Next Meeting December 14 @ 7:00pm
Next Meeting December 14 @ 7:00pm
During May 2022, Chestnut Ridge TU members assisted staff from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Watershed Office in surveying sections of Jonathan Run, within State Game Lands 51 and Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County. The surveys are the first step in a new cooperative Instream Alkaline Sand Treatment Project proposed for Jonathan Run. Members found low pH values, low alkalinity, and low diversity of macroinvertebrates upstream of the proposed limestone sand dosing site. Another sampled site farther downstream showed an improved diversity and number of macroinvertebrates, plus about 60 dace and creek chub minnows. The surveys found no trout. The Jonathan Run Instream Alkaline Sand Treatment project will be located just downstream of Jonathan Run’s crossing under SR 1055, the Dunbar-Ohiopyle Road. It is a cooperative project that will duplicate a long-running successful treatment project by the chapter on nearby Glade Run, tributary to Dunbar Creek and the Youghiogheny River. The project is consistent with recommendations of the Middle Youghiogheny River Conservation Plan, which advised addressing the regional problem of acid mine drainage pollution by treating polluted sub-watersheds within the larger Youghiogheny River Basin. The project involves rejuvenation of approximately 400 feet of an existing abandoned logging road through State Game Land 51 and Ohiopyle State Park for stream access, then placement of calculated volumes of high-carbonate alkaline sand on a prepared pad along the streambank. Jonathan Run will receive the placed sand, which will improve the pH and alkalinity of a portion of Jonathan Run impaired by surface coal mining in the 1980s. The goal is to restore a wild brook trout population to a stream that formerly supported this species and was classified by the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection as “Exceptional Value.” Success will provide a high-quality trout angling experience on wild and remote public lands. Partners in the project include Chestnut Ridge Chapter, Trout Unlimited, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of State Parks, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and Mountain Watershed Association. The instream treatment project will complement a new passive acid mine drainage treatment project the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy plans to complete on the Jonathan Run headwaters within the coming year.
Trinity Trout in the Classroom Release Days - May 12 & 13, 2022 at Mingo State Park This program was made possible between the Pa Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Pa Fish and Boat Commission, and the Pa Department of Education. Today’s Release event was held with Trinity Area School District and Chestnut Ridge Trout Unlimited. Barry Breth, John Gulya and Dennis Croft had Trinity 5th graders using Groove practice caster rods and then real fly rods for a 35-minute session. There were 5 classes from Trinity North and West on Thursday, May 12th and 4 classes on Friday, May 13th. Our team separated the students into 2 groups to show how to cast flies. We thanked them for participating in the Trout In the Classroom program and learning about the need for clean water for fish and humans. The release day had the students cycle through Geocaching, Micro invertebrate study, Electrofishing Mingo Creek, Leaf Critter study, Fly Casting, and Fly Tying. The students enjoyed their day and we heard from the teachers they really enjoyed learning how to cast a fly rod. We had several students say they were going to ask for a fly rod as a present for their birthday or Christmas. In 2022, Chestnut Ridge Trout Unlimited communicates with over 20 schools in the Western Pa Trout in the Classroom program (TIC). Dating back to 2006, each TIC program is unique and has applications in environment and ecology, science, mathematics, social studies, language and fine arts, and physical education, while students explore myriad topics like trout life cycles, aquatic adaptations, water resource conservation, and watersheds. All classrooms end the year by releasing their trout into a “Stocked Trout Waterway,” a state-approved stream near the school or within a nearby watershed. To learn more about Pa Trout in the classroom click here.
CRTU members and Friends of Jim Tobal (long-time CRTU member) gathered to stock trout at South Union Township's Community Park for a youth fishing experience slated to begin April 9 and continue as long as the stream at the kids' fishing area remains cool enough. The event is a commemoration of Jim Tobal and continues a youth fishing tradition he began at the park. The trout came from CRTU's PA Fish and Boat Commission Cooperative nursery in the tailrace of the Youghiogheny Reservoir.
Pictured at the stocking are, from left, Carol Gulya, CRTU; Mike Tobal, Friends of Jim Tobal; Paul Gulya, CRTU; Jim Johns, CRTU; Gary Brain, Friends of Jim Tobal; and Glenn Wass, CRTU.
photo by Ben Moyer
Chestnut Ridge Chapter, Trout Unlimited braved snow squalls and shivering temperatures, Saturday, March 26, for the group's annual litter cleanup on Dunbar Creek, State Game Land No. 51, and portions of the Dunbar-Ohiopyle Road (SR 1055). CRTU has been doing the cleanup on the Saturday before the opening of trout season for 27 years--missing only once, in 2020 at the onset of COVID pandemic. The cleanup is affiliated with PennDot's Adopt a Highway program. Annual cleanup chairman Eugene Gordon remarked that the group met PA Game Commission's two new Fayette County game wardens, Bradley Hyde and Zachary Hay during the day. Both officers expressed gratitude to CRTU for its care of such a beautiful and recreationally important tract of state game lands.
