Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Quality Tests August 2020

Mouth of Rock Run August 1st 2020
Mouth of Rock Run August 1st 2020

Some rain would be nice.

The gauge reading on Linn Run was the lowest recorded since we started taking these reading in October 2017. The alklinity test was the highest of 2020.
The discharge for Linn Run, measured in cubic feet per second, was unavailable on the USGS website because, it appears, the flow was below the minimum measurement of 2.0. The median flow for this time of year is 2.5 cubic ft/sec.
In the photo at left, Rock Run appears to be dried up, but there is indeed a flow in at least two of three channels.

Air Temperature: 72 degrees F
Water Temperature: 67 degrees F
pH: 6.6
Alkalinity: 11.4
Linn Run Gauge: 1.36





Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Quality Tests July 2020

Flow goes down, alkalinity goes up, here’s the results of water testing for July.

Air Temperature: 70 Degrees F
Water Temperature: 63 Degrees F
Linn Run Gauge: 1.42
Linn Run Discharge: 5.9
pH: 6.7
Alkalinity: 8.0
Turbidity: Low & Clear

Lowest flow of 2020. Rain Please!


Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Macromaniacs Survey Rock Run

On Saturday, May 30, FTTU volunteers Denny Hess, Monty Murty, Ron Miller and Scott Minster conducted a detailed water quality survey on the lower section of Rock Run, a Linn Run tributary in the state park.

In addition to our normal pH and alkalinity readings, dissolved oxygen and total dissolved solids tests were also done. We also conducted a macroinvertebrate study with leaf packs that had been soaking in the stream since December 2019.

Leaf packs are an alternative method of collecting stream dwelling organisms which is usually done with a kick net. With leaf packs, leaves from the banks of the stream are placed in mesh bags which are then anchored to the stream bed. In time, organisms take up residence among the leaves in the bag. The bags are retrieved, cut open and the contents inspected for macroinvertebrates. The macros are sorted by scientific order, counted and the results are compiled into an EPT Index.

The EPT Index stands for: Ephemeroptera (mayflies); Plecoptera (stoneflies) and Trichoptera (caddis flies). An abundance of these orders of insects is an excellent indicator of good water quality since they are pollution intolerant.

Within the Rock Run leaf packs, we found stoneflies, mayflies, hellgrammites, crayfish, cranefly larva and both cased and net spinning caddis flies. The results are scored on the basis of how pollution tolerant the samples are. An EPT score of 20 or less is ranked as “Poor”; 20-40 as “Fair”; and above 40 as “Good”. Rock Run scored 41.2, just enough to gain a “Good” designation.

Stoneflies are by far the most abundant macroinvertebrate inhabiting Rock Run, with the prehistoric looking roachlike variety making up the majority of the stoneflies. According to McCafferty’s book Aquatic Entomology, “(roachlike stonefly) Larvae are herbivoredetritivores (feeds on dead organic plant matter) and occur primarily in springs and streams of mountains, commonly in leaf packs.” There were also a lot of small thin stoneflies found possibly a variety known as Slender Winter Stoneflies. The next most abundant organism were sowbugs.

Here’s the numbers on the water tests:
Air Temperature: 59 degrees F
Water Temperature: 57.5 degrees F
pH: 6.7
Alkalinity: 4.4
Linn Run Gauge Height: 1.75
Linn Run Discharge: 9.33
Total dissolved solids was low (good)
Dissolved oxygen was high (also good)

All looks good on Rock Run except we would like to see alkalinity of 10 or more, which we are trying to help by placing limestone sand in the headwaters. Also a little better diversity in the macros would give us a better EPT score. We suspect a kick net survey may turn up more mayflies and caddis since rocks and gravel are the type of habitat they prefer.

The charts for Rock Run water tests for 2020 can be viewed here Rock Run 2020.


Posted in Chapter Business Events Meetings

June Meeting Canceled – Restart in September

FTTU’s meeting at the Lincoln Highway SupperMarket on June 3 has been canceled along with any chapter activity through the summer.
There will be no summer picnic fundraiser this year.

Our next scheduled event will be our monthly meeting on September 2nd. Check back for more details in August for a time and location.


Posted in Citizen Science

Water Sampling – How it’s Done. Plus Linn Run Brook Trout and Gill Lice.

RR Water Sample
Water sample with indicator powder added.

Here’s a link to a video shot by member Ron Miller of FTTU Vice President Denny Hess conducting monthly water sampling on Rock Run.
5/01/2020 PH & Alkalinity test, on Rock Run

Water samples are collected at the mouth of Rock Run which has been treated for acidity with limestone sand since 2005. The sampling location at the mouth is furthest from the treatment site which is in the headwaters. The reasoning is, that if pH and alkalinity numbers are good here, then it should only be better further upstream.

