Habitat Improvements at Glade Run Lake

Updated: May 18

Written by Dave Fowler, GRLC Board Member




















Pictured above: Dave Fowler on the walking trail at Glade Run Lake Park.

Credit: Erica Dietz



Glade Run Lake Conservancy is dedicated to the improvement and preservation of the wildlife habitat within and around Glade Run Lake. To that end, the Conservancy, working with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), the Boy Scouts of America (20 Eagle Scout projects have been completed or are in planning stages), and many other organizations, has put substantial efforts and resources into improving the habitat for the many species that use our lake as a home, a grocery store, a rest stop, and a place to rear their young. Healthy and varied habitat is critical to maintain the fish and wildlife communities that make Glade Run Lake a special place.



Pictured above: Bluegill caught at Glade Run Lake. Credit: Randy Bill



Pictured above: Green heron at Glade Run Lake. Credit: Tim Morrison



In 2014, while the lake was drained, work began to plan and permit the extensive habitat improvements that continue today (see the habitat map below). During those early years, the Conservancy developed a plan to place habitat structures in the lake and also create a 10-foot water depth channel and associated littoral areas (i.e., areas of very shallow water that support plants, amphibians and wading birds) along the shallow northeast side of the lake. The creation of the channel opened up a large portion of the lake to sport fish that did not use the area before because of the extensive shallow water. (Hint to fishermen: At the eastern end of the channel when the water depth starts to be shallow, look for schools of trout!)



Sport fish (bass and trout) like changes in water depth. The increased water depth in the channel stops the growth of underwater plants due to the lack of sunlight. This ends up giving the fisherman a cliff of underwater weeds, a sloping bottom in the shallows, and a clear open pathway in the deeper channel. (Hint to fishermen: Try fishing this drop-off along the edge of the weeds and get ready!)


The dirt drawn from the channel also allowed for the building of an island. This island provides excellent slopes and topography for the sport fish. (Hint to fishermen: Off the west side of the island, there is a large fish structure that is great!) The island also created an isolated area to plant native and aquatic plants that had been extirpated. Look for the water willow growing around the island in the water and the red osier dogwoods with the red bark. The island also provides a great place for an osprey nesting site.



Pictured above: Alec Strawn (Boy Scout Troop 58) and the osprey platform he built on "the island" at Glade Run Lake. Credit: Erica Dietz



One of the most important habitat improvements we made was doing nothing to the trees and brush that had grown in the lake while it was drained. These obstacles make fishing a little more difficult, but pay off in a BIG way when it comes to growing BIG fish. They provide the prefect cover and food sources for forage fish (the minnows the sport fish eat) and the more forage fish, the faster the sport fish grow. (Hint to fishermen: Try flipping with a plastic along the edges of the trees – that is what the pros were doing when they filmed “Fishing University” here. It works!)



Using many tons of limestone, the Glade Run Lake Conservancy, PFBC, and the Mars High School students placed catfish spawning boxes along the north side of the lake. Rock rubble humps and rock star structures were also added between the jetty and the dam. Along the sides of the jetty, post structures were constructed. All these structures can be accessed from the shore line and jetty. (Hint to fishermen: One post structure and lots of rock was placed in deeper water out in front of the jetty. There has to be lots of big ones hunting this structure.)


Numerous porcupine cribs and short vertical plank structures were constructed by Eagle Scouts placed in the lake using the PFBC habitat placement boat. These features give topography and cover in the deeper portions of the lake.


Other habitat structures placed in the lake are turtle basking platforms. These floating platforms provide both surfaces for sunning turtles and snakes, but also give waterfowl and muskrats places to nest. (Hint to fishermen: These floating platforms provide great cover for large sport fish. Try using a spinner bait along the sides, but watch for the cables attached for positioning.)




Wood duck nesting boxes have been placed along the shore. Last year eight out of ten boxes were used for nesting ducks.


Pictured above: Wood duck nesting box at Glade Run Lake. Credit: Erica Dietz



Four spawning beds were constructed using many tons of pea gravel. These have been very productive for blue gill and sport fish. (Hint to fishermen: If you can find them, leave them alone. They are what will give your grandchildren fish years from now.)


