STREAMLINES: News and events from BWA
Sunday: Explore a rare land that protects Pocono waters
The trail at Thomas Darling Preserve in Blakeslee, Pa., takes you right into the thick of things, right from the start. Brodhead Watershed Association offers a guided hike on Sunday, Oct. 17, to explore this densely wooded alder swamp – part of another world, a relic of the glacier that receded 12,000 years ago.

Places like this are rare, very rare, in the world. This ecosystem protects air, water, unique plants and animals, us, and all life on the planet we call home. Like an enormous sponge that stretches to the horizon, these complex wetlands have stored, filtered, and released water for millennia.

Learn more about it during a guided hike with naturalist Patti O’Keefe.

WHEN: 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 17
COST: Free
WHERE: The preserve is near Blakeslee. Directions will be provided to registrants.
REGISTER: Registration is required and limited. To register, click here. Deadline to register is 8 p.m. Saturday.
FOR INFORMATION about this and other events in the free Get Outdoors Poconos series, click here. The series is administered by Brodhead Watershed Association and supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.
What we've learned from decades of collecting data on the streams
Have you ever wondered what we've found during 30 years of collecting data in the Brodhead watershed through our volunteer Streamwatch program? It’s time to find out!
At 7 p.m. Friday, via Zoom, Dr. Emily Rollinson of East Stroudsburg University (who is a BWA board member) will present a summary of the program’s findings.

To hear the presentation, click here to join the Zoom at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15.

For information about the ongoing Streamwatch program, click here.
Now in Pocono creeks: Trout spawning
Our state fish, the eastern brook trout (“brookies”), spawn from mid-September through November, and our resident wild brown trout from mid-October through December. Adult fish will travel upstream into headwater tributaries and seek out gravel-laden bottoms, often at the tail-outs or downstream ends of pools and glides.

The female will hollow out a shallow depression in the gravel by quivering her body and using her tail to move the small rocks. This soon-to-be nursery area is called a redd, and its size will vary with the substrate and the size of the spawning trout. You can usually identify a redd by noticing circular or oval areas on the stream bottom that have been “cleaned.” (See inset photo.)

Once the redd is built, the female will lay her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The number of eggs laid per redd varies but may range from several hundred to several thousand, depending upon the size of the laying female. Often, a covering of gravel may be added to the redd after the eggs are deposited. Upon completion of these activities, the adult trout will travel back downstream to their usual haunts, and the eggs are left unattended.

The newly deposited trout eggs hatch during the winter, usually some 40+ days after deposit. Hatch rates will vary due to temperatures, water flows and other environmental conditions, but they may be from 30% to 70% successful. The small hatchlings, called alevin when the yolk sac is attached, will grow into fry. After a few months, these juveniles will be about 3 inches in length and, given a healthy food source, will continue to grow several inches per year. 
– Todd Burns, BWA board member
Two brown trout prepare a redd on Tank Creek in Monroe County. Photo taken in November 2019.
Board discusses post-hurricane streambank damage

Monroe County Conservation District’s technical side received numerous reports and complaints in recent weeks about streambank erosion and flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. The topic arose at the district’s Sept. 16 board meeting.

Local resident Jack Fossett said he was “dumbfounded” by the extent of the damage at Pocono Creek off Bridge Street in Stroudsburg behind the Ninth Street McDonald’s restaurant (see photo), where a sizable section of the bank fell away, and asked whether the district is addressing the problem.

Find out how MCCD and other entities address flooding trouble in the latest Report on MCCD by Paula Heeschen.
Persistence is key in banishing invasive knotweed from Mill Creek

Eliminating Japanese knotweed along Mill Creek takes persistence. Brodhead Watershed Association has been working on a three-year demonstration project to eradicate it along streambanks from Route 191 to below Route 390 in Mountainhome.

The second step for this year is treating with a weedkiller specifically formulated to use close to creeks and streams. Licensed herbicide technicians from partner organization Strauser Nature’s Helpers have recently sprayed the area, carefully using a light spray, just enough to coat the leaves (see photo).

“We avoid, whenever possible, using herbicides near streams,” said project manager Edie Stevens. “But sometimes, it’s the only effective way to go. Strauser Nature’s Helpers technicians have extensive training in doing the job safely.”

