Lehigh River
Stocking Association

PO Box 97
Trexlertown, PA 18087


Two water quality monitors deployed with transmission of data wirelessly to Internet. Click the links below to reveiw water quality conditions

Lehigh River at Palmerton: Palmerton_WQ (out of service)

Lehigh River at Walnutport (near Pillars) : Walnutport (water quality monitor active since 12April2015)

Walnutport Water Quality Monitor Live Data Stream Below (this function not currently operating properly)

Jim Thorpe Water Quality Monitor Live Data Stream below (this probe not in service)


Lehigh River
Stocking Association

PO Box 97
Trexlertown, PA 18087

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Mission Statement
The Lehigh River Stocking Association is a nonprofit, 501C-3 public organization dedicated to the restoration, revitalization and restocking of the Lehigh River. Our goal is the continuous improvement of this waterway and its tributaries. Our objectives are to insure clean water, a healthy and balanced ecosystem, an abundant fishery and access points for all citizens to enjoy. This will be to the benefit of all interests; including the businesses located throughout this region, the sportsmen and the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This project has been ongoing for the last seventeen years with ever-increasing success. We need and ask for your support for this outstanding program to continue.

Lehigh River 2014 Tributary Survey

The LRSA meets the last Tuesday of every month (except December) at 7pm at the Wegmans Market Cafe at 390 West Tilghman St in Allentown.

Water Quality Grant Application

This year we did receive a $10,000 grant for a new Hydrolab Datasonde DS5 probe. See our NEWS section for more information. New features include a luminscent state-of-the-art dissolved oxygen sensor, a nitrate sensor and a self cleaning turbidity sensor. We plan to have this data connected to the Internet by the end of this summer. We have purchased a cellular modem to make this happen using $2,500 from a separate grant. We are serious about monitoring the Lehigh River water quality. If you would like to learn more or get involved with this growing program, please call Matt MacConnell at 610-657-2707.

For dowload of report below click here

The Lausanne Tunnel Project on the Nesquehoning Creek. Correcting acid mine drainage entering the Lehigh River. (Photo: Matt MacConnell)

Large AMD lagoon at the Nesquehoning Creek. The laggons filter acid mine drainge from coal mines. (Photo: Matt MacConnell)

Same filtering laggon as above. Just another view of it, at left you can see the AMD entering the lagoon from the mine. (Photo: Matt MacConnell)

Both of the acid mine drainage lagoons are shown here. (Photo: Matt MacConnell)

The water is filtered using special plants. Then released into the Nesquehoning Creek which then enters the Lehigh River. (Photo: Matt MacConnell)

Matt MacConnell with the Hydroprobe collecting water quality data in the Lehighton area of the Lehigh River.

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Thanks to Air Products and Chemicals for their generation contribution of $2,000 to support the LRSA water quality monitoring program. This award was made in Februay 2011 and will fully fund our water quality program for the year.


The removal of metals (iron and manganese primarily) from the tunnel discharge relies in part on the oxidation of ferrous (Fe2+) iron to ferric (Fe3+) iron that settles as a percipitate in the wetland prior to entering the river. LRSA took a lead role in the installation of two passive aerators to improve performance. See report below.

Lausanne Tunnel AMD Site Aerator Installation Report

Water quality monitor back on line as of 27Feb2011, although repairs were needed between June 6 and June 25. A survey of tributaries was condicted on 25Jun2011 see this link for summary of results.

2011 Lehigh River Tributary Water Quality Report

The on-line water quality monitoring probe was deployed March 1st 2011 and data from the Lehigh River in Jim Thorpe is available at the link below. Historical data from 1Mar2009 and Oct2009 then from 5July2010 to October2010 is also avaialable. This is the only system of its kind in the Delaware River Basin. Please check out the following web site link:


User Name: Lehigh River
Password: LRSA
(note, case sensitive)
Expand the subdirectories by clicking the + until the measurements are
listed.  Click on the parameter of interest and the trend will be
charted and data values tabulated.  Click on the "properties" tab to
select the time window and/or to add multiple parameters to your charts.
The data can be easily exported to Excel (csv file) by clicking the
export tab or printed directly.

