A recent forum at Lycoming College discussed how altering a stream channel and changing its course could "cause serious harm to the environment."
With lingering local reminders of last year's devastating storms, it's important that people understand how important it is not to alter channels of streams in the area without professional oversight. As was pointed out in last week's forum, when landowners take matters into their own hands and change stream channels, it can lead to future flooding problems and ultimately, have economic consequences for homeowners and communities.
At least two legislative bills are being considered by the Pennsylvania General Assembly that would give municipalities and landowners the go-ahead to conduct "stream clearing activities" without a state permit or professional oversight, in the name of flood prevention.
This short-term fix would address flooding symptoms but not the causes of flooding. Having individual property owners tinker with stream channels and hydraulic conditions is not a long-term solution and could cause more problems down the road and leave the taxpayers with the bill.
Instead, local government entities and property owners need to work with state and local experts and conservation professionals so that any changes to streams are done in a way that maintain a stream's ability flow to effectively convey water and sediment loads and reduce impacts to public safety and property during flooding events. The current bills being considered open the door to more problems than solutions.
David L. Craig
Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom