The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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September 21, 2013

Improvements are expected at Wilmore Reservoir recreational areas

WILMORE — A Wilmore Reservoir playground and picnic area’s shoreline is being stabilized among a handful of projects totaling more than $100,000 at the property, county conservation officials said.

The project at Wilmore’s Law Street pavilion area is one of several stabilization projects being completed this summer. The work is aimed at stopping continued erosion to both reservoir and stream banks, conservation manager Rob Piper said.

The 20-foot hemlock logs added to the shoreline this week will also create valuable fish habitats at Wilmore and improve fishing opportunities at the Cambria Somerset Authority-owned public recreation area, Piper said.

“Right now, there’s really bad fishing along that edge of the dam,” he said. Erosion was drawing sediment into the reservoir and threatened to take trees that lined the edge of the pavilion park with it.

“It was so bad that the trees’ roots along that line were exposed. It was going to take the whole shoreline with it,” Piper said.

Instead, the conservation district and state Fish & Boat Commission, which designed and oversaw the work, saved the trees, while stabilizing the shoreline.

Hemlock logs were connected to sill logs behind them, providing the fish habitat below, while a bed of rocks and fill were added on top to stabilize the banks, Piper said.

Cambria Somerset Authority Manager Earl Waddell said crews spent the week working on the project.

The conservation district was able to secure $58,000 in funds through the Community Foundation of the Alleghenies through the GenOn account a judge ordered last year in a Conemaugh River pollution settlement, Piper said.

Those funds were used to stabilize the pavilion area shoreline, where cleanup work will wrap early next week, as well as four stream banks, most on the north branch of the Little Conemaugh, Waddell said.

Several other projects also have been completed during the summer through $48,000 in Southern Alleghenies Conservancy funds, including a project that added a handicapped-accessible fishing site at Wilmore. Others include Patrick Street rehabilitation work and other shoreline upgrades, Piper said.

That work is being handled by Earth Shapers of Ebensburg.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TDDavidHurst.

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