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BCCT Editorial: Tohickon Creek Deserves the Best Protection the PA DEP Can Offer

BCCT Editorial: Tohickon Creek Deserves the Best Protection the PA DEP Can Offer | Newtown News of Interest |

Here’s one thing the both Republican and Democratic legislators in Bucks County can agree on: The state ought to give the Tohickon Creek in Upper Bucks County its top rating and highest level of safeguarding.


We’re glad that U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1, state Rep. Todd Polinchock, R-144, state Sen. Steve Santarsiero, D-12, and state Rep. Wendy Ullman, D-143, lent their support to a successful grassroots effort to halt, at least for now, the state Department of Environmental Protection’s plan to downgrade the creek.


The Tohickon Creek is a meandering, 11-mile stream that divides Bedminster and Plumstead townships from Tinicum. In recreational water sports circles, the stream is famous for its twice-yearly whitewater releases. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources opens the Lake Nockamixon Dam, typically on a weekend in March and a weekend in November. The openings create Class 3 and Class 4-designated rapids through Ralph Stover State Park that draw kayakers, whitewater enthusiasts and spectators from near and far.


Earlier this year, the DEP finished a decades-long study of the steam and concluded it should be downgraded from a cold water fishery to a warm water trout fishery. That designation would suggest that the creek’s water is not suitable to support a native trout population and result in decreased environmental safeguards. The DEP reasoned that the creek is too warm to maintain its cold-water status, noting that the temperature only meets the criteria 50% of the time, yet it meets the warm water criteria 80% of the time.


Ullman submitted a guest opinion to our sister paper, The Intelligencer, urging readers “to fight for the Tohickon Creek” while other legislators and environmental groups like the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and the Tinicum Conservancy spent the summer pushing residents to provide feedback on the DEP’s draft report. Their efforts prompted a flood of 900 public comments denouncing the conclusion.


But the real push that’s underway is to convince the DEP to assign the Tohickon its gold-standard “exceptional value” designation, a campaign that the National Park Service supports. The EV designation would require developers to meet standards and use practices that’d prevent degradation of the waters and wetlands.



johnmacknewtown's insight:

Learn more about DEP’s study at the 2nd Friends of Fisher & Mack Fundraiser where State Senator, Steve Santarsiero, State Representative, Perry Warren, and environmental activist, Sharon Furlong, will discuss issues impacting the state of local rivers and streams and legislation to set safe standards for PFAS in our drinking water.

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