The state departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources have agreed to perform further study on how any changes to Lake Nockamixon Dam could affect Tohickon Creek before changing the waterway’s designation, state Rep. Wendy Ullman (D-Bucks) announced.
The action was a response to requests from legislators, civic and environmental groups and the public.
“Thanks to our collective efforts, any DEP reassement of this treasured waterway must await new findings and up-to-date data,” Ullman said.
According to Ullman, DEP had earlier proposed downgrading Tohickon Creek as a trout-stock-fishery designation, which would have a serious negative impact on tourism and property values.
With Tinicum Conservancy, Ullman had encouraged local residents to petition DEP to designate the Tohickon Creek as Exceptional Value in order to protect all existing uses of the stream and safeguard the quality of its water. Over 900 public comments were received.
Tinicum Conservancy has been working for years to have the creek upgraded to Exceptional Value.
In the interim, Ullman has had conversations with DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn and DEP Director of Legislative Affairs Gregory Kauffman to push for further evaluation of Lake Nockamixon Dam and Tohickon Creek.
The letter Ullman received from DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell agreeing to this request for further study says:
“The stream evaluation of Tohickon Creek is currently at the draft report stage. Further evaluation of the Lake Nockamixon Dam and publication of an updated draft stream evaluation report will occur prior to DEP submitting any recommendation regarding the designated acquatic life use of the lower mainstem of Tochickon Creek to the Environmental Quality Board.”
Ullman said that any change in the Tohickon Creek’s water quality designation will have to go through the regulatory review process, which will allow for continued public engagement.