Conservation Tour Highlights Successful, Upcoming Projects

State Senator Don White's aide, Jeremy Dias, and State Representative Donna Oberlander receive their prizes for finding a cache box along one of the future sites of the ACD W.A.T.E.R GeoTrail in Rosston Friday morning. The two officials found the cache box (which contained blue pens) as part of the Armstrong Conservation District's annual Fall tour. Since they were the first to find the geocache, Dias and Representative Oberlander also found a geocoin.

State Senator Don White’s aide, Jeremy Dias, and State Representative Donna Oberlander receive their prizes for finding a cache box along one of the future sites of the ACD W.A.T.E.R GeoTrail in Rosston Friday morning. The two officials found the cache box (which contained blue pens) as part of the Armstrong Conservation District’s annual Fall tour. Since they were the first to find the geocache, Dias and Representative Oberlander also found a geocoin.

 by Jonathan Weaver

Local homeowners in two residential neighborhoods and a Kiski farmer are beginning to see the benefits of some Armstrong Conservation District projects, but more are on the way.

As part of the annual conservation tour, about two dozen local residents and legislators visited completed conservation projects in Manor Township and Kiskiminetas Township – including in Rosston Circle and the Baker Farm

The umbrellas were out for the tour’s first stop in Rosston Circle – to review the low-volume road grant that improved drainage along the section of the Armstrong Trail and a frequently-flooded Tub Mill Run stream crossing.

Senate Engineering’s Ben Bothell – who is also Manor Township’s engineer – said the section to Tub Mill Run had a “consistent problem with flooding.” The project installed new inlets that went directly to the Allegheny River.

Conservation District Manager Dave Rupert also noticed the issue.

“One of the (reasons) why this ended up being such a high-priority project was (because) this area of Ross Avenue used to flood extensively because there was no place for the water to drain. There were a series of small inlets here that inletted to an old, abandoned 10-inch gas line that nobody knew where it went,” Rupert said. “This alleviated a problem that we had down here with storm water and also helped control the non point source pollution.”

An additional low volume roads grant awarded earlier this month will add an infiltration trench along Ross Avenue.

“Ross Avenue and the area of Rosston is an area where there was extremely-poor drainage, and this is helping to alleviate that drainage problem,” Rupert said.

R&B Contracting and Excavation will remedy both Rosston projects.

Also underway are efforts to aid Ron Baker’s Farm in Kiskiminetas Township.

Agricultural Technician/Nutrient Management Specialist Jessica Schaub said an $88,555 Growing Greener grant enabled Conservation leaders to plan for agricultural Best Management Practices on the property – including two watering facilities, stream crossings and the planting of about 280 trees and 90 shrubs along the stream bank corridor.

“The animals do cross under the Jackson Road bridge to get to the pasture on the other side, so we’re going to put in a stone animal trail and walkway,” Schaub said. “If you come by here next Spring, this will be completed. It’s going to look a lot different next year.”

Schaub said Conservation leaders are regularly accepting interest from other farmers in the area. A trio of farmers was recently funded for aid in the Garretts Run watershed.

Upcoming projects conservation leaders are working on include the ACD W.A.T.E.R GeoTrail – which will attract geocachers to successful low volume road projects, preserved farms and watershed restorations and a culvert replacement along Scout Run Road.

The new bottomless arch culvert would replace an undersized culvert restricting water flow and causing sediment displacement.

Manor Township Roadmaster and Supervisor Bob Southworth recalled when the stream rose four inches in an hour and tour asphalt into residential yards.

The culvert replacement is to begin after conferring with Manor Township Joint Municipal Authority leaders to relocate a water line. Relocating that line via excavation might begin as soon as this week, depending on weather conditions.