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Project to begin in Kish Park

Grant funding to support stream improvements

LEWISTOWN–With the help of some grant funding, the stream at Kish Park will be full of new life by the end of the summer.

In an effort to restore the degraded streambanks and fish habitats in Kish Park, Derry Township applied for several grants with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the PA Coldwater Heritage Partnership in order to fund a stream improvement project.

Beginning on July 30, crews will begin working to install fish habitat structures designed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Habitat Division. Later phases of the project will include tree and shrub planting in order to stabilize the streambanks.

According to Trevor Weaver, a watershed specialist from the Mifflin County Conservation District, the streambanks are currently suffering from a lack of vegetation. Prior to the project, Derry Township removed over 200 Ash trees that were affected by the Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle that burrows into the tree and feeds on it. As a result, Weaver said that the loss of shrubbery and native trees along the stream have contributed to the progressive erosion of the banks.

“It can be treacherous for visitors to traverse,” Weaver added.

Weaver also mentioned that the lack of shade along the banks negatively impacts the fish habitats.

“Water temperatures are warmed, especially during the summer…It’s a coldwater fishery,” Weaver explained. “It puts stress on the trout species.”

Additionally, Weaver said that the township not only wants to improve the environment around the stream, but it also wants to improve the aesthetic appeal of the park. In order to achieve this goal and attract more visitors, several native trees such as sycamores, maples and willows will be added to the park as well as flowering and ornamental shrubs.

During the construction period of the project, sections of the stream will be barricaded, but visitors will still have access to the stream and the rest of the park. Once construction is complete, Weaver said there will be opportunities for the community to get involved.

“There will be volunteer opportunities for mulching and seeding, as well as tree planting,” Weaver said. Anyone interested in getting involved, or learning more about the project, is encouraged to contact the Mifflin County Conservation District office.

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