Glade Run Alkaline Sand Project
CRTU is the driving force behind many successful stream restoration projects, including the widely acclaimed Glade Run Project. A tributary to popular Dunbar Creek, Glade Run had been devoid of fish and insect life since the 1950s, when abandoned coal mines released acid drainage into the stream. By adding alkaline sand at key points in the watershed, and by constructing a permanent anoxic limestone acid treatment system, the chapter improved water quality so that the stream now supports wild populations of reproducing brook trout. Funding for this project has come from various sources: Office of Surface Mines, PA Growing Greener Initiative, Miller Brewery (Friend of the Field), Sierra Club, Fayette County Commissioners, and CRTU. Approximately 330 tons of high quality alkaline sand is placed each year at the headwaters of Glade Run and two Impacted tributaries. Due its success this project has been highlighted on several occasions.
Trout in the Classroom
Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is an environmental education program in which students in grades 3 through 12 learn about coldwater conservation while raising brook trout from eggs to fingerlings. CRTU is currently sponsoring the program in several area schools with more planned. Working in partnership with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited, the program provides teachers with technical assistance, grant opportunities, brook trout eggs and food, curriculum and supporting resources, and workshops. Each of the participating classrooms receives a shipment of eggs in November which are placed in an aquarium which had been set up according to required guidelines. During the next five months the students observe the
various stages of the trout's life cycle and are responsible for monitoring and maintaining the environmental conditions necessary for trout survival in the aquarium. The culminating event is the release of the trout into local streams. See the ARCHIVE page, under Articles see Babies 1 & 2
Glade Run Anoxic Alkaline Treatment System
In the Fall of 2002, the first effort to address the uppermost AMD impact in the Glade Run watershed, the Glade Run Drift Mine Discharge Project Phase 1, was constructed in the form of a passive treatment system. This system consists of an Anoxic Limestone Drain (ALD) with :flushing capabilities, settling basin and polishing wetland. Although the grant request was over $280,000, only $200,000 in funding was provided. The system was redesigned and constructed within budget. Shortly there after construction of Phase 2 ensured full treatment and longevity of the overall system. The Phase 2 system will also treat a discharge that was not addressed by the Phase 1 treatment system because of elevation constraints. In addition to treating this discharge, the Phase 2 system will incorporate the effluent from the Phase 1 system to add additional alkalinity to the combined effluent. By addressing the acidic conditions and metal loadings upstream of the alkaline sand addition sites, the Glade Run Anoxic Alkaline Treatment System will enhance the recovery of Glade Run and Dunbar Creek.
Cage Culture Nursery
CRTU's members raise more than 10,000 trophy size brook, brown and rainbow trout each year in the chapter's unique "cage-culture" nursery. Living their entire lives in the cold clean water of the Youhiogheny tailrace, Chestnut Ridge's trout grow healthy and big before their release into the Youghiogheny River and its tributaries including Meadow Run and Laurel Hill Creek. Chapter-raised trout also provide excitement at youth outings and clinics across the region. The nursery was the first of its kind in Pennsylvania. It is patterned after the nursery owned by the state of Maryland at the Jennings Randolph facility on the North fork of the Potomic River. The chapter receives fingerling trout from the Pennsylvania Fish· and Boat commission in November of each year. Due to the success of our nursery, it has been written about on several occasions.
Morgan Run Abandon Mine Remediation Project
Morgan Run is a cold water stream in Fayette County, which has been void oflife due to abusive mining practices on the headwaters in the early 1970's. Construction of a passive treatment system was completed in the Spring of 2009 and was funded by a $500,000 growing greener grant. The passive treatment system is separated into an upper system and lower system (more degraded water quality) and consists of vertical flow ponds, settling/flushing ponds, and wetlands. The passive treatment system is neutralizing acidity and removing metals contained in the discharges of the various seeps. However, additional acidic seeps need addressed so that this stream may be returned to the way it existed before mining.
Adopt a Highway
CRTU is involved with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Adopt A Highway Program. We pick up trash for a two mile section of State Rt. 1055 where it parallels with Dunbar Creek.
Youghiogheny River Symposium
In June 1997 CRTU held the first ever symposium on the Youghiogheny River at the Penn State Fayette Campus. This two day event's objectives were to assemble individuals and representatives of groups, organizations, agencies and municipalities with an interest in the Youghiogheny River in one location to provide a forum for communication about issues affecting the river, or river communities and their future. We held our second symposium in June of 2016. Over 100 people attended to learn about the river's biology, challenges, and opportunities. Presenters included DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.
