Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

TU team wraps up unassessed waters survey work in PA

By Kathleen Lavelle

As fall turns to winter, Trout Unlimited staffers take stock of the previous season’s fieldwork while starting to plan ahead for the coming year.

For the TU team working on the Unassessed Waters Initiative headed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, 2016 was another great year.

I lead a team that spends several months every year in search of naturally reproducing trout in streams that have never been formally surveyed. The work helps to ensure higher protection standards through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Each spring the Fish and Boat Commission sends us -- and other partners working on the initiative -- a list of streams to survey. We then go afield for survey trips, using electroshock gear that temporarily stuns fish so we can scoop them up in nets and identify them.

In 2016, TU field staff surveyed 76 streams in the West Branch of the Susquehanna River basin and 41 streams in the Delaware River basin.

Of those, a total of 35 streams -- nearly one-third -- were found to have naturally reproducing trout and are eligible to be added to the Fish and Boat Commission’s formal Wild Trout list.

Since 2011, TU has surveyed 555 streams for this initiative, and dozens already have been added to the wild trout list.
Listing of a stream section as wild trout water does not determine how the water is managed. However, the biological designation is among the factors the agency considers in its management approach to specific waters. Listed wild trout streams and their adjacent wetlands qualify for more stringent environmental protection.
Pennsylvania contains nearly 62,000 streams, but the Fish and Boat Commission staff has been able to conduct surveys on fewer than 6,000 of those waters, totalling 24,511 miles. That’s only 9 percent of the stream numbers and less than 30 percent of the stream miles that the agency is able to actively manage.
Trout Unlimited and other partners in the effort, such as universities, are providing crucial assistance in this important effort.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provides funding for the Unassessed Waters Initiative. TU's work for this initiative in the Delaware River Basin is also funded by the William Penn Foundation and the Kittatinny Ridge Coalition.
In September, the Fish and Boat Commission voted to add 99 streams to the listing. Of those, 13 had been identified by TU’s Unassessed Waters Initiative team.
The Fish and Boat Commission will vote on another list of 99 proposed wild trout waters in January, 25 of which TU has identified.
Even as we wrap up 2016 we are starting planning for 2017, with plans to survey many more streams, including more than 100 in the Delaware River basin alone.

Kathleen Lavelle is the field coordinator for Trout Unlimited's Pennsylvania Coldwater Habitat Restoration Program, based in Lock Haven, Pa.

Monday, January 2, 2017

See what's in store for Monocacy Creek in Bethlehem

LINK to Lehigh Valley article :
Kurt Bresswein | For lehighvalleylive.comBy Kurt Bresswein | For 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on October 23, 2016 at 7:45 AM, updated October 23, 2016 at 9:35 AM

The Monocacy Creek in Bethlehem is a spring-fed, limestone-bed, Class A Wild Trout stream, a natural wonder in an urban area.
But within the city's Monocacy Park north of Illick's Mill Road, rock check dams and railroad-tie banks give it an unnatural look while harming the ecology of the stream.
Next summer, Wildlands Conservancy is undertaking an estimated $300,000 restoration of the stream from Illick's Mill Road north to just downstream from the park's pedestrian bridge over the Monocacy. The Works Progress Administration-era dam is outside the scope of the project.
"There's so much opportunities for improvement here," said Kristie Fach, Wildlands' director of ecological restoration, during a tour of the project area Thursday.
About 25 people took part in the tour, including members of the Trout Unlimited Monocacy Chapter who are excited about the effects the plan will have on improving fish habitat. The stream now is largely unshaded, and long flat stretches heat up the water during the summertime. 
The stream boasts a strong wild brown trout population, and is also wildly popular with anglers after it's stocked by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Trout Unlimited members said.
Plans call for removing the creosote-soaked railroad ties and Gabion baskets that line the Monocacy's banks, Fach said. Infill will reduce its width by more than a foot on each side. 
The rock check dams spanning the width will be replaced by V-shaped cross vane rock weirs that funnel the flow and create riffles, which are beneficial to fish and anglers alike. 
It will be up to the public and city to prevent visitors from just stacking up more rocks to turn the weirs back into the rock check dams, said Fach. 
Minsi Lake pegged for $3M dam rehabilitation
The Lehigh Valley lake is on a Pennsylvania priority list. Work is expected to get under way next year.

Wildlands, based in Upper Milford Township outside Emmaus, worked with Bethlehem's urban forester on selecting about 10 trees for removal due to poor health, dangerous root structures along the stream or because they may be in danger of falling in coming years. 
Some are non-native London planetrees that resemble sycamores, and plans call for native varieties to be planted starting out at about 8 feet tall.
"So our plans do involve removing some trees but we're going to have much more vegetation here than there currently is," Fach said.
Swaths of wildflowers and shrubs are planned along the bank, alternating with grassy areas designed for access to the stream.
Volunteers will be needed for the plantings, which will follow the roughly month-long steam construction scheduled in summer 2017, during what is traditionally a low-flow time for the stream. 
The city supports the project and will look at improving parts of the asphalt path along the stream, said Jane Persa, acting director of parks and public property, and a participant in Thursday's tour.
Funding for the project is coming from conservation and flood-remediation grants, including from Northampton County Open Space, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and state Department of Community and Economic Development.
Designed by Langan Engineering, the restoration still requires reviews by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, in addition to permits from the Northampton County Conservation District and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Kurt Bresswein may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @KurtBresswein. Find on Facebook.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Welcome to 2017

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2017.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Trout Tips: It starts with the grip

Trout Tips: It starts with the grip

It all starts with the grip. With the thumb on top, both casting and battling fish are easier.

Editor's note: The following is excerpted from The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing, by Kirk Deeter and Charlie Meyers.

In golf, nine of out 10 swing flaws can be traced to your hands and
how you hold the club. The same is true of the fly cast. It starts in
your grip. You want to be firm, without over-clutching the handle. The
line goes where the rod tip directs it to go, and your grip dictates the
direction of the rod tip. Because of this, line your hand up so that it
can control how the rod flexes. Hold your thumb on top of the grip,
then snap those casts. If you visualize looking "through" your casting
thumbnail, odds are that the line will unfurl right through that window.

— Kirk Deeter

Thursday, December 15, 2016

New culvert on Pa.'s Little Lyman Run opens up nearly 8 stream miles

By Amy Wolfe

In terms of fish passage, a certain culvert on Pennsylvania’s Little Lyman Run in Potter County was about a bad as it gets.

Only 1.9 percent of predicted flows would allow adult brook trout to make it through the culvert on the small tributary to Cross Fork Creek, according to a TU aquatic organism passage inventory.

That number is now 100 percent, thanks to a culvert replacement project completed this summer.

Replacing the undersized culvert not only opens up 7.8 stream miles of coldwater trout habitat, it also will result in reducing 3.6 tons of annual nonpoint sediment inputs. Managing erosion from undersized or failing culverts is often burdensome for local townships.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016