Monitoring Water Quality

LWA’s water quality monitoring program examines macroinvertebrate populations at 10 sites throughout the watershed and conducts electrofishing surveys on five area waterways. For over 14 years, this data has been collected and analyzed to determine the health of nearly a dozen local streams. In addition, LWA maintains an active datalogger program to monitor potential negative effects from Marcellus Shale gas exploration on nearby waterways.


Solving AMD Pollution

Most of the Loyalhanna Creek Watershed is underlain with the Pittsburgh coal seam which was heavily mined beginning in the late 1800s. By the 1920s, coal resources were depleted and the mines were abandoned and left to fill with groundwater. Minerals from exposed rocks left during the mining process are dissolved in this water and when this water eventually reaches the surface and mixes with oxygen, it is known as abandoned mine drainage (AMD). It is this water that has historically created and continues to produce the main source of pollution in the entire watershed.

In 2010, LWA was awarded a $500,000 Growing Greener grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection to construct a passive treatment system in the heart of the City of Latrobe to treat 500 gallons per minute of AMD once flowing into the Loyalhanna Creek near the system. The project involved the design and construction of three large settling ponds and an expansive wetland area to allow for natural infiltration of the polluted water.


Restoring Streambanks

Erosion is a common problem throughout the entire Loyalhanna Creek Watershed due to frequent high water events, ice flows and loss of riparian habitat due to development pressure. This coating of soil can cause a variety of problems for aquatic life, covering habitat and food sources that are vital for fish and insects living in the stream.

To address this problem, LWA began working with a coalition of organizations that include the PA Fish & Boat Commission, Western PA Conservancy, Westmoreland Conservation District, and Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited. Over the past decade, our organization has successfully completed over 75 streambank restoration projects throughout the upper and middle watershed. These projects involve the construction of rootwads, rock and log vane deflectors, mudsills, and other devices that repair the damaged banks to reduce erosion and sedimentation, while creating stream habitat for fish and other wildlife.

Connect with us

6 Old Lincoln Highway West
Ligonier, PA 15658

  • 1-724-238-7560



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