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Cross Creek Park
Gas Wells

When the county park was first created, property owners were faced with either selling or having their land condemned. In the last paragraph of a legal document deeding part of this acreage to Washington County we find this:

“The indenture is given to provide land for recreation, conservation, and historical purposes, as said purposes are defined in the ‘Project 70 Land Acquistion and Borrowing Act’ approved June 22, 1964, P.L. 131”

Does this look like recreation, conservation
or historical purposes?

Clearcut in Cross Creek Park for more Marcellus drilling
Trees clear-cut for another Marcellus Shale well pad inside
the park in August 2011. Six wells were then completed
on this drilling pad along Route 844.


December 2014 map
Map shows the 6 well pads already developed inside the park along with many more well pads surrounding the park


FISH KILLS IN CROSS CREEK LAKE

2009 Fish Kill

Pa DEP Fine

Permit Num: 125-23165
Municipality: Hopewell
County: Washington
Well Name: Cross Creek County Park 14H
Company: Range Resources
Incident Date: 5/27/2009
Inspection Date: 5/27/2009
Fine Date: 2009-10-28

Fine: $23,500
Group Fine: No 

Violation: Spill; a company contractor was walking along a pipeline that was conveying hydraulic fracturing flowback fluid from a well site located in Cross Creek County Park to a large impoundment when he noticed that couplings that held the pipeline together in two locations near the well site were leaking fluid onto the ground, down a hill and into an unnamed tributary of Cross Creek, a high quality watershed; an inspection found that the flowback fluid, as well as sediments that flowed with it, entered the creek and killed both invertebrates and fish along the length of the unnamed tributary; the company estimated that about 4,200 gallons of the flowback fluid spilled onto the ground and the creek; though the company contractor discovered the spill at 1:30 p.m., state personnel weren't called until 5:15 p.m., in violation of state law.
Response: Company said that the two couplings that leaked both had three bolts on them loosened, though the company could not say how or why; the company immediately tried to contain and recover as much of the spill as possible, setting up check dams in the unnamed tributary and sucking up what of the flowback fluid it could; impacted soil and sediment was excavated and disposed of in a landfill and the areas were later reseeded; because of this the company stopped using couplings on its pipelines, and inspections of pipelines were increased.

Pa. Department of Environmental Protection documents:


2015 Fish Kill
Some blamed this event on spawning stress. The problem with that theory is Crappies and Bass died in addition to Bluegills. Even though the timing of this fish kill was close to Bluegill spawning, Crappies spawn much earlier.

 
Look for other reasons for fish kill

By George H. Block
Sunday Outdoors Column
Observer-Reporter
May 30, 2015

(Photos provided)

I, like many, read with interest the article about the dead fish found at Cross Creek Lake. It seems an angler found quite a few dead bluegill and crappie along the shoreline and reported it to the proper authorities.

As I understand after reading the Observer-Reporter, the cause was blamed on post-spawn stress, which I, along with many others, find hard to believe. I must say, in all honesty, I have never seen it, even though I am an avid fisherman.

Fish kill at Cross Creek County Park
Cross Creek Lake photo provided

I make it my business to fish many a small farm pond and all of them hold a good number of bluegill, and a few are also home to crappie. There are a few ponds I stocked with these fish that I caught in one local pond and released into another.

I am familiar with both of these panfish, and my first thought was the two don’t spawn at exactly the same time. I am not a biologist, though I have a grandson who is. Even a nonprofessional who spends a lot of time pursuing fish can have an opinion.

Crappie spawn when water temperatures reach 56 to 59 degrees. The bluegill require waters to reach slightly higher temperatures and spawn when waters reach 67 degrees.

Cross Creek Lake fish kill
Cross Creek Lake photo provided

These temperatures are what trigger the spawn and are far enough apart to spread spawn time to about three to four weeks in a normal season. With that spread, it seems unlikely both would die of post-spawn stress at the same time.

Also, the carcasses of dead fish can disappear pretty quickly as every local beast, fowl and crayfish gobble them up. Just maybe we should be looking in another direction for the cause of this fish kill.

As I said, it’s just an opinion.

