Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-14-2022


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Environmental Science and Management (ESM)

Committee Chair

Brady Porter

Committee Member

Elizabeth Dakin

Committee Member

John Stolz

Committee Member

Anthony Honick


Crooked Creek is a tributary of the Allegheny River with a drainage area of 292 square miles. It has been historically affected by mine drainage pollution. Extensive cleanup and monitoring efforts by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have taken place over the last four decades. Unconventional oil extraction, or fracking, presents an emerging threat to the water quality of this stream and the health of its fish communities. Here we perform an analysis of the Crooked Creek watershed utilizing backpack electrofishing, eDNA metabarcoding, and various methods of water quality analysis. Seven sites on USACE property along the Crooked Creek mainstem and two of its tributaries were surveyed. The data collected was used to determine how fish communities and water chemistry have been affected by mine drainage pollution, how they have changed over time, and whether any other sources of pollution are present. While the documentation of a state threatened fish, the brindled madtom, suggests a stable and healthy fish community, mass-ratio analysis of water chemistry shows that abandoned mine drainage is still present within the system.