Teamwork makes the dream work! A once stagnant stream is flowing once again thanks to a partnership between the Franklin County Conservation District, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). This partnership collaborated with the Greencastle-Antrim School District (GCASD), Kerri Barnes, Director of Tayamentasachta Center for Environmental Studies, a local church, and private landowners to restore a picturesque stream in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
Locals wanted to see the once clear, knee-deep stream they had fished and played in brought back to life. The Paddy Run Stream seemed like the perfect place to test the new Streamlined Stream Restoration initiative that was outlined in the Franklin County Clean Water Plan.
Restoring the Paddy Run Stream
The restoration team installed special structures that create a fish habitat that creates protection from prey and creates a space for fish reproduction and feeding. These habitats also double as streambank stabilization, preventing land erosion while narrowing the stream channel to increase the flow speed and depth. These changes increase the amount of oxygen in the stream and help rebuild the natural stream bank and channel, bringing it closer to its original condition.
In only a few short months, sediment began rebuilding in the streambanks and fish have begun to return. Vegetation returned and the wetlands are expanding, with crystal clear and deep water flowing in the stream.
Funding for the stream restoration project included grant funding from the Pennsylvania Environmental Stewardship Fund through the Countywide Action Plan Block Implementation Grant. The overall project cost to restore the stream was approximately $35,000, with the only out-of-pocket expense to the landowners being a $50 permit, paid for by Greencastle-Antrim School District.
Timeline of a Stream Restoration
Small Streams Making a Big Impact
Spring-fed streams like Paddy Run are the smallest piece of river and stream networks, but these important headwater streams dictate the physical and chemical characteristics of larger bodies of water and streams.
Franklin County is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which stretches across 6 states: New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The Chesapeake Bay watershed covers nearly 64,500 square miles and drains 7 major rivers: the Susquehanna, Potomac, Patuxent, Choptank, Rappahannock, York, and James Rivers.
When we start with clean water, we instantly reduce the amount of nutrients reaching larger bodies of water. Not only has a local stream in Franklin County been restored and preserved for future generations, but restoration efforts like these reduce nutrients and pollutants on a larger scale that could be transported to the Chesapeake Bay. Paddy Run may be small, but the smallest streams often have the biggest impact.
This project is truly a testament to the power of local partnerships when it comes to protecting our natural resources and local assets like Paddy Run Stream.