Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Final Rock Run Water Tests For 2022

Mouth of Rock Run 12-3-22
Mouth of Rock Run 12-3-22

FTTU Citizen Scientists wrapped up monthly water tests at the mouth of Rock Run for 2022. After a few months of low water, The flow was at its highest since April. Readings showed pH at 7.4, and Alkalinity at 5.5. Air temperature was 50° and water temperature was 43°. Linn Run gauge was at 2.03 ft. and discharge was 16.3 ft³/sec.

Averages over the 12 months of 2022 were 7.55 pH and 6.85 alkalinity. Alkalinity was down a bit from 2021 but average flow was a little higher. Those two things go hand-in-hand. When flow is up, alkalinity goes down. Overall averages show significant improvement and slow but steady progress since we started doing monthly tests in 2017. Alkalinity that year was 5.9 and pH was 6.47.

The pH and alkalinity chart for 2022 can be seen here – pH Chart 2022

Posted in Citizen Science Conservation Rock Run

Rock Run Water Tests for November

Stream-Side Lab
Denny Hess prepares samples at our stream-side lab

Water quality tests for November:

Air Temperature: 42° F
Water Temperature: 47.5° F
pH: 7.5
Alkalinity: 12.4
Linn Run Gauge: 1.46
Linn Run Flow: 1.9 ft³/sec

A splash of rain brought water levels up a bit but alkalinity also went up. Maybe recent addition of limestone has helped.

Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Tests 10-1-22

Rock Run
Mouth of Rock Run 10-1-22

Air Temperature – 49°F
Water Temperature – 51.5°F
pH – 7.6
Alkalinity – 11.0

Some rain would be nice. Flow only slightly better than September. Trout are getting ready to spawn and will need to move.

Posted in Rock Run

Limestone Moved to Stream Banks in Rock Run Headwaters

Twenty-Five tons of limestone sand delivered in May was moved to final position along the stream banks of the East Branch of Rock Run in the stream’s headwaters.

The sand will slowly wash into the stream and buffer acidity creating more hospitable water chemistry for trout and other aquatic organisms.

This makes a grand total of 600 tons of sand placed in Rock Run since the inception of the project in 2005

Your raffle ticket/donation dollars at work, FTTU purchases 25 tons of high calcium limestone every 2-3 years for about $2,000.

FTTU’s project manager, Denny Hess was on hand to oversee the transfer and placement. Denny had the sand placed in 3 different locations.

A big Thank You to Linn Run Park Manager Corey Snyder and the Park Maintenance Staff for their help. The use of their front loader and dump truck saved many hours of hard labor.

Sand Pile
Limestone sand pile ready to move into final position.
Skid Steer Loader Dumping Limestone Load
Dumping sand at stream's edge.
Skid Steer Loader Moving Limestone
Front Loader moves limestone sand to stream bank.
Sand on Stream Bank
Limestone sand spread on headwaters stream bank.
DCNR Crew
Huge thank you to these guys, DCNR Maintenance Crew with Linn Run Park Manager Corey Snyder.
Low Water
Rock Run low flow in late summer.
Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Tests For September

Water tests for September were done on Sautrday the 2nd.

Air Temperature: 66° F
Water Temperature: 65° F
pH: 7.4
Alkalinity: 12.3
Linn Run Gauge: 1.34
Linn Run Discharge: 1.2

Lowest flow of the year.

Stream may look dried up in photo below, but there is flowing water and trout can find refuge in pools.

RR Low Flow 2022
Low flow for Rock Run in 2022 was in September. Linn Run gauge height was at 1.34.
RR High Flow 2022
High flow for Rock Run in 2022 was in January. Linn Run gauge height was 2.52
Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Tests August 2022

Rock Run August 22
Some Rain Would Be Nice

It’s the dog days and low flows of summer in the Laurel Highlands.

Here’s the results of our monthly water tests:

Air Temp – 69°F
Water Temp – 65.5°F
Linn Run Discharge – 1.90 ft³/sec
Linn Run Gauge – 1.42 ft
pH – 7.4
Alkalinity – 9.1

Lowest flow and highest water temperature of 2022 so far. Still hospitable to trout.

Flow goes down alkalinity goes up.

Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Quality Tests for July

Mouth of Rock Run July 2022

Here’s the results of the monthly water quality testing at the mouth of Rock Run for July 2022.

