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Watersheds work to improve erosion and flood plains

By Staff | Apr 9, 2013

Andrea Young stands along side one of the machines brought in to divert the eroding stream banks along her Moreland Township property. This rig had 32 inch wide tracks to build the erosion beds, and 78 tons of quarry stone were imported for the erosion project.

HUGHESVILLE – On Thursday, March 14 at the Hughesville Library a presentation was given by Andrea Young from Moreland Township to the Muncy Creek and Montgomery Creek Watershed Association members and guests on a remediation project she was involved with through the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Using available funds from gas drilling, eroded banks were rebuilt to reduce further flooding and erosion.

During a power point slide presentation with photos, Young explained where a lot of erosion had taken place, with trees eroded at various bank heights along the stream bed. “The creek eroded a whole row of foliage,” Young said as she showed trees falling down into the creek.

According to Young in April of 2009 Dave Keller from the PA Fish and Boat Commission approached her with a design project for her Moreland Township property near Lairdsville that is part of the flood plain. Much of the sediment was being washed downstream and stability structures were being affected.

One design showed alternating log vanes. Working with WHM Solutions, Inc. in State College, finally a modified design with just one log vane and rocks was chosen for the project. “The log vanes direct the water toward the creek center instead of the bank,” Young added. “78 tons of quarry stone were imported for the erosion project.”

Young said she was amazed by the size of the equipment brought in to do the job, some with 32 inch wide tracks and bucket cranes lifting five tons of dirt and gravel. “Logs were also used in the project structures,” she said. “I am hopeful these structures will work.” They are designed to channel the water out into the creek. The quarry stone anchors the logs. Existing root balls and limbs that were washed in from the flood plain were also used as anchors along the stream banks. “They planted 900 trees and added to the flood plain,” said Young who lives 40 feet above the flood plain. A crew of operators specializing in wetland mitigation and stream restoration from Aquatic Resources (ARRC), a company from Seven Valleys, PA, was outsourced for the job.

Finished erosion control project at Muncy Creek in Moreland Township.

Young said that she was able to obtain funding for the project through the gas companies and resources from Wetland Habitat Management coordinated through the Penn State Cooperative Extension office here in Lycoming County. A liaison coordinated the permits with DEP and the Army Corps of Engineers assisted with the mitigation. The project began in December of 2012 and was completed in January 2013.

“Now the stream has more room and the water is not moving as fast,” Young added. “We hope it works.” The Watershed Association will be evaluating the stream bed, its elevation and the speed of the water flow.

Ashley West, President of the Muncy Creek Watershed Association said that more members are needed, and projects such as these could be available as a resource for landowners who might have some stream bed erosion that needs corrected. “We need more resources, sources of funds, and grants,” said West.

“Young’s project was funded through remediation of the gas drillers,” said Wayne Sager, acting Secretary of the Association. He added that the community can come to them for potential projects, primarily watersheds and stream bank erosions.

Both the Montgomery and Muncy Creek Watershed Associations work together for meetings and joint projects. The members are also involved with many community outreach projects such as local science fairs, the Science Festival at Penn College and Earth Day programs. Young, who is the outreach coordinator and corresponding secretary, said that they will be going to the schools this month to discuss living micro organisms in the water by using a “live tureen” to illustrate the good vs. the bad quality streams.