Halfmoon Creek Restoration Underway

FERGUSON TOWNSHIP, CENTRE COUNTY – Spruce Creek and the Little Juniata River are both famous for their “blue ribbon” trout waters, but a local stream that flows into them is jeopardizing their future.

Halfmoon Creek at Centre Stables has seen better days. David Putnam said over time, the creek has earned a reputation as a degraded watershed and is on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s priority list for restoration. He said it’s due to increased agricultural damage over the years.

“Even though the cattle has been removed and the livestock has been removed from a lot of these buffers through earlier programs, we still have vertical banks that are continuing to erode into the stream,” Putnam, a wildlife biologist, said. “The stream is still too wide in many places, which doesn’t provide for the sediment transport.”

Crews are installing two different structures, cross veins to concentrate the water to the center of the stream and to protect both banks and mud sills, which are log structures that will provide overhead for trout species and bank stabilization.

They’re completing the projects, thanks to grants awarded to the Wildlife For Everyone Endowment Foundation.

“It’s very important to keep good, clean water here in the state of Pennsylvania,” Vern Ross, Executive Director for the Wildlife For Everyone Endowment Foundation (WFEEF), said. “When you see trout in the water, that means that’s good, clean water, otherwise they wouldn’t survive.”

The foundation received the nearly $150,000 grant from the DEP’s 2013 Growing Greener Grant Program. The project includes adding more than 3,400 feet of log and stone fish habitat structures, 2,500 feet of stream bank bioengineering and shrub plantings to reduce sediment and lower summer water temperatures, 2,00 feet of cattle fencing, and three gravel stream crossings for livestock and farm equipment.

Ross predicts the project could last up to two more years to restore the three mile stretch of creek and said it will require even more funding.

“I think what you’re going to see is the water quality is going to improve in Spruce Creek and the Little Juniata, without a doubt,” he said. “Anything we can do to make sure the water quality is better than what we found it for the next generation, that’s what we have to look at.”

The WFEEF will host an information session for those interested in the project at the Centre Stables site on Thursday, June 11 at 11 A.M. Anyone interested should RSVP with Brian Tripp at 814-238-8138 or btripp@wildlifeforeveryone.org. Centre Stables is located at 965 Marengo Road.

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