Leblanc, Daisy, Clean Water Institute, 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.
Wolf Run is a tributary to Muncy Creek and the West Branch Susquehanna River. In 2013, PA DEP established a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) to address agricultural impacts to the watershed. In 2015, the Lycoming County Conservation District identified four farm sites along Wolf Run to implement agricultural best management practices (BMPs). From 2017 – 2019, 2,300 feet of bank stabilization was added including 240 feet of mudsill, 15 single log vanes, 7 multi-log vanes, and 180 feet of toe logs. Riparian buffer planting and livestock/equipment exclusion was also implemented throughout the impacted sites. Lycoming College Clean Water Institute (CWI) has been monitoring responses to BMPs since 2017. In this study, we present a summary of biological and chemical responses to BMPs along the impacted Wolf Run sites. 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 sampled fish populations following PFBC protocols, using electrofishing surveys (100 meters per site). Fish were identified and released. We collected macroinvertebrates following PA DEP protocols using a D-frame kick net. We preserved samples in 70% ethanol, identified taxa to family-level, and estimated the Hilsenhoff Biotic Index (HBI). Coliform samples were collected in sterile bags and 100 ml of water was filtered via membrane. Here, we present trends through time for select biological and chemical variables using linear models and generalized linear models. We found significant increase in fish/km (z= 33.37, df = 26, p < 0.001), and trout/km (z= 21.08, df = 22, p < 0.001) over time. We found significant decrease in total phosphorous (adjusted R² = 0.15, F_1,22= 4.97, p = 0.04) over time. We found no significant differences in nitrate (F_1,22= 3.0, p = 0.10), TDS (F_1,22= 1.34, p = 0.26), HBI (F_1,18= 0.39, p = 0.54), or coliform concentration (F_1,25= 0.15, p = 0.70) over time. This study provided valuable information regarding the effects of agricultural BMPs implemented along four farm sites within the Wolf Run watershed. We demonstrate an increase in both fish and trout abundance over time, suggesting that restoration practices have been successful in improving habitat quality and overall stream productivity. This study also broadly suggests that BMPs have been effective in reducing nutrient concentrations entering the stream. We recommend that future monitoring continue in subsequent years to evaluate effects of restoration practices on water and habitat quality and the sensitive stream biota that occur in Wolf Run.
agricultural BMPs , stream restoration , water quality