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In 2004, FTTU was awarded a Coldwater Heritage Partnership grant to do a visual assessment of the Mill Creek watershed. After a day of training by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Watershed Assistance Center, volunteers walked the streams of the watershed scoring them in several catagories including riparian zone (tree and vegetation cover), stream bed (degree of siltation), and channel condition (erosion). They also noted any evidence of sewage, mine drainage or agricultural impacts. The results were compiled in the chapter's publication “The Mill Creek Conservation Plan”. You can download a copy of the plan from the link on this page.
With the study complete, the chapter began work on the problem areas outlined in the plan and FTTU adopted Mill Creek through the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission's Adopt-a-Stream Program. The projects completed to date are outlined below.

2006 - Ann Roberts Road Area - Bank erosion and sedmentation control with large stone and log vanes.

2007 - Just Below 271 Bridge at Watkins Market - Habitat improvement and bank stability involving 300' of stream - log vanes, large stone, 1 mud sill crib, 1 crossvane.

2007 - Brigade Lane - Bank Stabilization and Habitat Improvement with 8 log vanes, 1 stone vane and 1 root wad.

2008 - Downstream of Peoples Road - Bank Stabilization, Habitat Improvement and Sediment Control using 25 root wads, 13 multi log deflectors and 700 tons of stone.

2008 - Mallard Lane - Bank Stabilization, Sediment Control and Habitat Improvement with a large mud sill crib and several stone deflectors and log vanes.

2009 - Hanna's Run - Bank Stabilization, Sediment Control and Habitat Improvement with 11 log vanes, 5 root wads, 2 mud sill cribs.

2012 - Ligonier, near the Athletic Fields - Bank Stabilization, Sediment Control and Habitat Improvement using 2 mud sill cribs and several multi log deflectors.

OUTREACH THROUGH FISHING - The Laurel Highlands Trout Trail

The Laurel Highlands Trout Trail is our organizational promotion and outreach project. Its goal is to introduce visitors and local residents to the beauties of the Laurel Highlands by guiding them along our “Top Ten” trout streams; ten of the Laurel Highlands’ best trout streams along a beautiful 70-mile drive from Ligonier to Ohiopyle.

Visit the Trout Trail website

These projects were made possible with financial support from the Dominion Foundation which is dedicated to the economic, physical and social health of the communities served by Dominion companies. The grant was administered by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in commitment to its core mission of conserving Pennsylvania's diverse ecosystems through science based strategy, leadership and collaboration.
We also received financial support from the NiSource Environmental Challenge Fund and a work crew of boys from Outside In teamed up with chapter volunteers to do the manual labor.
FTTU believes Mill Creek has the potential to become one of Westmoreland County's best trout fisheries.

You can view Before/After photos of the projects on the Map Page.


Mill Creek's Headwaters are rated as Exceptional Value
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Forbes Trail T.U. has been working with the management and employees of Linn Run State Park since 2001. Linn Run is a high gradient stream which flows off the western slope of Laurel Mountain. Acid deposition is the main problem in the Linn Run watershed, and FTTU is focusing on Rock Run, an acidic trubutary. pH readings as low as 4.3 have been recorded in Rock Run. In 2005 the chapter placed over 100 tons of limestone sand in the headwaters of the small mountain stream. Precipitation will push the sand into the stream and the stream flow will then carry it downstream, distributing it thoughout the stream bed. It is hoped that as a part of the substrate of the stream, the limestone will buffer the acidity out of Rock Run. The limestone dosing will continue for several years and we hope to eventually reintroduce brook trout to the waters of Rock Run. In 2005, FTTU was awarded a Growing Greener Grant to fund the limestone dosing.