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
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
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.
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 http://sites.state.pa.us/PA_Exec/Fish_Boat/etspecis.htm