• Water samples are collected from the stream in glass jars.
• pH is measured using meters that are calibrated using solutions at home.
• We use three different meters and average the results.
• Alkalinity is measured by titration.
• 100 ml of stream water is added to a beaker.
• A packet of indicator powder is added to the sample and mixed until it dissolves.
• The water sample turns green.
• An acid solution is then dripped into the water sample with a syringe-like instrument.
• The acid solution is added drop by drop by turning a dial on the device.
• The dial has a meter which records how much acid solution is added to the sample.
• Once the sample turns purple, it is then sloshed around in the beaker.
• The sample will turn a grayish green or gray/purple.
• More acid is added until the sample turns purple and stays that way.
• If it goes to bright pink, we’ve gone too far.
• Once the desired color is achieved, the number on the dial is recorded. We usually do the test twice and average the results.
• The more acid solution dripped into the water sample, the higher the number and the higher the number, the more alkaline the sample is.

In this case, the sample almost immediately turns purple, then goes gray when stirred, then back to purple when more acid is added. The meter reading was 2.2 which indicates low alkalinity. We generally get low alkalinity when the flow is up, and higher readings when the flow is low. We think this is due to the stream working hard to buffer out acidity from rain and run off in high flow conditions. Our pH readings are consistently good ranging from low to high 6 readings. A pH of 7 is ideal and we would like to see alkalinity of 10 or more, but readings of zero have been taken before the project began.

Ron’s video also shows some wild brook trout caught in Linn Run, some with gill lice. Gill lice is not fatal to adult trout but can reduce trout numbers when combined with other stressors. This is why the PA Fish and Boat Commission has switched the Trout in the Classroom program to rainbow trout to eliminate the chances of introducing gill lice to a stream.



Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Tests May 2020

After skipping April, the Citizens Scientists were out at the mouth of Rock Run on the first of May.
A cold and rainy April has kept the flow high and the alkalinity low.

Air Temperature – 47 degrees F
Water Temperature – 46 degrees F
Linn Run Flow – 43.7 cubic ft./sec
Linn Run Gauge – 2.2
pH – 6.7
Alkalinity – 2.2






Posted in Events Meetings Youth Education

Rivers Youth Camp and May Chapter Activities Canceled

The 2020 Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp scheduled for June 21-26, 2020, has been canceled. The camp was to be held at Messiah College near Yellow Breeches Creek. Messiah has canceled all events at the college through the end of June. We had three students from FTTU’s region accepted into the 2020 camp. All those accepted to the 2020 camp are automatically accepted to the 2021 camp scheduled for June 20-25 provided they inform the camp of their intentions to attend.

FTTU has also canceled our annual stream-side clean up of Loyalhanna Creek in the Delayed Harvest section in Ligonier that was scheduled for May 6, 2020. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, in collaboration with DEP and Penn DoT has postponed the statewide cleanup until fall. We will reschedule our litter cleanup of Loyalhanna Creek for sometime in September. As the pandemic situation improves, and the stay-at-home restrictions are relaxed, we will evaluate options for activities during the summer and early fall. Needless to say, the May meeting is also canceled.



Posted in Membership

Free TU Memberships offered to Essential Workers

TU President and CEO Chris Wood offered free Trout Unlimited memberships to every essential employee in America last week as a “thank you” for putting themselves in harm’s way during the coronavirus outbreak.

In addition to offering free one-year memberships to essential workers, TU is also giving memberships to emergency personnel, first responders and those in the health care community that might benefit from becoming a member of the TU community.

On behalf of Trout Unlimited, thanks to all essential workers who continue to report to work, perform their duties and make life easier for the rest of us. If you’re an essential worker, please reach out directly to Chris, and he’ll hook you up with a complimentary membership.



Posted in Fishing

Trout Season Open Now

In order to prevent opening day crowds, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has decided to open trout season early, so as of 8:00 am today, Tuesday, April 7, trout season began statewide in Pennsylvania. Size and creel limits, license requirements and normal regulations still apply. Mentored Youth Day originally scheduled for April 11 will not take place this year.

The PAF&BC will continue to stock streams this spring, but in order to prevent crowds, a stocking schedule will not be posted and the public will not be permitted to help with stocking.

Click HERE for the official announcement.



Posted in Chapter Business Events Veterans

More Cancellations

Sad to report that our Veterans Outing scheduled for May 2 at the Kingston Sportsmen’s Club has been canceled and tentatively rescheduled for May, 1, 2021. The family outdoors event scheduled for May 31 at Keystone State Park has also been canceled.

We will not be having a May meeting, but we may go ahead with the litter pick-up on May 6 if Penn Dot will still haul away the trash. We would all have to keep spread out. For now all clean ups are on hold. Check back here for updates.

FTTU officers and directors will be keeping in touch with each other via emails and video conferencing and will continue to plan for the future.

Some good news, two of three area Trout in the Classroom programs have released their fish and the third has the school principal feeding the trout and the fish will be released soon.

Trout fishing is still on but members are encouraged to follow common sense social distancing protocol, travel to the stream in separate cars, and bring your own drinks and lunches. Of course, most of us prefer to get as much space to ourselves as we can on the stream so that’s helpful for proper stream etiquette. See the PAF&BC guidelines in the previous post.

So, until we meet again, be careful, stay healthy and stay informed on FTTU news with