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Cooks Creek Watershed Association, Bucks County, Springfield Township, Durham Township, PA, Pennsylvania

Articles concerning Cooks Creek Watershed Association

Did you know?

...that Cooks Creek has been noted in Scenic America's 2000 Last Chance Landscapes? Check out Scenic America's website for more information about this designation and how local residents and the Cooks Creek Watershed Association have been acknowledged as part of the watershed's protection.

...that Cooks Creek provides habitat for unique fish and amphibians such as...

Wild Brown Trout
Cooks Creek boasts a Class A wild brown trout (Salmo trutta) population. In addition, tributaries to Cooks Creek support both Class A wild brown trout populations and Class A wild brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) populations. The entire Cooks Creek drainage basin is classified as an Exceptional Value (EV) coldwater fishes (CWF) waters. These standards are based upon the health of the biological communities present in streams and rivers.

Class A wild trout populations are also present in Silver Creek and Coon Hollow Run (tributaries to Cooks Creek). The wild brown trout populations in the Cooks Creek basin are unique in Bucks County. The wild brook trout population in Coon Hollow Run is not only unique in Bucks County, but is also very rare in the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) fisheries management region Area 6, see map at link below.

The following text and pictures taken from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's reference book "Pennsylvania Fishes," written by award-winning author Linda Steiner and illustrated by the PA Fish and Boat Commission graphic artist Ted Walke. The full text can be found at the Fish and Boat Commission's Website.

Brown Trout Salmo trutta
Species overview: The brown trout is not a native Pennsylvanian, although it is now naturalized and widespread here in the wild, even becoming the main trout species in streams previously dominated by brook trout. Brown trout were originally found in Eurasia and were stocked in the late 1800s in the United States as strains from various locations, including Scotland and Germany. Pennsylvania received its first brown trout in 1886. Brown trout are considered more difficult to catch than brook trout. The larger ones tend to feed at night. Brown trout are closely related to Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). The genus name "Salmo" is the Latin name for the Atlantic salmon. The species name "trutta" is the Latin name for "trout."

Identification: Brown trout are brownish in overall tone. The back and upper sides are dark-brown to gray-brown, with yellow-brown to silvery lower sides. Large, dark spots are outlined with pale halos on the sides, the back and dorsal fin, with reddish-orange or yellow spots scattered on the sides. The fins are clear, yellow-brown, and unmarked. The belly is white-yellow. Like other trout and salmon, breeding males develop a long, hooked jaw and brighten in color. Wild brown trout in infertile streams may grow only slightly larger than the brook trout there. But in more fertile streams brown trout that weigh a pound are common. A brown trout over 10 pounds is a trophy. Brown trout may exceed 30 inches in length. The state record is nearly 18 pounds.

Habitat: The brown trout lives in cold or cool streams, rivers, lakes and impoundments. It is more tolerant of siltation and higher water temperatures than brook trout. A brown trout's optimum water temperature range is 50 to 60 degrees, although it can tolerate water temperatures in the low 70s. Like brook trout, they are also somewhat tolerant of acidity. Brown trout may be found in all of the state's watersheds, from limestone spring creeks, infertile headwaters and swampy outflows to suitable habitat in the larger rivers and reservoir tailwaters. Some brown trout can "hold over" after they are stocked. They can last a year or more in a stream, because they are adaptable to stream changes and are not that easy to catch.

Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis
Species overview: The brook trout is Pennsylvania's official state fish. It is technically a char. It is related to the Arctic char of the Far North, the Dolly Varden and bull trouts of the West, and the lake trout. The chars live farther north than most other trout and salmon family members. The brook trout's original home was northeastern North America, through the Great Lakes, and south along the Appalachian Mountains to Georgia. It is the only stream trout that is native to Pennsylvania. The genus name "Salvelinus" is derived from an old name for char. The species name "fontinalis" means "of springs." Brook trout are sometimes called speckled trout, squaretails or just "brookies."

