WPC Leads Major Restoration Activity on Little Mahoning Creek

Little Mahoning

During August and early September 2009, WPC and several partner organizations will complete a project that blocks sediment pollution and prevents erosion on Little Mahoning Creek.

Classified as a high-quality coldwater fishery, Little Mahoning Creek is a local treasure that draws trout anglers from across the nation. This pristine stream is threatened today by erosion and sediment pollution caused largely by unstable dirt roads and a lack of conservation practices on agricultural lands. Excess sediment smothers fish eggs and destroys habitat for fish, mussels, insects and other stream-dwelling species such as the rare eastern hellbender salamander – which exists only in clean water.

“This project involves installation of more than 30 structures that will prevent many tons of sediment from entering the stream annually,” said Ben Wright, assistant director of WPC’s Watershed Conservation program. “It is a large undertaking, and we are grateful to partner with several organizations and volunteer groups that also care about the future of this watershed.”

The streambank protection structures, which were designed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, are being installed in collaboration with the Little Mahoning Creek Watershed Association, Ken Sink Trout Unlimited, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Indiana County Conservation District.

“It is a keystone for our watershed association,” said Mike Holiday, vice president of the Little Mahoning Creek Watershed Association. “It is something we can physically take pride in and visually know that we are advancing environmental stewardship within the watershed.”

The restoration project is an outgrowth of a comprehensive assessment of the watershed that was completed by WPC in 2007. It is a component of an action plan that WPC developed to protect the Little Mahoning, which involves active involvement and long-term support from volunteers, students, teachers and community groups and leaders.