WCRC Research Scientist Mark Kirk (left), Allegheny College Student Jacob Folaron (middle), and WCRC Assistant Research Scientist Briana Sebastian (right) survey East Branch Sugar Creek at FSF's Thompsons' Wood
Allegheny College's Watershed Conservation Research Center (WCRC) recently surveyed the fish species in the East Branch of Sugar Creek at FSF's Thompsons' Wood property near Townville, PA. The survey was initiated by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, which has partnered with WCRC to survey tributaries in the Sugar Creek drainage of the French Creek watershed this year.
Mark Kirk, WCRC Research Scientist, was pleased to find pearl dace and American brook lamprey in the East Branch of Sugar Creek as they are indicators of good water quality. In all, the survey team found ten fish species between two survey sites at Thompsons' Wood. "The streams are more soft-bottom than other streams in the region... so we were missing a couple of species that we might otherwise expect," said Kirk. "The richness of the fish communities is fairly good and representative of the region."
Healthy, intact forests play many critical roles in supporting stream health, including filtration of water, stabilizing soils to prevent erosion, and providing shade to keep water cool for temperature-dependent species such as the redside dace shown below. We are appreciative of the WCRC for collecting and sharing this data about the species in the East Branch of Sugar Creek!