CLEARFIELD — The Clearfield County Conservation District was awarded an $883,174 federal Environmental Protection Agency 319 grant to clean up acid mine drainage in Deer Creek, announced Watershed Specialist Kelly Williams at a recent meeting.
The grant will be used to install water treatment ponds to remove heavy metals from the water and increase the pH (lower the acidity) of the water of the last three miles of the stream before it connects to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
The upper 7-10 miles of the stream and its tributaries are already in good shape and already have native trout and the treatment facility would allow trout to swim its entire length.
“That will be fantastic,” Williams said.
Williams said she applied for the grant three previous times before getting accepted.
“This is a major coup for Clearfield County,” district manager Susan Reed said.
The treatment plant would be located on the north side of state Route 879 in Girard Township near the old Girard Township Elementary School. She said one would be able to see the treatment facility from the road.
And because it would be easily accessed the treatment facility could be used for environmental education programs, board member Mike Kennis said.
Williams said construction on the project is expected to start next spring and is expected to take about two years to complete.
Williams said the stream and streambed in this section of Deer Creek are stained reddish brown from the iron and metals in the water and the new treatment plant wouldn’t immediately remove the reddish deposits from the streambed and rocks. But Williams said the new treatment plant would keep new deposits from forming and eventually the reddish tint on the streambed would disappear.
And despite the stained streambed, she said fish would still live in this section of stream because the water would be clean. However, Williams said the fish probably wouldn’t lay their eggs in this section of stream for a few years.
In other business:
• Williams announced that she completed her training and certification from the state Fish and Boat Commission to be a fishing skills instructor.
She said she and the conservation district are planning to hold family fishing programs in the future.
• Dirt and Gravel Roads Specialist Lydia Whipple announced that the state Department of Environmental Protection has awarded the district a $3,000 grant to hold composting workshops.
She said the workshops would be to show homeowners how to compost yard waste. She said these programs are a part of the conservation district’s goal of having more educational programs.
Earlier this year the conservation district held a free fruit-tree pruning workshop at the Clearfield Campus of Lock Haven University that was so popular a second workshop was held to handle the large number of people who showed up.
•Conservation Specialist Amy Hallman reported the conservation district made a profit of $2,476.42 from this year’s tree sale.
She said the district sold 2390 trees, 117 blueberry bushes and 27 miscellaneous container stock. She said this is the most orders the conservation district has ever received.
And she said everybody who placed an order came and picked up their order, which in previous years this hasn’t always been the case.