AUGUSTAVILLE - The Little Shamokin Creek Watershed Association is one step closer to opening Rockefeller Township's first public recreation area.

The non-profit organization is nearing completion of a stream bank stabilization project within their 25.5 acre property along Little Shamokin Creek that they hope to transform into a non-motorized area for activities such as fishing and hiking.

Since its formation in 2002, the group has held a fish derby that attracted more than 100 youths, organized trash cleanups, monitored water quality and completed 10 stabilization projects along the creek. Secretary Ted Carodiskey said the latest project involved two 60-foot sections of the creek off Houser Road, where the bank had eroded significantly over the past 10 to 15 years due to the natural path of the water and flooding last September.

"There is a big 'S-curve' in here that puts both areas on a bend," he said. "We chose the areas where there was a vertical bank, where water washed the tow out and the dirt fell in."

The habitat division of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission recommended a mud sill and multi-log vane deflector system to stabilize the bank. The main components used were mountain rock, rebar and logs measuring at least 10-feet long and two-feet wide.

For the mud sill design, a log was laid partially in the stream bank and partially in the water at a 90 degree according to the direction of the stream channel. Each log was anchored to the ground with a four-foot piece of rebar. Two logs positioned side-by-side were placed on top and perpendicular to the bottom log. All three logs were anchored together. A fourth and final log was then placed in in the middle and anchored in a criss-cross fashion with two more pieces of rebar. The area behind the sill was filled with mountain rock and dirt.

"The area under the logs is habitat where fish can live," Carodiskey said. "Vegetation will also start to grow around the logs."

In the multi-log vane deflector system, a trench was dug in the stream bank for the placement of two logs. The logs were placed out from the stream bank about one-third the width of the stream. The logs were pointed in a 20- to 30-degree angle in a upstream direction.

"Water will be forced back around the logs and away from the stream bank," Carodiskey said. "The narrowing of the stream will change the water velocity and scour an area under the logs, creating fish habitat."

The project is a wet one, as was evident Tuesday by the dozen or so members who stood knee-high in cool water to drill holes, strike rebar with sledgehammers, remove litter and position rocks. Nearby, heavy machinery from Roland Martin, Pleasant Mills, moved logs, boulders, and dirt.

"The only ones getting paid are the operators. Everyone else volunteered," Carodiskey said. "The project took about 40 hours to complete."

A private foundation awarded the group a $12,500 grant for the project, which covered all but $500 to $1,000. Carodiskey said the over-run came from the operators needing to haul heavy materials to the site, which often was a long and muddy process.

The group was pleased with the project but still pessimistic the systems will prevent future erosion in those areas. They pointed out past project areas of the same design that suffered "very little damage" or no damage from The Flood of 2011. However, they say, future projects may not happen if grant money does not become more readily available.

"There are no more Growing Greener Grants," Carodiskey said of the Department of Environmental Protection-funded program. "From here on out, we might have to do it on our own."

Volunteers are welcome to join the group. For more information, go to http://www.littleshamokincreek-watershed.org or call 495-4665, ext. 306.