October 09, 2020

Susquehanna University’s Freshwater Research Institute and the Snyder County Conservation District have been awarded a $32,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection to support the development of a watershed implementation plan for the Middle Creek-Penns Creek watershed and the creation of a quality assurance project plan to guide future monitoring.

“We are focusing on the Middle Creek-Penns Creek watershed due to its number of impaired stream miles and the opportunities for improvement from additional best management practices,” said Matt Wilson, a scientist with the Freshwater Research Institute and adjunct professor in earth and environmental sciences. “This funding will allow Susquehanna University to leverage our faculty expertise and student researchers to support Snyder County in identifying ways to improve the watershed for our community and, ultimately, lead to improved water quality downstream in the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay.”

Susquehanna, in partnership with the Snyder County Conservation District, will identify sources of pollution within the Middle Creek-Penns Creek watershed and outline best management practices targeted to reduce nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment loads into neighboring streams. Agricultural management best practices may include, but are not limited to, heavy use area protection, streambank fencing and tree planting, pasture and crop land management, and manure and nutrient management. In addition to agricultural best management practices, the watershed implementation plan will also identify stream segments requiring restoration to preserve the integrity of naturally reproducing and stocked trout streams.

“The Snyder County Conservation District is always looking for ways to secure additional funds for best management practice implementation, especially if those practices can be implemented after a good strong plan to maximize their effectiveness,” said Jason Winey, conservation district manager.

Long-term goals of the watershed implementation plan will include data collecting and assessments to quantify the outcomes and benefits of conservation management.

“This funding will also allow Susquehanna faculty to train SU students in restoration planning and best practices,” Wilson added, “giving them the practical experience they need to become restoration practitioners.”

Snyder County Conservation District and Susquehanna faculty and staff will hold three public meetings with landowners in the watershed to solicit needs and historical knowledge. Those meeting dates, times, and locations will be announced at a later date.