Pennsylvania Eastern Brook Trout Habitat Initiative


Throughout Pennsylvania, native brook trout are at risk. Pressures from poor land management, natural resource development, and other problems have impacted fish populations and reduced fishing opportunities throughout the state.  

In addition to improving instream habitat, a major emphasis of this initiative is to identify and address stream crossings, such as road culverts, that act as barriers for fish passage. TU got its start on planning and implementing fish habitat improvement projects in 1998 in the Kettle Creek watershed of northcentral Pennsylvania. 

While TU continues to focus a great deal of its efforts in the Kettle Creek watershed, it is expanding its reach to other high priority coldwater streams in northcentral Pennsylvania. 


TU’s tactics for improving Eastern brook trout habitat is accomplished by improving sediment drainage from dirt and gravel roads, planting trees and shrubs along streams, stabilizing streambanks, and installing fish habitat structures.

Since the extent of the culvert problem is not known in TU’s targeted watersheds (nor across much of Pennsylvania), one of TU’s first big tasks involves a culvert inventory to help determine which culverts are most in need of repair or replacement and then to develop a master plan, in collaboration with partners and other stakeholders, to prioritize and address the problem culverts.

Along with these efforts, TU will work to educate the public and local officials about the benefits of this work not only for trout and other aquatic organisms, but also as it relates to road maintenance and stormwater management. 


For more than 15 years, TU has partnered with the local Kettle Creek Watershed Association and others to assess, plan, fundraise, and construct dozens of habitat improvement and riparian planting projects in the Kettle Creek watershed in northcentral Pennsylvania.

Regarding the more recent emphasis on road culverts and fish passage, TU has already completed its first inventory in the Cross Fork Creek subwatershed of Kettle Creek and more than 1.000 culverts will be surveyed in 2015 across the rest of Kettle Creek, as well as targeted sections of Pine Creek, Young Womans Creek, and Loyalsock Creek watersheds. A culvert replacement project on a tributary to Cross Fork Creek is scheduled for summer 2015 and a second culvert replacement is ready to go to, pending the funds for construction.  

With dozens of habitat projects completed and more on the way, not to mention the culvert inventories that will set provide a blueprint for addressing fish passage, TU is well positioned to make an even greater impact for Pennsylvania’s state fish, the habitat in which they thrive, and the anglers who pursue them.

Staff Contact

Amy Wolfe, Eastern Abandoned Mine Program and Pennsylvania Eastern Brook Trout Habitat Initiative Director--

Jake Tomlinson, Pennsylvania Eastern Brook Trout Habitat Initiative Project Manager,

Phil Thomas, Pennsylvania Eastern Brook Trout Habitat Initiative Project Coordinator,

Shawn Rummel, PhD, Eastern Abandoned Mine Program and Pennsylvania Eastern Brook Trout Habitat Initiative Field and Research Manager,

Kathleen Lavelle, Eastern Abandoned Mine Program and Pennsylvania Eastern Brook Trout Habitat Initiative Field Technician,


Author of this Page

Mark Taylor, Eastern Communications Director

Kettle Creek
West Branch Susquehanna River
Chesapeake Bay Headwaters

Brook Trout

Brook Trout

Climate Change
Invasive Species
Oil + Gas Drilling
Roads + Development
Risks to Fishing 

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