Other habitat improvements were constructed outside the lake. They include many bog bridges along the walking trail. These structures may seem to be for keeping you out of the mud, but they are actually to protect the delicate wetland soils and provide great cover for amphibians, reptiles and small mammals. Other improvements include the Chimney Swift Towers and bat houses.


Pictured above: Bog bridge along walking trail at Glade Run Lake Park. Credit: Erica Dietz



Numerous plants and different types of seed, both aquatic and terrestrial, have been planted across the property in an effort to bring back some of the native plants that support wildlife that were lost when the lake was drained. These plantings are crucial for sustaining the habitat through the coming years. Please support our lake by not cutting or harming the plants or other structures in the preserve. Damaging the plants or structures is not only illegal, but it is taking fish right off our lines in the years to come.


Glade Run Lake Conservancy asks that habitat structures not be placed in the lake or on the property without working with the PFBC and the Conservancy. If you have an idea, let us know, and we will be happy to work with you. Please do not hinder habitat improvement efforts by cutting plants or tampering with structures.


To give you a better idea of the many habitat improvements that have already occurred at Glade Run Lake and its preserve, several lists are mentioned below.

148 Fish Structures – using 500 tons limestone, 100 tons pea gravel, 100 hemlock posts, 100+ hemlock planks; these structures increase growth rates and populations of both sport fish and forage species.


  • 38 Catfish Spawning Boxes

  • 50 Rock Rubble Humps

  • 9 Rock Stars

  • 12 Porcupine Cribs

  • 7 Post Structures

  • 12 Turtle Basking Platforms

  • 4 Spawning Beds

  • 12 Short Vertical Plank Structures

  • 8 Wood Duck Boxes

  • 5 Bat Houses

  • 2 Chimney Swift Towers


Pictured above: Turtle basking platforms. Credit: Erica Dietz



Pictured above: Chimney swift tower. Credit: Erica Dietz



Lake Bed Improvements to Increase Sport Fish Range and Spawning in the Lake:


  • Excavated 1,200 foot channel in shallower portion of lake, 40 feet wide and 10 feet deep.

  • Constructed an island and four shallow water littoral humps with excavated material.


Planting of Native Aquatic Plants; also Native Shrubs and Trees:


(Aquatic plants in lake are for improving fish habitat and wildlife forage; more plantings are planned):




Pictured above: One of five American chestnut trees planted at Glade Run Lake Preserve in May 2019. Credit: Amy Jewitt




Pictured above: Sign at Glade Run Lake providing information about the American chestnut tree. Credit: Peter Walker



Native Wildflower Plantings for Support of Pollinators, Replacing Grass Areas with Native Plants, and Increasing Wildlife Forage and Habitat:



Invasive Species Monitoring (in partnership with Western Pennsylvania Conservancy):


Six different plant samples were delivered for identification to monitor for invasive species. This work was accomplished with the help of Amy Jewitt (iMapInvasives Coordinator, Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy). Invasive species will be monitored for impact.




Pictured above: Yellow iris, an invasive plant species in Pennsylvania. Credit: Pixabay



A representative from Penn State Extension was contacted to identify algae species and help monitor algae blooms should they occur.


An iMapInvasives project has been set up and will be used to report invasive species in the lake property.


Future Plans


  • Continue C-SAW (Consortium for Scientific Assistance to Watersheds) program to assess water quality and monitor watershed health. The Conservancy has been monitoring 13 locations within the lake and connecting streams for nutrient content since 2008 in order to preserve and detect any water quality issue(s) that could damage the preserve.

  • Additional fish structures – increase forage species populations

  • Additional bog bridges

  • Additional grass replacement with native wildflowers

  • Addition aquatic plantings in shallow lake areas and tributary streams to improve water quality.


NOTE:


All of these improvements cost money. Glade Run Lake Conservancy needs your help to continue to build our lake into one of the premier nature preserves in the area. If you can help through donations or volunteering, please contact us by visiting our website or our Facebook page. Thank you!



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Glade Run Lake Park, Lake Road | Valencia, PA 16059

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