Greene County Conservation District, Water Resources, Department of Economic Development for Greene County Government, Pennsylvania




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Greene County Conservation District Office

19 South Washington Street
Mezzanine
Waynesburg, PA 15370

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Water Resources
Greene County Conservation District
Department of Economic Development for Greene County


Contact Persons: Lisa Snider, District Manager

Fort Jackson Building, Mezzanine
19 South Washington Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370
Phone: 724-852-5278 / Fax: 724-852-5341
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m., Monday—Friday

Water is one of Pennsylvania's most precious and basic resources. Pennsylvanians use 14.3 billion gallons of water every day. Almost all of it - 13.7 billion gallons - is returned to the environment. That means that each of us has a special responsibility to use water in ways that do not harm aquatic life and other water users downstream. But we also must be concerned about water in other ways. Our activities, as individuals and as communities, can have a big impact on the severity and frequency of floods that cause loss of life and property damage.

Water Resources:
Surface waters are defined in The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Code Title 25 Environmental Protection Chapter 93 Water Quality Standards as "Perennial and intermittent streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, wetlands, springs, natural seeps and estuaries, excluding water at facilities approved for wastewater treatment such as wastewater treatment impoundments, cooling water ponds, and constructed wetlands used as part of a wastewater treatment process" (Pennsylvania Code, 1971).

Under Section 303(d) of the 1972 Clean Water Act, states, territories, and authorized tribes are required to develop lists of impaired waters (USEPA 2004). The water quality standards identify the uses for each water body and the scientific criteria needed to support that use. Minimum goals set by the Clean Water Act require that all waters be "fishable" and "swimmable." This section requires that these jurisdictions establish priority rankings for waters on the lists and develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for these waters. A TMDL specifies the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards, and allocates pollutant loadings among point and nonpoint pollutant sources. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) implementing regulations (40 CFR Part 130) require:
  • States to develop lists of impaired waters for which current pollution controls are not stringent enough to meet water quality standards (the list is used to determine which streams need TMDLs);
  • States to establish priority rankings for waters on the lists based on severity of pollution and the designated use of the water body; states must also identify those waters for which TMDLs will be developed and a schedule for development;
  • States to submit the list of waters to EPA every two years (April 1 of the even numbered years);
  • States to develop TMDLs, specifying a pollutant budget that meets state water quality standards and allocate pollutant loads among pollution sources in a watershed, e.g., point and nonpoint sources; and
  • The EPA to approve or disapprove state lists and TMDLs within 30 days of final submission.
Despite these requirements, states, territories, authorized tribes, and the EPA had not developed many TMDLs. Beginning in 1986, organizations in many states filed lawsuits against the EPA for failing to meet the TMDL requirements contained in the federal Clean Water Act and its implementing regulations. While the EPA has entered into consent agreements with the plaintiffs in several states, other lawsuits still are pending across the country.

In the cases that have been settled to date, the consent agreements require the EPA to backstop TMDL development, track TMDL development, review state monitoring programs, and fund studies on issues of concern (e.g., AMD, implementation of nonpoint source Best Management Practices (BMPs), etc.). These TMDLs were developed in partial fulfillment of the 1997 lawsuit settlement of American Littoral Society and Public Interest Group of Pennsylvania v. EPA.

The TMDL’s developed for Greene County are:
  • Dooley Run Watershed, EPA approved 4-7-07 located within the Dunkard Creek Watershed-pollutant-metals from AMD
  • Dunkard Creek Watershed-EPA approved 4-4-07-pollutant-metals, siltation, suspended solids
  • Whiteley Creek watershed-not approved as of Feb 2009-pollutant-Non Point Source Pollution-siltation
  • Pumpkin Run Watershed-not approved as of Feb 2009-pollutant-Non Point Source Pollution-Nutrients/Organic Enrichment/low dissolved oxygen
The Hydrologic Cycle:

The Hydrologic/Water Cycle
Source: http://www.greenewatersheds.org/cycle.html


The sun's heat evaporates water from the rivers, lakes and oceans, in addition to the earth and leaves of plants. As the water vapors condense (changes from a gas to a liquid) into droplets to form clouds, and the droplets collide and join togethe forming larger droplets, they fall as rain or snow. The natural cycle of water ensures that there is no waste in nature, and that the earth's resources are continually reused.