The LRSA submitted a grant application to US Fish and Wildlife for installation of a fishway on the Parryville Dam in Parryville, PA. This dam is located on the Pohopoco Creek, 200 yards from the confluence with the Lehigh River. The Pohopoco Creek is a cold tail water from Beltzville dam and offers essential thermal refuge for Lehigh trout in summer months. The fishway will expand the cold water habitat available to Lehigh River trout greatly enhancing survival (hold over) through summer months as well as spawning habitat. Bidirectional trout traffic from above and below the dam will be the project objective. Note that the first objective was dam removal but this was ruled out because the dam is being used by the Palmerton Borough to provide water to users in Palmerton (a 20" pipeline delivers water from the impoundment to Palmerton). The project proposal was developed with funding from the Lehigh Valley Sierra Club. The US Fish and Wildlife are administering funds from the Zinc Pile superfund settlement which if successful would be used to fund this project.

A FEW public meeting was held on October 27, 2009. The 2009 performance was reviewed and the 2010 plan reviewed. The plan went well last year but there was plenty of water so the plan wasnt too challenged. One adjustment for next year is to move a May white water day to July, this will give better fishing access in May and provide more volume when we need it in July.

The public meeting on January 21st was well attended. George Sauls from Army Corp presented the 2009 plan and highlited what was the same and what was new. The plan is provided at this link:

FEW Flow Operations Plan for 2009 -

Comments of the 2009 plan that LRSA sent to the Army Corp were provided, letter below

LRSA Comments to Army Corp Regarding 2009FEW Release Plan

Lehigh River Tributary Survey - Part 1

This report provides water quality parameters taken from 13 Lehigh River tributaries in the area close to the confluence with the Lehigh River. Data was taken on May 1st. It is planned to take more readings in late summer to characterize the tributary water quality and how well they support the trout fishery in the Lehigh.

Lehigh River Water Temperature Profiles 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009

This report details the temperature profile in the Lehigh at Jim Thorpe.



What appears (and smells) to be a raw sewage drain flowing into the Lehigh just upstream of the Triechlers Bridge was discovered during stocking on March27 and reported to authorities. The LRSA is watching out for Lehigh Water Quality and is taking action when we can. UPDATE - This is the discharge stream from a waste water treatment facility located up on the hill (not is site from the river). The waste water discharge is supposed to "clean" but clearly it was not meeting spec. The PFBC official who investigated found it running brown and foul. He indicated they had an issue with this in the past and was due to operations malfunction at the plant. He committed to getting in touch with the plant to get this fixed ASAP. Will advise...

The LRSA provided manpower needed to install the two open channel flow monitors at the Lausanne Tunnel abandoned mine drainage (AMD) site in Jim Thorpe. The project was completed in December 2009 and was funded by a grant from the Lehigh Valley Group Sierra Club, Pennsylvania Chapter. Funding was also provided by Wildlands Conservancy. A report was prepared which describes the work accomplished in detail. The tunnel is currently discharging an average 5100 gal/min of raw tunnel discharge into the Nesquehoning Creek (which flows into the Lehigh about 1 mile upstream of the Jim Thorpe train station). The tunnel discharge flow through the passive wetland system is approximately 2500 gal/min.

The rectangular open channel flow meter shown above meters the flow of raw abandoned mine drainage (AMD) from the Lausanne Tunnel into Nesquehoning Creek. Flow is about 9000 gallons per minute. This water is high in iron, sulfate, aluminum, etc.

The open channel flow meter at left measures the flow through the passive wetland treatment system, this flow is about 2500 gal/min. Both flow meters were installed with funds provided by Lehigh Valley Group Sierra Club and Wildlands Conservancy. The LRSA provided the manpower to get the meters installed.

Lehigh River Water Quality Monitoring in Jim Thrope . Comparison of the Water temperature over the last three years in graph below or download this pdf to get additional trends (depth, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen and pH). WQ_Trend_Comparison

Water quality continues to be monitored at Jim Thorpe from March through September each year. The average temperatures were calculated for each month and plotted on the graph below. Also plotted are the maximum temperature criteria listed in the Chapter 93 Water Quality Standards for Cold Water (CWF) and Trout Stocked (TSF) Fisheries. We see that the water easily falls within the constraints of the TSF but exceeds the CWF temperature criteria between May and June. On average, the data shows that the water temperature is increasing each year. Temperatures in 2006, 2007 and 2008 were 58.7, 59.7 and 60.3 deg F respectively for a total increase of 1.6 F. The LRSA will continue this water monitoring program thru 2009. Other water quality parameters monitored are dissolved oxygen, depth, turbidity, pH, specific conductance, ORP and Nitrates. This data provides useful information to fisheries biologists, particularly while we are in the midst of trying to better understand the best F.E.W dam flow release strategies and corresponding impacts on the water quality.

