Little Lehigh Watershed Stewards – Past Events

Trexler Tree Planting – Oct. 2023

10 LLWS volunteers teamed up with Wildlands Conservancy and their volunteers to plant 130 trees/shrubs in two locations near Trexler Preserve We plant trees to help improve habitat and water quality in our creeks. Each tree needs a good start and about 5 years of TLC to boost its odds of reaching maturity.

Salt Snapshot Sampling – August 2023

LLWS volunteers performed a salt snapshot study in the watershed, collecting 48 creek water samples for analysis of salt (sodium chloride) content and conductivity.  Working with Stroud Water Research Center, LLWS member Jennifer L. developed our sampling program.  The work documents salt levels in streams during August low water flows.  Salt, if found, indicates that wintertime road salt has entered the groundwater and continues to discharge into our creeks throughout the year.  Elevated salt levels in streams create a hostile environment for wildlife including fish, insects and other invertebrates. If you are interested in finding out more or performing a similar study in you watershed, reach out.

Knotweed Knockdown, Lehigh Parkway, June 2023

8 Volunteers from LLWS worked with the Allentown Parks Department to clear Japanese Knotweed from two sites in the Lehigh Parkway.   We cleared two sites, one under the I 78 overpass of the Little Lehigh and the second located on the island further downstream.  Three truckloads of knotweed, plants as tall as 10-12 feet, were removed. The city will follow up with herbicide treatment to attack the plants at the roots.

HydroMania, Cedar Crest College, May 2023

The newly formed Education Committee’s first project was preparing and presentation for HydroMania. Simon, Denise, Jen, Jim B., John T., Linda and Tom prepared a 10 minute presentation on the ability of different materials (grass/soil, gravel, concrete) to absorb rainwater and explained how these different land surfaces change how much storm water flows to our creeks. We even got our presentation used as “eye candy” in the WFMZ TV news coverage.

From WFMZ reporting:

“Hydromania” took over the campus of Cedar Crest College. It’s the 20th year for the event, which is put on by the Lehigh Valley Water Suppliers group. 800 4th and 5th graders from across the Lehigh Valley participated in the field trip event and learned all about good old H20, and why it’s so important to the world around us.

Spring Cleanup along Little Lehigh in Allentown, April 2023

Saturday April 15 brought 32 volunteers out to clear trash from about 1.3 miles of Little Lehigh Creek, Cedar Creek and the creek side of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Allentown. These hardworking volunteers collected 5 truckloads of trash (85 bags, metal, wood, etc.) and 35 tires. LLWS placed signs along the parkway and attracted 18 volunteers who had never worked with us before. Special thanks to Mary for organizing, Simon and Dave Roth for refreshments, and Dave Bonette for bringing his Kayak and working from there. Thanks to City of Allentown for providing supplies, hauling away trash, and for Lucas and Joel for day of assistance.

Creek Clean Up, March 18, 2023

March 18 brought together 50 LLWS volunteers to clean the banks and parkland around the Little Lehigh between Brookside Rd. and Wild Cherry Lane. We pulled out 12 tires, 90 big bags of trash and metal scrap, which will be recycled. Thanks for Paul for organizing, Simon for delicious Donuts and LMT for hauling away the debris.

Tree Planting along LL in Lower Mac. Twp. March 2023

LLWS planted 45 trees along the Little Lehigh in Lower Macungie. Weather tried to foil the planting by flooding the worksite on the Friday before. Many flexible volunteers turned out in the chill on a Wednesday to finish the work. Thanks to LMT for donating trees and supplies and to Paul for pulling it together.

Trees were planted then a gravel mixture was used a the “mulch.” Recent studies indicated gravel mulch improves tree viability in planting plots that won’t be otherwise mowed/maintained.

Tree Maintenance Event, Upper Macungie, December 2022

A clear and Chilly December morning brought 10 LLWS volunteers out to maintain two tree planting locations near Mill and Spring Creek Roads. Once planted, young trees need annual maintenance for a few years to help them withstand deer browsing and rubbing, rodent gnawing on bark, and floods that knock them over. Thanks to our volunteers who get out on cold but sunny mornings and to those willing to chip in to cover the costs to protect the trees. Installing high quality 5′ tubes, using thick zip ties and long, water resistant stakes, costs LLWS about $10 per tree in materials to protect each larger tree. Are you willing to donate to these costs? If so, email us at

Simon Points to damage done by Deer Rubbing.

