Chesapeake Conservancy, Susquehanna University Co-Host Stream Assessment Training

Chesapeake Conservancy, Susquehanna University Co-Host Stream Assessment Training

SELINSGROVE, PA — On June 9, 2023, 29 people attended stream assessment training led by PA Dept. of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Environmental Group Manager Dustin Shull and co-hosted by Susquehanna University and Chesapeake Conservancy. Trainees learned how to complete the “Physical Habitat Evaluation Form,” which is one of the protocols DEP uses to determine whether or not a stream is impaired for their biannual Integrated 水的质量 Report.

“It was a great opportunity to be out in the field along with so many conservation professionals and to learn how to evaluate things like the condition of the stream banks, habitat cover for fish, and grazing pressure from livestock,” said Alayna Krempa, a Susquehanna University (’25) student interning with Chesapeake Conservancy.

The resulting scores from the assessment can also give insight into how severely impaired the stream is.

“If the stream is impaired, but the score is relatively high, then restoration work in the watershed could go a long way to improving the stream’s health. Our goal is to improve streams to the point that the score is high enough it no longer is listed as impaired,” said Chesapeake Conservancy Project Coordinator Shannon Thomas.

The event was part of Chesapeake Conservancy’s Saving Special Places Week – aimed at raising funds and drawing attention to protect special places across the Chesapeake Bay watershed, like the streams in central PA that are part of the region’s rapid stream delisting strategy. The strategy directs substantial resources toward restoration efforts along streams that are not severely impaired in hopes of delisting them from the impaired waters list within ten years.

Understanding the protocols DEP uses to list or delist streams as impaired is important for restoration professionals like those who attended the training to design and locate projects to make the biggest improvements in Pennsylvania’s creeks and streams.

“We appreciate every opportunity to share these assessment methods with partners,” said Dustin Shull. “If we’re all working off the same playbook, then we’re more likely to achieve our shared goal of restoring water quality in impaired streams in Pennsylvania.

Susquehanna University and Chesapeake Conservancy plan to continue offering training opportunities like this on campus in the future.

This project has been made possible thanks to the support of the following generous funding partners:

  • The 1994 Charles B. Degenstein Foundation
  • Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds
  • The Hamer Foundation
  • And matching funding provided by generous and dedicated project partners