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Crescent Lake Watershed Assessment Project

Crescent Lake - From Station 2

Crescent Lake - From Dam

Program Proposal Submitted to:

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Growing Greener Grant Program, June 30, 2005

Executive Summary

Crescent Lake is a 35-acre lake located in the headwaters of the Little Meshoppen Creek Watershed, a tributary to the Susquehanna River in Auburn Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. The lake is approximately eight miles north of Meshoppen near the rural community of Auburn Corners. Crescent Lake provides excellent recreational activities including boating, swimming, and fishing. It is a natural lake that has been augmented by the addition of an outlet structure/spillway to moderately increase water depth and improve water retention. Current management of the lake quality has been undertaken by the Crescent Lake Property Owners Association on an as-needed basis. The Association currently has a Fish Commission permit to treat the lake several times per summer with copper sulfate to reduce algal growth, however, the treatment was viewed as a reactive measure to water quality concerns. Past lake quality management has not addressed the impact of non-point sources of pollution, on-lot septic systems, or land use practices in the watershed. In recent years the lake has also experienced sediment accumulation. Therefore, there is a need to identify these and other factors that impact the lake water quality and the watershed landscape.

This assessment project provides a pro-active program of watershed management and protection for the Association. This encompassed a comprehensive watershed assessment and the creation of a watershed protection plan. The assessment documents the current lake water quality and watershed land use practices pursuant to identifying non-point and other pollution sources. The protection plan offers specific recommendations for improving lake water quality. Best land use practices for the watershed are identified and encouraged through community education. Implementation of best land use practices at the municipal level is encouraged by suggestions made to Auburn Township officials. The plan also includes a watershed conservation education program for residents and visitors of the lake.


This project was a joint effort of seven groups namely: the Crescent Lake Property Owners Association, Penn State University, Borton-Lawson Engineering, the Center for Environmental Quality at Wilkes University, the Susquehanna County Conservation District, Skelly-Loy, and the Auburn Township Supervisors. The program proposal was submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Growing Greener Grant Program, June 30, 2005.

The Crescent Lake Property Owners Association was involved in the collection of watershed data and lake water quality and quantity data. They distributed three newsletters to the community regarding the progress and outcomes of the project, made suggestions or comments regarding the watershed assessment report, and were actively involved in shaping the final watershed protection plan.

Penn State University was involved in assessing water volumes and flow rates in and around the lake. They were also a general clearing house and back-up resource for all information gathered during the project. Penn State, along with Borton-Lawson Engineering and Wilkes University, took the lead role in compiling the watershed assessment report and the development of the watershed protection plan. Penn State administered the contract grant as project sponsor for the Association.

Borton-Lawson Engineering was involved in the watershed data collection and analysis, watershed GIS mapping, and analysis of sample results. They managed the overall coordination of the water quality data collection, assisting the Association in their volunteer data collection activities. Borton-Lawson Engineering developed the GIS database, and took the lead role in assessing the watershed and lake quality. They assisted Penn State in the development of the watershed assessment report and the watershed protection plan.

Wilkes University (Mr. Brian Oram) provided the technical assistance to facilitate the training of the lake monitoring team, conducted comprehensive field assessments, and developed the field and laboratory quality control and quality assurance program. The environmental testing laboratory at Wilkes University performed most of the key nutrient, general water quality, microbiological, and biological analysis to support this project. Wilkes University compiled the available water quality data and completed a rather comprehensive trophic assessment of Crescent Lake.

Skelly-Loy evaluated the eroded channel leading to the lake (between lots 31E and 32E) and provided conceptual solutions to minimizing channel erosion using a fluvial geomorphologic analysis and a natural channel design.

Auburn Township Supervisors provided information with regard to township population and population trends in the watershed over the past 50 years. They reviewed proposed best land use management activities and made comments and suggestions with regard to practical implementation in the township.

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