Creek and Park Clean up – Jordan Park, Allentown, November 2022

A chilly but sunny November morning brought 19 volunteers out to collect 57 bags of trash and a truckload of bulk trash like shopping carts, bikes, car parts from the park, streambanks and creek bed. Hot coffee and donuts make the mid morning break pleasant and social.

Knotweed Knockdown, June 2022

On a warm June day, 11 volunteers gathered to clear Knotweed from the banks of the Little Lehigh Creek near the old railroad trellis in Allentown. In a few hours we cleared about a 1/4 acre of Knotweed from creek bank and floodplain. Before we began that day, the railroad trellis was not visible, due to height of knotweed. Allentown Park staff will work going forward to keep this section free of the fast growing plant.

Japanese Knotweed, if left unchecked, can quickly spread and choke out native plants and trees, creating a monoculture that does not provide suitable habitat for native insects and birds.

Tree & Bush Planting, Mertztown, May ’22

Another sunny May day was a followup tree and bush planting at the same Mertztown site visited in April (previous entry). This planting consisted of 100 larger (larger then the bare root saplings planted in April) plants.

LLWS is planting a variety of plant stock types and then revisiting sites to help us evaluate what works best for our group. Smaller trees cost less and are easier to plant but likely have a lower survival rate. The question is, its it better to plant many more smaller trees or fewer larger ones? We are giving both a try and seeing what works.

Bare Root Tree/Shrub Planting Along Little Lehigh

On Sunny April 30, 2022, 11 volunteers planted 270 bare root trees in the floodplain of the Little Lehigh along Mertztown Road. Lower Macungie has taken ownership of the land and LLWS has two tree planting events to help fill in the grassy flood plain with Native Trees and Bushes. Native species planted included: Silky and Greystem dogwoods, Pin and N. Red Oaks, Bayberry and Ninebark.

24th Street/Little Lehigh Trash Clean up

It took two bright days in April and 11 volunteers working two hour each to remove about 800-900 pounds of trash from 24th Street in Allentown and Salisbury Townships. The work area was both sides of the Little Lehigh along the street and roadbanks. (near Covered Bridge) Trash on the streets is carried by rainwater right into the creeks!

Thanks to Denise B for organizing both efforts, and Salisbury’s Assist. Manager Sandy N., Salisbury Constable, Kyle M., Allentown and Salisbury residents and members of LLWS for filling 27 large bags and other bulk items. Also thanks to PennDOT, Allentown and Salisbury Public works for helping out.

Camp Olympic Park Stream Clean up

On Saturday March 19, 2022, around 50 volunteers gathered at Camp Olympic to collect trash from the stream and floodplain including: tires, metal, plastics and food and drink containers Lower Macungie hauled away seven truckload of our collected debris.

Thanks to Paul who organized, the Emmaus Kiwanis, LV disc golf players, girl scout families, Society of Women Engineers, and LCA who all sent volunteers. Many LLWS came out, were team leaders, and brought food.

March is a good time to see litter. We plan to make March cleanups an annual event. Anytime when you are outdoors, do you part and pick up trash from streams, streets, storm drains and your surroundings.

Tree Maintenance Event

On Saturday Dec 4, 2021, 11 volunteers came out to maintain trees and bushes planted last year. LLWS loves to plant trees AND to circle back yearly to give planted trees some TLC to help them grow. Our goal is to develop better tree cover along stretches of the waterway where we have township permission to plant trees. Trees growing next to streams help keep stream water cooler and cleaner. Tree roots help hold soil in place. Encourage your township or city to plant more trees on stream banks in your parks!

Trout Creek Cleanup

Great weather for the clean up!

On Halloween 2021, 18 volunteers haunted Trout Creek Park and scared up 45 bags of trash plus many bulk items. We estimated about 900 lbs. of garbage was removed from the waterway. Thanks to Chuck at City of Allentown for giving up part of his Sunday to haul away the garbage and Luis for planning work!

