Baseline Biological Data for Jonas Creek

by Don Baylor

On October 13, 2017, Aquatic Resource Consulting (ARC) conducted baseline biological surveys of Jonas Creek on Pocono Heritage LandTrust's Jonas Mountain Preserve.
Jonas Creek is a small headwater stream that flows through the preserve and into Middle Creek, then to Pohopoco Creek, and eventually to the Lehigh River Drainage.

Aquatic macroinvertebrates were sampled to evaluate water quality, and fish populations were surveyed using a backpack electrofishing unit. ARC biologists Don Baylor and Chris Hartzler were assisted by BrodheadTrout Unlimited members Don Miller, Greg Malaska, and Glen Hessler with other PHLT members observing.  Three successive passes were made with the sampling unit through 310 feet of stream. Each successive sampling pass yielded fewer fish so that, by extrapolation, the total number of fish in that length of stream can be estimated.  Species were limited to trout and slimy sculpins, a species composition typical of our coldest, most pristeen headwater streams.  Trout were measured and weighed, and the sampled area of stream was measured so that the trout population can be expressed in pounds per acre, a measure used by PennsylvaniaFish Commission to rank trout streams.

The trout population consisted of both brown and brook trout with browns predominating. A total of 50 trout were captured, with the successive runs yielding 33, 14, and 3 trout, respectively.  Ten of the trout were brooks, with the remaining 40 browns. Sizes ranged up to 14 inches long, a fairly large trout for such a small stream.

The benthic macroinvertebrates sample had a predominance of species typical of streams that remain very cold with an absence of organic pollution.  Further identification and statistical analysis of the sample will be conducted in accordance with PADepartment of Environmental Protection (DEP) protocols to determine how Jonas Creek fits into PA DEP's system of stream classifications.

The results of these biological surveys will yield important baseline data, enabling Pocono Heritage Land Trust to fulfill an obligation to evaluate and monitor the environmental quality of this beautiful protected land.

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