The Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy is partnering with Little Pine State Park (DCNR Bureau of State Parks), the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and Lycoming County Conservation District on a project to address eroding streambanks along Little Pine Creek within Little Pine State Park. Using log and rock structures approximately 1,600 feet of the streambank will be stabilized and some floodplain access restored.
Thanks to the Coldwater Heritage Partnership the project took one step closer to implementation. The Coldwater Heritage Partnership recently announced their spring grants and the project at Little Pine was awarded!!
If you’re familiar with the Park we’re looking at the stream stretch starting around the shooting range going downstream. Little Pine Creek is a Cold Water Fishery that is attaining for aquatic resources. The project site is in a stretch of the stream that also has naturally reproducing trout and is a Keystone Select trout stream.
Little Pine Creek’s streambanks are eroding, creating bank heights of 8 to 10 feet from water’s edge to the top of bank. The sediment from the eroding stream banks is entering the stream system and depositing in the area of this proposed project and down stream.
To give you some idea of the amount of sediment coming into the system we can use the location of the swimming buoys at Little Pine State Park’s lake which is downstream. The buoys are placed where there is 4.5 feet of water depth. In 2020 the buoys were placed approximately 75-feet from shore, in 2021 they were placed approximately 125 feet from shore. The buoys had to move further out because of the sediment filling in the lake.
As you will see in the aerial photos (below) comparing the site from 1995 (on left) to 2015 (on right) sediment is filling in the lake at Little Pine State Park. The sediment is from the eroding stream banks.
By working to eliminate sources of sediment and restore access to the floodplains the hope is Little Pine Creek can remain a Cold Water Fishery and continue to be attaining for aquatic resources as well as meet these other designations.
Jason Detar is a fisheries biologist for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and serves on the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture. He conducted a habitat analysis of Little Pine Creek. When asked by email his thoughts on this project he responded with:
“Substantial streambank erosion is occurring throughout the proposed project reach on Little Pine Creek. This has resulted in significant sediment transport downstream in the greater Pine Creek/West Branch Susquehanna/Susquehanna River watersheds impacting water quality and habitat. The Little Pine Creek stream channel is becoming overly wide and shallow from the bank erosion. Little Pine Creek is unique in that it is a large stream that supports a wild Brook Trout population throughout the project reach. Brook Trout are intolerant of sediment and elevated water temperature. Completion of the project will improve water quality by reducing erosion and sediment deposition and improve habitat for wild Brook Trout.”
Thank you to the following organizations for their help with the application!
- Lloyd Wilson Chapter of TU
- Lycoming County Conservation District
- Pine Creek Preservation Association
- Pine Creek Watershed Council
We’ll be posting project updates here and on NPC’s social media account!