JO Palmer and E Pallant

Department of Environmental Science, Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania, USA

Abstract. Disasters created by chronic perturbations are as debilitating as acute disasters such as tsunamis and oil spills. French Creek is the most biologically diverse river in Pennsylvania but is threatened by invasive species, poorly managed farm animals, urban and agricultural runoff, leaky septic systems, and loss of riparian buffer zones. For chronic, non-point threats, prevention is the best protection and depends on education and action by watershed residents. Creek Connections at Allegheny College engages teachers and students throughout the watershed with biological and chemical research of the Creek and threats to its integrity. Through independent research, stream restoration projects and public presentations, students become an educated citizenry as vital to ecosystem protection as any regional or national response plan for more acute disasters.

Keywords: Aquatic diversity, French Creek, invasive species, non-point source pollution, stream restoration, watershed education

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