Conservation Notes

The Yellow Breeches Watershed Association is gathering public comments on it Assessment and River Conservation Plan. A public meeting is to be held at the Lower Allen Twp. Barn at 4075 Lisburn Road on May 10, starting at 7 P.M. Copies of the report are available on the web. Comments can be emailed also. Due date is May 23.


Funding has been partially restored so the survey of the Codorus Creek by the U.S. Army C.O.E. is set to resume in May of 2005. Officials hope to have the Watershed Study done by winter. At that point, the county would be asked to sign on with a 35% copay. (1.75 million).
The newsletter of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition in now available for online browsing. Information concerning issues on the upper Blackwater River are also available online.

Game land tracts are purchased solely through the sales of hunting licensees and are managed by the game commission, an independent state agency. The Godshall amendment would remove Game Commission control from lands purchased with hunting license fees and allow unregulated access to ATVs, jet skis, snowmobiles, horseback riders, mountain bikers, etc, without any regard to environmental concerns such as erosion, noise pollution, or excessive use.

Concerning the new game lands purchase, by hunters, of 254 acres of land along Muddy Creek between Bruce and Bridgeton. This is a huge victory! It assures access by hunters, fishermen, and paddlers to this section of stream! It was very close to being closed and that includes paddlers. If a landowner owns enough land on both sides of the stream it can be effectively closed to paddlers and fishermen.

It is time for the club to encourage the membership to register boats with the PF&BC! I never did understand the resistance. The Fish and Boat Commission also buys land and access points and does own land along Muddy Creek at Southside (below Woodbine). A little hassle with registering a boat is much better than a big hassle with a landowner! We are talking $5 a year here by the way. Paddlers need to get involved!!!! The PF&BC will ignore our interests as long as we resist their efforts.

PA state agencies have made some real watershed progress, much more than I can ever recall. But when it comes time to get involved... well... we're whining about releases, or registrations, or off to some other river. We have some great watersheds in our backyard. Our concerns won't be heard if no one speaks up.

Maybe it is an extreme sport, everyone just out looking for a thrill. But where did we start? Muddy? The Codorus? The river? Access has a price, and it begins with responsibility. Common courtesy is to ask if we can use the access, offer what we can do to protect the stream and the landowners wishes. Sounds like a good place to start, and I'm not sure we have done that.

Submitted by Regan Strausbaugh


DEP, DCNR AND PFBC FILE SUIT TO CLARIFY PUBLIC ACCESS TO THE LITTLE JUNIATA RIVER IN HUNTINGDON COUNTY

Case Would Settle a Dispute Over Public Ownership of the River


HARRISBURG: The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today filed suit in Huntingdon County Common Pleas Court
to clarify the public?s right to fish, boat and recreate on a 1.3-mile section of the Little Juniata River. The agencies believe the Little Juniata River should be open to the public for fishing, boating and other recreation.

The Commonwealth's complaint alleges that since early 2000, Donald Beaver, one of the defendants in case, has been operating various exclusive fly fishing services on the Little Juniata River at and below its confluence with Spruce Creek in Huntingdon County, and that Beaver and his employees have excluded the public from the river, posting no trespassing signs and erecting cables across the waterway at both the upper and lower ends of the stretch. According to the complaint, Beaver has a contractual arrangement with Connie Espy to use property she owns adjacent the river on the eastern side. Espy also is named as a defendant.

The agencies' complaint asks the court to enjoin Beaver and his employees and other defendants from interfering with the public's right to use the 1.3-mile section of the Little Juniata River and confirm the long-standing position of the agencies that the Little Juniata is a navigable water of the Commonwealth, held in trust by the state for the benefit of the public. The public is being denied an opportunity to enjoy one of the countless natural resources that this state is obligated to protect on behalf of its 13 million residents.

There is no legal basis for any individual to be excluded from the lawful use of this stretch of the Little Juniata River, DEP Secretary
Kathleen A. McGinty said. This case is about protecting the rights of the public to use and enjoy what rightfully belongs to them.
DCNR Secretary Michael DiBerardinis noted outdoor recreation brings billions of dollars to Pennsylvania?s economy each year. A survey based on 1997 travel indicated nearly one-fifth of Pennsylvania's tourists are traveling primarily for outdoor recreation activities such as sightseeing, camping or hiking. Direct expenditures for that travel were $4.03 billion, or 33 percent of the state's leisure travel spending.

