Rock Creek Assessment

The Problems

In 1999, portions of Rock Creek were identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as not meeting water quality standards and are on a federal list of impaired waters. Causes of impairments include: excess nutrients, siltation, flow variability and thermal modifications. Turbidity was identified by stakeholders as a common occurrence in the creek.
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Water Quality Indicators
In order to determine the health of Rock Creek and its tributaries, the Watershed Alliance of Adams County has partnered with the local residents, the Adams County Conservation District, and the Alliance for Aquatic Resources Monitoring (ALLARM) from Dickinson College on a study of the watershed since spring of 2004. The study was designed to address the following questions that were a result of the public meetings held at the start of the project:
  • What is the impact of sewage, agriculture and stormwater on Rock Creek?
  • Why is the creek muddy?
  • Does the creek heal itself?

The Rock Creek Assessment project included monitoring physical, chemical and biological indicators of stream health.

General Parameters for Monitoring Site Selection
Sites were selected in order to have as complete an assessment of the Rock Creek Watershed as possible with the available number of volunteers. Monitoring sites were also chosen based on ease of access.

Rock Creek above Cumberland Township North sewage treatment plant (Shealer Rd.)
Rock Creek below sewage treatment plant at Gettysburg Municipal Authority
Stevenís Run (the Tiber) at Fourth Street
Stevenís Run (the Tiber) on National Park Service property
Rock Creek- private property (upstream of rt. 97 bridge)
Plum Run at Lake Heritage spillway
Littles Run at White Church Rd.
Rock Creek at Solomon Rd.
Plum Run at Taneytown Rd.
Rock Creek at Barlow/Two Taverns
Rock Creek below Links in farm field on private property