Big Cove Creek Stream Restoration Project - Keaton Property

The Fulton County Conservation District (FCCD) continues to work with local landowners to improve the health of Big Cove Creek near McConnellsburg.  In 2013, the Conservation District was awarded $105,000 in a Pennsylvania Growing Greener Grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), to implement more than 1,000 feet of streambank restoration on the David and Kim Keaton property, in Ayr Township south of McConnellsburg.

Fulton County Conservation District Watershed Specialist, Scott Alexander, explained the project:  “We’re pleased to help local landowners solve erosion problems along Cove Creek.  More than 200 years of development, logging, road building, and agriculture has an effect on local streams.  Most man made changes to the landscape result in more water running off the land at a faster rate.  This runoff can lead to changes in the stream channel, often resulting in high erosive banks.  The Keaton and Souders families have been working for years to eliminate erosion along the creek by planting and maintaining streamside trees.  Unfortunately, the stream banks are just too high to be held in place by those young trees.  This project will eliminate high banks and reestablish a vegetated floodplain.”

Stream restoration techniques including bank regrading, streamside plantings, log and stone cross vanes, and fish habitat structures, will be used to eliminate erosive banks, improve fish habitat, and establish native vegetation.

Portions of the mainstem of Big Cove Creek and several of its tributaries have been designated impaired waterways by the PA DEP and projects along impaired streams often receive higher priority in the competitive grant process.  More than 7,000 streams are listed as officially impaired across Pennsylvania.  The Clean Water Act requires states to analyze available water quality information to assess the health of waters, and every two years identify those waterbodies that do not meet water quality standards. The impaired waters list is then submitted to US Environmental Protection Agency for review and approval.  States or EPA must subsequently develop cleanup plans to restore the impaired waterways.