Our rivers, streams, forests and parks offer prized outdoor recreation opportunities for both travelers and local residents,? Secretary DiBerardinis said. The Commonwealth has a constitutional responsibility to ensure the public resources stay available to the public. Limiting lawful access to a river is no different than someone blocking access to one of our state parks or forests. DCNR's Rothrock State Forest, which straddles the Little Juniata River below the Espy property, provides several miles of public access to the Little Juniata River for fishing and boating.

I have fished the Little Juniata many times, so I can tell you first hand what a tremendous trout water it is. I always considered the Little Juniata to be public water, so I am glad to see the state take action that makes it clear that Pennsylvania's anglers and boaters still have the right to enjoy one of the state's true natural treasures, said Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commissioner Rozell Stidd of Huntingdon. Stidd represents the Commission's Fourth District.

In March 2002, DEP informed Beaver in writing of the state's claim of ownership of the Little Juniata River bed, and invited him to provide information supporting his claim of private ownership. Beaver instead appealed the notification to the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB), which dismissed his appeal in September 2002 for lack of jurisdiction. Beaver has not taken further legal action to formally clarify the legal status of the Little Juniata River, nor has he provided the Commonwealth with any information or documentation supporting his claims of private ownership. The dispute remains unresolved, and DEP, DCNR and PFBC continue to receive complaints from the public about efforts to exclude them from this section of the river.

The state and the taxpayers of Pennsylvania restored this water to what it is today. It should be public, it belongs to the public and they have a right to it, said local businessman Allan Bright, owner of Spruce Creek Outfitters. According to Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmens Clubs Executive Director Melody Zullinger: The Federation led the court fight to protect public fishing rights on the Lehigh River, and we strongly support the state's action to settle, once and for all, the rights of the public to fish and boat in the Little Juniata River. Pennsylvania sportsmen applaud the Commonwealth's efforts to make it clear that the Little Juniata River should be open to free public fishing and boating.?

State ownership is based upon the historical navigability of the Little Juniata River. The Commonwealth agencies believe there is ample evidence of the use of the Little Juniata to transport goods downriver in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Additionally, there are three statutory public highway designations for the Little Juniata dating back to 1794, 1808 and1822.


The Center for Rural Pennsylvania sponsored a research project in 2002 to specifically look at current programs supported in Pennsylvania that promote and
develop NBT.(Nature Based Tourism)

The project, which was conducted Penn State University, identified current NBT issues that need to be addressed in the state. Rural Pennsylvania, which is the obvious destination for most of these activities, has a uniqueopportunity to capitalize on the growing national interest in nature-based tourism . The research included recommendations for the funding, development, and management of sustainable NBT for rural Pennsylvania.
Specific recommendations for Boating, Canoeing, Kayaking:
A. Develop and promote the use of canoeing and kayaking water-trails.
B. Exempt non-motorized watercraft from registration
C. Eliminate Jet Skis from public waters
D. Ensure adequate funding for the infrastructure to meet the demand

For a copy of the report, Nature-Based Tourism Policy, call the Center for Rural Pennsylvania at (717) 787-9555, email for information or go to their website

Information on dams and dam removal efforts is located at the International River Network.
The City of Harrisburg is looking into the possibility of replacing or supplementing the old Dock Street Dam with an eight foot inflatable dam.
The Muddy Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited share a common interest in Muddy Creek with us. Learn more about them on their web site. The Codorus Creek Improvement Partnership is working on the Codorus.
York Water Company's Proposed Petition to Designated the Use of Lakes Reman and Williams

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) (formerly the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources) designates the uses of all streams, lakes and rivers and sets water quality criteria to protect the designated uses. Between 1966 and 1973 PADEP classified the many thousands of miles of lakes, streams and rivers in the state. The East Branch of the Codorus Creek from Pennsylvania Route 214 to where it joins with the South Branch of the Codorus Creek was designated Cold Water Fishery (CWF). Lakes Redman and Williams, which serve as York Water Company’s water supply reservoirs, are within this watershed area.

Lake Williams was constructed in 1912 and Lake Redman was constructed in 1967. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) (formerly the Pennsylvania Fish Commission) has been stocking the Lakes with species of fish that live in warm water since 1968. The Lakes are listed as a warm water fishery on the PFBC’s 1970 map of fishing spots in York County. The PFBC has conducted several aquatic studies of the Lakes in the period 1983-1992. The species collected and identified in those studies are all warm water fishes. The Company understands that some of these warm water species could not survive in cold water habitats.

As part of its efforts to assure that a safe and reliable water supply is available in the future, the Company is proposing to construct a pipeline from the Susquehanna River, which is designated as Warm Water Fishes(WWF), to Lake Redman. There is no significant difference between the temperature of the Susquehanna River and the temperature of Lake Redman at the point where the pipeline would enter Lake Redman. The Company must obtain an NPDES permit to discharge the water from the Susquehanna River into Lake Redman. That permit cannot be issued under the current water quality regulations unless the temperature of the water from the Susquehanna River is lowered to meet the temperature criteria for CWF. This requirement must be met, even though the Lakes have never supported cold water fish and to do so may adversely impact the warm water fishery in the Lakes.

The Company wants to assure an economical, reliable and adequate source of water supply for its customers, as well as preserve the recreational fishing uses in the Lakes for the citizens of York County. So, it is preparing a petition to theEnvironmental Quality Board to designate the use of the Lakes and the East Branch of the Codorus Creek from the Lake Williams spillway to where the East Branch joins the South Branch of the Codorus Creek as WWF.


A recently built fish ladder on Deer Creek means that migrating fish have access to the creek as far as Rocks State Park. Access before was limited to the 6 miles from the dam to the Susquehanna.
A new situation is developing on the Lehigh River. Two groups, the Lehigh River Stocking Association and the Raymond Profit Foundation, have filed suit against the Army Corps of Engineers charging that C.O.E. management policies have resulted in enviormental degradation downstream.

They seek to force the C.O.E. to store more water in the wet periods to provide more flow in the dry times. The storing of water in wet periods would mitigate the damage they believe large flows cause nesting birds and spawning fish.


The sale of the Deep Creek Lake Dam to the state of Maryland may threaten water releases on the Upper Yough. An agreement to sell the dam to the state has been signed, only the price remains to be agreed upon.
The state of Maryland has moved to protect the Upper Yough by buying a total of 783 acres from a private landholder.
Pennsylvania Governor Ridge will propose redirecting a total of 5 billion dollars in spending over the next 5 years into his "Pennsylvania Growing Greener" initiative.
Initiatives include 160 million for abandoned mine and well reclamation, 95 million for watershed restoration, 95 million for public land improvements, 50 million for community conservation, 44 million for local land stewardship, 25 million for water and sewer projects and 180 million for sound land use incentives. Information is available at the DEP Website


An eight billion dollars restoration project for the Everglades has been called into question. The claim is that the series of locks, canals, levees, pumps, gates and reservoirs are a poor substitute for the natural flow of water that used to replenish the Everglades.
Discussion is going on between Dover Township and the state DEP about the removal of the Detters Mill Dam on the Big Conewago Creek. The state wants to remove the dam in order to help the return of shad to the Susquehanna River system.
After so many years, the classic put-in on the Upper Gauley at the base of Summersville Dam has been closed. The new put in is a little ways downstream. It will lack the power of three tubes spewing forth thousands of c.f.s. ricocheting off the opposite wall and the drama that was just escaping from the eddy at the put-in. I can only assume it also means the demise of the free camping at the tubes.

The reason for the change is the start of construction of the power generating facility at the base of the dam. Construction started in February 1999 and is scheduled to be finished in December 2000. Work is to proceed without interference to the normal working of the river. The turbines would have the capability of generating 217 million kilowatts of electricity per year.


 

 

 

   There are rumors of the return of beavers to the Codorus. This photo, taken below the island by an anonymous photographer, show clear signs. Caution is advised because any beaver that can survive in the Codorus must be a mean son of a gun.

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