The Watershed


The Blacklick Creek Watershed (BCW), located in Indiana and Cambria Counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, covers approximately 420 square miles of mostly forested and agricultural land.  While parts of the watershed, especially in the middle and lower reaches, are severely impaired by abandoned mine drainage, as well as siltation from abandoned mine lands and agriculture, in recent years water quality has improved steadily.  Some headwater tributaries were never significantly impaired and have long served as public water supply sources and supported recreational uses.  Other stream segments, which twenty years ago were flowing bright orange and were void of aquatic life, are now clear-flowing and support viable fish populations.  These improvements were the direct result of actions by regulatory agencies, reclamation and conservation agencies, citizen volunteer groups such as BCWA, and industry-driven reclamation projects.  While much work remains to be done, the successes so far prove that the goal of a fully restored Blacklick Creek watershed is not out of reach, and citizen volunteers can play a vital role in realizing that goal.

Blacklick Creek is one of the largest tributaries to the Conemaugh River, thus the quality of Blacklick heavily influences the quality of the Lower Conemaugh and Kiskiminetas Rivers.  Much of Blacklick Creek, and some of its tributaries, parallel The Ghost Town Trail (GTT).  Named PA’s trail-of-the-year in 2020, the GTT is a 46-mile-long major rails-to-trails project which draws large numbers of visitors to the region each year.  Improvements in the chemical quality and aesthetic appearance of Blacklick Creek enhance the experience of trail users, thus benefiting the region’s economy by encouraging return trips by trail visitors.  As with all watersheds, there are many factors which affect the stream’s quality.  This narrative focuses primarily on known, significant abandoned mine features that affect water quality. For information regarding each of the major sub-watersheds in Blacklick Creek, read on.

South Branch Blacklick Creek

The South Branch arises along Old Route 219, just to the north of Ebensburg in Cambria County, and flows generally southwestward to Vintondale, where it joins the North Branch Blacklick Creek to form the main stem near the border of Cambria and Indiana Counties.  The South Branch includes 47 square miles, and approximately eighty percent of the watershed is forested.

The South Branch from its headwaters  to where it crosses U.S. Route 422 at Revloc, historically has been of good quality and supports a population of native brook trout.  Severe acid mine drainage (AMD) discharges from two large abandoned coal refuse piles at the town of Revloc, along with other pollution sources downstream, long rendered the remainder of the South Branch dead.  However, re-mining and reclamation, conducted by Ebensburg Power Company, substantially improved the quality of the stream.  (See the related report in the “Documents” section of this site for details about those and other refuse pile reclamation projects.)  After completing the Revloc piles during the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Ebensburg Power Company transitioned its operations to two large abandoned coal refuse piles along the South Branch in the borough of Nanty Glo.  Those sites were re-mined from the early 2000’s up through 2020.  That reclamation accomplished additional, substantial water quality improvements in the South Branch. Local sportsmen, seeing that stream had visibly gone from an orange-flowing AMD stream to a clear flowing-stream, started trout clubs in Nanty Glo and Vintondale with the goal of establishing a trout fishery in the South Branch.  Catch and release fishing is strongly encouraged since the stream remains in a recovery mode.

Between Revloc and Nanty Glo, two good-quality tributaries of note enter the South Branch.  Williams Run, coming in from the north, has historically been of good quality, and the Williams Run Reservoir is the main source of public water for a large area of west-central Cambria County.  Williams Run Reservoir is not open to public recreational access.  Further downstream, and entering the South Branch from the south, Stewart Run is designated a high-quality cold-water fishery by the PA DEP and has long been stocked with trout by the PA Fish and Boat Commission. These two streams, along with smaller good quality tributaries, are likely the seed source for much of the aquatic life that quickly established itself in the South Branch, once stream quality improved.

While the South Branch has gone from an orange-flowing dead stream to a clear life-supporting stream over the past twenty years, it still faces challenges and more improvements are needed.  In the town of Nanty Glo, the large abandoned Webster deep mine discharge continues to be a substantial pollution source, despite flowing through a large passive treatment system built by the US Army Corp of Engineers in the early days of the science of passive treatment.  The PA DEP Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (BAMR) is developing approaches to further address the Webster discharge.  One possible solution would be to negotiate a treatment contract with a private entity that currently pumps and treats water from the completed Bethlehem 31 deep mine.  This treated discharge enters the South Branch via an unnamed tributary located just upstream of Nanty Glo.  Between Nanty Glo and Vintondale, there are several mine-drainage contaminated tributaries including Coal Pit Run near the village of Twin Rocks, and Bracken and Shuman Runs near Vintondale.  There is also a scattering of small abandoned coal refuse piles along the South Branch, primarily within State Game Lands 79 upstream from Vintondale, as well as a contaminated unnamed tributary which enters along this same stretch.