Story

 
Pa DEP follow-up on 2015 Fish Kill
June 11, 2015 biologists and the water quality specialist from the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection investigated a fish kill on Cross Creek Lake. Dead crappie and bluegill were found at sites 1, 2, 3 & 4. The pH was over 9 at sites 8, 9 & 10, so the water quality specialist plans to investigate that further.

Surface Site Temp (C⁰) Conductivity Dissolved Oxygen pH
1 21.52 345 10.85 8.6
2 21.39 346 10.94 8.27
3 21.07 347 10.78 8.18
4 21.66 341 10.81 7.68
5 21.67 337 10.88 8.02
6 22.03 335 10.76 8.04
7 21.93 334 10.78 8.07
8 21.89 340 10.43 9.3
9 22.02 339 10.54 9.59
10 22.11 338 10.64 9.11

 

Bottom Site Temp (C⁰) Conductivity Dissolved Oxygen /
Depth from initial site
pH
1 15.4 371 11.61 / 16 ft. 7.95
2 20.91 350 9.65 / 10 ft 8.02
3 - - Only surface -
4 21.56 342 10.47 / 10 ft 8.11
5 21.58 338 10.58 / -- 8.2
6 21.76 335 11.12 / -- 7.97
7 5.87 412 2.11 / -- 7.41
8 8.65 401 1.27 / -- 7.6
9 19.61 348 12.29 / -- 9.14
10 22.13 314 11.33 / -- 9.38

 

 

 

 

 

September 19, 2014
Photos of a new drilling pad inside the park
Cross Creek County Park gas well sign
 
Cross Creek County Park gas wells
 
Cross Creek County Park drilling pad
 
Cross Creek County Park no trespassing area
 
Cross Creek County Park Range Resources
 

 

May 19, 2014 photos
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

- October 11, 2012 Update -
Aerial view of the entire park with
gas drilling highlights:

Cross Creek Park - Washington County Pa - Fall 2012
YouTube (9:43)
 


Young lungs at play in Cross Creek County Park
Flare inside Cross Creek County Park

 

- September 14, 2012 Update -
See the latest video of the destruction
for gas drilling inside Cross Creek Park

Drill Rigs replacing Trees
YouTube (3:52)

 
CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK drilling unit with 6 wells
October 11, 2012 aerial view of a 6-well drilling pad
with wells #17H-18H-19H & 45H-46H-47H
 
 
 
 
 
Plan for 48H-53H Six Well Pad & Production Equipment Pad
Total Area: 10.1 acres
Range Resources wells 48H-53H inside Cross Creek Park
   
October 11, 2012 photo of the excavated drilling pad for 48H-53H
 

Fracking Cross Creek County Park
Cross Creek County Park 49H Frac Chemicals
 

 
 

 

UPDATES

DEP investigating spill at Cross Creek County Park

OBSERVER-REPORTER
By Barbara Miller

(Excerpt) March 15, 2013 - The state DEP has issued a notice of violation to Range Resources Corp. in connection with a water spill last month at Cross Creek County Park, a DEP spokesman said Friday. John Poister, DEP spokesman in Pittsburgh, said workers on the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling site noticed what is known as “re-use” water entering a secondary containment area. “It appears open-top storage tanks were overflowing. Water flowing into these tanks was not being monitored." Range reported the spill to DEP, which sent inspectors. “We consider this a significant spill, and we will evaluate the entire incident, response and cleanup before we make any decisions on a civil penalty,” or fine.

Lisa Cessna, director of the Washington County Planning Commission, which oversees county parks, said the Feb. 12 spill involved about 40 barrels of water (1,680 gallons). She has had a representative of the Washington County Conservation District and parks superintendent Kevin Garrison monitor the site, which has been mulched. Range drilled its first horizontal well in the 3,500-acre Cross Creek park in 2008.


2012 Lease change
RE: Fracking under the dam

Original lease (2003)

No drilling, placement of storage tanks or accessory uses shall be permitted below elevation of one thousand fifty (1,050) feet to the east of the breast works of Cross Creek Dam. No fracturing of rock will be allowed within a 3,000 foot radius of the dam, for all strata above the top of the Onondaga Formation unless otherwise approved in writing.

