The Chesapeake Conservancy recently entered into a 1-year data management contract with Dr. Jonathan Niles at the Susquehanna University Freshwater Research Institute to map water chemistry and biological data collected as part of the PA Fish & Boat Commission’s Unassessed Waters Initiative. Susquehanna University has collected data at 500 different sites since 2011 and represents the largest contribution to this initiative from a group of 13 cooperators, or non-profits and educational institutions that collect data throughout the Commonwealth. Collectively, these cooperators collect data on about 55% of the sites each season, with PA Fish & Boat collecting data on the remaining 45% of sites. In addition, Susquehanna University has established a long-term study site in the Loyal Sock Creek watershed where they have collected data on 30 sites every season since 2011.
This data is used to inform the designation process for Wild Trout Waters. The data is collected by the cooperators, then sent to Department for Environmental Protection (DEP). DEP proposes streams for new listings as a Wild Trout Water, then Fish & Boat determines which streams will be listed under the highest classification, which limits the actions that can take place in a buffer area around the trout water. Around 200 streams are added to the list each year.
Stay tuned for more information!