Streambank erosion is known to contribute to a significant increase in sediment and nutrient overloads, harming waterways and watersheds for communities and wildlife alike. According to Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, more than 11,400 miles of streams are impacted by stormwater runoff and its nutrient pollutants of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment. As Pennsylvania works to curtail its pollution into the Chesapeake Bay, restoring and maintaining local water quality to stop runoff is paramount in improving the health Pennsylvania’s watersheds and that of the Chesapeake Bay.
Blair County Conservation District (BCCD) identified three separate streambank restoration projects (Poplar Run, Spring Run and Spencer Run) within Blair County that were contributing to significant sediment and nutrient loads daily and exasperated in storm events, affecting the health of the Juniata River Watershed, and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.
BCCD’s primary goal for each project was to first stabilize the streambank and reduce erosion, while secondary goals for each project were to add a vegetative component to allow for stream buffering and promote cooling aspects to the waterway; and to promote aquatic health and increased aquatic habitat. The total project included the planting of 1,620 live tree stakes, 20 bareroot tree stock, and 12 container grown shrubs, and the result was the stabilization and restoration of 455 feet of streambanks in the Juniata River Watershed. Water Quality improvements based on the “FieldDocs” Program for In- Stream Load Reduction estimates that a combined 49.14 tons of suspended solids were reduced from entering the waterways.
The project cost for the three sites totaled $108,433.82, with $81,806 from Environmental Stewardship Funds (Growing Greener) and $31,627.82 in matching funds (both In-Kind Services and Construction dollars).
Partners: Blair County Conservation District; Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Technical Assistance Grant Program; BluAcres, LLC; and EcoIslands, LLC. Property owners – Michael Johnston, Sharon Ritchey and the Carson Valley Cemetery Association. Contractors – Vineyard Excavating, Nelson Landscaping, Kerr Landscaping and Claycomb Excavating. Contact Information: Donna J. Fisher, District Manager, Blair County Conservation