|A backhoe removes a small dam from Muddy Run. Ultimately, seven small dams will be removed from Muddy Run, restoring four miles of the creek into habitat for trout and shad. (Donegal Chapter photo)|
TU's Donegal Chapter in southeastern Pennsylvania has been integral in the restoration of two streams, Muddy Run and Lititz Run, including the removal of several small dams.
Dams that were once used to provide running water to Amish farms blocked muddy Run, a tributary of Chesapeake Bay. Despite its name, the limestone stream once supported coldwater fish habitat. The Donegal Chapter began working on Muddy Run in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Amish families on a streambank fencing project. But, the Chapter made comprehensive stream restoration possible when they successfully secured a $25,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to remove seven small dams from the creek. Chapter volunteers worked to reseed exposed ground after the first two dams were removed in spring 2001. The remaining five dams were later removed as part of a plan to restore four miles of Muddy Run back into habitat for brown, rainbow, and brook trout and shad. The project was able to move forward through extraordinary agreements with the Amish families, including assistance with finding alternatives to the small dams. The Chapter's efforts are already reaping benefits for the stream. "Along with the NRCS, the Donegal Chapter is transforming what was basically a four-foot vertical ditch with no vegetative cover into trout and shad habitat. Already water quality has improved a lot," said Scott Carney, Anadromous Fish Restoration Coordinator with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, shortly after the dams were removed.
|Donegal Chapter volunteers reseed and plant trees along the exposed banks of Muddy Run. The streambank fencing project and several dam removals are restoring the stream's coldwater habitat. (Donegal Chapter photo)|
The Donegal Chapter began championing Lititz Run a decade ago when Chapter member Greg Wilson began organizing clean-up and stream bank restoration projects. The Chapter received financial assistance from various sources, including $15,000 in three subsequent grants from TU's Embrace-A-Stream program, to teach their community how improving the water quality of Lititz Run would benefit the whole watershed. The Chapter's outreach work spurred the founding of the Lititz Run Watershed Alliance (LRWA) in 1997, which has worked with other community groups to develop a comprehensive watershed restoration plan. The LRWA, with the Donegal Chapter as a key player, has received grants totaling $545,000 to fund projects such as stabilizing banks, erecting livestock crossings, installing fish habitat structures, planting vegetation and other work on Lititz Run, which has earned them national acclaim. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected the Lititz Run restoration project as one of 12 in the nation to serve as a model for other communities.
|Lititz dam removal• A backhoe removes a rock dam from Lititz Run. Two dam removals from the stream are expected to restore habitat for trout and other species. (Donegal Chapter photo)|
|Lititz Run now flows freely after being dammed for more than 300 years. The restoration project was made possible by the efforts of many TU volunteers and a grant from Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. (Donegal Chapter photo)|
As a component of the watershed-wide restoration plan, the Donegal Chapter received a $25,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to remove two small dams from Lititz Run. The first dam, a rock structure 10 feet high and 20 feet wide, was an old milldam dating to the 17th century. The Donegal Chapter led discussions with the dam owner advocating the benefits of removing the dam, and the dam was removed in December 1998. The second dam was approximately 4 feet high and 15 feet wide and was removed during the summer 1999.
The efforts of over 100 TU volunteers, in collaboration with many other community groups, have contributed to the recovery of Lititz Run. Wilson notes that "the trout are thriving in Lititz Run and anglers once again fish the creek. We hope to have a naturally reproducing rainbow trout population in the next year or two."