BCWA maintains a passive treatment system near the headwaters of Coal Pit Run which improves the upper stretch of that tributary, but the lower half of Coal Pit is impacted by additional discharges and is devoid of aquatic life.  As of late 2021, Robindale Energy Services had reclaimed an abandoned refuse pile along Coal Pit Run by hauling the refuse to a local power plant, which burns waste coal to generate electricity.

Robindale has also entered into an agreement with BAMR under a government-funded contract to reclaim another mid-sized refuse pile on the banks of the South Branch, just north of Vintondale.  Not only will this project remove very poor quality mine drainage from the stream, but the area will be converted from an eyesore for visitors to the adjacent Ghost Town Trail into a recreational park, with completion anticipated in 2022. Also in Vintondale, a treatment system known as the AMD & Art project sits alongside the Ghost Town Trail.  Unfortunately, this system is not functioning due to its construction in permeable materials, causing leakage.

North Branch Blacklick Creek

The North Branch drains about 69 square miles and begins in northcentral Cambria County near the town of Carrolltown.  Its watershed is approximately 73 percent forested.  It flows toward the southwest, then south to where it joins the South Branch at Vintondale.  The upper reaches of the North Branch are of generally good quality with some minor impacts from abandoned mine drainage and sedimentation.  North of the village of Colver, the North Branch is impounded to form the 73-acre Vetera (Colver) Reservoir, which serves as the water supply for the town of Colver and also for the Colver Power Plant, a waste coal burning electrical generating station. Vetera Reservoir is open to public fishing and boating by nonpowered watercraft.  While the North Branch upstream of its major tributary, Elk Creek, is of decent chemical quality, some segments suffer from substantial flow loss during the summer months due to underdraining by abandoned deep mines.  Sections of the North Branch are stocked with trout by the Pa Fish and Boat Commission upstream of US Route 422, but by early to mid-summer, that stream segment often is nearly dry.  For years much of the lost flow was returned to the North Branch through Elk Creek in the form of water discharged from the Barnes and Tucker Treatment Plant.  This plant treated acid mine drainage from a large complex once owned by Barnes and Tucker Coal Company. However, responsibility for this treatment eventually fell to the state.  In order to maintain the financial viability of the water treatment, BAMR eventually directed that discharge to the West Branch Susquehanna River, through a treatment plant at Bakerton.

Another feature of note on the upper North Branch is Cambria County’s Duman Lake Park.  The center piece of the 79-acre park is the 19-acre Duman Lake, which impounds Crooked Run, a tributary to Elk Creek.  Duman Lake is stocked with trout by the PFBC and also harbors warm and cool water fish species.

Elk Creek joins the North Branch just upstream of the US Route 422 bridge.  Below Elk Creek, the North Branch was long an acid mine drainage-dominated stream devoid of aquatic life.  Then the Colver Power Project launched in the 1990’s and burned and reclaimed the large abandoned Colver Refuse Pile, which was the primary source of contamination to Elk Creek and a significant source of pollution to the North Branch.  (See report on refuse pile reclamation in the “documents” section of this site.) While the headwater section of Elk Creek remains contaminated, it is now much improved, as is the remainder of the North Branch. A significant flow of treated acid mine drainage enters Elk Creek from the Eastern Associates mine drainage treatment plant.  This water is treated by the private entity that has responsibility for it.  Treatment costs are secured by a trust fund.  It is imperative that this treated water continue to be directed into Elk Creek to sustain both the quality and quantity of Elk Creek and The North Branch.

