Coldwater Heritage Plan Completed for Pithole Creek

November 2, 2020

WARREN, Pa. – In 2018, Penn Soil Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council was awarded a $5,000 Coldwater Heritage Partnership Grant to create a Coldwater Conservation Plan to conserve and protect the coldwater streams and resources of Pennsylvania.

(Photo courtesy Penn Soil RC&D.)

With the grant funding, Penn Soil RC&D worked with Dr. Bruce Dickson of Redhorse Environmental, LLC and other partners on a planning project that gathered existing data about the Pithole Creek watershed in Venango and Forest Counties, identifying potential impacts, threats, problems and opportunities to improve the coldwater ecosystem, build community awareness and support for the conservation of coldwater streams, and formulate a plan of action for proposed conservation and protection strategies.

After two years of fieldwork assessing the water quality of Pithole Creek through regular collection and laboratory analysis of water samples and fishery surveys, a draft of that plan is now being released for public review and comment.  A copy of the complete Draft Report entitled  PITHOLE CREEK WATERSHED ASSESSMENT REPORT and COLDWATER CONSERVATION PLAN is available for download from the Penn Soil RC&D website at and public comments are being requested and accepted through November 23, 2020.  Written comments may be sent via email to [email protected] or via regular mail to Penn Soil RC&D Council; 4000 Conewango Avenue; Warren, PA 16365

The Pithole Creek watershed is in northern Venango County and western Forest County. The watershed is on the Allegheny Plateau and drains approximately 26,752 acres directly to the Allegheny River at Oleopolis. Pithole Creek is a major tributary to the Allegheny River draining 41.8 square miles with a total of 77 miles of mapped streams (PA StreamStats). Today much of the watershed is forested (93%) with only limited urban development (3%) with Pleasantville being the largest developed area in the watershed. Rural residences are scattered throughout the watershed.

Penn Soil RC&D Council is a 501-c-3 not for profit organization with headquarters in Warren County, but has been serving the residents of northwestern PA since 1964.  The mission of this organization is to provide the local leadership necessary to develop and implement a plan that will improve the economy, environmental and social well-being of the people through accelerated planning and development of the natural resources in Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Warren Counties.

This project was funded in part by a grant from the Coldwater Heritage Partnership on behalf of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Three Rivers Quest/ColCom Foundation. Assistance and in-kind contributions were made by Brian Ensign at the PA Fish and Boat Commission (Tionesta Office), Dr. Andy Turner at Clarion University, Joe Broncato at the PA Department of Environmental Protection (Northwest Division), and Wes Ramsey at the Penn Soil RC&D Council.

The Coldwater Heritage Partnership is a collaborative effort between the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)*, Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited (PATU) and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds (FPW).  The purpose of the Coldwater Heritage Partnership (CHP) is to provide leadership, coordination, technical assistance, and funding support for the evaluation, conservation and protection of Pennsylvania’s coldwater streams. For more information on the CHP program please visit

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