New lease modification (2012)

No fracturing of rock will be permitted from the surface of, to 3,000 feet below the Cross Creek Dam, within a 3,000 foot radius of said dam, unless otherwise approved in writing. However, fracturing of rock shall be permitted within said radius provided that fracturing is performed in the Marcellus Shale formation. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any well bore that passes within the 3,000 foot radius of the dam, at any depth, shall require express written approval of the Lessor, said approval to be an authorized county signature on the DEP well permit plat.

September 15, 2011 article:
Army Corps of Engineers worried about the impacts of fracking on dams


February 2, 2012
Washington County Commissioners extend drilling in Cross Creek Park

YouTube video of meeting (19:08)


CLEARCUTTING BLUNDER IN COUNTY PARK COSTS RANGE

October 21, 2011 - Washington County solicitor J. Lynn DeHaven used the term "reparations" when announcing an agreement he reached with Range Resources over clear-cutting done in error at Cross Creek County Park near West Middletown. Clear-cutting by a Range Resources contractor was done "in an area specifically off-limits. It was one of the oldest stands of hardwoods in the park, the hillside we didn't want them touching," said Lisa Cessna.

Range had first encroached on West Middletown Cemetery property, then moved into an area of the park that was off-limits. But the mood among the county commissioners was anything but belligerent Thursday morning, because Range agreed to provide $100,000 worth of in-kind services at the park. Range is also to reimburse the county $14,247, which is double the value of the trees cut, based on estimates given by the company's forester.

(Newspaper story link was removed)


RANGE VIOLATES PARK LEASE

September 16, 2011 - Range Resources' violation of a lease with Washington County on the site of a natural gas well pad on park property in Hopewell Township was raised Thursday after a Peters Township resident told county commissioners "drilling in Cross Creek Park has run amok."

County solicitor J. Lynn DeHaven said Range was told to "cease and desist." "They were cutting trees where we had not authorized them to cut trees, so we stopped them. The pad site was not where we approved," Fergus said. "It was an engineering error on their part. They thought they were on the county property when they were on cemetery property.

(Newspaper story link was removed)

Cross Creek Park lease (PDF-99KB)

 


September 7, 2011
Hopewell Twp Conditional Use Hearing
3 more wells in Cross Creek Park
Part 1 (1:03:08)
Part 2 (49:20)

YouTube Videos of the 35H-36H-39H drilling pad
being clearcut in
Cross Creek County Park.
2012 NOTE:
This will now be a well pad with 6 wells: 48H-53H

Initial clearcutting video - April 2011

 
 
Additional clearcutting video - August 2011
 
 

 

June 2011
2012: Well pad expanded to include 6 wells: 48H-53H
(Originally permitted as 35-39H)
 
 
Cross Creek Park
December 2011
Originally: Cross Creek Park Wells 35H-39H
2012:
Expanded to include 6 wells: 48H-53H
Washington County Cross Creek Park
 
 
Cross Creek Park Fish Kill
  
 
Cross Creek Lake
  
= As of October 29, 2011 =
16 wells with active permits

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK
5 -
6H - 7H - 8 - 9HA - 10
14H - 15H - 16H
19H - 20H - 21H - 22H - 25H
35H - 36H - 39H
45H - 46H - 47H

PENNSYLVANIA D.E.P. WELL PERMITS:

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 5 OG WELL  125-22618  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 3-
7-07   GPS: 40.25072 -80.3786

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 6H OG WELL  125-22830  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 8
-3-07   GPS: 40.26283 -80.3881

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 7H OG WELL  125-22861  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 8-7-07   G
PS: 40.26091 -80.3906
11/24/09 Incident- Response to Accident or Event - No violations noted

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 8 OG WELL  125-22793  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 7-25-0
7   GPS: 40.26283 -80.388

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 9H-A OG WELL  125-22668  Cross Creek Twp
Well Plugging Notice Intent to Plug Single Well
Permitted 7-2
5-07   GPS: 40.26102 -80.3907

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 10 OG WELL  125-22860  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 8-31-07   GPS: -- --

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 14H OG WELL  125-23165  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 5-23-08   GP
S: 40.24666 -80.3813  PDF

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 15H OG WELL  125-23182  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 5-29-08   G
PS: 40.24666 -80.3813  PDF

