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Penns Creek from the Greenbriar Gap Rd bridge in Summer

Watershed Committee

Current Projects

Mission: To organize projects that promote the health of the Upper Penns Creek watershed and build relationships with landowners and funding organizations for those projects.

Detailed Description: The Watershed Committee seeks out, initiates, and coordinates projects that preserve or enhance water quality and riparian habitat in the upper Penns Creek watershed.

Typical projects are streambank fencing, riparian buffer planting, wetland restoration, streambank regrading and compaction, sediment control devices in streams, and agricultural Best Management Practices (BMP’s) on farms.

We identify project sites in several ways. The Upper Penns Creek Watershed Assessment that PVCA commissioned in 2002 is still very useful in pointing out sections of major streams that need our attention. The Upper Penns Valley Watershed Stewardship Plan done by the Center for Watershed Stewardship at PSU in 2009-2010 is more current and more specific in pointing out areas of concern.

We have been doing temperature monitoring at various locations in Penns Creek and select tributaries since 2010 to obtain feedback on completed projects and to identify areas of temperature impairment. Our current major project is an attempt to solve a temperature problem on Muddy Creek, a major tributary of Penns Creek.

Some projects originate from our observations as we travel about the area or from information passed on to us by PVCA members and other valley residents.

Volunteer labor and donations of money and materials are utilized to accomplish many of our projects. To fund larger projects we use general PVCA funds, identify outside funding opportunities, write grants, and conduct occasional raffles.

We partner with many agencies and organizations to accomplish our goals. Our recent collaborators have included: Centre County Conservation District, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, Wildlife Management Institute, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Woodcock Limited of Pennsylvania, and Penn State Center for Watershed Stewardship.

All of these agencies and organizations are important, but our most important partners are the many farmers and private landowners who welcome us onto their land. Without them none of what we do would be possible and we all owe them our thanks. Their cooperation is essential to our mission of preserving or enhancing water quality and riparian habitat in the upper Penns Creek watershed.

Currently active projects of the PVCA Watershed Committee include agricultural BMP’s, streambank fencing, and riparian buffer planting. We have been monitoring water temperatures at 17 strategic locations in Penns Creek and important tributaries with in-stream data loggers for the last three years and plan to continue this effort to locate sites for buffer improvement and to assess impacts of projects. The Early Successional Riparian Forest project (details at –Habitat Projects-Mid Atlantic) is our current primary focus of attention.

For more information, contact the committee chair:

Chair: Tess Weigand (tess@happyvalleyhopyard.com)
Members: Tom Doman, Lysle Sherwin, John Smith, Martha Ruhe, Art Gover, Cathy Pierce, Andrea Ferich, George Kelly