2006, 2007 and 2008 Temperature Trends

Download 2008 Water Quality Measurements from Jim Thorpe -
The Army Corp of Engineers has prepared the fact sheet below to describe the status of the Lehigh River Recreational Enhancement Study. Please take a look, success of this project will be important to the Lehigh River trout fishery

Lehigh River Study - Project Fact Sheet from Army Corps



Parryville Dam on Pohopoco Creek - Sierra Club Grant recieved for the purpose of defining options for dam modification that would enable fish passage while retaining the impoundment for the Palmerton Municpal Authority who extracts about 0.5 million gallons per day for industrial users in Palmerton. This video provides a closeup look at the dam and surrounding area. The Pohopoco is a cold tail water from the Beltzville Dam and represents outstanding trout habitat that would provide thermal refuge for Lehigh River trout in summer, plus spawning opportunities for Lehigh Brown Trout. Unfortunately the dam which is located only 200 yards from the confluence with the Lehigh, restricts migration of trout in the Pohopoco. The result is the Lehigh trout stack up below the dam. It is desired to find a way to enable the trout to move up and down the Pohopoco in a more natural way. The PA Fish and Boat does stock legal sized trout in the Pohopoco below the Beltzville dam, so enabling fish passage will also provide state stocked fish to reach the Lehigh as well.

2007 Update on Lausanne Tunnel Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project - REPORT
Mach 2008 Jim Thorpe Water Quality
The Water quality is monitored around the clock in the Lehigh River about 1/2 mile upstream of the Jim Thorpe train station. The information is collected using a multiple sensor probe system that features a datalogger. The probe records water quality data every hour and stores it in memory. Every 2 weeks the data is downloaded to a laptop PC in the field and plotted in data graphs such as the one below.
Matt MacConnell (left) applies a pH buffer solution during a bi-monthly calibration of the water quality probe along the banks of the Lehigh in Jim Thorpe.
Photo above taken during Day 2 of 2007 Lehigh River Sojourn at Lehigh Gap Nature Center. Pictured are from left Larry Rafes (Wildlands), Tom Gyory (LRSA), Chris Kocher (Wildlands), Matt MacConnell (LRSA) and Marvin White (Lehigh University) . Tom and Matt had just given a lunch time presentation about the LRSA stocking and conservation efforts to the 80 or so folks on the Sojourn.
LRSA is Charted below - 2007, the Lehigh in Jim Thorpe.

Lehigh River Stocking Association - Watershed Information

Lausanne Tunnel AMD

The Lausanne Tunnel abandoned mine drainage (AMD) site located just north of Jim Thorpe was installed in 1906 to dewater the anthracite coal fields and discharges into Nesquehoning Creek at an average 10 cubic feet per second. Two wetlands were installed a few years back to treat a large portion of this discharge. Tracer tests were conducted by Wildlands Conservancy to evaluate retention and flow characteristics so that improvements could be identified and planned. It was determined that the retention time is 60 minutes and that some attenuation in pollutants is taking place.
The aquatic plants that LRSA helped plant two years ago are taking root in the 1st wetland but only those at the perimeter have survived in the second wetland. This is because the water is too deep in the second. Plants are needed to create the biomass and surface area needed to help flocculate the metals.
Because Lausanne AMD discharge represents 53% of the total AMD load into the river, the success of this system is very important. The pounds per day (ppd) load into the Lehigh from this has been estimated at 293 ppd Aluminum, 307 ppd Manganese, 39,523 ppd Sulfate and 538 ppd Total Iron. The tunnel contributes more than 84% of the total alkalinity from AMD tributaries into the Lehigh River so the pH is relatively high at about 6.4. The fact that this discharge is more alkaline is why it is believed that a simple wetland lagoon system will be effective in the flocculation (settling out) of the contaminants. The next most significant AMD sources include the following tunnels: Owl Hole, Quakake, Buck Mountain #2, Sandy Run and Buck Mountain #1.

Matt MacConnell, Director

Tunnel Discharge Pond outflow to river at left the tunnel discharge pond

at right the outflow of the wetland system into Lehigh River.