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 16H OG WELL  125-23300  Hopewell Twp
Permitted
10-9-08   GPS: 40.24669 -80.3813  PDF

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 17H OG WELL  125-24743  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-9-12   GPS: 40.263508 -80.408856

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 18H OG WELL  125-24744  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-9-12   GPS: 40.263567 -80.408778

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 19H OG WELL  125-24754  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-13-12   GPS: 40.263625 -80.408703

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 19H OG WELL  125-24054  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-1
-10   (125-23631  3-23-09)   GPS: 40.26359 -80.4088

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 20H OG WELL  125-24055  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-1-10   (125-23630  Permitted 2-4-09)   GPS: -- --

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 21H OG WELL  125-24056  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-14-10   (125-23629  Permitted 3-23-09)   GPS: -- --

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 22H OG WELL  125-24057  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-14-10   (125-23628  Permitted 3-19-09)   GPS: -- --

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 25H OG WELL  125-23859  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 9-11-09  
GPS: 40.26106 -80.391
11/24/09 Incident- Response to Accident or Event - No violations noted
 

Cross Creek Park well sign for 35H, 36H and 39H
Cross Creek Park 35H, 36H and 39H,
next to Route 844, in the process of
final permitting during Spring 2011
NOTE: This pad will now have 6 wells #48H-53H

CROSS CREEK WELL SITE 35-39H  ESX10-125-0105  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 1-10-11 & 9-30-11

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 35H OG WELL  125-24404 Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-13-2011  
GPS: 40.24378 -80.411

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 36H OG WELL  125-24405 Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-13-2011  
GPS: 40.24385 -80.4111

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 39H OG WELL  125-24376  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 2-28-2011   GPS: 40.24371 -80.411

CROSS CREEK WELL SITE  41-44H  ESX11-125-0078  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 1-7-13  GPS: 40.255872 -80.373256

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 41H OG WELL 125-26980  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 3-4-13  GPS: 40.254722 -80.378031

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 42H OG WELL 125-26928  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 1-7-13  GPS: 40.254772 -80.377906

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 43H OG WELL 125-26981  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 3-4-13  GPS: 40.254847 -80.377956

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 44H OG WELL 125-26982  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 3-4-13  GPS: 40.254919 -80.378003

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 45H OG WELL  125-24745  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-13-12   GPS: 40.263433 -80.4
08753

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 46H OG WELL  125-24746  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-13-12   GPS: 40.263489 -80.408678

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 47H OG WELL  125-24747  Cross Creek Twp
Permitted 4-13-12   GPS: 40.263547 -80.4086

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 48H OG WELL  125-24720  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-2-12   GPS:
40.243936 -80.411025

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 49H OG WELL  125-24721  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-2-12   GPS:
40.244006 -80.411081

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 50H OG WELL  125-24722  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-2-12   GPS:
40.243994 -80.410903

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 51H OG WELL  125-24723  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-2-12   GPS:
40.244078 -80.411139

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 52H OG WELL  125-24724  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-2-12   GPS:
40.244133 -80.411017

CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK 53H OG WELL  125-24725  Hopewell Twp
Permitted 4-2-12   GPS:
40.244064 -80.410958


 
Previously unreleased report
February 26, 2011
New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/us/27gas.html 

We learn from this New York Times article that radiation levels in the wastewater from Cross Creek Park 6H OG Well were off the chart! Some of the locations for dumping that brine (wastewater) were listed, but the largest amount of brine was disposed of at a location NOT LISTED.

Cross Creek Park 6H had these alarming levels of liquid radium:
Federal drinking water limit: 5 pC/iL
Level from this site: 2,260 pC/iL

Below is part of a table from a DEP Production Report.
The largest quantity of this highly radioactive brine
went to an unknown location:
CROSS CREEK COUNTY PARK
6H DRILLING 510 ADVANCED WASTE - NEW CASTLE
6H BRINE 65 PA BRINE TRT - FRANKLIN PLT
6H DRILLING 595 TUNNELTON LIQUIDS COMPANY
6H BRINE 4008 NOT LISTED

 

