The Mill Cove Environmental Area and Education Center is a popular spot for outdoor recreation and nature education in Tioga County. The area features hiking trails, a camping area, picnic pavilions, wildlife habitat, and fishing spots, including Mill Run, which flows into Mill Cove.
However, erosion along Mill Run had become a major problem. The streambank was receding an average of four feet per year, washing land away and becoming increasingly steep and dangerous. Sediment from the erosion clogged Mill Run and Mill Cove, destroying valuable habitat for fish and other wildlife. The sediment buildup also contributed to severe flooding, which made outdoor recreation impossible and threatened a nearby road which allows visitors to access the Center (and had already been relocated once due to stream activity).
An Environmental Stewardship Fund grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection provided the Center with the necessary funding to complete a much-needed project to restore 755 feet of the streambank (in collaboration with partners such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Pennsylvania Game Commission). The project involved installation of large boulders along the streambank to stabilize the soil and control water flow, as well as the construction of a gravel fishing path along the creek to allow anglers easy, safe access to the creek. The project also included planting native vegetation such as willow trees along the streambank, an activity that brought together volunteers from the community on a bright spring day.
Now, Mill Run is cleaner, full of fish, and less prone to flooding. The problem of sediment buildup downstream has been completely eliminated, and the access road is no longer in danger of collapsing. Untold numbers of anglers—including some with disabilities—use the trail regularly for fishing; other (such as students from the nearby college and Scout groups) use it to access the creek for research.