Banned on the ‘Run’

By on June 6, 2018

The health and well-being of the environment  requires careful management; Officials explain what to avoid at Lititz Run

 

By Laura Knowles

It was all about water, and fortunately, the rain held off for the afternoon of water-related education at three local sites in the Lititz area. The three locations included Millport Conservancy, the Lititz Wastewater Treatment Plant (and adjacent Lititz Trout Hatchery), and Rock Lititz.

Dan Mummert of the PA Game Commission discussed birds, including varieties of owls and the American kestrel.

Visitors to A Day on Lititz Run got to learn about birds, bees, trees, plants, stream restoration, fly fishing, fly tying, trout, and wastewater treatment as they made their way to the three sites. At the end of the tour, they got an ice-cold locally brewed Water Week beer from Fetish Brewing Co. at Rock Lititz.

“Here at the Rock Lititz campus, we are doing floodplain restoration, where we will be able to grow plants, like hops, for brewing,” said Michael LaSala of LandStudies in Lititz, which has worked on numerous stream restoration projects in the area. As LaSala pointed out, the health and well-being of the region is dependent on careful management to keep waters fishable, swimmable and most of all, drinkable.

For Derek Eberly of Donegal Trout Unlimited, preserving fishable waters is essential. At Millport Conservancy, the avid trout fisherman offered up tips on fly fishing, demonstrating the best way to attract trout to the surface of the stream. As he explained, flying fishing does not use lures to weigh down the line when it is cast. Instead, tiny hand-made flies duplicate the insects that attract the fish. The line itself is weighted and through lots of practice, fly fishermen (and women) can master the skill. Roger Kremer, also of Donegal Trout Unlimited, was on hand at Millport to show the art of fly-tying. Using colored threads and other materials, he was able to fashion tiny flies that could barely be seen. Yet, these flies are able to draw the fish to them and provide the unique challenge of fly fishing.

Lori Stahl conveyed the importance of bees and key plants that keep bees thriving.

Millport was the setting for stream studies to examine the macro invertebrate samples with aquatic insects that help to demonstrate the health and quality of the water. There was also a lesson on native trees and plants that strengthen the natural environment, along with tips on non-native plants to avoid because of their invasiveness and damage to the environment. Bird expert and PA Game Commission Wildlife Biologist Dan Mummert addressed birds, like varieties of owls and the American kestrel, once known as the sparrow hawk. Closely related to the peregrine falcon, the American Kestrel was once plentiful in Central Pennsylvania, but is now declining due to loss of habitat. Mummert provided information on building nest boxes for the declining species, in order to help them thrive again in their natural environment.

As for the bees, beekeeper and photographer Lori Stahl showcased her bee hives at Millport Conservancy. Stahl has 10 hives at Millport Conservancy, but cares for more than 100 hives in 12 different locations throughout Lancaster County.

“I try to emphasize how important it is to plant for pollinators,” said Stahl, who educates people on plants that keeps bees thriving, like clover and dandelions.
As she stressed, bees are vital to the pollination of crops, from apples to peaches. Without bees, these crops would not be pollinated in order to grow. Bees have been in jeopardy, she says, but with careful management of bee hives or apiaries, it is hoped that the bees can be saved.

An added bonus to her beekeeping efforts were jars of sweet clover honey and other local honey varieties from her apiaries which were sold that day. Not far away, at the Lititz Sportsmen’s Association Trout Hatchery along Lititz Run, Phil McCloud was showing the remaining trout at the hatchery. Most have already been released into the nearby stream, but a few brown trout and palomino trout were still growing to reach maturity at the nursery. As McCloud explained, the hatchery was started in 1973 along Lititz Run Road.

Michael LaSala from LandStudies discussed floodplain restoration and how the health and well-being of the region depends on careful management to keep waters safe for both drinking and recreation.

“Each year we stock more than 14,000 trout for local streams, including Lititz Run right here,” said McCloud. Right next door, the multiple buildings of the Lititz Wastewater Treatment Plant offered a tour of the upgraded facility that treats wastewater in the Lititz area. The tour featured the five-stage biological nutrient removal system process, tertiary disc filters, UV disinfection, a centrifuge for sludge dewatering, and a biosolids drying system.

A Day on Lititz Run was part of a week-long Lancaster Water Week, with events held throughout Lancaster County. Lancaster Water Week was sponsored by Lancaster County Conservancy and Turkey Hill, with many other supporters.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com. 

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