In-stream projects 1973 - 1989
The first in-stream project was accomplished the first year the Chapter organized, 1973. For the regular September meeting, members met on upper Spring Creek under President Joe Humphreys' leadership. The group repaired several jack dams and replaced some bank cribbing in the Neidigh quarry area and later had a picnic lunch at the Humphrey's place.
Several years later, similar work was done in the quarry area. A group from the National Guard Unit on Fox Hollow Road assisted with manpower and trucks to help move the heavy timbers and rocks in building jack dams and stream cribbing. Those first projects were done with little involvement of the Fish Commission.
A more involved project of installing a large mud sill at the lower end of Neidigh's quarry area was organized by Dan Shields in 1981and 1982.The project was designed by the Fish Commission. Many large telephone poles and mcire than 30 tons of rock were used in building the sill. The structure is doing an excellent job of controlling stream bank erosion and providing a sanctuary for wild trout. In addition, Dan Shields and a few members did some riprap work in Spring Creek Park near Houserville during the 1980s.
In a 1989letter, addressed to Penn State's College of Agriculture, the board expressed its concern about the severe bank erosion and resulting stream siltation caused by cattle and other livestock on the University farms just downstream of the confluence of Slab Cabin Creek and Spring Creek near Houserville. Originally drafted by Bob Carline and his stream improvement committee, the letter requested that some form of fencing be constructed along Spring Creek to keep livestock from entering the stream. The welcome response from the College was that they would indeed fence Spring Creek where it crossed University pasture lands as a first step in resolving the siltation problem.
About this time the Chapter helped organize and joined the "Spring Creek Coalition", a consortium of organizations concerned with the preservation of and enhancement of the Spring Creek watershed. The Coalition decided to "adopt" Spring Creek as part of the Pennsylvania Fish Commission's Adopt-a-Stream Pro gram. Also at this time, the Chapter received $35,000 from the Borough of Bellefonte (as part of a settlement made by the Borough for delay in expanding its sewage treatment plant). In 1990 the Environmental Protection Agency gave the Chapter permission to use much of this money for stream bank stabilization projects.
The upshot of all this is that, with the cooperation of the University, the Coalition, private landowners, a local limestone quarry (which has supplied many tons of rock), and the Fish Commission, the Chapter is currently involved in a comprehensive effort to effectively reduce siltation of Spring Creek where it flows through both public and private lands. This past spring and early summer many tons of rock were hauled to University pasture lands and used to construct mud sills which protect exposed banks from erosion. Chapter members and the University fenced the pasture lands abutting the creek and planted trees to provide shade. Under the direction of chapter member Mark Ralston, stream improvement work continues at Bellefonte's Talleyrand Park and on a farm property below Houserville. Additional fencing and streambank stabilization projects are planned for the Slab Cabin and Cedar Run tributaries of Spring Creek.
Tree and shrub planting along Spring Creek have been done over the years. The first effort was headed up by Joe Spino in 1974.An unknown number of black alders were planted in Neidigh's meadow below the quarry. These have grown very well and some are now almost a foot in diameter; also, they are now reseeding themselves in kind. These trees protect against stream bank erosion in places and are providing a cooling effect.
Another concerted effort, directed by Dan Shields, was made over a three- year period starting in 1980.
During that time several hundred trees were secured from the Fish Commission. Dan divided them into small packets of up to 50 trees each and gave them to interested members who planted them along the stream where they normally fished. In 1982 Dan, Elton Tait and Ev Shafer planted a large number below the Route 550 bridge near the Borough of Bellefonte. Many of these trees, mostly dogwoods and willows, survive today.
Easement - Bellefonte Rail Road Easement
During 1990, chapter member Eugene Proch informed the board that an easement for a section of lower Spring Creek was possible from Bellefonte CEDA-COG joint Rail Authority. Negotiations by chapter members Jim Strauss and Mark Faulkner enabled an agreement to be signed between the chapter and the Rail Authority on February 11, 1991. The easement for approximately 1/3 mile of streambank includes the section of Spring Creek from the confluence of Buffalo Run downstream to the Spring-Benner-Walker Sewage Treatment Facility.
Easement – Houserville
In 1985 the Chapter purchased a three-quarter acre parcel of land along Spring Creek just below the intersection of Houserville Road and Benner Pike. The Chapter paid $3,400 for the land. The main purpose for this acquisition was to demonstrate to other landowners that Trout Unlimited also has a vital stake in the future of our name sake stream. At this writing, our Spring Creek property has been sold in exchange for the original purchase price and more extensive easement privileges along properties between the Route 26 Bridge and Houserville Park