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Roaring Creek (Pennsylvania)

Roaring Creek
Origin Roaring Creek Township
Mouth Susquehanna River
Length 20.7 mi (33.3 km)
River system Susquehanna River
Left tributaries South Branch Roaring Creek

Roaring Creek is a 20.7-mile-long (33.3 km)[1] tributary of the Susquehanna River in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, in the United States.

Roaring Creek joins the Susquehanna River between the communities of Catawissa and Danville.[2] Roaring Creek has a difficulty level of 1 to 2 between Slabtown and its mouth.[3] One of Roaring Creek's tributaries is home to four watersheds. The threatened plant species Dodecatheon radicatum is found in the creek's watershed.


The first settles to arrive at the headwaters of Roaring Creek arrived in 1774. In 1812, a road was built through the upper Roaring Creek valley for the purpose of using the timber in that area. The Esther Furnace was built in Locust Township on Roaring Creek in 1817. It manufactured stoves and plow blades.[4] In 1874 an iron bridge was built across Roaring Creek. Andrew Trone once built a hotel on the creek.[5]


Roaring Creek was referred to by Native Americans as Pomeme tunk. However this name was not used by even the earliest of European settlers.[5]


Roaring Creek is situated in a broad river valley.[6] Along the lower part of Roaring Creek there are a series of bluffs known as the Roaring Creek Bluffs. Roaring Creek has unstable banks in many places. Many sites in the Roaring Creek watershed were given a visual assessment and rated on a scale of 0 to 28 in 2003. The highest-rated area was the main stem of Roaring Creek downstream of Slabtown, which was given a rating of 25.5. The lowest-rated area was Roaring Creek a few miles downstream of its source. This area was given a rating of 15.5.[7]


The total area of Roaring Creek's watershed is 88 square miles. The watershed extends over parts of Columbia County, Montour County, Northumberland County, and Schuylkill County.[7] Roaring Creek's discharge was measured to be 1.21 cubic feet per second in September 1951.[8] At Mill Grove, Roaring Creek's drainage area is 8.85 square miles.[9] There are four reservoirs on South Branch Roaring Creek. They are the Brush Valley Reservoir, the Bear Gap #6, the Bear Gap #2 and the Bear Gap #1.[10]

There is a low level of dissolved oxygen in one 0.44-mile tributary of Roaring Creek. The pH of the water at the headwaters of South Branch Roaring Creek ranges from 5.38 to 6.41, making it the most acidic stream in the watershed. The most basic stream in the watershed was the main branch of Roaring Creek, whose pH ranges from 6.50 to 8.27. The concentration of nitrogen in the watershed ranges from 209 to 7238 micrograms per liter and the concentration of phosphorus in the watershed ranges from 3 to 38 micrograms per liter, rendering parts of Roaring Creek at risk of algal blooms.[7]

In the summer of 2006, the lowest water temperature of a stream in the Roaring Creek watershed was South Branch Roaring Creek, which had a temperature of 17.6° Celsius. The highest water temperature was 25.9° Celsius, which occurred at one site on the main branch of Roaring Creek. Three other sites on Roaring Creek ranged from 23.0 to 25.0° Celsius.[7]


Forest makes up approximately 40% of the land in the Roaring Creek watershed. Close to 40% of the land in the watershed is devoted to agriculture. 2% of the land in the watershed is residential.[7]

Roaring Creek has several major sub-watersheds. The largest is that of the main stem, which takes up 40 square miles. The South Branch Roaring Creek sub-watershed takes up 25 square miles. It is in the southern and western part of the main watershed. The Mugser Run sub-watershed covers 12 square miles, and the Lick Run watershed covers 6 square miles. They are in the middle of the main watershed. The Mill Creek sub-watershed 5 square miles. It is in the eastern part of the watershed.[7]


Roaring Creek rises in Roaring Creek Township and heads west to the border of Roaring Creek Township, where the creek turns north and picks up a tributary, Lick Run. Roaring Creek then reaches the northern borders of Slabtown and parallels Pennsylvania Route 42 for a short distance before turning southwest through Catawissa Township and reaching Pennsylvania Route 487 in Franklin Township, where Roaring Creek turns north and empties into the Susquehanna River.[2]


The South Branch joins the main branch 4.3 miles (6.9 km) upstream from the Susquehanna River.[1] Other tributaries include Mugser Run, the largest tributary of Roaring Creek at eight miles long; Lick Run, which is four miles long; and Mill Creek, the smallest tributary at three miles long.[7]

Covered bridges

The following covered bridges cross the main stem of Roaring Creek:[11]

  • Davis Covered Bridge
  • Mill Grove Covered Bridge
  • Riegel Covered Bridge No. 6
  • Lawrence L. Knoebel Covered Bridge

The following covered bridges cross tributaries of Roaring Creek:

  • Kreigbaum Covered Bridge
  • Richards Covered Bridge
  • Rohrbach Covered Bridge No. 24
  • Furnace Covered Bridge No. 11
  • Parr's Mill Covered Bridge No. 10
  • Snyder Covered Bridge No. 17
  • Wagner Covered Bridge No. 19


Unlike many watersheds in Roaring Creek's vicinity, the Roaring Creek watershed is not affected significantly by acid mine drainage. The threatened plant species Dodecatheon radicatum lives in the lower Roaring Creek watershed. There is a significant hemlock forest with vernal pools in the Roaring Creek watershed. However the hemlock forests are threatened by Adelges tsugae and Fiorinia externa. Almost all of the watershed is a cold-water fishery of high quality. As of 2004, the black-nosed dace is the most common species of fish in the Roaring Creek watershed and brown trout is the most common game species. Golden shiners, American eels, fallfish, yellow bullheads, greenside darters and walleyes used to occur in the watershed but no longer do so. There are few riparian forests in the watershed. The canopy coverage in the watershed is lowest on Roaring Creek, where one site has 0% canopy coverage. The highest canopy coverage in the watershed is 95%, which occurs at Mill Creek and one other tributary of Roaring Creek.[7]

All but one of the streams in the Roaring Creek watershed were not impaired for bethnic microinvertebrates. One tributary contains an abundance of snails. The algal biomass on streams in the watershed ranges from 0.02 micrograms of chlorophyll per square centimeter at one site on Lick Run to 3.81 micrograms of chlorophyll per square centimeter per square centimeter at one site on South Branch Roaring Creek.[7]

All of the South Branch Roaring Creek watershed and the upper Roaring Creek watershed are a high-quality cold-water fishery. Many tributaries of Roaring Creek in its central and lower sections are coldwater fisheries, and the middle and lower parts of Roaring Creek are stocked with trout. Only one stream in the watershed is biologically impaired, and this is due to siltation.[7]

See also


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