Overview

  • Status
    Ongoing
  • Estimated Completion
    2023
  • Location
    Pennsylvania
  • Grants Received
    $75,000
  • Total Budget
    $238,174
  • Friends Group
    Pymatuning Lake Association
  • Partners
    DCNR Pymatuning State Park, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Allegheny College, Conneaut Middle School, Crawford County Conservation District

The objectives of this project are:

  • Stabilize eroding shoreline
  • Reduce nutrients and silt entering the lake
  • Improve angler access
  • Increase rock type fish habitat
  • Increase wood type fish habitat
  • Improve riparian buffer

Photo Gallery

Why It Matters

Pymatuning Reservoir is the largest impoundment in Pennsylvania at 17,088 acres. With 70 miles of shoreline along the reservoir, PA DCNR is responsible for maintaining over 42 miles. The reservoir was built on what used to be the largest swamp in Pennsylvania and the former wetland soils are prone to erosion. Pymatuning Dam was completed in 1934 and as the lake continues to age, many miles are in need of stabilization to prevent loss of land, safe visitor access, loss of fish habitat, and water quality degradation with the potential of increasing harmful algal blooms. Overall Pymatuning is a fairly shallow lake averaging around 17 feet in depth and as soils continue to slump, areas are being lost for recreation.

Jamestown Campground is a public State Park Campground in Pymatuning State Park with 318 campsites. 900 feet of shoreline within the campground is severely eroding away leading to degradation of the water quality, along with creating a fall hazard for campers utilizing the shoreline. The area is directly adjacent to the swimming beach and behind the campground amphitheater. Weekends during the summer season fill with up to 1,500 visitors and yet the green space is not utilized by fishermen because of the condition of the shoreline.  The shore has sluffed off to a point where there are 6’ drops and undercutting the large maple trees to where they are starting to fall into the lake.

What FOR Is Doing

DCNR staff will work with PA Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) to complete project construction. The ground will be graded to a safe slope and a series of sawtooth deflectors will be installed. The shoreline will be replanted with a mix of lawn seed, native wildflower seed mix, and native trees. The new riparian buffer will filter and slow storm water runoff and provide shade at the edge of the lake. The deflectors and the riparian buffer both address impacts of climate change by making the shoreline more resilient against harsh storms, wave action, and increased water temperature. A similar project was completed in 2018 on 260 feet of the Organized Group Tenting shoreline. The area is now heavily used by campers, local shoreline fishermen, and fishermen on boats trolling along the shore.
DCNR and PFBC also plan to complete a volunteer-scale habitat project with Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Crawford County Conservation District, Allegheny College, and Conneaut Middle School. The volunteer project will focus on adding wood structures to the lake where there is no existing habitat features.

Project Methods

Pymatuning Lake Association will purchase most materials for the projects. DCNR and PFBC staff and heavy machinery will be used to complete the shoreline stabilization and riparian buffer. PFBC and ODNR staff and boats will be used to complete the volunteer project. DCNR will provide a skid steer and operator to load the boats.
The shoreline project will stabilize 900 linear feet of lake shore. The deflectors and rock rubble humps will provide 13,500 square feet of stabilization and rock fish habitat. The riparian buffer will improve 45,000 square feet of shoreline. The 150 proposed short vertical plank structures will provide 2,400 square feet of new wood fish habitat. The PFBC fisheries biologist will use night electrofishing to sample black bass before and after project implementation. The PFBC would like to increase the total black bass catch rate by 100% and also increase the number of legal size (>12″) black bass by 50% on the treatment shoreline.

The 30 proposed deflectors will stabilize 900 linear feet of lake shore. The deflectors and rock rubble humps will provide 13,500 square feet of stabilization and rock fish habitat. The riparian buffer will improve 45,000 square feet of shoreline. The 150 proposed short vertical plank structures will provide 2,400 square feet of new wood fish habitat.

Monitoring Plan

The goal of the project is trifold. We will stabilize 900 feet of shoreline to prevent further erosion, increase fish habitat with the stone-framed deflector design, increase shoreline access for recreation, and increase safety for our campground users. Evaluation of the project after construction will include monitoring visitor use during routine patrol during the following camping season to see if fishermen are using the new structure. We will also monitor to ensure the stone placement holds the soils and no further sluffing is taking place. Vegetation will be monitored and replanted as needed. The PA Fish & Boat Commission Area 1 Fisheries Management biologists will be monitoring black bass (Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass) abundance and size pre (2022, 2023) and post (2024, 2025) project using night electrofishing sampling methods.

Outreach Plan

The outreach plan will involve social media posts showing the completed project and explaining the importance of the project including acknowledgement of funding. Outreach will also include on site use by the environmental education staff. The park amphitheater is located at the location of the project which will lend well to public programing on erosion and water quality. The staff will also utilize the completed shoreline area for fishing programs which had typically been done in a different section of the campground. A fire ring which is located near the current drop off will be used by the staff to do night time programming now that it will be a safe location for visitors.

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Green Sponsors

  • DCNR Pymatuning State Park
  • Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

Silver Sponsors

  • Allegheny College
  • Conneaut Middle School
  • Crawford County Conservation District