CRTU members pictured, left to right: J. D. Ruby, Dennis Croft, Al Crawford, Eugene Gordon, John Gulya, and Doc Welling. Photo by Ben Moyer
Annual youth fishing event commemorates Jim Tobal, educator and outdoorsman
By Ben Moyer
Friends of Jim Tobal are again offering a youth fishing experience as a memorial tribute to the long-time area educator, outdoorsman, and conservationist.
Tobal taught American History for over 40 years in the Laurel Highlands District, and later served as a director on the school board. He was active in community, conservation, and youth outdoor recreation causes throughout his life.
The fishing opportunity for all kids 12 years old and under will span several weeks, beginning on Saturday, April 9 in that portion of Hutchinson Run (tributary to Redstone Creek) flowing through the South Union Township Community Park, Hutchinson Recreation Area near Hopwood. The group asks that children be accompanied by an adult.
Mike Tobal, Jim’s brother, and Gary Brain, former Laurel Highlands School District superintendent, are the event’s primary organizers.
There is no cost for kids to participate, and no advance registration is required.
Some limited tackle will be available for kids without equipment, but adults are asked to equip young participants if possible.
No prizes are offered at the event. “This is not about competition,” Gary Brain said. “This is about the simple pleasure of being outdoors and fishing, the way Jim Tobal enjoyed it and tried to share it with young people all his life.”
The Chestnut Ridge Chapter of Trout Unlimited, of which Tobal was a long-time member, will stock the stream with trout for the event. The group operates a Fish and Boat Commission cooperative trout nursery in the tailrace of the Youghiogheny Reservoir at Confluence. Trout raised support youth fishing experiences across the region.
“Jim put this event together initially and ran it for years because he loved to see kids enjoy the outdoors,” Brain said. “His wife Patty and brother Mike continue to be wonderful supporters of what Jim valued.”
The Friends group plans another trout stocking for kids in the same stream prior to the National Pike Festival in mid-May.
Brain asks that fishing in that section of stream be limited to kids-only through the end of May. He reminds that the park is provided for public enjoyment by South Union Township, and that no litter or debris should be left behind.
“We thank South Union Township for their support of this project,” Brain said. “They care for the stream, and they have made it such an ideal place for a kids’ event like this.”
“Jim Tobal did so much for this community. We want to pay respect to him and are proud to be a part of this,” said South Union Township supervisor, Jason Scott.
August 27, 2021
Environmental Quality Board
P.O. Box 8477
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477
Dear Environmental Quality Board,
We are writing to express our enthusiastic support of the proposed redesignation of 47.5 stream-miles in the Dunbar Creek basin, including Dunbar Creek main stem and tributaries Limestone Run, Irishtown Run, and those parts of Glade Run within State Game Lands 51, Fayette County, as Exceptional Value (EV).
The Dunbar Creek basin’s improving water quality, wild character, scenic appeal, and the fact that two-thirds of the basin is protected within State Game Land 51, make the basin an irreplaceable environmental, recreational, and economic asset to Fayette County and southwestern Pennsylvania.
Our organization has worked to improve the water chemistry, trout habitat, and the aesthetic appeal of the Dunbar Creek basin since 1998. Since that date we have invested nearly a half-million dollars and an immense contribution of volunteer time and effort of our members to construct an anoxic limestone treatment system to moderate acid mine drainage degradation of Glade Run tributary, we have carried on a regular program of alkaline limestone sand treatment of Glade Run and two of its tributaries to boost alkalinity in the basin, we have helped remove obstructions to aquatic organism passage, and we annually clean up litter along Dunbar Creek main stem.
In addition, we work cooperatively with our partners Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Mountain Watershed Association to seek further improvements in the basin through regular water sampling and advocating future projects to remediate acid mine drainage degradation. Consequently, we feel compelled and justified in offering comment on the proposed redesignation.
Few places, perhaps none, in western Pennsylvania or bordering states offer the kind of experiences available to trout anglers within the Dunbar Creek basin. There, it is possible to fish miles of mountain stream in a wild setting, in pursuit of native, wild brook trout. These fish are a natural element of the place, not a far-off hatchery. Their presence throughout nearly the entire basin testifies to the watershed’s unique recreational, biological, and economic value.
We know of anglers who travel from long distances for the experience of fishing for Dunbar Creek basin’s wild native trout. Their visits contribute to the vitality of an otherwise challenged local economy, and their reports back home elevate the image of the Dunbar community and Fayette County.