Lehigh River/Francis E Walter Reservoir

Goals & Objectives – Water Storage Increase Negotiations


Negotiate with the Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) to increase storage in the Francis E Walter Reservoir (FEW). In conjunction with increase water storage develop a regulated water release program to enhance the aquatic ecosystem in the Lehigh River while simultaneously providing additional rafting opportunities during low water periods common in the summer months.


  1. Increase storage capacity in FEW to a depth (i.e. – 130 feet) that will create a thermal-cline, separation in warm and cold water (55 degree F), with in the reservoir.
  2. Allow enough capacity in FEW to permit the ACE to comply with flood control protection guidelines and protection of down-river properties.
  3. Performance of various flow/capacity studies as required in order to obtain scientific data for establishing a regulated release/flow policy from the FEW. It is anticipated that releases/flows will benefit the aquatic ecosystem and enhance recreational rafting opportunities on the Lehigh River throughout the year.
  4. Provide economic opportunities for surrounding towns, boroughs and municipalities as a result of increase in recreational use on the Lehigh.


  1. Organization of the Lehigh River Stocking Association Watershed Committee (LRSAWC) along with support groups (i.e. – Trout Unlimited, Wildlands Conservancy, Wildlife Information Center, Lehigh River Guides Association, White Water Rafting Assoc.) to promote and assist in the necessary studies concerning flows and recreation on the Lehigh.
  2. Discuss “Formal Approval” process with the ACE and the PA Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to request increase of storage in FEW and implementation of changes in operational policy with the ACE.
  3. Ensure flexibility of any preliminary “Water Release Flow Plans” to allow for changes as deemed necessary based on meteorological conditions.
  4. Provide awareness of the economic benefits of such changes with FEW to local towns, boroughs and municipalities.
  5. Request political support as needed from our local, state and federal legislators as needed. (Rep. Keith McCall, Rep. Robert Godshall, Rep. Paul Kanjorski)


As a result of the Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) relocating the road from inside the Francis E Walter Reservoir (FEW) to the top of the dam breast, changes to the operation of this impoundment are now available. Previously, during high water periods and flood control operation, the road in question would flood, restricting access to the town on the other side of the FEW reservoir and leading to health and safety issues for local residents.

To date, many conversations have been ongoing with state Legislators (listed above) regarding proposed changes for the increase in water storage within the FEW and development of a regulated release policy. The organization of the LRSAWC will assist in promoting this effort and organizing efforts of various groups such as Trout Unlimited, Wildlands Conservancy, Wildlife Information Center, Lehigh River Stocking Association, Lehigh River Guides Association and local municipalities to provide support and assistance with ongoing negotiations with the ACE and any future studies as required by the ACE.

It is anticipated that increasing the storage capacity to a depth of 130’ (1430’ elevation) is expected to result in significant enhancement to the Lehigh’s ecosystem as well as recreational opportunities. These benefits are listed as follows:

  1. Cold water flows (~55 degree F) from the bottom of FEW could potentially create 30-40 miles of High Quality Coldwater Fishery or Exceptional Value water.
  2. Consistent flows during periods of low water and high air temperatures will assure survival and growth of the aquatic life and enhance the ecosystem as a whole on the Lehigh River.
  3. Regulated flows will increase recreational rafting opportunities that are currently subjected to the mercy of Mother Nature and what is agreed upon with ACE for releases on selected weekends.
  4. Increasing storage will also provide recreational power boating opportunities with in the FEW impoundment along with increase in fishing possibilities in the lake itself.
  5. Local businesses and municipalities will benefit as a result of the increase in tourism to the region. It has the potential to generate $30-50 million dollar in tourism and recreation to the Lehigh River geographical region.

Reservoir Comparison Chart
Lehigh River Flow Chart
Lehigh River Hatches (aquatic life)
Fishing Industry Economic Information (BeaMoc & Missouri)

Lausanne Tunnel Project

Members of the LRSA participated in an event this past weekend held by the Wildlands Conservancy. Approximately 1000 heavy metal loving plants (cattails & bullrush) were planted in the lower basin. As these plants grow and multiply, they will basically remove the heavy metals dissolved in the water.
Haybail baffles were secured in the upper basin to allow for the addition of organic material in the basin to assist in plant growth and to slow down the water flow.
This treatment system is set up to remove approximately half of the amount of Acid Mine Drainage that is entering the Nesquehoning Creek and into the Lehigh. This discharge is the largest contributor to AMD on the river.
Was great fun, slopping around in the "Yellow Boy" all morning. Beautiful day to hold this event. Thanks to Wildlands Conservancy for pulling all this together.

