$6,000 Helps Complete Assessment, Implement Restoration Of Solomon Creek In Luzerne
The Coldwater Heritage Partnership recently awarded the Eastern Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation a $6,000 grant to complete an assessment of Solomon Creek in Luzerne County and begin implementation of restoration projects.
"This type of grassroots conservation work is vital for the future of the state's coldwater streams and wild trout fisheries,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “Coldwater conservation plans help to build local awareness and support for the long-term stewardship of coldwater streams and their surrounding watersheds.”
For more than a decade, EPCAMR, a non-profit organization organized in 1996 to promote and facilitate the reclamation and remediation of the land and water adversely affected by past mining practices in the Eastern Pennsylvania, has been a partner with the PA Council of Trout Unlimited, the Fish & Boat Commission, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Foundation for PA Watersheds.
One of EPCAMR’s strengths is its ability to work with community groups to assess their watersheds, conduct field monitoring, biological monitoring, perform habitat assessments, water quality monitoring, and coordinate environmental action and improvement projects on a local level in watersheds impacted by Abandoned Mine Drainage.
EPCAMR was awarded 1 of 10 grants this round, just as the 2011 Trout Season was about to open to conduct a preliminary assessment of the 18.1 sq. mile watershed of Solomon Creek with a focus on its tributaries, in the Wyoming Valley, Luzerne County.
It is an AMD impacted stream on the Federal 303 (d) List of Impaired Waters at several segments along its length before entering the Susquehanna River, however there are also tributaries that are holding native trout species that are isolated in between AMD discharges to the Creek and some of its upper tributaries.
In fact, there is a 2.6 mile stretch that is a Class A Brook Trout Fishery within the watershed upstream of several of the AMD impacts. EPCAMR would like to assess the tributaries and come up with some recommendations for future implementation plans.
The Solomon Creek Watershed contains many high quality and cold water trout assets, despite the presence of AMD impacts that lower portions of the watershed.
The general water quality downstream of the Solomon Creek AMD Boreholes until it combines with the Buttonwood AMD Tunnel is alkaline, high pH, high Dissolved Oxygen, very cold, and high in iron loading.
In most of the headwater sections of the watershed, water quality and stream habitat are generally in excellent condition until flow is lost to the underground mines. These areas sometimes go unnoticed due to the chronic impacts, publicity, and overall perception that the downstream AMD impacts have on the watershed.
The Solomon Creek watershed is in an area where EPCAMR has strong local partnerships with several of the municipalities within the area and a number of other partners and civic groups.
There are multiple users in the watershed, both for recreational value, economic redevelopment of abandoned mine lands, fishing, trout stocking trail hiking development, recreational athletic field usage, and some mine drainage remediation efforts by EPCAMR.
Initially developed around the extraction of anthracite coal, this watershed has an abundance of other natural resources, contributing to its picturesque landscapes and great recreational use.
EPCAMR Staff are very capable of doing a preliminary watershed assessment and have the expertise and background necessary to provide a professional, high quality assessment and recommendation report to the Coldwater Heritage Partnership.
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