Schuylkill River gets ready for aquatic life in New Philadelphia

NEW PHILADELPHIA, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- A section of the Schuylkill River has been plagued by pollution left behind from the coal mines. But now, the water is clean and ready to sustain aquatic life. 
 
For the past 100 years, a section of the Schuylkill River in New Philadelphia has been neglected. 
 
"The river was too polluted with sewage and abandoned mine drainage, really to support aquatic life," said Wayne Lehman, Natural Resource Specialist with Schuylkill County Conservation District. 
 
When the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission surveyed the Schuylkill River, they found trout upstream and downstream from this location; claiming there was a lack of habitat available for fish in this section of the river.
 
"Water quality is good so now it's time to give them the habitat... If you build it they will come sort of thing," added Lehman. 
 
And that's exactly what's happening in the first phase of the fish habitat project. Volunteers and members of the conservation district and Trout Unlimited are lending a hand to build habitats for trout and other fish. The habitats give fish a place to hide from predators and they also provide a shady spot to cool off.
 
"With these habitat structures, I think people here in Schuylkill County will have another place to come and recreate, and it's just great to be in the outdoors," said John Bondura, with Schuylkill County Trout Unlimited. 
 
The habitat structures mimic undercut banks, ripple areas and pool areas. 
 
"This is just the beginning of a whole revitalization of the Schuylkill river," added Bondura. 
 
The next phase includes adding more habitat structures to the river. After that, other amenities will be built, like a walking trail and a handicap fishing ramp. 
 
"Schuylkill County Trout Unlimited is trying to make the environment and the water better for all the people of Schuylkill County," said Bondura. 
 
 Volunteers are needed to help with phase two of the habitat project. That begins on Sept. 12. 
 

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