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EPA OKs Plan to Protect 149 Miles of High Quality Pa. Streams

Release Date: 11/27/2000
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith (215) 814-5543

Bonnie Smith (215) 814-5543

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved Pennsylvania’s plan naming approximately 149 additional miles as exceptional value streams.

Exceptional value streams are the highest protection of water quality under the Clean Water Act, putting in place the most protective measures. Pennsylvania now has a total of 1,865 stream miles designated as exceptional value streams, two percent of the Commonwealth’s 83,000 stream miles.

“By designating streams as exceptional value, Pennsylvania is assuring future generations the chance to enjoy the natural benefits of these special streams. Unfortunately, we’ve learned the hard way that it is easier to pollute waterways than it is to return a polluted stream to good condition. That’s why actions which prevent degradation are important,” said Bradley Campbell, EPA’s regional administrator for the mid-Atlantic region.

States are required by federal law to adopt water quality standards for all lakes and streams that are at least as protective as federal standards. Pennsylvania’s antidegradation program is called the Special Protection Water Program. The newly added exceptional value streams - - the best and cleanest rivers, creeks, and streams - - include:

• Approximately 9.5 stream miles of Buck Hill Creek, a tributary of Broadhead Creek, is located in Barrett and Coolbaugh Townships, Monroe County.

• Sinnemahoning Portage Creek, including Cowly Run, a tributary of the Driftwood Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek in the Susquehanna River West Branch watershed, flows for 96.9 miles through Potter, Cameron and McKean counties; the creek supports wild brown and brook trout.

• Also in Potter County, 40 miles of the South Branch Oswayo Creek, a tributary of the Oswayo Creek, Allegheny watershed is located in Allegheny and Hebron Townships, Potter County. The creek supports wild brown trout.

• And in Somerset County, 2.5 stream miles of Roaring Run, a tributary to Quemahoning Creek, Jenner Township, Somerset County, supports wild brook trout fishery.

In addition the exceptional value waters, Pennsylvania’s has added another high quality stream, the second most protective designation for:

• Swamp Creek in Berks County, a seven-mile tributary of Perkiomen Creek located north of Schwenksville, Montgomery County. The creek supports a trout-stocking fishery.

In keeping with goals of the federal Clean Water Act, Pennsylvania’s three-tier antidegradation program ensures: 1) the use of state waters for fishing, swimming and boating are protected; 2) state waters identified as high quality are evaluated before discharges are allowed to lower water quality; and 3) citizens can nominate state waters as exceptional value waters and receive absolute protection from reduced water quality.

Campbell said the Pennsylvania has made great strides in protecting its highest quality streams, making it one of the best antidegradation programs in the Mid-Atlantic region.