, TLVC land protection director, at

For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and more, visit the Quittapahilla Watershed Association and Lebanon Valley Conservancy websites.

How Clean Is Your Stream?

The draft 2024 report has an interactive report viewer that allows you to zoom in to your own address to see if the streams near you are impaired and why.

Click Here to check out your streamsClick Here for a tutorial on using the viewer.

Related Article:

-- DEP 2024 Water Quality Report Shows 28,820 Miles Of Streams With Impaired Water Quality In PA (34%) - An Increase From 27,886 In 2022  [PaEN]

[Posted: October 30, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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