“All the water that will ever be is, right now.”
- National Geographic, October 1993

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The Chartiers Creek Watershed Association (ChCWA) is a group of volunteers who
work to ensure the high quality of the upper portion of Chartiers Creek. ChCWA monitors
streams, promotes good water conservation practices, and conducts educational and
recreational events for its members and the general public. Read more . . .


Fall Stream Monitoring

4 days in October . . . email us for more info and exact dates!

What stream monitoring is . . .

Each spring and fall, we collect water samples from the streams of the Upper Chartiers Creek. We wade right in to monitor three things that tell us how pure the water is:
  • Macro-invertebrates – how healthy are these water creatures?

  • Chemicals – Temperature, pH, nitrates and suspended solids are just a few parameters we test for using special kits

  • Flow -- How much water is moving past a certain stream point, within a given time, and how fast is it flowing?

Volunteers collect water samples and record the information.

Where we monitor . . .

At four (4) different locations in the Upper Chartiers Creek Watershed:
  • Chartiers Creek (at Scotty’s Ice Cream Drive-In, Rt 18)
  • Little Chartiers Creek (at intersection of Linden Creek & Linden Creek Road)
  • Chartiers Run (at Houston American Legion)
  • Chartiers Creek (at Houston Ballfield)

You can help . . .
  • Join us! You don’t need to be a scientist to lend a hand. We provide all the necessary training, equipment, and supplies, so anyone can join in.

  • Family-friendly – a great activity for all ages (fun and educational)!

  • What you’ll need: Transportation to the site(s), sure-footedness (if you want to go into the streams), and an interest in the environment. That’s it!

For more information, plus exact dates / locations / directions,
email Carrilee Hemington at clhemington@verizon.net.

What you might see . . .

These are organisms that have no backbone (invertebrate) and are large (macro) enough to be seen with the naked eye. Water-based macro-invertebrates include insects in their larval or nymph form, crayfish, clams, snails, and worms. These creatures live in all types of running waters, from slow-moving muddy rivers to fast-flowing streams (like Chartiers Creek!).


Catfish Creek Stream Bank Restoration

Very soon, we will resume a project that we started in spring 2013 -- restoring portions of the stream bank along a segment of Catfish Creek in Washington Park. This fall, working again with the City of Washington, we’ll focus on the opposite side of the stream.

The City will prepare the site by re-grading the area and adding riprap to the bank where needed. Riprap is a foundation or sustaining wall of stones or chunks of concrete arranged on an embankment slope to prevent erosion. This work supports the City’s storm water management project.

At that point, ChCWA hopes to step in to stabilize the stream bank with ground cover and the planting of shrubs. These plants will help hold the soil in place during heavy rains, thereby protecting the adjacent local road and private property from erosion.

City employees re-grade the bank and install stone riprap at
a stream bank near Elm Street and Springfield Avenue in
Washington. ChCWA volunteers plant shrubs on the bank.

This segment of the Catfish Creek project is made possible
by a grant of $2,300 from Dominion Foundation and from the
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

New Display Attracts Visitors at Washington County Fair

The Chartiers Creek Watershed Association really stood out at the
2014 Fair with this brand new display showcasing our events, projects,
and community outreach. Designed by Jacob Lis, the summer intern
for the Washington County Conservation District, our display was just
part of a larger exhibit touting the achievements of our parent
organization, the Washington County Watershed Alliance.

THANKS to donors who made our “Day”!

On September 10 Washington County’s annual “Day of Giving,” donors contributed $534,000 to the Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF), which raises funds for a long list of county organizations. This donation was augmented by a $100,000 bonus pool provided by “Gives day” sponsors, for a grand total of $634,000! Read more . . .

Can you help with funding for Canonsburg Lake Restoration?

Additional funds are being sought to complete the restoration of Canonsburg Lake, a prime resource for fishing, boating, and recreation in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Right now, the Save Canonsburg Lake Committee is waiting for federal and state approval of construction permits, which are expected before the end of 2014. Construction bids will be sought soon after that . . .

But the project can’t proceed without additional monetary backing. You can help by making a donation, or by contributing your time and talents. See http://www.savecanonsburglake.org/what.htm.

Results of Diesel Spill Monitoring

The May 26th diesel spill on Route 18 in Canton Township caused serious concern about the possible effect on water quality in Chartiers Creek. Fortunately, ChCWA’s immediate follow-up monitoring at 5 locations along the creek has shown that the effect on water quality was not severe.

The water samples, containing a variety of macro-invertebrate species (such as crayfish or worms), were sorted and identified by ChCWA members Jean Bear and Carrilee Hemington, along with Beth Kahkonen, a water quality specialist for the Washington County Conservation District, and Jennifer Dann, the watershed specialist.

Many of the macros were preserved in vials to provide a reference tool for the future. While we usually return macros to the stream where they live, we sometimes need to create a good baseline of samples for ongoing comparisons.

The vials were sent to Eric Null, of the Consortium for Scientific Assistance to Watersheds (C-SAW), to verify our results. C-SAW – through its partner, the Conemaugh Valley Conservancy (CVC) and its Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team – is providing quality control assistance to ChCWA at no cost to us through a Growing Greener Grant from the PA Dept of Environmental Protection.