Tag Archives: clean water

Conservation Partnerships Improve Stream Health

Thursday, 4/25/24 – It was an exciting day at Turtle Creek as the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy (NPC) and the rest of the Northcentral Stream Partnership welcomed guests and dignitaries to the streambanks of Turtle Creek!  The cause for celebration:  two streams in the Turtle Creek Watershed in Union County were removed, or “delisted,” from PA’s list of impaired waters.

That’s a huge turnaround from just a decade ago, when walking along Turtle Creek you would have noticed deeply eroded streambanks, a wider stream channel, livestock trampling the stream’s edge, and shallow waters that could barely support fish and other aquatic life. 

Today a lush riparian buffer lines its banks. The plant roots strengthen the bank, holding back erosion and reducing sedimentation while mature trees provide shade, cooling the water for fish and other species.  Natural log and rock structures stabilize the bank while providing better habitat for fish and a variety of macroinvertebrates. Fencing and stream crossings help keep cattle and other livestock from compacting the stream’s edge.

Native tree plantings line the streambank on a segment of Turtle Creek.

So how did this struggling stretch of streams go from polluted and impaired to restored and serving as a healthy water resource for our communities once again?


The “team” in this case, is the Northcentral Stream Partnership, a partnership consisting of the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, PA Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), county conservation districts, and willing landowners. The Partnership formed in 2007. Individually each “player” came with their own strengths, and when they all started working together, that is when the real magic happened…or in this case, delisting!

In attendance for the occasion were guests and representatives from each of the partnerships, including DEP Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) Secretary Russell Redding, PFBC Executive Director Timothy Schaeffer, Senator Gene Yaw, Senator Scott Martin, and Chesapeake Conservancy Executive Director Joel Dunn.

“We are proud to showcase the significant accomplishments made to improve Turtle Creek and the surrounding watershed. Restoring water quality and habitat while maintaining the watershed as a working agricultural landscape was no small undertaking, and it is yielding incredible results. The Turtle Creek watershed is a prime example of how strong partnerships, innovation, and sustained and strategic investments have restored local streams. This success would not have been possible without our state and local agency partners, including the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy and county conservation districts. Together, we’ll restore more streams and protect more watersheds across Pennsylvania.” 

DEP Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley

The Union County Conservation District hosted the event and the Partners led attendees through an informational tour on the projects happening within the Turtle Creek watershed that led to delisting.

NPC Executive Director, Renee’ Carey, and Landowner, Josh Satteson, share about the benefits of riparian buffers and the landowner perspective.

In Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley’s opening remarks, she declared, “The Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy has been an active leader in the Turtle Creek restoration efforts from the beginning, and have been the backbone of the Northcentral Stream Partnership, setting an example for others to follow.”

With the “delistings” of these 2 streams, NPC and the Northcentral Stream Partnership have demonstrated how working together we can make a difference to restore the health of our streams, instilling hope and inciting action throughout PA and the entire Chesapeake Bay.

This incredible accomplishment belongs to every single member, partner, and supporter of the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy. 


Thank you for being a part of the team and supporting these ongoing conservation efforts!

Check out what others are sharing about the work you’re helping NPC accomplish:
Dept. of Environmental Protection Press Room
WNEP Press Room
WVIA Press Room
Daily Item Press Room