The next problem area on the North Branch downstream of Elk Creek is an abandoned refuse pile and deep mine discharge just below Red Mill.  Cambria County recently acquired the affected property to facilitate reclamation of the refuse and treatment of the discharge.  Robindale Energy reclaimed the Red Mill Refuse Pile in 2021 through a BAMR contract.  The Red Mill discharge will be directed through another abandoned deep mine and ultimately to a BAMR designed and funded chemical treatment plant, known as the Blacklick Creek Treatment Plant.  More information on this plant is included in the section on the main stem of Blacklick Creek and under the “Projects” tab of this web site.  There are no further significant sources of pollution on the section of the North Branch downstream of Red Mill, until near the confluence with the South Branch.  Just upstream of the confluence is a discharge of mine drainage known among locals as “the three sisters.”  Nearly three decades ago, BAMR drilled three boreholes into the bed of the North Branch to lower the pool of the Vinton #6 Mine, which was flooding the basements of homes in Vintondale.  These boreholes discharge water into the stream that, depending on groundwater conditions, sometimes erupt three feet above the stream bed, much to the amazement of passersby on the adjacent Ghost Town Trail, who are unaware of the spouting water’s source.  This water is also slated to be directed to the Blacklick Creek Treatment Plant, which will bring an end to the three sisters.  Once that plant is built (anticipated in 2022), the North Branch will be a viable fishery along its entire length.

Main Stem

The main stem of the Blacklick Creek begins with the merger of the North and South Branches at Vintondale and ends where the stream enters the Conemaugh River to the west-northwest of Blairsville.  The upper section of the main stream is degraded by the discharge of the Vinton No. 6 mile, which discharges through three boreholes, known locally as the three sisters, into the lower end of the North Branch.  There are many sources of mine drainage entering the main stem both directly and through its tributaries.  Despite that, its quality has improved over the years, and even though the stream is heavily stained over much of its length, recent surveys show that aquatic life, including fish life, is returning to sections of the stream.

The first significant discharge into the main stem is known as the Wehrum discharge, which enters approximately three stream miles downstream from Vintondale.  The Wehrum discharge flows at several hundred gallons per minute, is highly acidic, and has high concentrations of contaminant metals, especially iron and aluminum.  The great news about the Wehrum discharge is that it soon will be treated.  BAMR is funding, and has placed out for bids, a treatment plant for the discharge with construction anticipated for 2022.  The Blacklick Creek Treatment Plant will not only treat the Wehrum discharge, but will also treat the water from the Red Mill discharge and the three sister boreholes, both of which currently flow into the North Branch.  Water from the Red Mill discharge (Commercial No. 16 Mine) will be gravity fed into the Vinton #6 mine through a borehole.  The water from the Vinton #6 mine, which feeds the three sisters, will in turn be pumped to the treatment plant, as will the water from the Wehrun mine pool.  The treatment plant will be located about three-quarter mile downstream from Vintondale.  BAMR has placed signage, which explains the project, along the Ghost Town Trail near the plant’s location.  The plant will be capable of treating up to 7.2 million gallons per day and will be a game changer for water quality in Blacklick Creek.  It is anticipated that the plant will significantly improve the entire length of the main stem, restoring aquatic communities and greatly improving the aesthetic presentation of the stream for the users of the Ghost Town Trail.

Over the past several years, the upper to midsection of the main stem Blacklick has benefited from the cleanup of three areas of abandoned coal refuse.  The first reclaimed area is located where the Werhum treatment plant will be built.  The second is a short distance downstream where a small, good-quality tributary, known as Laurel Run, enters Blacklick from the south.  The third and most recent is located a short distance upstream from where River Road crosses Blacklick.  All three of these projects were carried out under agreements and/or contracts with the PA DEP.

The most significant tributaries on the upper main stem of Blacklick Creek are:  Rummel Run, a naturally acidic stream that is visibly stained with aluminum and enters Blacklick from the south and upstream of the Wehrum discharge; Clarke Run, downstream from Wehrum and entering from the north is of good quality; Mardis Run, also of good quality entering Blacklick from the north at Dilltown.  Downstream from Dilltown and a short distance upstream of the Route 56 bridge, a visibly polluted tributary known as Stiles Run, enters the stream from the north.

Further downstream and west of the Route 56 bridge, not far from the historic Buena Vista Iron Furnace, there is an active coal refuse reprocessing permit on the north side of the stream.  Robindale Energy Services is remining and reclaiming three abandoned surface mine pits that were filled with coal refuse; it also is permitted to remove an area of surface refuse adjacent to the Ghost Town Trail.  There are several seepages of very toxic mine drainage emanating from the refuse, which should be improved or eliminated by the reprocessing operation.  There is also a visibly contaminated unnamed tributary entering the stream from the north near the iron furnace.