In summary, we support and recommend redesignation of 47.5 stream-miles in the Dunbar Creek basin, Fayette County, as proposed, as Exceptional Value (EV) waters.
Thank you for considering our thoughts.
Chestnut Ridge Chapter, Trout Unlimited
“The Chestnut Ridge Chapter regrets to inform members, supporters, and partners that all meetings and events are suspended for the foreseeable future. We look forward to resuming our ambitious educational and fund-raising events at the earliest possible time, when the Covid crisis presents less of a threat to health and safety. In the meantime, some of our conservation projects and nursery functions can continue because these take place in remote areas, and/or can be done with a small number of members at safe social distance.”
Chestnut Ridge Chapter, Trout Unlimited
Joe Gudac Jr, CRTU Director (left) delivered the Framed Print to the Orvis Store, Pittsburgh today (11-25). Garry Clouner, Orvis Manager, (right) and Rob Ranko, Asst. Manager (middle) was overwhelmed by the gift. Dave Welling, CRTU Director, did a fantastic job on the framing. The framed print was presented in appreciation to the Pittsburgh Orvis Store for naming CRTU to receive the proceeds from it's 2020 Orvis Give Back Days.
The Orvis Company’s Pittsburgh store selected the Chestnut Ridge Chapter of Trout Unlimited, headquartered at Uniontown, to receive the proceeds from its 2020 Orvis Give Back Days. Garry Clouner, Orvis Pittsburgh manager, traveled to Ohiopyle to present Chestnut Ridge TU representatives with a check for $2,172.00.
Orvis is a major retailer of fly-fishing equipment and other outdoor gear. Its core values and mission statement commit the company to protecting the natural resources that support outdoor recreation. Give Back Days enables Orvis to channel financial support to deserving organizations working to protect and restore nature within each store’s market region, and to encourage its customers to share in that effort.
During Give Back Days, Orvis directs $10 from customers’ larger item purchases to the recipient organization and encourages the customer to make an additional donation to the same cause.
“A majority of our customers are from the Pittsburgh area, but they come up here to the beautiful Laurel Highlands to fish,” Clouner said. “We wanted to give something back to the natural resources in this area, and when we learned about all the positive efforts of Chestnut Ridge TU, we knew it was a natural partnership.”
Clouner said many of his customers were familiar with Chestnut Ridge TU’s projects but did not know the group responsible. He noted the access steps down the steep slope from the Great Allegheny Passage to the Youghiogheny River near Confluence, a long history of improving water quality in the Dunbar Creek basin, and operation of a trout nursery in the Youghiogheny Dam tailrace. The group uses fish grown in the nursery to support youth fishing experiences, and releases hundreds of trophy-size trout in the Yough for the public’s enjoyment.
“Now we have a working relationship with Chestnut Ridge, and we want to grow it in the future,” Clouner said. “We know the Covid pandemic forced the organization to cancel its popular banquet last spring, which is its major fund-raising event of the year. We hope Give Back Days will help continue the many projects Chestnut Ridge TU normally funds through the support of its banquet guests.”
The Give Back Days drive was nationwide, through which all 69 Orvis retail stores supported some local conservation effort. Clouner said the Pittsburgh store placed among Orvis’ top 10 stores in Give Back Days dollars collected.
Garry Clouner (left) manager of Orvis Pittsburgh displays a chart of Give Back Days dollars donated by Orvis and its customers to the Chestnut Ridge Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Accepting Orvis Pittsburgh’s check for $2,172.00 are Chestnut Ridge TU representatives (left to right) J.D. Ruby, Paul Gulya, and Joe Gudac Jr
At the Pennsylvania Council Trout Unlimited’s annual meeting held virtually on Sept. 19, Chestnut Ridge Chapter was honored with the Council’s Best Website Award, recognizing CRTU as having the best website among the state’s 49 local chapters.
“This is an amazing achievement for our chapter and the volunteer expertise and hard work that go into our website,” said CRTU president Ben Moyer. “It’s especially meaningful because our website had been dormant for some time, but a committed effort over the past year-and-a-half to overcome administrative hurdles, server and domain conflicts, and design fresh content brought the site back to life.
“The Chestnut Ridge site is full of informative content, is appealing and user-friendly,” remarked the competition judges.
Moyer credited CRTU member Carol Gulya for the site’s rejuvenation and continued fresh upkeep.
“Carol is always prompt to post current items about the chapter’s activities, and she constantly employs new ideas that keep the site fresh.”
Look for even more new content on the site as CRTU, hopefully, returns to its ambitious schedule of conservation and outdoor education activities after the threat of pandemic have passed.