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CONSERVATION AT WORK

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is committed to protecting and conserving PA's natural resources. Check out our latest projects to protect our waterways, wildlife and habitat:

Flexing Our "Mussels" - Stocking Pennsylvania-Raised Mussels

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In some western Pennsylvania waterways, mussels have endured more than a century of environmental destruction.

In 2017, the PFBC came to their rescue, and this year brought mussel reinforcements to Dunkard Creek in Greene County on the PA/WV border.

The Commission grew the mussels in the Union City Aquatic Conservation Center (UC ACC), which was converted from a State Fish Hatchery and retrofitted with mussel propagation systems with funds from a 2009 fish and mussel kill settlement.

In October, Commission staff, with the help of DEP, gave just under 500 juvenile Plain Pocketbook and Fatmucket Mussels a new home in Dunkard Creek. And over the next year, the Commission will grow and stock another 40,000+ mussels to invigorate mussel populations and improve waterways across the state. 

PFBC anticipates future stockings of greater numbers of mussels, more species and working toward eventual recovery of state endangered and threatened species.

Below is an estimate number of each mussel species raised at the UC ACC.

​SPECIES
​JUVENILE <2mm
​JUVENILE 2-15mmm
​JUVENILE >15mm
​TOTAL
​Fatmucket
​--
​1,537
​3,831
​5,368
​Plain Pocketbook
​20,186
​12,124
​1,011
​33,321
​Wavyrayed Lampmussel
​4,326
​--
​3,849
​8,175
TOTAL
​24,512
​13,661
​8,706
​46,864

Bag full of young Plain Pocketbook and Fatmucket Mussels raised by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat CommissionMan's hand holding two species of mussels that were raised by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

Close-ups of Plain Pocketbook and Fatmucket Mussels raised by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Group photo of staff from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Department of Environmental Protection and volunteers.

Group photo of staff from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission,
Department of Environmental Protection and volunteers.

Raystown Lake Habitat Project

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission recently partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Friends of Raystown Lake, PA Lake Management Society (PALMS), and the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) to improve recreational opportunities at the popular lake in Huntingdon County.

PFBC staff installed sawtooth deflectors to create a wind and wave break wall that will help improve a highly eroded shoreline. These rock deflectors will provide habitat for various fish species and improve macroinvertebrate colonization. Anglers will be able to target this area as a fishing hot spot for bass, walleye, panfish, and other species that will utilize the rock habitat throughout the year.

The structures will also improve water quality by reducing sediment and nutrients entering the watershed and allow a natural riparian buffer to reestablish on the lake shore behind the rock.

This project was funded by a $24,000 grant from PALMS.

Additional habitat projects are scheduled for September and 2023. Projects like these would not be possible without conservation-minded partners like Friends of Raystown Lake, Raystown Lake, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, PA Lake Management Society, and National Fish Habitat Partnership.


Figure 1: A PFBC habitat barge installs sawtooth deflectors at Raystown Lake, Huntingdon County.
Figure 2: Sawtooth deflectors protect shorelines from wave action and will allow native wetland
and upland plants to reestablish the buffer area along the shore.

Stream Habitat Work on Spring Creek

The PFBC's Stream Habitat Section is working to restore a section of Spring Creek, Centre County, near the Shiloh Road access.

The before photo shows an over-widened section of Spring Creek and vertically eroding stream bank along the access road and biking trail. The erosion has resulted in lost fish habitat and increased sedimentation.

The after photo shows the installation of PFBC-designed log-framed deflectors. The deflectors will provide cover habitat for fish and basking areas for reptiles and amphibians, as well as stabilize the eroding stream bank and biking trail. The deflectors also immediately narrow the over-widened channel, which will help establish stream flows that allow natural stream transport of sediment to prevent deposition to the stream bottom. The deflectors were planted with a wildlife pollinator mix and covered in straw mulch.

The PFBC partnered with the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited to conduct the project, which is being funded by PFBC Voluntary Wild Trout and Enhanced Waters Permit and DEP Growing Greener. All of the work performed was approved and permitted by PFBC and Department of Environmental Protection.



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