Identification: The brook trout's general body color is dark-green. Looking closer, its back is dark olive-green or gray-green, mottled with dark, squiggly or wormlike markings from head to tail. The sides and belly shade lighter, sometimes with green, gray or even lavendar tones, and additional irregular marks. The sides also have scattered red dots, surrounded by bright-blue halos. The belly is usually pale yellow-orange, with a blackish or gray streak down the middle. The pectoral, pelvic and anal fins are pale to bright-orange with a white leading edge followed by a black stripe. There are dark blotches on the dorsal and caudal fins. The brook trout's tail fin is less forked than that of most trout and salmon. It's even squarish. In spawning males, colors become more intense and the belly becomes deep-orange. At maturity, wild brook trout may be from five inches to 18 inches long, according to the availability of food in the home stream.

Habitat: The brook trout lives naturally in small, cold, clean streams. It also adapts to ponds and lakes, as well as instream beaver ponds. Brook trout are found in Pennsylvania as wild populations in the Ohio, Susquehanna, Genesee, Potomac and Delaware River watersheds. Brook trout are also found throughout the state as hatchery-raised, stocked fish. The habitat of wild brook trout has been greatly reduced in Pennsylvania since European settlers arrived, with land-use changes, mining, and warming and silting of streams, and with other pollution and stream habitat degradation. Naturally self-sustaining populations can still be found in limestone spring-fed streams and cold, mountain creeks. Brook trout can tolerate relatively acidic waters, but not temperatures much over 65 degrees.

Bog Turtles
Potential bog turtle habitat in Cooks Creek includes a small tributary to Cooks Creek that drains from the north of the main channel along Haupts Bridge Road. A palustrine-forested wetland was identified in this area. Relatively steep slopes, springs/seeps, and potential habitat for the bog turtle characterize the area. Development has encroached within about 300 feet of the site. See below for more information about Bog Turtles.

Information provided taken from the book, Endangered and Threatened Species of Pennsylvania, published by the Wild Resource Conservation Fund. Note: Species lists continually change. Some information may not be up-to-date. Click here for the current list (PA Code).

Bog Turtle Clemmys muhlenbergii

Identification: The bog turtle is among the smallest North American turtles. Adults are four to 4 1/2 inches long. The upper shell is dark brown with yellow to orange markings and covered with ridged plates that are eventually worn smooth; the lower shell is dark brown or black, sometimes with scattered light markings. A large red-orange or yellow blotch behind each eye is the most conspicuous color feature of an otherwise brown body lightly marked with orange or yellow.

Photo by Clark Shiffer


Biology/Natural History: Mating takes place in May and early June. Each female then digs a nest and lays a clutch of three to five eggs during June or July. Eggs receive no parental care, and hatchlings leave the nest several months later. Adults and young feed on a variety of plant and animal food, such as berries, insects and even carrion. They do not wander far from hibernating sites in spring seepage, which they leave in April or May and return to in late summer. Summer hibernation (aestivation) may occur during July and August; individuals are otherwise encountered basking on sedge tussocks or moving slowly about in spring runs under concealing vegetation. When danger threatens, individuals burrow rapidly into the mucky bottom of spring runs.

Preferred Habitat: Bog turtles live in relatively open portions of sphagnum bogs, swamps or marshy meadows with slow moving, spring fed streams or spring runs with soft bottoms.

REASONS FOR BEING ENDANGERED: The primary reason for the bog turtle's status is the draining or other destruction of its habitat. Because bog turtles have always been considered the rarest of North American turtles, they are highly valued by turtle fanciers in this country, and possibly twice as much overseas. Many, therefore, have been illegally removed for commercial purposes. Since their habitats are widely separated, other turtles are not likely to move in and replace those removed.

For more information about Pennsylvania Endangered Species see


Cooks Creek Watershed Association, Bucks County, Springfield Township, Durham Township, PA, Pennsylvania
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