Stream Enhancements

This week’s blog post is written by Nathan, a Brookies alumni.  He details some of the work he did with local organizations to help improve trout habitat in his local waterways!

Nathan G.

Recently, I worked with the PA Fish and Game Commission, the Allegheny County Conservation District, and the Penn’s Woods West chapter of Trout Unlimited on a multi-day project to install six rock and log stream enhancements to a section of Pine Creek in Allison Park, PA: two Log-Framed Stone Deflectors, two Single Log Vane Deflectors and two Modified Mud Sills. These features are designed to increase the flow and depth of the creek and to provide an improved habitat for trout.

On August 26, we installed one Single Log Vane Deflector, the two Modified Mud Sills and reseeded the area on top of the two Log Framed Stone deflectors built the day before. A Single Log Vane Deflector is comprised of two stacked logs secured together and into the ground with rebar. They are positioned at an angle to the bank and jut out into the stream. Limestone boulders piled on the bank end of the logs further hold them in place. The deflector is faced into the flow of the creek to create a calm eddy for trout while increasing flow in the main channel.

A Modified Mud Sill is a series of logs placed parallel to the bank and set part of the way into the stream away from the bank. Limestone rock fills the gap between the logs and the bank, which is then topped with soil and reseeded. The purpose of a Modified Mud Sill is to narrow the stream, accelerating the flow. Further, any water that penetrates the limestone deposits most of its silt and becomes more alkaline. These important changes to the stream improve the habitat for brook trout, which prefer fast moving alkaline water.

The Log Framed Stone Deflectors perform similar functions as both of these other two features. Two logs set into the stream form a triangle with the bank. Limestone fills the triangle and is covered with soil and reseeded.

I personally enjoyed learning to use the heavy equipment, particularly the hole boring tool and the piling driver used to drive the rebar into the logs and the ground below. I also enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment and teamwork that arose during the work. These enhancements will continue to improve the recreational fishing near the Pittsburgh Urban Area.