In the summer of 2000, the Mifflin County Conservation District was awarded a Growing Greener grant to assess the physical, chemical, and biological health of the Kish Creek. This assessment will aid homeowners, farmers, community organizations, and local governments implement projects that improve ground water and surface water quality in the watershed. The intent was not to point fingers or find violations. The intent was to identify ways to improve the quality of the stream and its habitat.
According to an initial DEP assessment, elements of the Kish watershed were found not to meet DEP's Water Quality Standards (Title 25, Chapter 93- Water Quality Standards). Every stream in Pennsylvania has a "designated use" and water quality criteria that corresponds with that use. The Mifflin County Conservation district is simply "checking" DEP's findings by conducting a more detailed assessment.
Streams may be deemed impaired for a variety of reasons. The main reason for impairment in the Kish watershed is sedimentation and lack of both bank habitat and instream habitat. Sedimentation can be a problem for a variety of reasons. First, it means that as landowners, we are losing valuable property and topsoil as it washes into the creek. Second, different chemicals bind with sediment and increase the levels of those chemicals in our streams.
Protected Water Uses:
Water uses which shall be protected, and upon which the development of water quality criteria shall be based, are set forth, and accompanied by their identifying symbols.
According to PA Code Title 25, Chapter 93 Water Quality Standards, The Kish Creek basin from its source to the confluence with Tea Creek has a designated protected water use classification of CWF (Cold Water Fisheries). This part of the mainstem is locally referred to as the West Branch of Kish Creek. From its confluence with Tea Creak to the mouth, where it meets the Juniata River, Kish Creek formally has a Chapter 93 classification of TSF (Trout Stocked Fisheries
The two major subbasins, which constitute the northeastern portion of the project area, are considered Special Protection Waters. Tea Creek, with a basin of 12.0 square miles, is classified HQ-CWF (High Quality Cold Water Fisheries); Honey Creek, with a 93.3 square mile basin, is HQ-CWF, MF (High Quality Cold Water Fisheries, Migratory Fishes). Both Tea Creek and Honey Creek are Class A Wild Trout Waters, according to the PA Fish and Boat Commission (PA F&BC). A 2.4 mile stretch of the mainstem of Kish Creek, downstream from the project area all of the Frog Hollow basin, is also considered Class A wild Trout Water. DEP has upgraded the "existing use" of these two areas to HQ-CWF and intends to formally redesignate them as special protection waters. Other portions of the mainstem and the Honey Creek subbasin (including Treaster Run, Lingle, Havice, and upper Honey creeks) are stocked annually by the PA
Fish & Boat Commission.
CWF- Cold Water Fishes- Maintenance or propagation, or both, of fish species including the family Salmonidae and additional flora and fauna which are indigenous to a cold water habitat.
MF- Migratory Fishes- Passage, maintenance and propagation of anadromous and catadromous fishes and other fishes which ascend to flowing waters to complete their live cycle
TSF- Trout Stocking- Maintenance of stocked trout from February 15 to July 31 and maintenance and propagation of fish species and additional flora and fauna which are indigenous to a warm water habitat.
HQ- High Quality Waters- 93.4b Defines what criteria a stream must meet to qualify it as a HQ stream. The water quality of High Quality Waters shall be maintained and protected.
The purpose of the district is "to focus attention on land, water, and related resource problems; to develop programs to solve them; to enlist and coordinate help from all public and private sources that can contribute to accomplishing soil and water conservation, and to make all citizens aware of the interrelationship between human activities and the natural environment." We hope that this assessment is another step in that direction.