Watershed Program

Project Spotlight!

We recently restored a local stream through our Clean Water Program in partnership with PA Fish and Boat Commission and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy!

To learn about the project and view the transformation, click on the photo below.


What is a watershed?  A watershed is the area of land that drains into a stream, river, ocean, pond, or lake.  The northeastern portion of Franklin County lies within the Susquehanna River basin, while the remainder of the county is encompassed by the Potomac River basin.  The three major watersheds in Franklin County are the Conodoguinet Creek, the Conococheague Creek, and the Antietam Creek.  Additionally, several tributary streams drain to these creeks and they are each located within their own sub-watersheds.  Since everyone lives in a watershed, we all have a “watershed address” based on our geographic location.  A watershed address includes the drainage pathway of a local stream as it enters the larger watersheds of rivers, bays, and oceans.


watershed-image-1 watershed-image-2 watershed-image-3


The District’s Watershed Program is administered by the Watershed Specialist.  The primary function of the Watershed Specialist is to implement projects that improve water quality.  Assistance is given to local watershed groups, private citizens, and municipalities in order to accomplish a variety of tasks.  Educational workshops, field days, and scout activities are conducted in order to emphasize the importance of our water resources.  A key component to carrying out watershed projects is to maintain partnerships with other groups and agencies.    The Watershed Specialist also utilizes state and federal grants to cost-share agricultural best management practices (BMP’s) such as stream bank fencing, forested riparian buffers, and stabilized cattle lanes.  The Dennis Creek project is a good example of successful BMP implementation via participation by the local community and several environmental agencies. Several kinds of fish habitat structures have also been installed in Franklin County as a multifunctional solution to stream bank erosion problems.  Educational mini-grants received from the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts have allowed the District to conduct non-point source pollution outreach via the internet, tabletop exhibits, and public meetings.

Local Watershed Groups
Antietam Watershed Association
Creek Cleanup Project
Falling Springs Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Franklin County Watershed Association
Johnston Run Revitalization Council
Middle Spring Watershed Association

Watershed Implementation Plans
Johnston Run
Middle Spring Creek
West Branch Antietam Creek

Water Quality Links & Publications
2016 Pennsylvania Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report
Chapter 93 Designated Uses
Class A Wild Trout Streams*
DEP’s Chapter 105 General Permit Applications
DEP’s eMapPA
Penn Pilot
Statewide Existing Use Classifications
Stocked Trout Streams
Stream Erosion Myths & Misconceptions Fact Sheet
Stream In Your Backyard Brochure
Web Soil Survey


PA Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection Patrick McDonnell visits Franklin County & tours a potential grant site with FCCD staff.