Project will protect Limestone Run and restore fish habitat | New
MILTON – A project along a 2,050-foot stretch of Limestone Run just outside Milton improves fish habitat and protects stream banks from further erosion.
The Fish Habitat Enhancement Structures project is a collaboration of the Northumberland County Conservation District, Northcentral Pa Conservancy, the State Department of Environmental Protection, the State Fish and Boat Commissioner, Susquehanna University, and landowners Franklin and Suzanne Follmer. There have been 18 stream restoration projects at Limestone Run since 2009 with different landowners in the watershed.
“Restoration work on the creek is a real win-win for the environment and landowners,” Ben Paul, watershed specialist for the county’s conservation district, said Thursday along Follmer Road. “We can do this job because of great landowners and the wonderful multi-agency partnership we have formed. “
The structures in the water were completed during a 10-day work period, the last of which was on Thursday. According to Cameron Englehart, a fisheries biologist with the state’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Unit of the Fish and Boat Commission, the final part of the project involves seeing and mulching and possibly planting trees from the two sides of the stream.
Previous stream conditions did not allow brook trout to breed due to sentiment and lack of habitat to spawn or hide, which limits its population. Single ball deflectors maintain the flow of the watercourse towards the middle of the channel, which ensures the stabilization of the banks; new rocks will catch the sentiment and rebuild the bank; modified mud sills will protect the toe of the slope and provide a harder edge, Englehart said.
The goal is to make it a healthier stream for landowners and bring back the trout, said Reneé Carey of the Northcentral PA Conservancy.
“As a stream erodes, it gets wider,” said Carey. “It throws that feeling where you can see it at the bottom of the creek here. Part of the reason for using the structures is to stop erosion. We stabilize the creek, we keep the feeling out of it. stream, we are improving the water quality of the stream. “
Jason Fellon, of DEP, said the upgrades would attract a different set of aquatic insects, which would be more palatable to the fish community.
Paul said improvements are noticeable even now that the project is coming to an end.
“Before we got in here and put the structures in place, the water flow was flat and not a lot of current,” Paul said. “Since these structures were put in place, they’ve helped that water come out and go to the middle of the stream. We can see the flow and flow of the water. I’m amazed by that.”
Paul congratulated the partners for their help in his first project as a watershed specialist. He started in this position last year.
Working with 155 landowners, the partnership groups have improved over 20 steam miles. The project was funded with part of a $ 350,000 grant to DEP’s Growing Greenways.