Brook trout are native species to Western Pennsylvania. All they really need to thrive is access to cold water, good food and a nice habitat. These wandering fish swim to get food and spawn, but narrow or crushed culverts under road crossings can severely limit their mobility.
Enter the Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). Working Shell and other organizations, this program was established in 2017 to do on-the-ground restoration in the Central Appalachian – Allegheny Plateau landscape.
For example, in one area near Kettle Creek in Pennsylvania, NFWF worked with a local environmental nonprofit group to survey over 2,000 road crossings. In the first year alone, the group fixed or replaced dozens of culverts, opening up over 20 miles for brook trout to spawn.
This work also benefits other creatures like the eastern hellbender, golden-winged warbler, cerulean warbler and American Woodcock and eastern box turtle. Even better, free flowing streams can help mitigate flood waters, making this a winning situation for all.