Grant Money To Restore Big Cove Creek
Plans are now under way to restore a section of streambank south of McConnellsburg Borough as a result of a funding announcement made last week by Gov. Tom Corbett. Through Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener Grant, the Fulton County Conservation District will receive $105,000 toward the Big Cove Creek project.
According to Conservation District watershed specialist Scott Alexander, the Growing Greener funding represents approximately 85 percent of the cost of the proposed project. An additional 15 percent match is slated to be provided by the Conservation District staff, its partners and volunteers.
In its entirety, the funded project will “cost effectively stabilize the banks, re-establish a functioning floodplain and create improved fish habitat along 1,000 linear feet of Big Cove Creek,” said Alexander.
More than one mile of Big Cove Creek located downstream of Mc- Connellsburg, which includes the proposed project area, is deemed an “impaired stream” through a provision of the Federal Clean Water Act due to grazing agriculture, siltation and nutrients.
This area, Alexander pointed out, was first identified as an area of impairment around 12 years ago during a statewide assessment of surface water quality. It is possible if substantial water quality improvements are observed by state biologists, the area could be removed from the impaired stream listing.
The current proposed project area exhibits the most severe bank erosion. It coincidentally sits downstream of significant restoration activities previously undertaken along the border of McConnellsburg Borough and Ayr Township and an agricultural conservation project that improved streamside barnyard and limited cattle access to the creek, said Alexander.
The restoration previously done in the borough several years ago was also funded through Growing Greener Grant funds. Meanwhile the agricultural conservation project was funded in part by conservation dollars with assistance from the Conservation District’s agricultural staff.
“The improvements resulting from the new project will further reduce sediment and nutrient supplies to Cove Creek. The project willbeaasignificantsteptoward improving the health of impaired local streams and removing this stream reach, as well as adjacent downstream stream segments, from the list of impaired waters of Pennsylvania – a priority for the Fulton County Conservation District,” Alexander told the “News.”
Construction will be overseen by specialized stream restoration contractors, who will be selected through a competitive proposal process and work hand in hand with a design and permitting team headed by the Conservation District.