Watershed Overview
 
What is a Watershed?
 
When precipitation reaches the ground at any given point, the slope and shape of the terrain (i.e., topography) causes each water drop to travel a path towards the lowest point in the landscape. In Pennsylvania, rivers and streams are typically found at these low points. Similarly, geologic characteristics directs precipitation to groundwater, which also travels to rivers and streams. The physical boundaries directing precipitation or groundwater into a particular stream or river is referred to as a “watershed.” Based on these boundaries, watersheds can be mapped as very large, as the case for the Allegheny River Watershed, which encompasses an 11,580-square mile drainage area in Pennsylvania and New York, or can be small like the Cowanshannock Creek Watershed, which encompasses a 63.3-square mile drainage area in eastern Armstrong County. In fact, the Cowanshannock Creek Watershed is a part of the Allegheny River Watershed! In this example, water that drains within the Cowanshannock Creek Watershed will flow to Cowanshannock Creek. Likewise, water that drains within the Allegheny River Watershed, including Cowanshannock Creek, will flow to the Allegheny River. Both clean and contaminated water drains through a watershed. So it is important to educate landowners on water quality issues and implement conservation practices and restoration projects to help keep our streams and rivers healthy.
 
Armstrong Conservation District (ACD) addresses water quality issues through our Watershed Conservation and Restoration Program. ACD receives Growing Greener funds from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for a Watershed Specialist to focus on water quality improvement through District and grassroots initiatives. To date, six Watershed Associations were established in Armstrong County. ACD’s Watershed Specialist/Resource Conservationist provides Watershed Associations with assistance such as technical support but also works with municipalities, sportsman’s clubs, Trout Unlimited, and any other groups that carry out water quality projects throughout the county.
 

Water quality assessments and restoration reports had been completed for these six Armstrong County watersheds. We are now in the project implementation phase, applying for funding for restoration projects, particularly through the DEP’s Growing Greener grant opportunity. Our main focus includes implementing projects to improve surface water resources impaired from Non-Point Source Pollution due to mineral extraction, agriculture, timber harvesting, urban sources, and various causes of streambank erosion.
 
Example Watershed Restoration Projects may include:
 
Water Quality Monitoring
 
Armstrong Conservation District participates in water quality monitoring that includes assessing chemical and biological parameters of streams. We assist Kiski Conemaugh Stream Team with their Data Logger program and perform pre- and post-construction macroinvertebrate sampling at targeted stream improvement locations.
 
Contact Us
 
For more information about the importance of water, water sources and uses, protecting water resources, or implementing a watershed restoration project on your property, please contact the Armstrong Conservation District.