Capstone Makes a Difference


Throughout the year Capstone and Earth and Environment students have learned different aspects about stream restoration and the impact environment. During the week of May 7-11, students planned to put what they have learned into use with the stream restoration project at Nine Mile Run. “I’m excited to finally get to put all we’ve learned to good use,” said senior Amanada Adams.

The goal of the annual project is to restore the eroded banks of Nine Mile Run. Adding a variety of structures, made with logs and stones, increase the fish population. Single and multi-log vanes, log face stone deflectors, mud sills and cross vanes, help restore the eroded banks of the stream. “This project will be good for the stream because once there are good structures in the stream the Fish and Boat commission will be able to stock fish,” said Derek Edwards. “The trout will survive in this environment all year-round so people can fish throughout the year.”

In preparation for this year’s project an elite class of students walked the stream with members of the Fish and Boat Commission to plan out the structures. Both Capstone and Earth and Enivronment students counted the number of fish and species through Electrofishing. The number of macro invertebrate and the stream conditions were noted. Visual assessments of the stream banks and surrounding areas were completed to help prepare for the project. By making these observations students in future years will be able to observe changes in the environment and determine how structures are helping the stream.

Mrs. Wright, who previously worked with the Loyalhanna Water Shed Association, prepared the Capstone class for the stream project throughout the year. “We have been building up to work on the project all year,” said Adams. Students have learned about the effects of placing these structures into the environment and what components are needed to have a prosperous stream. By adding this year’s planned structures to the stream, fish would have had clear path from the Loyalhanna creek to Nine Mile Run.

In her second year of teaching the Capstone class, Mrs. Wright was excited for the completion of the most extensive project yet. “We had record rain fall in the 24 hour period so due to that we weren’t able to be in the stream because of safety reasons,” said Wright. The Capstone class spent a whole day at the stream, working with members of the crew to install nine structures, which ended up being the only structures installed because of the weather.

To date 48 structures have been added to Nine Mile Run, located beside Rotary field. This year’s project included 40 new structures which would have completed all work on this section of the Loyalhanna watershed. Although this project did not go as planned, next year Capstone students will be able to finish the final stretch of Nine Mile Run.

Combining knowledge and effort, students will to leave a lasting mark on the Nine Mile Run stream. With all the hard work and dedication they have put in the results are sure to be great when they complete the biggest project to date.