Trout Unlimited assists with monitoring project

The Elk County Conservation District is teaming up with the Pa. Council of Trout Unlimited to assist with the Elk County Monitoring Project [ECMP].The ECMP was initiated to keep an eye on the water quality in Elk County."I have been working with Trout Unlimited pretty closely because they're training their people to sample for TDS [Total Dissolved Solids] and things like that for the Marcellus watch," said Elk County Watershed Specialist Kim Bonfardine. "I am teaming up with Trout Unlimited in that effort."The mission of Trout Unlimited is to conserve, protect, restore and sustain Pennsylvania’s coldwater fisheries and watersheds.Bonfardine also plans to use the newly founded group Elk County Nature Abounds to assist in the monitoring project."Two meetings were held this month to get the group organized," Bonfardine said. "Volunteers are interested in collecting water samples."The group has equipment and will be meeting to practice sample collecting. This group will be leading themselves with what types of projects they select to do and I will be guiding them with technical and project guidance."Electronics maps made by Jim Abbey of Jones Township are available to the public to further assist in monitoring the drilling. The maps can be viewed on the Elk County website at"They have some excellent maps that you can zoom in on," Bonfardine said. "You can figure out if there is a permit anywhere close to that for the Marcellus Shale drilling. "They are actually making these down to the municipality size so you can really zoom in and look around to find out what's going on around you, and he [Abbey] is going to try and update this about every month for the new permits coming in."According to Bonfardine, the monitoring groups are in the early stages.