About two miles downstream from Route 56 and 1.5 miles upstream from Route 259, Brush Creek enters Blacklick from the north.  Brushcreek is a good quality, trout stocked fishery, which provides Blacklick with a significant influx of good quality water.   One-half mile downstream of Route 259, Aulds Run, a heavily iron-stained tributary enters from the north.  Approximately four miles downstream of Route 259 and about 2.3 miles upstream from Saylor Park at the village of Blacklick, Laurel Run, another significant tributary, which is contaminated with mine drainage, enters from the north.

BCWA has sponsored and is maintaining two passive treatment systems on the upper end of Laurel Run.  More information concerning these systems may be found on the “Completed Passive Treatment Systems” tab of this site.  Both systems are in need of rehabilitation work.  The Laurel Run #1 system is currently being considered for reconstruction.

Approximately 2.5 miles downstream from Laurel Run’s entry point, Blacklick Creek flows by Saylor Park, which is operated by Burrell Township.  Saylor Park also marks the western terminus of the Ghost Town Trail and provides convenient parking and access to that trail, as well as to the Hoodlebug Trail.  About one-third mile past the park, Two Lick Creek, the largest tributary to the Blacklick, flows in from the north.

Blacklick Creek flows an additional 10.5 miles from the entry point of Two Lick Creek to Blacklick’s confluence with the Conemaugh River.  As one proceeds downstream, this lowermost section of Blacklick flows through an increasingly steep-sided valley.  There are no roads nor trails paralleling the stream within this valley, making access difficult.  Where the Blacklick and Conemaugh meet, both streams are silted and sluggish because of the Conemaugh River Reservoir Dam, which is an Army Corp of Engineers operated flood control and power producing dam.  During times of high pool levels at the dam, the lower end of Blacklick is flooded to the extent that it is part of the reservoir rather than a stream.  There are no known significant sources of pollution to this lowermost section of the Blacklick, and it is known to be populated by a variety of warm water fish species, although no recent surveys have been done.

Two Lick Creek

 The Two Lick Creek sub-basin drains 192 square miles and is 69 percent forested.  It is the largest subwatershed of Blacklick Creek.

The South Branch Two Lick Creek begins in Green Township, Indiana County and flows toward the west to where it joins with the North Branch to form the main stem of Two Lick, about 4.5 miles east of Clymer, PA.  The South Branch Two Lick is designated a high-quality, cold-water fishery by the PA DEP, and a significant portion of it is stocked with trout by the PA Fish and Boat Commission.  The generally good quality of the South Branch Two Lick means there is little need for remediation projects on that stream.

The North Branch Two Lick Creek begins to the north of Commodore, PA and flows southward to where it meets the South Branch.  The North Branch, unlike its southern cousin, is impacted by numerous abandoned mine features, which have affected its quality to a moderate degree.  The North Branch does support aquatic life, including some fish throughout much of its length.  A 2005 assessment produced by BCWA, in association with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), identified three significant sources of AMD to The North Branch Two Lick, along with several smaller discharges. A 2020 report conducted for BCWA by Hedin Environmental, using a grant from Trout Unlimited, further evaluated mine drainage sources on upper Two Lick Creek.  (A copy of the 2005 and 2020 reports, along with other documents regarding Two Lick Creek, are included under the “Important Documents” section of this site.)

The most significant AMD discharge on the upper section of Two Lick Creek occurs near the community of Diamondville, and is located about 1.7 miles downstream of the merger of the North and South Branches.  The Diamondville discharge is an upwelling from a borehole connecting to the abandoned Mack deep mine.  This discharge is located near the stream bank, making access for any type of treatment strategy difficult.  About 1.4 miles downstream of the Diamondville Discharge and 1.5 miles east of Clymer, BCWA developed and maintains a passive treatment system on a significant abandoned deep mine discharge from the abandoned Victor #45 Mine.  The system treats approximately 300 gallons per minute (gpm) of mine drainage.  Further details concerning the system, which was re-built and upgraded in 2020-21, may be found under the projects page of this website.  At the town of Clymer, two significant tributaries, Buck Run and Dixon Run enter Two Lick Creek from the north.  These streams are both affected by AMD to a moderate degree.

Approximately 1.0 mile downstream from Clymer, a substantially AMD-degraded tributary enters Two Lick from the northwest.  This stream is identified as an unnamed tributary in the 2005 report, but is sometimes referred to by the local name of Sample Run.  Further investigation of this stream and its sources of degradation are needed.

About 1.67 miles downstream of Sample Run, Two Lick Creek flows into the Two Lick Reservoir.  A short distance above the reservoir, Penn Run, a major tributary enters Two Lick from the east. Penn Run at its mouth is moderately degraded by AMD, based on sampling done for the afore-mentioned 2005 report.

