Ullman: Public engagement saves Tohickon Creek from DEP downgrade

DOYLESTOWN, Aug. 23 – In response to requests from legislators, civic and environmental groups and the public at large, the state departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources have agreed to perform further study on how any changes to Lake Nockamixon Dam could affect Tochickon Creek before changing the waterway’s designation, state Rep. Wendy Ullman, D-Bucks, announced today.

“Thanks to our collective efforts, any DEP reassement of this treasured waterway must await new findings and up-to-date data,” Ullman said.

According to Ullman, DEP had earlier proposed downgrading Tohickon Creek as a trout-stock-fishery designation, which would have a serious negative impact on tourism and property values. 

Working with the Tinicum Conservancy, Ullman had encouraged local residents to petition DEP to designate the Tohickon Creek as Exceptional Value in order to protect all existing uses of the stream and safeguard the quality of its water. Over 900 public comments were received.

In the interim, Ullman has had conversations with DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn and DEP Director of Legislative Affairs Gregory Kauffman to push for further evaluation of Lake Nockamixon Dam and Tohickon Creek.

The letter Ullman received from DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell agreeing to this request for further study says:

“The stream evaluation of Tohickon Creek is currently at the draft report stage. Further evaluation of the Lake Nockamixon Dam and publication of an updated draft stream evaluation report will occur prior to DEP submitting any recommendation regarding the designated acquatic life use of the lower mainstem of Tochickon Creek to the Environmental Quality Board.”

Ullman said that any change in the Tohickon Creek’s water quality designation will have to go through the regulatory review process, which will allow for continued public engagement on this issue.

The Tinicum Conservancy and Ullman’s office will remain actively involved in the ongoing developments regarding the waterway’s designation.

Anyone with questions should call Ullman’s office at 267-768-3670.