Jordan & Trout Creeks

Restoring Allentown’s urban waterways

Jordan & Trout Creeks

Wildlands Conservancy has developed a strategy for improving the ecological health of Jordan Creek and its corridor. Our highest priority is removing its nine dams. In 2012, we completed the engineering and permitting necessary to remove three of the dams in Whitehall Township. We are currently working with Lehigh County and the Township to remove the three barriers in 2013.

Together with partners in 2011, Wildlands Conservancy rescued Trout Creek from the decline that is typical of urban streams. The stream restoration has brought city residents closer to a natural place that is now cleaner, safer and better suited to sustain the aquatic species and wildlife that call it home.
Nonpoint source pollution and habitat degradation landed Trout Creek on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) list of impaired waterways.

To reverse these negative impacts, Wildlands:

  • Restored a 1.5-mile stretch of Trout Creek, a tributary to the Little Lehigh as it flows through Allentown’s Trout Creek Park.
  • Re-graded stream banks
  • Removed dams and other man-made structures to return the stream channel and floodplain to its natural state
  • Re-established a wetland
  • Replaced expansive invasive plant communities with native ones
  • Installed habitat structures to encourage the return of wildlife

Today, Trout Creek is an example of how to rescue an urban waterway and is recognized by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) as a Green Case Study.

Wildlands is looking next to make the same success true for Jordan Creek, a neighboring Allentown waterway compromised in similar ways and also designated as “impaired” by the DEP.

Our focus is on a .75-mile stretch that is highly channelized with long expanses of stones walls and a series of dams. Pre-project monitoring verified poor water quality and habitat conditions.

In 2011, the engineering and permitting phases were completed. Wildlands will take the next step of construction and dam removal in 2013. Project partners include DEP, DCNR, Wells Fargo, American Rivers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.