Spotlight - Wildlands Conservancy Helps Restore Trout Creek In Allentown
This year the Wildlands Conservancy, in cooperation with the City of Allentown, will complete a large-scale ecological restoration project on the nearly 1.5 miles of Trout Creek that flows through the City's Trout Creek Park.
Trout Creek is a large tributary to the Little Lehigh that originates from a series of springs surrounded by the protected woodlands of South Mountain.
Trout Creek suffers from the non-point source pollution and habitat degradation typical of an urban stream and, as a result, is included on the Department of Environmental Protection's list of impaired waters.
Throughout the Park the Creek is cut off from its floodplain by long expanses of crumbling gabion basket walls and is artificially widened and slowed by the presence of several obsolete concrete dams and abandoned bridge abutments.
Much of the reach completely lacks riparian vegetation and the streamside vegetative communities that are important to maintaining a healthy stream system.
As a result, the Creek lacks the shad necessary for water temperature moderation; the leaf littler inputs necessary to support a healthy aquatic insect community; and the in-stream structural diversity to provide sufficient fish habitat.
Wildlands Conservancy received two competitive grants to help complete this project, one from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and one from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The City of Allentown and the Fish & Boat Commission will provide significant time, resources and expertise to the project.
Together, the Conservancy will remove man-made structures to return the stream channel and floodplain to its natural state, replace the expansive invasive plant communities with native ones, and install man-made habitat structures to encourage the return of wildlife.
The project is scheduled to be complete in the Fall of 2011.
Wildlands Conservancy envisions Trout Creek Park as a place where City residents can enjoy a clean, clear stream full of native trout and a protected riparian corridor of native trees that provides a home for a wide variety of insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
To learn more about restoring and protecting the environment in the Lehigh Valley, participate in the 2011 Lehigh River Sojourn from June 24-27, take advantage of the Conservancy's educational programs or visit the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary.
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