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Future of Crooked Creek Watershed on agenda

People who live, work and play within the Lower Crooked Creek Watershed will get a chance next month to help draft plans for its future.

The goal of this meeting is too gain insight from the public on what projects or ideas surrounding the watershed best suit the community and will serve it best, according to the Crooked Creek Watershed Association.

Community surveys over the last year have shown watershed residents are interested in horse, bike and hiking trails, along with boating, fishing and swimming.

The 103-square-mile watershed area is dominated by Crooked Creek Park, primarily a lake and dam operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Issues to be addressed at the meeting include economics, land use, water quality, recreation, wildlife and transportation, according to the association.

In addition to making the area more fun and busy, the conservation plain aims to protect the area from pollution.

“The plan needs to focus on large discharge sites, which are tainted with erosion and harmful effects to the water,” said Pam Mead, treasurer of the association.

These sites permit no growth of greenery and allow natural chemicals to explode out and into the water, Mead said.

The pollution can come in the form of discharge from abandoned deep mines or lawn chemicals from suburban lawns which enter the water source.

“Creating a riparian buffer, which is natural growth between pasture land and the natural water supply, will keep rain from allowing chemical fertilizers and other contaminated substances from the pasture from entering the water,” Mead said.

“Another prevalent issue is to protect the natural setting surrounding the watershed,” said Carla Ruddock from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

Allowing wildlife to flourish and preserving the environment are important goals for community members, along with a clean and healthy water supply to live near, association members said.

Association officials said they are ready to search for grants and funding to achieve these goals wherever possible.

Additional Information:

Coming up

What: Lower Crooked Creek Watershed conservation plan meeting.

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 21.

Where: Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center, south of Ford City off Route 66. Take Dam Road and turn left on Kerr Road, just past the Crooked Creek Inn.


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