Sechler Run is an agriculturally impaired stream that runs along the front of Geisinger Outpatient Surgery Woodbine (OSW). You may have noticed the stream at the intersetion of Woodbine Lane and Route 11 just East of Danville Borough.
Geisinger followed the lead of the previous owner of the property and maintained the area as manicured lawn to welcome staff, patients, and visitors. When the northcentral stream partnership approached Geisinger about considering a project to improve the stream’s water quality Geisingers facilities department was willing to listen and consider a change.
The northcentral stream partnership explained the steep, eroding streambanks were adding sediment to the stream system, and coating the streambed. The stream had incised over the years and its inability to spready out and slowdown during high water events was adding to the problem. The partnership also explained thermal impacts from the stream being in an open lawn instead of having more natural vegetation that would provide shade for the stream and habitat for birds, pollinators, as well as reptiles and amphibians.
In a “normal” year completing this work would be impressive. During a pandemic it is even more so. We were originally slated for the stream work to begin on May 11, 2020 and wrap-up on May 22, 2020. This would have allowed for the buffer to be planted the week of May 25, 2020 and everything completed before June (buffer plantings typically do not happen from June through mid-September due to concerns about dry weather). However, the Governor issued an emergency declaration on March 16, 2020 and our partners at the PA Fish and Boat Commission were re-assigned to hatcheries to get the spring trout stocking done. Our partners at PA DEP and the Montour Conservation District were working from home, and could not conduct field work. The normal pre-project preparations were put on hold.
The partners advocated to their superiors and helped problem solve when issues were identified.
The project was given the go-ahead to proceed with new, special regulations in place to mitigate possible COVID-19 exposure. We began construction on May 18, 2020, wrapped up on May 29, 2020 and were planting trees on June 1, 2020. While things were a week behind schedule, we were happy to get the project completed and “test” for the new Covid restrictions.