Native Meadow Planting, Trexler Enviro. Center

On October 2nd, 2021, LLWS volunteers worked with other members of the WCLV to plant native grasses at the Native Plants Meadow site at the Trexler Environmental Center in Orefield, PA. This meadow site had been overgrown with invasive weeds. Seven volunteers first did substantial weeding to prepare for planting of the native grasses. 200 grass plants of five varieties were planted (Tufted Hair Grass, Appalachian Sedge, Broomsedge Bluestem…also known as Whiskey Grass, Purpletop Tridens… or Grease Grass, and Eastern Bottlebrush Grass). Thanks to Lehigh County Parks personnel for getting us access to water at the Environmental Center.

Newly planted grasses in the meadow.
The Team after a hard morning’s work weeding and planting.

Nursery Tree and Shrub Planting

On September 25, 17 volunteers planted trees and shrubs along the Little Lehigh near the intersections of Spring Creek and Mill Creek Roads. These plants will be used as a nursery for the harvest of “live stakes” for future plantings. Trees included: Pussy Willow, Maple, River Birch, Dogwood.

Scott and John securing tree
Group Planting and Watering Bushes

Knotweed Removal Lehigh Parkway

On June 19th, 2021 LLWS worked with the Allentown Parks Department to remove Japanese Knotweed from several sites along the Little Lehigh Creek near the Route 78 bridge in the Lehigh Parkway. Thirteen volunteers worked to cut down knotweed patches and load it into trucks supplied by the Parks Department. Three truckloads were needed to carry away the highly invasive weeds. Japanese Knotweed, if left unchecked, can quickly spread and choke out native plants and trees, creating a monoculture that does not provide suitable habitat for native insects and birds.

Knotweed Removal At Lehigh Parkway, June 19th, 2021
Large Knotweed patch in middle of knockdown
One of three truckloads of Knotweed removed

Live Stakes Planting event May 8th, 2021

Eleven volunteers worked to plant 150 trees using the live stakes method of planting. Live stakes are branches of trees that are cut when trees are dormant. The cut branches of trees can sprout leaves and roots quickly when planted near water. Some are even planted in the edge of the creek bed. Trees planted in a riparian buffer along the stream prevent future erosion during flood events. Species planted include Dogwood, Pussy Willow and Birch trees.

Live stakes ready for planting, with coffee too!
Live Stakes can be planted in the stream bed
LLWS Volunteers at Live Stake Planting
Water Quality Testing

In 2020, the Little Lehigh Watershed Stewards, in collaboration with the Lehigh County Authority, initiated a water quality testing program. Volunteers go out twice per month and use field equipment to test for turbidity, temperature, pH, salinity, total dissolved solids, and conductivity. The goal of this testing program is to allow ongoing evaluation of water quality on the main stem and the main tributaries of Little Lehigh. Use contact form to join the testing team!

Spring Creek Road Planting

On November 21st, 2020, a Weed and Stake event was held in the area where River Birch trees from an earlier planting along Spring Creek Road in Upper Macungie Township needed some upkeep. Volunteers weeded around the trees, replaced protective sleeves where necessary, and re-staked the saplings.

From left to right: Luis Rodriguez, Dave Roth, Julia Roth and Dan Morton

Volunteers at tree site along flood plain of Spring Creek, November 21st, 2020

On October 31st, 2020, the Little Lehigh Watershed Stewards held a cleanup at Trout Creek Park in Allentown. 10 Volunteers pitched in to clean up both banks along a quarter mile of stream. With help from the City of Allentown Parks Department we collected a full truckload of debris from the park.

LLWS Volunteers after the Halloween morning cleanup at Trout Creek park

Full truckload of trash removed from park

On October 3rd, 2020, the Little Lehigh Watershed Committee, with the support of the Little Lehigh Chapter of Trout Unlimited, planted 200 trees and shrubs in the riparian buffer of the Little Lehigh along Spring Creek Road in Lower Macungie Township. The land is owned by Lower Macungie Township  as dedicated open space.
Twenty volunteers gathered on Saturday, October 3, to plant the riparian trees and shrubs, which were secured by Trout Unlimited through grants from Lehigh County Conservation District and PPL’s Community Roots Tree Program. Trout Unlimited also provided stakes and protective tubing for the newly planted trees.

Volunteers at the October 3rd tree planting
Paul Younger
Joe Schulter and Dylan Molloy