Trout Unlimited CCC

Part of the Knowing Our Waters Project

By Kirk Jalbert, Manager of Community-Based Research and Engagement
Maps by Matt Kelso, Manager of Data and Technology

Many of Pennsylvania’s waterways have been impaired by decades of changing land use activities. These include a myriad of potential impacts related to the oil and gas industry such as spills at active and abandoned wells, water withdrawals, the improper disposal of wastewater, temperature increases due to removal of riparian buffers, and sedimentation from roadway construction. Today, only 30% of Pennsylvania’s streams contain some population of brook trout, brown trout, or rainbow trout. Less than 2% of these sustain naturally reproducing wild trout native to the region.

This installment of the Knowing Our Waters project – formatted as an interactive “story map” – tells the story of The Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited (PATU), and their volunteer water monitoring program called the Coldwater Conservation Corps (CCC) that seeks to protect these high quality watersheds. FracTracker joined the CCC in September 2015 for a “watershed snapshot day” held in the Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed, in Potter County, PA.

Compared to other watersheds featured in the Knowing Our Waters project, Sinnemahoning Creek has largely been protected from some of the major environmental impacts of unconventional oil and gas development. However, the watershed is situated in a region that has seen a long history of conventional drilling, and is slated for additional conventional and unconventional drilling in the future. In this article we hear the stories of CCC volunteers and why they participate in monitoring. We also get a glimpse of how PATU hopes to use this information to protect highly valued fishing habitats like Sinnemahoning Creek from the oil and gas industry’s related hazards.

For more information, please contact Kirk Jalbert: