Submitted by Joe Radley
The Chapter meeting on April 10 had Bob Weber, Fisheries Biologist with the PF&BC, detailing the process for doing the surveys for the Unassessed Waters Initiative in our area. The Susquehanna chapter of TU has been invited to be one of two TU Chapters (the other is Allegheny in Western PA) in the state to initiate the survey.
Bob is asking you to fish these unassessed waters this spring and summer and complete a one page report on your findings. He brought lists and maps of the unassessed waters for Lycoming, Sullivan, and northern Union counties. Within this area, there are over 2100 unassessed streams! The PF&BC is focusing on streams likely to be impacted by gas wells or other development.
Any stream you find to have a trout population will be given a priority for in depth assessment by the PF&BC or one of the colleges working with them. Prior assessments have found a good number of Class A trout streams. These are eligible for classification as HQ or EV, giving them high levels of protection.
So, how do you go about surveying streams? First, always make sure if you have legal access. If a stream is not public land, always seek out the owner and ask permission. Give an explanation of your purpose and let the owner, if allowed on, know of your results. Bob said, in prior years, they almost always were given permission to come on the property. If you have a computer, go to http://www.coldwaterheritage.org. Click on “Unassessed Waters Initiative” on the left side of the screen. You can view maps and lists of the streams. Unassessed streams are in red and assessed ones are in blue. Do not submit any surveys on the blue streams. Print out the survey form and select the streams you plan to fish. Go fishing! Please complete the form as soon as possible after fishing, making sure you give clear identifiers of the stream. The follow-up assessments need specific location to complete their survey. Many streams are listed as unnamed tribs to another stream so a GPS would be useful as lists include coordinates for the stream mouth.
If you don’t have access to a computer, call Joe Radley, 326-1851, to set up a time to see the maps and lists plus get copies of the survey form. Be mindful that Joe will likely be fishing when you call so make sure you leave a number for call back.
When you have completed the form, please send it in so it can be forwarded to the PF&BC. DO NOT SUBMIT THE FORMS DIRECTLY TO THE PF&BC. You can mail the forms to: Susquehanna Chapter of TU, PO Box 1132, Williamsport, PA 17703-1132 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want, survey a stream twice, say May and August, to see if it keeps trout continuously. Please submit forms as soon as you have them done. We will put surveyed streams on the chapter website so we can avoid duplication. We will stop surveying on 9/30, for this year. All reports have to be in to the PF&BC by 10/31.
Thanks for your participation and helping wild trout. The maps, streams lists, and survey forms are available on our website under the documents section.