Wilkes-Barre, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that it awarded the Borough of Jim Thorpe a $200,000 Growing Greener Grant for design work on the Silk Mill Run creek restoration project in Carbon County. The nearly two-mile creek is a Class A brown trout cold-water fishery popular for outdoor activities in the Pocono Mountains that runs on the outskirts of the borough and feeds into the Lehigh River.
“This restoration project will have significant environmental impact to the stream’s water quality, health and aquatic habitat, not to mention improving outdoor experiences for sportsmen and women,” said Shane Kleiner, watershed manager and grants coordinator for DEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre. “Having funding available through Growing Greener enables the project partners to begin the work needed to restore the creek to its natural habitat.”
The borough will partner with Wildlands Conservancy, a non-profit that works to preserve thousands of acres of land and waterways in the Poconos, to design the restoration project. Some of the work that is planned includes: demolition and removal of at least five dams, streambank restoration and improving wildlife habitat by restoring wetlands nearby. The dams present a significant danger to aquatic life as they prevent fish passage to approximately half of the stream, obstructing native trout from swimming upstream in headwater habitat where water temperatures would be cooler in the warm summer months. They also trap hundreds of tons of nutrients and sediment in the creek that could be released in the water should the dams breach.