Greater Latrobe Senior High School’s Nine Mile Run Restoration and Habitat Improvement Project
A Brief History
Students from Greater Latrobe High School’s Capstone and Earth & Environment classes study water quality, stream chemistry, biology and hydrology as part of their curriculum. Students then developed a plan to use their knowledge to make a difference in the community. The students and teachers formed the Nine Mile Run Restoration and Habitat Improvement Project to help improve water quality and to work on protecting the service that the park is able to provide to the community. Through this experience, students had the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of project leadership, coordination, completion, and follow through. Students worked with their teachers on developing grant applications and meeting with prospective funders for the project. These skills apply to any career students may choose in the future; environmental or otherwise.
In order to improve the health of the stream, logs and stone deflectors were placed strategically to decrease the erosion and allow for stream bank stabilization. Students and their teachers began planning this first phase of the Nine Mile Run Restoration and Habitat Improvement Project. The students hand carried the log structures and placed them in the stream. Students worked diligently in flood conditions to complete the project while the contractors were on site. Additionally, the project will allow students to monitor the effects of the erosion control and teach the community about the causes, problems, and solutions regarding stream bank erosion and sedimentation.
The Nine Mile Run Restoration and Habitat Improvement Project has already shown an improvement in the stream channel shape with the placement of numerous log structures. Fish habit was immediately improved with addition of boulders and log structures to create diversity in the stream channel. The riparian buffer plantings have helped stabilize the stream bank and over time will improve the stream by providing much needed shade. An informational kiosk was designed and was installed near the stream. The kiosk explains the project as well what the log and crib structures are doing for the stream. The Nine Mile Run Restoration and Habitat Improvement not only effectively utilized environmental experts for this project but it also brought together broad based community groups that has hopefully generated long lasting support of this project. This is a learning experience that hopefully will repeat from year to year for Greater Latrobe environmental science students.