Watersheds, Rivers, and Streams:
The PADEP protects waters within the state boundary under the following categories: aquatic life, water supply, recreation, special protection, and other. Under the "Special Protection" category, certain watercourses are given protection as High Quality Waters (HQ), meaning that the watercourse has excellent quality waters and environmental or other features that require special water quality protection (PADEP, 1999). To qualify as a Exceptional Value Water (EV), the water must be classified as HQ; the water is a surface water of exceptional ecological significance; and at least one of the following:
  1. The water is located in a National wildlife refuge or a State game propagation and protection area.
  2. The water is located in a designated State park natural area or State forest natural area, National natural landmark, Federal or State wild river, Federal wilderness area or National recreational area.
  3. The water is an outstanding National, State, regional or local resource water.
  4. The water is a surface water of exceptional recreational significance.
  5. The water achieves a score of at least 92% (or its equivalent) using the methods and procedures described in subsection (a)(2)(i)(A) or (B).
  6. The water is designated as a "wilderness trout stream" by the Fish and Boat Commission following public notice and comment. Greene County is fortunate to have several streams that are designated as either HQ or EV.
Greene County is fortunate to have several streams that are designated as either HQ or EV. In addition, several streams and their tributaries have been designated as trout stocked fisheries (TSF) by the PADEP, which means these streams maintain stocked trout from mid-February to late-July and maintains and propagates fish species and additional flora and fauna which are indigenous to a warm water habitat. The following table shows Greene County streams and the streams are classified as HQ and/or TSF.

Name of Stream Municipality Drainage Area
Square Miles
Chapter 93
Protected
Water Use
Unnamed Tributaries to NORTH FORK,
DUNKARD FORK WHEELING CREEK
Aleppo Township
Richhill Township
Unknown EV
Unnamed Tributary to OWENS RUN,
ENLOW FORK
Morris Township
Richhill Township
Unknown EV, WWF
BROWNS CREEK (and its tributaries) Franklin,
Washington,
Morris & Center
Townships
45.7 HQWWF
CLEAR RUN Center Township
Franklin Township
1.47 HQWWF
LIGHTNER RUN Center Township 1.70 HQWWF
PURSELY CREEK (and its tributaries) Wayne, Center &
Franklin Townships
13.2 HQWWF
RUSH RUN Center Township 1.85 HQWWF
SOUTH FORK TEN MILE CREEK to mouth of BROWNS CREEK (and its tributaries) Center Township
Franklin Township
199.0 HQWWF
MONONGAHELA RIVER All municipalities along the eastern border of the county 7,386 WWF
ENLOW FORK WHEELING CREEK (and its tributaries) Morris Township
Richhill Township
73.1 TSF
SOUTH FORK, DUNKARD FORK WHEELING CREEK (and its tributaries) Jackson Township
Richhill Township
28.0 TSF
WHITELEY CREEK (and its tributaries) Whiteley, Greene, &
Perry Townships
54.4 TSF
LAKE WILMA Wayne Township n/a TSF
TEN MILE CREEK (source to South Fork Ten Mile Creek) Morgan Township
Jefferson Township
338.0 TSF
Acronym Key:   EV - exceptional value; HQWWF - high quality warm water fishery; TSF - trout stocked fishery (according to PADEP Chapter 93. Water Quality Standards

The major landscape feature for water resource studies is the watershed boundary. A watershed is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) as the area of land that catches rain and snow and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake, or groundwater (USEPA, 2004). Because watersheds are defined by natural hydrology, they represent the most logical basis for managing water resources. The resource becomes the focal point, and managers are able to gain a more complete understanding of overall conditions in an area and the stressors, which affect those conditions. This entails a strategy that crosses municipal boundaries and requires a great deal of coordination, cooperation, and communication within and between municipalities sharing the same watershed.

Watersheds are delineated based on topography and ridgelines. Every river, stream, and tributary has an individual watershed, however, these individual watersheds are grouped together to form larger watersheds. All of Greene County is within the Ohio River watershed, which is Pennsylvania’s second largest river basin, covering 15,614 square miles of the state west of the Allegheny Mountains (PADEP, Pennsylvania’s Major River Basins, 2008). The Monongahela River watershed is a sub-watershed of the Ohio River watershed and, therefore, any watercourse that drains into the Monongahela River is not only part of the Monongahela River watershed, but it also part of the larger Ohio River watershed. The Monongahela River forms the eastern boundary of Greene County and is one of the two major rivers (the second being the Allegheny River) that converge in Pittsburgh to form the Ohio River. Rivers, streams, and tributaries in the western portions of Greene County drain west directly into the Ohio River watershed; whereas, watercourses in the central and eastern portions of the county drain east into the Monongahela River sub-watershed. Enlow Fork of Wheeling Creek, Dunkard Fork of Wheeling Creek, and Pennsylvania Fork, of Fish Creek are the three main tributaries in Greene County that flow into the Ohio River Watershed; while Ten Mile Creek, South Fork Ten Mile Creek, Muddy Creek, Little Whitely Creek, Whitley Creek, and Dunkard Creek, Pumpkin Run, and Crooked Run are the eight main tributaries in Greene County that drain into the Monongahela River watershed.
  1. Crooked Run —>> read more here