Two Lick Reservoir is approximately 500 acres in size and was built by the owners of the Homer City Generating station, a 2000-megawatt conventional coal-fired electric generating power plant.  The reservoir was built to supply make-up water for the power plant and was completed around 1969.  Two Lick Reservoir is generally of good quality and harbors fish populations.  Historically, a private club has leased boating access to the reservoir.  Despite its good quality, there are three significant mine drainage discharges that flow directly into Two Lick Reservoir.

A discharge from the Dixon Run mine is being actively chemically treated by the owners of the Homer City Generating Station.  The Penn Hills #1 Mine discharge is not being treated.  The Penn Hills #2 mine is being treated in a three-part passive system that was funded partially by bond forfeiture monies and other state funds.  BCWA monitors the effectiveness of the passive system and has maintained access to it using funds available from a small trust.  The long-term fate of the water treatment systems on the discharges to the reservoir are tied to the long-term fate of the Homer City Power Station.

Below the reservoir, Two Lick Creek supports reproducing trout and has cold water characteristics due to the cold outflow from the bottom of the reservoir.  A report titled “Two Lick Creek Cold Water Heritage Conservation and Restoration Plan,” commissioned the Ken Sink Chapter of Trout Unlimited, supplies additional information about this fishery; the report may be found under the “Important Documents” tab of this site.  A short distance below the reservoir, Pennsylvania American Water Company has an intake on Two Lick Creek, which provides approximately 1.85 million gallons per day of water to customers in Indiana, PA.   A short distance downstream of the water supply intake is a discharge known as Lucerne 3A.  This discharge was treated during the 2010’s by a lime dosing system funded by grants obtained by the Indiana County Conservation District (ICCD).  The treatment was eventually discontinued due to re-curing equipment maintenance issues.  ICCD has received a grant to build a passive treatment system for the Lucerne 3A discharge.

The Risinger discharge is the largest and most significant AMD discharge in the Two Lick Creek basin.  It is located approximately 6.6 miles downstream of the Two Lick Reservoir outflow.  It is a very large discharge from an airshaft of an abandoned deep mine.  Because its 1000-gpm plus flow emanates at the edge of the eastern stream bank of Two Lick, just north of Homer City, PA, remedial action will be quite difficult.  While the heavy pollution loading from the discharge does measurably impact Two Lick, the large dilution capacity of the steam at that point allows it to recover enough to maintain aquatic life below that point.

About 1.3 miles below Risinger, Yellow Creek enters Two Lick from the east, bringing with it its own heavy pollution load.  A separate section of this narrative discusses Yellow Creek.

Tearing Run, a tributary known to be affected by several mine drainage sources, enters Two Lick Creek from the east approximately 0.6 miles downstream from Yellow Creek.  More investigation of Tearing Run and its pollution sources is likely warranted.

Two Lick Creek reaches its endpoint where it flows into Blacklick Creek, approximately 5.8 miles downstream of Tearing Run.  This confluence occurs just to the west of US Route 119, south of the town of Coral. In addition to AMD contamination, the lower section of Two Lick downstream of US Route 422 is also affected negatively by urban and agricultural runoff.

Yellow Creek

 Yellow Creek is a major tributary of Two Lick Creek, which in turn is the largest sub-basin of Blacklick Creek.  Yellow Creek drains about 66 square miles and is 81 percent forested. It begins near the village of Alverda in Pine Township, Indiana County and flows to the southwest to where it joins Two Lick Creek in Homer City, PA.  Much of the upper two-thirds of the Yellow Creek basin is of good quality, supporting a healthy aquatic community, despite scattered mine drainage discharges and abandoned mine lands, which result in some stream segments with slight to moderate degradation by mine drainage.  Leonard Run, which enters Yellow Creek just south of the village of Heilwood, is moderately degraded by AMD.  The entire section of Yellow Creek upstream of Yellow Creek State Park is listed as a regulated trout water by the PA Fish and Boat Commission, and the Commission stocks sections of the stream with trout.

