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Outdoors notebook: Westmoreland stream benefits from volunteer labor

| Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, 5:56 p.m.

A Westmoreland County trout stream is in better shape these days thanks to the efforts of volunteers.

Members of Tubmill Trout Club partnered with volunteers from GenOn Corp. to install erosion controls and improve fish habitat on Hendricks Creek. Fifty hemlock logs 30 to 35 feet in length and 660 tons of limestone boulders were put into the stream and along its banks.

Trout Club members did much of the initial work, said president Lin Gamble of New Florence. That included securing the cooperation of landowners along the stream.

GenOn ultimately footed the bill for the work — at a cost of between $70,000 and $90,000 — while supplying employees from its Seward and Conemaugh power plants.

“With smaller projects, the Trout Club kicks in volunteer labor, but this particular project has become as in past years GenOn's day,” Gamble said.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy procured the materials and scheduled the work. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission provided technical expertise with project design.

Project honored

An effort to reclaim Pennsylvania land scarred by coal mining for the sake of wildlife has won national honors.

The Department of Environmental Protection and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation received the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement's 2012 National Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Award for the Dents Run aquatic ecosystem restoration project in Benezette Township, Elk County.

The work, carried out on state game land 311, involved remediating dangerously steep highwalls, water impoundments, mine openings and hundreds of acres of barren, acidic mine spoil. The result was 320 acres of habitat for Pennsylvania's growing elk herd and a restored stream supporting wild trout.

Changing world

In recognition of the growing diversity of the nation, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources created a Spanish-language version of its online hunter safety course. A Spanish-language classroom course is also in the works.

A 2010 Maryland state park survey found that nearly 1 percent of visitors said Spanish was their preferred language.

No record

Wayne N. Long II claimed to have bagged a state record non-typical whitetail while hunting on property belonging to a family friend in New York. It scored 220, exceeding the state record of 2104/8.

The problem is that state Department of Environmental Conservation officials determined Long shot the buck on a deer farm. He got a citation rather than a record.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bfrye@tribweb.com or 724-838-5148.

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