The Kishacoquillas (Kish) Creek Watershed continues to improve with each new project breaking ground. Benthic macroinvertebrates and water quality were sampled in April as a part of our Surface Water Assessment Program (SWAP) in the Upper Kish, Little Kish and Hungry Run. Both water quality and IBI (Index of Biotic Integrity; used to determine health of a stream by assessing the quantity and quality of insect species present) scores continue to improve, with many sites seeing record high numbers. Partnering with the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), sampling was also completed via backpack electrofishing units in July of 2021 on 9 sites divided between the Upper Kish, Little Kish and Hungry Run. Young of year wild brown trout (Salmo trutta) were present at each sampling site as well as multiple age classes. These results suggest that trout use the streams as spawning grounds as well as a year-round refuge (Figure 1). This is possible due in large part by many spring inputs and improving substrate quality.
Water temperatures throughout the Upper Kish, Little Kish and Hungry Run will also be monitored on a continuous basis via HOBO temperature loggers (Figure 2). This will add to our growing dataset and determine what areas are thermally suited to support trout (a cold-water fish) year-round. This information can also help to identify future areas of focus for habitat improvement or riparian buffer establishment.