LYKENS, PA. — The Dauphin County Commissioners are continuing to develop a plan to restore a fish hatchery along the Rattling Creek in Lykens that was damaged in 2011 by Tropical Storm Lee.
Debris carried by the storm’s flood waters buried the water intake pipe that allowed fresh water from the Rattling Creek to enter the hatchery, which is maintained by the Short Mountain Conservation Club.
“We have applied for a state Department of Environmental Protection permit and an Army Corps of Engineers permit to restore water from the creek to the hatchery and are getting an estimate for the project cost,’’ said Commission Chairman Jeff Haste. “We are hoping to have the project completed later this year.’’
The county awarded a $10,000 grant for the project. Some of the money has already been used for engineering and surveying work to determine the best path for the intake pipe. Carl A. Dickson, director of the county’s Parks and Recreation Department, is coordinating the effort.
The nursery had raised 8,000 trout a year from fingerlings, or baby trout that Short Mountain received from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, said Harry Deitrich, the club member overseeing the restoration. Deitrich said the club has raised about $6,000 to use for additional repairs to the nursery and that the state has said it can provide fingerlings in September if repairs are completed.
Deitrich said the club, which has about 300 members, has run the nursery since 1970 and that the only other time it was out of operation was following the flooding caused by Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
“The Rattling Creek is a popular fishing area and trout raised by the nursery, in combination with the stocking also done by the state, adds to the area’s popularity,’’ said Commissioner Mike Pries. “We hope to have the nursery running again soon.’’
Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III, said the nursery is just one example of how the board works with municipalities following natural disasters.
“We are working throughout the county on flood mitigation projects, which we hope will make our communities safer and may lower flood insurance premiums,’’ Hartwick said. “This board also understands the importance of projects like the fish nursery, which in promoting the outdoors adds to the local economy.’’