The sampling report below, dated 4-21-2009 from the West Virginia DEP, indicates that at least some of the "Unlisted" brine went to Liquid Assets Disposal (LAD) in Wheeling, WV

frac wastewater test results

LAD - Liquid Assets Disposal
LAD
Liquid Assets Disposal, Inc. in Wheeling, WV


Cross Creek Park wells 6H & 8H
Tanker emptying condensate tanks
July 2011
Tanker truck draining condensate tanks at
Cross Creek Park wells 6H & 8H
Pipeline equipment near the 6H and 8H wells in Cross Creek Park
NO TRESPASSING signs have been moved back from the access road gate closer to the 6H & 8H well location area, but the gate is still kept locked
Condensate tank with a 2-2-0 fire diamond marking

USGS - Published September 7, 2011
Online Document       PDF - 1.08MB

Radium Content of Oil- and Gas-Field Produced Waters in the Northern Appalachian Basin (USA)

Excerpts below: Cross Creek 6H is Well/Sample ID 11.1 and 11.2

Flowback & Produced Water (Brine)
from Cross Creek County Park 6H
PA DEP Permit #125-22830

Date of Samples: 4-9-2009 & 6-29-2009

Radium 226 in Brine (pCi/L) 951
Radium 226 in Brine (pCi/L) 1,280

Radium 228 in Brine (pCi/L) 703
Radium 228 in Brine (pCi/L) 1,110

Total Radium in Brine (pCi/L) 1,654
Total Radium in Brine (pCi/L) 2,390

TDS (mg/L) 157,000
TDS (mg/L) 200,000

Uranium 238 in Brine (pCi/L) 90

Benzene 880 ppb
 
SLUSH PIT ON 6H & 8H WELL PAD
What happened to the drill cuttings from the slush pit on 6H & 8H?
They got 'teabagged' and buried onsite!

Below is part of the well completion report on file with the Pa. DEP:

 
March 10, 2003 Lease – Page 35 & 36

Burial of slush pits aka ‘Alternate Waste Management’
was a clear violation of the park's original lease:

“All trash, rubbish, or waste materials from each drilling site shall be removed and disposed of in a properly licensed solid waste site.  All pits shall be filled with earth and developed per County specifications at Lessee’s expense upon completion of each well.”

Cross Creek Park lease (3/10/03 PDF-99KB)
Cross Creek Park lease modification
(2/2/12 PDF-463KB)




VIDEO: Shale Gas & Oil Radioactive Wastes from the Marcellus and Utica Shales

What are they, how are they managed, and should we be concerned? (1:09:24)


 

Cross Creek Park 14H-15H-16H
 
Spill and Fish Kill from gas drilling wastewater
April 2009
Horizontal drilling of the three Cross Creek County Park
Marcellus Shale gas wells 14H - 15H - 16H. Fracking of
these wells resulted in a spill and fish kill in the park
Cross Creek Park wells
July 2011
14H - 15H - 16H well pad and battery of condensate tanks.

Production from these 3 wells dropped an average of 25%
during the 18 month period ending December 2010
 

 

Cross Creek Park Well #5
First well permitted in the park - March 7, 2007
Outdated sign showing Great Lakes Energy Partners instead of Range Resources
July 2011
No Trespassing signs have been removed from the
gate area to #5 but the gate remains locked
Gate to Cross Creek Park well 5
 
Production from #5 dropped to a trickle 3 years after it was
drilled, as indicated in the production reports below. The well was permitted by the Pa. DEP to be plugged in late-2013.

 

 

Cross Creek Park gas well sign for 14H, 15H and 16H
The entry sign may still say Great Lakes Energy Partners, LLC but these are now Range Resources gas wells. Range Resources purchased FirstEnergy's 50% share of Great Lakes in 2004, ending a 5-year joint venture.


  

DEP File for Cross Creek gas wells 14H, 15H, and 16H
  (PDF - 742 KB)
Hopewell Township, Washington County

  

DEP File for Cross Creek gas well 14H
  (PDF - 2,168 KB)
Permit No.125-23165

  

DEP File for Cross Creek gas well 15H
 
(PDF - 2,504 KB)
Permit No.125-23182

  

DEP File for Cross Creek gas well 16H
  (PDF - 9,174 KB)
Permit No.125-23300

  


 

  
CROSS CREEK PARK WELLS OWNED IN PART
BY WASHINGTON COUNTY
Cross Creek gas well 16H being flared
June 7, 2009
Photo shows the drilling pad for 14H, 15H and 16H in
Cross Creek Park. The three Marcellus wells are being
flared in this photo. Frac tanks line the drilling pad.
 