Laurel Hill Creek Critical Area Resource Plan
Laurel Hill Creek is a 125 sq. mile watershed in Somerset County and is classified as a High Quality Coldwater Fishery (HQ-CWF) with four Exceptional Value (EV) tributaries. It enters the Casselman River approximately 400 feet before the Youghiogheny River in the Borough of Confluence. The Laurel Hill Creek watershed is 80% forested, less than 1 % developed, and the remainder used for agricultural purposes. This watershed has great recreational value in that it has three state parks (Laurel Hill, Kooser and Laurel Ridge), Forbes State Forest, State Game Lands 111 and three covered bridges. The watershed is located in the Laurel Highlands area of Pennsylvania~ close enough to the Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington DC Metropolitan areas so that over 2.5 million people visit this area for recreation.
Water is being drawn from surface and ground water sources to supply multiple users, including two resorts, three golf courses, a limestone quarry, and the Borough of Somerset. Future development is planned. There is concern that water use is exceeding water availability. It is the intent of this project to determine in a scientific manner whether there is enough water available to meet all present and future needs and to establish land use guidelines that will protect the water resources along with the aquatic ecosystem.
As part of the State Water Plan (Act 220) of 2002, Critical Water Planning Areas (CWPA) will be determined in the Commonwealth where water use is exceeding water availability and Critical Area Resource Plans will be developed. The Ohio Water Resources Committee, at the request of Chestnut Ridge TU, nominated the Laurel Hill Creek Watershed as a candidate for a CWPA. In December, 2009, Secretary John Hanger of the PA Department of Environmental formally adopted Laurel Hill Creek as a Critical Water Planning Area -- one of only three (3) streams in the entire state. A Critical Area Resource Plan is being developed which will include the following: Surface and ground water quality and quantity assessments; surface and ground water interaction model; IFIM (Instream Flow Incremental Methodology) Study; Multi-Municipal Land Use Plan; Restoration and Protection Plan which will include alternatives and solutions for water withdrawals; education and awareness.
Laurel Hill Creek - Jimtown Stream Bank and Habitat Improvement Project
A $60,000 PA DEP Growing Greener grant was received in 2012 to improve the stream banks and habitat in the Upper Delayed Harvest Fishing Area of Laurel Hill Creek. The specific location will be near the Jimtown Rd. bridge. PA DCNR Laurel Hill State Park has acquired the property on both sides of the stream and is very anxious to improve the water quality and trout habitat in this section.. The state park will donate equipment and manpower during the construction phase. Somerset Conservation District will oversee the project and the PA Fish & Boat Commission will design the project and
contribute toward the construction.
Dunbar Creek Corridor Assessment and Project Prioritization
The 3 7-square mile Dunbar Creek watershed in Fayette County has, like Pennsylvania generally, experienced a long history of significant landscape alterations. These include widespread forest clearance associated with both timber production and coal mining for coke and steel production. Other land uses associated with settlement (farming, urbanization, etc.) have also resulted in changes to the vegetation cover and hydrology of this area. All of these land uses have left a legacy of unstable channels and floodplains, diminished riparian vegetation, reduced stream health, and a dwindling coldwater fishery. With efforts to address acid mine drainage well underway in the upper basin, CRTU desired to obtain background and pre-design information pertinent to implementing channel stabilization and structural instream habitat improvement projects in the basin. Funding for this project was obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's (PA DEP) Growing Greener program.
A total of 16 discrete channel stabilization and habitat improvement projects were identified in this effort, with 14 of these within the study subarea encompassing lower Dunbar Creek. All but one (1) of these is within the lower Dunbar Creek riparian corridor, which is approximately 4.5 miles long.
Youghiogheny Lake Deep Water Habitat
CRTU has partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop a deep water habitat program to try to relieve stress on small game fish at a time when the reservoir is drawn to winter pool. At present, there are no natural structures in the bottom of the deep part of the lake. The plan calls for approximately two hundred fifty man made structures to be placed in Youghioigheny Lake.
Youghiogheny River Access Stairs
CRTU constructed five sets of access stairs from the Youghiogheny Bike Trail tot he Youghiogheny River and hopes to construct more in the future. These steps will make the river more accessible to fisherman and help minimize erosion of the river bank