Wanner, Cameron, Clean Water Insitute, Lycoming College , 1 College Place, Williamsport, PA, 17701, firstname.lastname@example.org; Kaunert, Matt, Clean Water Institute, Lycoming College, 1 College Place, Williamsport, PA, 17701, email@example.com; Rieck, Leslie, Clean Water Institute Lycoming College 1 College Place Williamsport PA, 17701, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lycoming Biology Field Station (LBFS) is a 116 acre subsidized property owned by Lycoming College adjacent to Loyalsock Creek north of Montoursville, PA. In 2011, Tropical Storm Lee caused historic flooding in Loyalsock Creek resulting in the formation of an avulsion channel that now bisects the LBFS property. Increased bank degradation, nutrient/sediment loading, and damage to local properties led LBFS and USFWS to propose extensive stream restoration efforts to redirect stream flow to the historic channel to improve downstream water quality and prevent future erosion. In this study, we evaluated variation in water quality parameters (temperature, DO, pH, conductivity, TDS, alkalinity, nitrogen, and phosphorous) between the historic and avulsion channel as well as sites upstream of the restoration site to provide control data. Following PA DEP protocols, we measured water quality variables at each site in July and August 2023. We used handheld water quality probes to measure water temperature, DO, pH, conductivity, and TDS in the field. Following standardized methods, we measured nitrates and phosphorous using a HACH 6000 spectrophotometer and alkalinity via 0.02 N H2SO4 titration in the lab. We compared focal variables between channel habitats using linear models. We found no significant differences in water temperature (F1,10=0.33, p=0.58), conductivity (F1,10=1.11, p=0.32), or TDS (F1,9=0.2, p=0.66), between the avulsion and historic channels. pH was significantly higher in the avulsion channel (F1,10=6.04, p=0.03). Nutrient levels were slightly higher on average in the avulsion channel, however there were no significant differences in nitrate (F1,10=3.72, p=0.08) or phosphorous concentrations (F1,10=2.4, p=0.15). This study provided valuable baseline water quality data on throughout the proposed LBFS restoration site, broadly showing similarities across channel types. While our study was subjected to small sample sizes, this pilot work highlighted trends in water chemistry across channel types that warrant further monitoring. Higher nitrate and phosphorous concentrations may have resulted from increased erosion in the avulsion channel and could impact downstream water quality. We recommend future monitoring to further evaluate these trends and effects of restoration efforts on downstream water and habitat quality. Monthly grab samples accompanied with continuous water quality probes would allow for future investigation of fine-scale differences in water quality across the LBFS restoration site.
water quality, stream restoration