Dean Druckenmiller
LRSA Director

LRSA to Monitor Lehigh River Water Quality

The LRSA has long had a vision to continuously monitor water quality in the Lehigh River and make this data available to the public on the Internet. The association has made progress toward this vision with the recent purchase of two Hydrolab Datasonde 3 multiparameter water quality-monitoring instruments from Parkland High School. The two instruments have not been used since Parkland stopped running the Lehigh River Watch program. LRSA intends to have a probe in the water full time in Northampton where each probe will be in service one week at a time while the other probe is out for weekly service and recalibration. Funds are being pursued through grant proposals to purchase additional equipment and software needed to support development of a system that will upload water quality data to our www.LRSA.org web site. Parameters that will be available on-line include: dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductance, temperature, turbidity, and oxidation-reduction potential (ORP). Dissolved oxygen is one of the most important parameters for a healthy trout population. High dissolved oxygen level is a good indicator of a healthy ecosystem and the Lehigh generally maintains a level in excess of 7 ppm, which is the minimum requirement for a high quality, cold-water fishery (HQCWF) as defined by DEP.

Matt MacConnell removes the probe
LRSA's, Datasonde 3 Hydroprobes at Northampton in May of 2004. We now have probes in the river 24/7 monitoring pH, Dissolved Oxygen, conductivity, turbidity, and level. Matt MacConnell removes the probe on right for data download. The clean probe on left will take it's place for a week of water quality monitoring.

The Hydrolab probes will enable LRSA to offer great insight into conditions in the river for sportsman, conservationists, students and others. The probes will enable the LRSA and others to track water quality trends in the river and to provide an alarm capability if a sudden unhealthy condition develops. Based on years of monitoring the Lehigh through the River Watch program, Bob Miller (1) and his students have developed a number of observations that are helpful as we continue in this effort to understand the Lehigh River. Several of these observations are provided below:

Reference: Miller, Robert, D. Summary of Mean Run Data for 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 [to July] Lehigh River, Northampton, PA. July 2000).

The LRSA is not the only conservation minded organization who is monitoring the Lehigh River. The DRBC is monitoring temperature and dissolved oxygen at Bethlehem and there is a program in place at Lehigh University where similar Hydrolab probes are being used to monitor water quality in the vicinity of the Bethlehem Boat Club. It is expected that LRSA will collaborate with these and other organizations that are monitoring the river water quality. Stay tuned for more information on this program. A primer on what parameters can be measured, their normal range, and what it means is provided below.

Temperature – (seasonal) Temperature varies seasonally and diurnally (from day to night)
pH – (6.5 to 7.5) The pH varies diurnally due to natural causes. Natural variation is primarily in relation to the photosynthetic activity of algae where photosynthesis consumes CO2. The CO2 dissolved in the water tends to drive pH down due to equilibrium with carbonic acid. At night when photosynthesis is not occurring, the CO2 level rises and the pH drops accordingly. Abandoned mine drainage (AMD) and point source pollution also contribute to unnatural pH variation.
Level – (probe typically submerged 1 meter) The depth that the probe is submerged is recorded. This provides an indirect indication of water flow.
Turbidity – (0 – 7 NTU) Provides an indication of how much suspended solids are stirred up in the water (murkiness) such as silt, algae, etc..
Specific Conductance – (0.1 – 0.12 mS/cm) This parameter is a measure of the amount of dissolved solids and/or ions in the water. Run off that carries salts or other materials such as various pollutants that dissolve in the water will cause this reading to climb.
Dissolved Oxygen – (9 – 11 ppm) The amount of dissolved oxygen is a function of water temperature, amount of aeration from rapids or falls and the photosynthetic activity. Readings need to be above 6 to sustain healthy trout populations.
ORP – (300 – 600 mV) The ORP or oxidation-reduction potential is a measure of certain types of chemicals that are in the water that have electrochemical properties. For example chlorine in the water will cause changes in the ORP reading.

Submitted by Matt MacConnell, Director

Online Water Quality Data

pH, DO, Temp, and Depth. for Jim Thorpe - April 6, 2006

pH, DO, Temp, and Depth. for Jim Thorpe - May 6, 2006

pH, DO, Temp, and Depth. for Jim Thorpe - June 6, 2006

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Lehigh River Stocking Association
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