  

December 23, 2009 through July 15, 2014 - This modified water plan was approved December 23, 2009 by the Pennsylvania DEP:

Range Resources Water Management Plan summary:
200,000 gallons per day from Brush Run
200,000 gallons per day from Cross Creek
800,000 gallons per day from Cross Creek Lake
200,000 gallons per day from Chartiers Run
665,000 from Connoquenessing Creek
250,000 from a Marion Twp Water Tank
200,000 gallons per day from Whiteley Creek
1,656,000 gallons from three PAWC Pittsburgh-McMurray hydrants (Monongahela River source)
Total = 4,171,000 gallons of water per day from all sources

Over 4-million gallons of water per day (4,171,000) is DEP-approved to be withdrawn from the Ohio River Basin by Range Resources through July 15, 2014. Ohio River Basin water withdrawals by Range and 28 other drilling companies brings the grand total to 48.5 million gallons per day through mid-2014 or early 2015.

Eastern American Energy Corp. also has an approved water plan for withdrawal of 500,000 gallons of water per day from Whiteley Creek, a waterway that has been detected as having Golden Algae present, and is therefore very vulnerable to any situation increasing TDS (total dissolved solids).

Eastern American Energy Corporation Water Management Plan for Whiteley Creek
(PDF - 210KB)

Atlas Resources LLC Approved Water Management Plan
(PDF - 208KB)


  
  

800,000
GALLONS PER DAY FROM THIS LAKE


Range Resources' DEP-approved water plan allows for withdrawing 800,000 gallons per day from Cross Creek Lake, a prized fishing lake in Washington County, PA.

FOUR MONTHS AFTER APPROVAL
See how the new water withdrawal plan is going in 'before and after' photos below. The Washington County Parks and Recreation Department indicated in mid-November that part of the water level drop was due to a "leaky gate" which had temporarily been repaired.
  

  
Cross Creek Lake

Cross Creek Lake
BEFORE: Spring 2009 above
AFTER: Fall 2009 below


  

  
This 244 acre Washington County owned lake is managed under the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's Big Bass and Panfish Enhancement programs. Besides bluegills, crappies and largemouths, it also yields saugeyes.
  

  

Cross Creek Lake
BEFORE: Spring 2009 above
AFTER: Fall 2009 below


  
  
  
  

Webmaster's note: This article was written before the fish kill occurred at Cross Creek Lake. Photos were added later to illustrate the various areas mentioned in the article.


Politicians should remember that Cross Creek Lake belongs to the people

By George H. Block
Observer-Reporter, Outdoors Editor

If you were down to your last pair of shoes you would hardly go out to the barn wearing them and shovel manure.
 
With that idea in mind is it any wonder that outdoorsmen and women are so protective of Cross Creek Park? In past years I would walk from the upstream bridge, which used to be a covered bridge, sit along the bank and enjoy the beauty around me. Sometimes I would spot a soaring osprey and marvel as it did a better job of catching a fish than my futile attempts. We complained under our breath as we walked in the swampy areas stepping on an occasional skunk cabbage or soft spot, but wouldn't have it any other way.
 
Now we sit and listen as the trucks go in and out and the pumps whine as they draw huge amounts of water from the lake. Trees and plants that were once green are gray with dust. The lane leading down to the lake was once a quiet walk but now one has to dodge large trucks and uncaring workers. You see my friends, the almighty dollar has won out again, proving that anything can be bought if you have enough money.

I was thinking all this as I entered the park and saw for the first time the No Trespassing signs on land that as a citizen of Washington County I thought was mine along with the rest of the populace. Instead of the birds I listen to the roar of the pumps and the jabber of the workers. This has been a dry spring as most have noted and on entering the park and passing the first swampy cove I noted how little water was running into the lake.
 
