EPCAMR to Hold Open Public Information Meeting about Abrahams Creek Watershed Issues and Development of a Coldwater Conservation Plan

ASHLEY, PA. – The Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), a regional non-profit with over 20 years of experience in working with mining impacted watersheds, will be holding a public information open meeting to community members and municipal officials of the Abrahams Creek Watershed on Monday, April 24th, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Forty-Fort Borough Building, located at 1271 Wyoming Avenue, Forty-Fort.  The meeting is being hosted by the Borough Manager, Council President, and Council from Forty-Fort Borough, which lies within the watershed.

EPCAMR Staff will be conducting a watershed assessment on Abrahams Creek beginning in the Spring and into the Fall of 2017 in order to identify and sample tributary streams to determine the fishery health of the entire watershed. The Staff will be conducting a multitude of different testing methods within the streams, such as water quality and flow monitoring, bug sampling, aquatic organism passage surveys at culverts, analyzing land use impacts, conducting visual habitat assessment and sedimentation and stream bank erosion surveys. EPCAMR hopes to communicate their plans, as well as gather information on local drainage and water-related issues within this area prior to beginning the assessment to incorporate local
concerns into the development of the Coldwater Conservation Plan for Abrahams Creek.

The Coldwater Heritage Partnership is a collaborative effort between the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited (PATU) and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds (FPW). EPCAMR received a $5000 grant to complete the Coldwater Conservation Plan. In recent years, the organization has previously completed similar assessments on the Laurel Run watershed, Solomon Creek watershed, and Bowman’s Creek watershed.

The funds will be used by EPCAMR to:
● Gather existing data about the coldwater ecosystem;
● Identify potential impacts, threats, problems and opportunities to coldwater streams;
● Formulate a plan of action for proposed conservation and protection strategies; and,
● Build community awareness and support for the conservation of coldwater streams.

The purpose of the Coldwater Heritage Partnership (CHP) is to provide leadership, coordination, technical assistance, and funding support for the evaluation, conservation and protection of Pennsylvania’s coldwater streams. For more information on the CHP program please visit www.coldwaterheritage.org

“EPCAMR is interested in speaking with municipal officials, road department supervisors, residents who have streams in their backyards that are a part of the watershed and may not even know about the connection to the larger watershed, locals with a knowledge of the history within the watershed, and community groups with information the fishery aspects of the Creek in order for us to build into the Plan as many local concerns and recommendations for fishery improvements and watershed restoration efforts that could be funded under future grant opportunities,” said Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR’s Executive Director. “EPCAMR is really interested in working together with private landowners that have streams and tributaries that flow into the Abrahams Creek watershed to identify problem areas that we can include in a final recommendations report for the Coldwater Conservation Plan that could lead to other funding opportunities, should they be willing to partner on future restoration projects from a trout fishery perspective and to deal with other water related issues. Permission to access areas to walk the stream channels are paramount to the success of completing a proper and thorough Conservation Plan for the Abraham Creek,” said Hughes.

1870 Map of Swoyersville and Kingston Twp.

“We are really looking for residents, community groups, and municipal officials to come out to the meeting from the following municipalities that are located within the Abrahams Creek Watershed. Franklin Township, Dallas Township, Exeter Township, Kingston Township, West Wyoming Borough, Exeter Borough, Swoyersville Borough, Wyoming Borough, and Forty-Fort Borough. Many of the municipalities have already previously supported the grant prior to its submission by EPCAMR and we have been in communication with most of them,” said Gavin Pellitteri, Watershed Outreach Specialist for EPCAMR.

ABOUT EPCAMR: Formed in 1995 by concerned Conservation Districts, EPCAMR represents a coalition of watershed organizations and reclamation partners. Members range from individuals, to the active anthracite mining industry and co-generation power plants, to non-profit organizations, 16 county Conservation Districts and other organizations in the anthracite and bituminous coal region of eastern PA that are involved with abandoned mine reclamation issues and serves almost 1 million residents. The general purpose of the organization is to encourage the reclamation and redevelopment of land affected by past mining practices. This includes reducing hazards to health and safety, eliminating soil erosion, improving water quality, and returning land affected by past mining practices to productive use, thereby improving the economy of the region. EPCAMR continues to not only reclaim mine lands but provide environmental education programs to both local education systems, coalfield impacted municipalities, and underserved communities.

For more information, please contact EPCAMR at (570) 371-3522 or info@epcamr.org .

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