For information, see our Greening Mountainhome page.

Rough horsetail: A native so aggressive it’s invasive

You may think it’s a kind of bamboo at first. Like bamboo, rough horsetail is hollow and segmented. But unlike bamboo, which is in the grass family, rough horsetail is part of an ancient group of plants that reproduces by spores, rather than seeds.

It’s native to many parts of the world, including Pennsylvania. A medium- to dark-green, water-loving plant that grows up to 3 feet tall, gardeners like it as a potted plant for modern or Asian-themed gardens and in water features.

But it’s extremely aggressive and easily escapes the boundaries of pots.

An evening to remember

BWA’s annual Members & Friends Celebration on Sept. 24, 2021, at Shawnee Inn’s River Sanctuary was a great success, with everyone enjoying the camaraderie, refreshments, jazz band and speakers.

Anne Fetherman accepted the John J. Riley Friend of the Watershed Award – “an honor I will cherish,” Anne said. “I’m glad to have had a small part in protecting these treasures,” the creeks of the Brodhead watershed.

Dr. Jay Hunt of East Stroudsburg University delivered the keynote speech on how upstream decisions impact downstream environments.

The BWA Board of Directors also elected three new members for its board of directors:    

  • Michelle Farley of Paradise Township, a lawyer in practice with Fisher & Fisher Law Offices LLC
  • W. Michael Johnson of Narberth Borough in Montgomery County, director of Michael Johnson Architect LLC since 2003
  • Adam Mosher, a lifelong resident of Monroe County who has long been a local advocate of smart growth planning and open space preservation as a volunteer and as a former legislative assistant to Sen. Lisa Boscola.
The accompanying online silent auction – BWA’s most popular annual fundraiser – raised $7,469, thanks to 68 bidders.

Thank you to everyone who attended and sponsored the event – especially Al Johnson of Pocono Cheesecake Factory, who donated the delicious dessert.
Photos courtesy Ken Schurman, VIP Studios
BWA welcomes new members this month: Patricia Freeland of Titusville, N.J.; William Gontram of Bethlehem; Tara Hafferman of Cresco; Bonnie-Kay & Bruce Marks of Philadelphia; Adam Mosher of Price Township; Sarah Pope of New York, N.Y.

Perennial Club is a time-saving way to keep your membership current through automatic, online donations. For information, click here.

We thank the following members for recently renewing their Environmental Partnerships: Joseph & Sara Bedrick, John & Laura Layton, Borough of Stroudsburg, Brodhead chapter of Trout Unlimited, Buck Hill Water Co., Chestnuthill Township, Sanofi. For information on the Environmental Partnership Program, click here.

Learn how to fly fish during a free class at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24.

Expert members of Brodhead Watershed Association, Pocono Heritage Land Trust and the Brodhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited will host the program at Brodhead Creek Heritage Center, 1539 Cherry Lane Road, East Stroudsburg.

In this unique and informative program, participants will learn about equipment selection, casting techniques, how to read the water, types of flies and the insects that they imitate.

Those under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. All equipment is provided. This program is generally suited for children over age 12.

For information and to register, click here.
ART SHOW AT HERITAGE CENTER: Don Baylor’s art exhibition – featuring landscapes and angling art – will be on display through October at Brodhead Creek Heritage Center, East Stroudsburg.

The center does not yet have regular hours. If you would like to visit, call Baylor at 570-269-6655. For artist information, click here.
Alex Jackson
BWA executive director
So many marvels in autumn
October is a season of abscission (i.e., fall colors) in the plant kingdom. Carotenoids in the leaves create orange and yellow pigments, and anthocyanins create shades of red and purple.

In the forests, American witch hazel is now in full bloom – if you have not seen this bloom, now is the time to experience it!

In meadows, the white and purple asters bloom, attracting native pollinators desperate for a late-season snack. Meanwhile, nut masts from oak, hickory, walnut, and beech fill the forest floor for a snack that both humans and bear can enjoy alike, if they so choose.

Want to see some of this marvelous autumn scenery? Join us this weekend at the Thomas Darling Preserve or next week at the Brodhead Creek Heritage Center, when you can learn how to fly fish!