Little did I know that on my return trip I would have to cross a stream of mud flowing into the lake. It hadn't rained so the mud could only be coming from one place. Before the drilling we were assured this wouldn't happen. So much for assurances. No matter what the reason, accident or deliberate. I wasn't supposed to happen. Of course there is always the money. The economy is bad so lets sell the county.

We are assured that the drilling does little damage to the environment and yet at every turn in the road we see signs warning us of seismic crews working. If the drilling does no damage then why do we need to waste resources on seismic crews and such? Don't believe me? Just take a Sunday drive through Chartiers, Mt. Pleasant or Cross Creek Townships and see the beautifying of your county - and I should emphasize your county.
 
We have but one lake in the county that is worth fishing and that is Cross Creek. Is protecting this one piece of water too much to ask or is anything and everything for sale. Tom Campbell said it best when he said, "Why can't they just leave us alone? Allow one small piece of land and water be, where I can relax and get away from the pollution and noise of society."
 
Cross Creek Park and Lake used to be a place of renewal. Now it's a place of noise and dirt and a definite threat to the quality of the lake itself. For some years now the Pennsylvania Game Commission has stocked pheasants on Cross Creek Park property. Will hunters now face No Trespassing signs?

What of those who hunt turkey, coyote and woodchucks? Will they still be allowed to utilize the park property? Or will the wells and drilling activity supersede the public's use of the park?
 
Of course there is always the money.
 
All one has to do is walk along the bank of the upper lake to hear the opinion of what is happening at the park. I can't repeat what is said about the drillers and the politics that have allowed this to happen.
 
I can't help but remember that stream of mud flowing into Cross Creek Lake on a clear dry day during a dry month. It makes one sick.

A couple of years ago the lake was lowered to install water lines. The problem was that the lowering was done in the spring, right after panfish had spawned. The eggs were left high and dry hanging from the brush and grass along the shoreline.
 
We certainly do not need a repeat performance of this. Hopefully the fish have not spawned yet this year.
 
Here is where anglers could keep an eye on the shoreline and report any above-water spawn to the Fish and Boat Commission or Department of Environmental Protection.
 
While the public cannot control, nor should they control the resources on private land, public land is an entirely different matter. The public is the owner and the politicians merely the caretakers. You must ask yourself, are they taking good care of what you own?

Along the above lines or just thinking. I don't remember my first dollar but I do remember my first trout. I don't remember my income for 1965 but remember an eight-point buck. I don't remember my hourly rate for 1973 but do remember a quiet trout stream in McKean County full of brook Trout. I don't remember how much money was in my pocket that day four years ago as I sat on the patio with my 94-year-old mother. I was pointing to a Baltimore oriole in the apple tree and she was thrilled to see it.
 
That was the last time we sat on the patio.
 
Do you remember such or do you remember the money?
  

  
  
  
More on Cross Creek Lake fish kill
 
  

 

PRIVATE PROPERTY
NO TRESPASSING!
VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED
RANGE RESOURCES

 

 
Drilling sites may take away
precious hunting spots
b
y George H. Block
August 8, 2010
Observer-Reporter

I think most readers would agree with me that the No. 1 thing that would bring about a decline in hunter numbers is the loss of a place to hunt.

Here in my home area of Eighty Four we have witnessed a tremendous loss of open hunting land over the last 20 years. With that in mind, I can't help but wonder how many hunters will go to their deer stands this year only to find a gas well or drilling operation there. Certainly with the thousands of wells being drilled in Western Pennsylvania, some of them will fall around someone's deer stand. When looking at this situation one must consider that there is a 150-yard safety zone surrounding the drilling operation.

Also, to be considered is the human and vehicle activity that could change game movement. When you look at ponds built to store water, roadways for access and the drill site itself, they do take up quite a bit of land.

On top of that, most drilling is done in rural areas, where most hunting takes place. With all of that in mind, hunters would do well to check their deer stand well before the season.

Another interesting statistic would involve the number of non-resident licenses sold this year. Will there be a significant jump in sales? Remember many of these men working on the drill sites are from Texas, Oklahoma and even Canadian provinces. And they hunt.
 

 

  'Pig launcher' located near some of the newer wells
 
 
Lowry Compressor Station

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Cross Creek Park drilling

 

 

  

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