French Creek Project

PEC co-founded the French Creek Project in 1995. French Creek later was designated by the Nature Conservancy as one of its original “Last Great Places.” In 2012, PEC successfully transitioned control of this project to the French Creek Valley Conservancy.

French Creek houses more species of fish (over 80) and freshwater mussels (26) than any other stream in the Northeast, including over 15 that are endangered or threatened.  French Creek has been called by one expert "undeniably one of Pennsylvania's foremost aquatic treasures."  

Several fish species found in the watershed, including the eastern sand darter, the spotted darter and the bluebreast darter, are listed as endangered or threatened species in Pennsylvania.  In fact, there are now several species of darters, including the tippecanoe darter, which cannot be found anywhere else in Pennsylvania except the Northern Allegheny River watershed.  In addition, in late 2000, the first known occurrence of the pugnose minnow in state waters was identified in the watershed, adding a new species to the list of fish inhabiting the state.

Of the 26 mussel species in French Creek, thirteen are at risk of extirpation from Pennsylvania.  Two species, the northern riffleshell and the clubshell, are listed as endangered at the federal level (they have lost over 95% of their historic range and can only be found in six streams within four states, but can still be found in parts of the watershed.). Recently, the rayed bean mussel was added as a Candidate Species to the Federal List.  Because of degraded conditions elsewhere in the Ohio River drainage basin, seven of the 26 species of mussels found in the French Creek watershed are now found almost nowhere else in Pennsylvania.

In 2012, PEC successfully transitioned control of this project to the French Creek Valley Conservancy.