Yellow Creek flows into Yellow Creek Lake just south of the stream’s crossing with US Route 422.  The 720-acre Yellow Creek Lake is the main attraction of the 2981-acre Yellow Creek State Park.  The lake offers boating, swimming, and fishing for most common PA warm and cool water game fish.  Little Yellow Creek, which flows to the southeast of, and parallel to, Yellow Creek also flows into Yellow Creek Lake.  Little Yellow Creek is designated a high-quality cold-water fishery by the PA DEP and is stocked with trout by the PA Fish and Boat Commission.  While there is some discharge of mine-affected groundwater to the middle area of Little Yellow Creek that results in some spotty substrate coating with iron, the stream supports its designated use along its length.

Except for a short segment just downstream of the spillway, a section of Yellow Creek below the lake is posted private property and is managed as a private trout club with no public access.  However, further downstream, especially along the segment adjacent to State Game Lands 273, the stream is once again stocked with trout, and public access is readily available. A small public water supply reservoir, which serves the borough of Homer City, is located on the Yellow Creek segment, between the lake and where the stream crosses State Route 954.  The reservoir historically has experienced siltation issues from disturbed lands upstream.  Near the reservoir, Ferrier Run, a moderately AMD-degraded stream, which has been improving in quality over recent years, enters Yellow Creek from the east.

Once Yellow Creek flows past State Route 954, its quality experiences a steady decline.  Increasing in both number and size, abandoned mine features significantly degrade the remainder of the stream.  BCWA manages five passive treatment systems along Yellow Creek, just downstream of the 954 bridge.  Phase I of the Yellow Creek project includes two systems, while Phase II includes 3 systems.  Further detail concerning these systems may be found by clicking on the “Projects” tab of this site, then selecting “Completed Passive Treatment Projects.”  Downstream of the Yellow Creek projects, additional significant mine drainage pollution enters the stream.

Located downstream of the Yellow Creek passive treatment systems, the abandoned Tide Refuse Pile is a significant source of siltation and mine drainage seepage to the stream.  The quality of the refuse in the Tide Pile will not support a traditional re-mining/reclamation scenario such as was employed on the large refuse piles on the South and North Branches.  BAMR has been exploring the possibility of a government-financed contract to have useable material from the pile burned in a waste coal plant, with the remaining material being encapsulated in alkaline coal ash and then revegetated.  BAMR funded a similar project on the West Branch Susquehanna River in northern Cambria County, which was instrumental in restoring water quality to a large segment of that river, proving the effectiveness of the approach.  Just downstream of the Tide Pile, an AMD-degraded tributary, known as the Tide Tributary, enters Yellow Creek from the east.

Downstream of the Tide tributary, another large abandoned refuse pile, known as the Lucerne pile, further significantly degrades Yellow Creek.  BCWA commissioned Hedin Environmental to complete an assessment of Lower Yellow Creek in 2021 (final report pending), which showed that surface and groundwater pollution from the Lucerne Pile is by far the most significant source of pollution to Lower Yellow Creek.  The Lucerne pile has an active remining permit on it.  Under that permit refuse has been hauled to the region’s waste coal power plants over the past fifteen years and alkaline ash has been returned to the site to aid in reclamation and water-quality remediation.  Remining and reclamation of the site is on-going and, when completed in the next two to three years, will hopefully result in a reduction of pollution loading to Yellow Creek.  While stream monitoring done below the pile to date has shown little change in water quality, the Lucerne remining operation is similar to those that significantly improved the North and South Branches of Blacklick Creek. In the area of the Lucerne Pile, there is also an AMD-contaminated tributary entering the stream from the east.

The last significant source of mine drainage pollution enters Yellow Creek from the west side just downstream of the Lucerne Pile.  This discharge emanates from an abandoned borehole not far off of US 119.  The discharge flows through some natural wetlands that have developed around it and is somewhat attenuated by those wetlands before it enters Yellow Creek.


Blacklick Creek is a large and varied watershed, home to many important water-based resources.  While much of its length and that of its major tributaries were once devastated by mine drainage pollution, the quality of many segments—North Branch Blacklick, South Branch Blacklick, Upper Two Lick are good examples– have steadily improved in recent years and support varying degrees of aquatic life, including healthy fish populations in some areas.  It is expected that the Wehrum treatment plant, planned to be built during 2022, will substantially restore the main stem of Blacklick Creek.  The areas most in need of improvement today are Lower Yellow Creek and Lower Two Lick Creek, below Yellow Creek.  Opportunities do remain for improvement projects on other sections of the watershed still impacted by AMD to a lesser extent.  The improvements that have occurred are due in part to natural healing of the watershed by time, but also were significantly driven by the efforts of many groups, including private industry, government agencies, and citizen volunteers, such as the members of BCWA and its partners.