Tag Archives: f.j. sayers reservoir

NPC Helping to Restore the Shoreline at F. J. Sayers Reservoir

Bald Eagle State Park in Centre County features the F. J. Sayers Reservoir, a man-made lake owned by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). While the USACE manages water levels, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of State Parks (DCNR) oversees public access for fishing and boating at the park.

Several areas of lakeshore have erosion issues. There are two main factors leading to the erosion, a steep shoreline and wave action from the motorized boats traveling the lake.

Because of the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy’s (NPC) partnership with the stream habitat section of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), the lake habitat section reached out for help.

The PFBC lake crew studied F. J. Sayers Reservoir in cooperation with its partners and developed a plan to stabilize erosion in various areas and add some habitat structures for fish. They needed an additional partner, however, to help pull the funding together, manage the grants, and order some of the materials. An email and a phone call later and NPC was working to submit for grant funding.  NPC gave them the ability to be more efficient and go after funding that they previously weren’t able to go after.

Recently the Pennsylvania Lake Management Society (PALMS) awarded NPC a grant for one of the more popular areas at Sayers Reservoir/Bald Eagle State Park, Hunters Run Access.  The shoreline work will happen in late May or early June. The area first needed to be prepped for the shoreline event.  Offshore submerged habitat work was also designed for when the lake was naturally drawn down for its annual water elevation operation schedule.  The project prep and submerged offshore habitat work happened on a cold and blustery March day.

The PFBC lake crew worked to place reef balls on the lake bottom. These reef balls are made of concrete which are more or less a hollow gumdrop with holes in them. The holes on the sides allow fish to easily swim in and out for cover.

They were placed to improve the local habitat, providing better fishing for the shoreline anglers and boaters.  The reef balls can be used as a standalone structure or become more complex with felled trees. Despite the necessity to remove shoreline trees during the area’s reshaping, plans are in place to establish a new and improved riparian buffer once the project progresses further. Those felled trees, however, did not go to waste and were used to make additional excellent fish habitat! The trees, with their roots and limbs intact, will serve as a mini food web for macroinvertebrates, which intern is food for the small and young of the year fish located in the lake.  These areas then will become a perfect location for the larger sized fish that everyone enjoys catching since the area has both excellent habitat and food for them.

The next phase of the project will be in late May or early June. This project will focus on placing shoreline stone framed deflectors.  These will not only improve fish habitat and water quality but will also improve angler access.  Stay tuned for more updates!