  2. Dunkard Creek —>> read more here

  3. Dunkard Fork of Wheeling Creek —>> read more here

  4. Enlow Fork of Wheeling Creek —>> read more here

  5. Fish Creek (Pennsylvania Fork) —>> read more here

  6. Muddy Creek —>> read more here

  7. Pumpkin Run —>> read more here

  8. Ten Mile Creek —>> read more here

  9. Whiteley Creek —>> read more here

  10. The Monongahela River watershed —>> read more here
Three of our watersheds (Enlow Fork, Dunkard Fork of Wheeling Creek, and Fish Creek) flow into the Ohio River Basin, and it moves southwest through West Virginia and eventually flows into the Ohio River.

All of our little streams that flow from our hillsides feed our major streams in Greene County, and our major streams feed the rivers. As the Ohio River flows, it meets the Mississippi then onto the Gulf of Mexico. The waters and rivers of Greene County are part of a bigger process called the Hydrologic Cycle. So how Greene County treats our watersheds can have far reaching effects in other watersheds of the nation.

Water Resources Links:
Wetlands:
A wetland is defined by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as any land transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water. For purposes of this classification wetlands must have one or more of the following three attributes: (1) at least periodically, the land supports predominantly hydrophytes; (2) the substrate is predominantly undrained hydric soil; and (3) the substrate is nonsoil and is saturated with water or covered by shallow water at some time during the growing season of the year (USFWS, 2004). The USFWS provides information on the characteristics, extent, and status of the Nation's wetlands and deepwater habitats and other wildlife habitats. The USFWS attributes causes of wetland losses to urban development, agriculture, silviculture and rural development.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has developed a National Wetland Inventory (NWI) as directed by the Emergency Wetland Resources Act of 1986. Mapping and additional information about Greene County’s wetlands can be accessed on the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetland Inventory (NHI) website: www.fws.gov/wetlands.

Floodplains/Floodways:
According to 25 Pa. Code § 106, the definition of a floodplain is “the 100-year floodway and that maximum area of land that is likely to be flooded by a 100-year flood as shown on the floodplain maps approved or promulgated by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)." A floodway is defined as “the channel of the watercourse and those portions of the adjoining floodplains, which are reasonably required to carry and discharge the 100- year flood.” Floodplains are important to a community and its environment because they hold back storm flows and reduce destructive flooding downstream. In addition, they are very fertile habitat, providing for good cropland for agriculture as well as providing important shading for stream habitat. Also, floodplains provide an important linkage between aquatic and upland habitat.

The one hundred and five hundred-year floodplains are generally narrow and restricted by the steep slopes that border most of the corridor. Figure 4-5: Hydrology illustrates the floodplain locations within the project area. Flood management and insurance rates are coordinated through the National Flood Insurance Program. This program, which was established by the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 and the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, was an effort to reduce the damage and hazards associated with flood events. To accomplish these goals, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducts routine flood insurance studies, which investigate the severity and existence of flood hazards throughout the country. The results of these studies are then used to develop risk data that can be applied during land use planning and floodplain development.

In addition to the flood hazard data provided by FEMA, the National Weather Service (NWS) operates river forecast points at several locations along the Monongahela River. River stage information is available through recorded messages, the NWS Internet site, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) also maintains copies of FEMA studies and related flood hazard investigations. This information as well as other flood hazard assistance is available through the ACOE, Pittsburgh District Office. According to the ACOE, Pittsburgh District Office, there are no federally maintained or owned flood control dams present in Greene County. PA-647 and PA-648 dry dams in the Enlow Fork watershed were constructed and are flood retarding structures for Wheeling, WV as well as a levee system that was built by the ACOE in New Freeport.

For general information, please contact the Information Services
at 724-852-5399 / Toll Free: 1-888-852-5399
Greene County Office Building, 93 E. High Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370


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