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Emigh Run Watershed Assessment and Development of a Restoration Plan

Completed December 2004

View asssessment results.

Emigh Run This project was undertaken to develop a restoration plan for the Emigh Run Watershed. This project was completed through a partnership with the Emigh Run Lakeside Watershed Association (ERLWA), the West Branch School District, and NMBS. The project partners worked cooperatively to complete the necessary tasks to bring this project to completion.

The Emigh Run watershed is located in Boggs and Morris Township, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania and can be found on the USGS Philipsburg and Wallaceton 7.5-minute quadrangle topographic maps. Included in the watershed is the twenty-two acre Lakeside Dam, located near Morrisdale. The main stem of Emigh Run flows 5.5 miles, with approximately 2.5 miles of tributaries located within the watershed.

The ERLWA, West Branch School District, and NMBS worked together to assess the quality of Emigh Run. A stream walk was conducted along the entire course of Emigh Run and 56 potential sampling locations were established. Forty nine of these sampling points are located on discharges, and seven of them are located on the main stem of Emigh Run. A sampling plan was developed and approximately 40 priority sites were chosen for monthly sampling. The 40 sites were sampled monthly for one year for chemical parameters and flow rates. Emigh Run can be divided into three stream sections. Section one is the headwaters to the Powerline (ER-25). The second section is from the Powerline to ER-33 and the third section is from ER-33 to the mouth. The discharges in each section vary in their water quality. In section one, the discharges are characterized by high aluminum concentrations with varying amounts of iron and manganese. The discharges in section two are mainly iron laden discharges with low flow and minimal aluminum. In the lower section of the watershed, the discharges are large laminar flow iron seeps with low to moderate levels of aluminum. These discharges have created huge dead zones visible as large iron mats.

Prioritization of treatment areas fall within three categories within the watershed. Priority Areas 1-6 are areas to be addressed in the short term for the improvement and restoration of Emigh Run and Morrisdale Dam. The priority areas are spread throughout the watershed and address moderate to high flow discharges with moderate to high levels of metal contamination. The second category are those discharges related to the area being restored and remined on the Avery Tipple and Graham Brothers site by King Coal. There are four priority areas in this category. The discharges are of low to moderate flow, but are high in aluminum. The final category is considered Other priorities. This discharges may or may not need to be addressed once the other sites are mitigated. They are mostly low flow sites, but do contain high levels of iron. They will be revisited for final prioritization when all other sites in the watershed are addressed.

The primary goal of the project partners is to restore Emigh Run from the headwaters, through the Lakeside Dam, to the confluence with Moshannon Creek while involving West Branch school students in various aspects of the overall watershed restoration. Restoration of this watershed would fulfill the ultimate goal of reestablishing a cold water fishery within this stream. The reestablishment of a fishery in this stream would add fishing to the list of recreational opportunities that already exist within the watershed, such as, hiking and hunting. Restoration of this stream will be accomplished through 10 to 16 priority passive treatment projects. Abatement of AMD within this watershed will also help to improve the water quality of Moshannon Creek and the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

The recommended treatment systems for Emigh Run are all passive systems, with the exception of one tributary where lime sand addition has been recommended. These passive treatment systems will use the most appropriate of the technologies available at the time of design and construction. The systems will consist of a combination of aerobic wetlands, vertical flow wetlands, limestone ponds, upflow ponds, aerating settling ponds, and manganese limestone beds. The cost estimate is broken again into the three categories. Priority areas 1-6 have an estimated cost of $1,286,210, while the remining related sites have a cost estimate of $1,081,440. The Other priority category has a cost estimate of $293,000. These are conservative estimates made on the conceptual designs and are subject to change. Each estimate is addressed in the recommendations of treatment.

If the 10-16 priority treatment projects are complete, the Emigh Run watershed will be greatly improved. An aquatic community exists in small tributaries throughout the watershed. Improvements through treatment of the discharges should allow these species to expand to the main stem. Eventually the goal is to reestablish Emigh Run as a fishery, along with restoring Morrisdale Dam as a recreational area for the community.