  • Air Temperature: 68° F
  • Water Temperature: 62.5° F
  • pH: 7.4
  • Alkalinity: 7.7
  • Linn Run Gauge Height: 1.73 ft.
  • Linn Run Discharge: 7.0 ft³/sec

For all the stats for 2022, see the Rock Run Page.

Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Tests for June

Rock Run June

Here’s the results of the monthly water tests for June

Air Temperature: 58° F
Water Temperature: 57° F
Linn Run Discharge: 12.3 ft³/sec
Linn Run Gauge: 1.86 ft.
Alkalinity: 5.5
pH: 7.6

Posted in Conservation Rock Run

Limestone Sand Delivered to Rock Run Headwaters

May 17, 2022, Denny Hess led chapter volunteers Joe Bilotta, Bob Shusko and Monty Murty in a successful project to replace limestone in the headwaters of Rock Run, the largest tributary of Linn Run. Without the large volume of Rock Run’s cold waters, Linn Run may not be a trout stream in warm weather. Unfortunately the headwater springs that form Rock Run emerge from the ground at pH 4.5 and sometimes lower, way too acid for trout.

With a Growing Greener grant in early 2000’s Forbes Trail Chapter did something about that. We built a hardstand dump station in the Rock Run headwaters, and with a site prepared to facilitate gradual leaching of fine glass-grade limestone sand into the stream we began delivering acid-reducing limestone into the stream. It was left to us to keep funding the limestone. These sites are extremely remote and difficult to reach hiking, much less driving to, especially with a semi-tractor/trailer hauling 25 tons of steaming hot limestone.

May 17th we received the semi-annual delivery, and the huge and full truck got stuck in the mud! One of the personally satisfying things about volunteering with FTTU is working with friends who know how to work. Once Denny made the call that the truck wasn’t going to self-extract, the team instantly dived into organized work. Key to extracting the truck was Joe Bilotta driving back down the mountain and returning with his big Ram dually. Salvaging a big hook and clevis pin from Denny’s Jeep, and with buckets and shovels we got the wheels to grip and with Joe pulling we got the monster out of the mud “Highway from Hell” style!

Result; a fresh batch of limestone is ready to be moved into the stream over the next two years when we’ll do it again.

After almost 20 years of chapter hard labor and funding, brook trout have been restored to Rock Run to the extent that this past February the PA Fish & Boat Commission reclassified Rock Run from dead to a Wild Reproducing Trout Stream, Brook Trout no less, our only native stream-dwelling trout.

Well done good and faithful servant Ralph Koscianski and the members you’ve trained to follow in your footsteps restoring native trout.

With sore hands and aching backs yesterday we just stood there and looked downstream dumbfounded and thinking “The things we do for trout”!

Limestone Sand Delivery
25 tons of high-grade limestone sand delivered to the headwaters of Rock Run
Truck Stuck in the Mud
The truck got stuck in a muddy spot.
Posted in Citizen Science Rock Run

Rock Run Water Test Results For May

How’s that saying go? “Neither rain nor snow…”. The FTTU citizen scientists braved the rain, cold and wind to make their appointed rounds on Sunday May 1st. Monthly test results for the mouth of Rock Run were as follows:

• Air Temperature – 50° F
• Water Temperature – 48° F
• Linn Run Discharge – 13.9 ft.³/sec.
• Linn Run Gauge – 1.9 ft.
• pH – 7.7
• Alkalinity – 4.2

We also checked the contents of two leaf packs that were placed in Rock Run at the mouth in December. One of the packs had been washed away, but we counted 132 macroinvertebrates in the other. The majority of the sample was stoneflies and of those, the leaf eating roachlike stonefly was the most numerous. Also collected were net spinning caddis larva, a few mayflies, a crayfish, some sowbugs and a couple of cranefly larva.

The good news is that the stoneflies and mayflies are considered most sensitive to pollution so the fact that at least stoneflies are thriving in the stream is an indicator of good water quality.

Leaf Packs are leaves collected along the stream and placed into a net bag similar to what you might find potatoes or onions sold in at the grocery store. The pack is anchored to the stream bed and allowed to “soak” for a couple of months. The pack is then collected and sorted through to find what organisms have taken up residence there.

Stoneflies
Stonefly nymphs from Rock Run.
Crane Fly Larva
Large Cranefly Larva from Rock Run.