The instream construction of the Headgate Project was completed in November 2002, marking the fourth habitat improvement project by TU and KCWA completed on Kettle Creek using natural stream channel design methods. This particular project stands out from the others because of the partnership it formed between TU, KCWA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the PA Department of Transportation.
This ¾ mile stream reach was selected due to an actively migrating meander bend that was threatening to cut into the adjacent roadway, and it was suffering from severe bank erosion in numerous places. Because the state highway was a major concern at this location, the PA Department of Transportation became involved and agreed to contribute funds towards the project that would protect their road, while at the same time improving fish habitat. This project serves as a new model for the PA Department of Transportation in proving that road protection measures can be combined with what is best for the stream, contrary to standard road protection practices.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided the design and performed the construction for the project. Twelve strategically placed rock vanes, a mud sill, regraded streambanks, and numerous other habitat enhancement features were constructed to improve fish habitat, narrow the over-wide stream channel, and reduce erosion by streambank stabilization. The native trees and shrubs that have been planted within the riparian buffer zone and along regraded streambanks will eventually provide canopy and cover for the fish, as well as enhance the long-term integrity of the project.
Funding and partnerships that made this TU-KCWA project possible were provided by the following: Growing Greener Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, PA Department of Transportation, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PA Fish and Boat Commission, Wildlife Forever, Fish America Foundation, Dominion Foundation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.