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SWATARA WATERSHED ASSOCIATION

Lebanon, PA USA

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Chapter 2 : Project Area Characteristics

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A.  Location
B.  Size
C.  Topography
D.  Watershed Characteristics
     1.  Land Use
     2.  Zoning
E. Socio-Economic Profile
     1.  Population
     2.  Transportation Facilities
     3.  Major Sources of Employment

A. Location

The Swatara Creek watershed is situated in the south-central section of Pennsylvania. The watershed extends from the southern anthracite coalfields of Schuylkill County through the Karst limestone formations of Lebanon and Dauphin Counties before emptying into the Susquehanna River at Royalton and Middletown, Pennsylvania. The Swatara Creek watershed encompasses parts of Schuylkill, Berks, Lebanon, and Dauphin Counties. Swatara Creek originates near the village of Branchdale and flows in a southerly and southwesterly direction for approximately 69 miles to its confluence with the Susquehanna River. The Swatara Creek watershed is referenced by US Geologic Service’s (USGS) Hydrologic Code (1974) 02050305 in the Mid-Atlantic Region (US Department of the Interior, 1974), it is also designated as sub-basin 7 of the Susquehanna River Basin by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP).

B. Size

The majority of references list the Swatara Creek Watershed as draining approximately 576 square miles of the Susquehanna River basin (McCarren, Wark, and George, 1964). However, GIS calculations and the Pennsylvania Gazetteer of Streams (PADEP, 1989) measures the watershed as draining 571 square miles. For this document, 571 square miles will be utilized as the watershed drainage area for both presentation and calculation purposes. This River Conservation Plan covers this entire watershed, including six (6) major tributaries (Upper Little Swatara, Lower Little Swatara, Little Swatara, Quittapahilla, Manada, and Beaver Creeks) as well as other named and unnamed tributaries. The watershed includes four counties and contains all or part of 46 municipalities (Appendix A). Table 2-1 lists the municipalities located within the watershed.  The Swatara Creek watershed encompasses all or parts of 17 different school districts. These school districts are presented in Figure 2-1.

Table 2-1
Municipalities of the Swatara Creek Watershed
County Municipality County Municipality

Lebanon

 

Schuylkill

 
  Annville Township   Branch Township
  Bethel Township   Foster Township
  City of Lebanon   Frailey Township
  Cleona Borough   Pine Grove Borough
  Cornwall Borough   Pine Grove Township
  East Hanover Township   Porter Township
  Jackson Township   Reilly Township
  Jonestown Borough   Tremont Borough
  North Annville Township   Tremont Township
  North Cornwall Township   Washington Township
  North Lebanon Township   Wayne Township
  North Londonderry Township

Dauphin

 
  Palmyra Borough   Conewago Township
  South Annville Township   Derry Township
  South Lebanon Township   East Hanover Township
  South Londonderry Township   Hummelstown Borough
  Swatara Township   Londonderry Township
  Union Township   Lower Paxton Township
  West Cornwall Township   Lower Swatara Township
  West Lebanon Borough   Middletown Borough
      Royalton Borough

Berks

Bethel Township   South Hanover Township
  Tulpehocken Township   Swatara Township
  Upper Tulpehocken Township   West Hanover Township

C. Topography

The Swatara Creek watershed is located within two different physiographic provinces, the Ridge and Valley, and the Piedmont. The watershed contains both the Appalachian Mountain and Great Valley Sections of the Ridge and Valley Province, and the Gettysburg-Newark Lowlands Section of the Piedmont Province. The varied physiographic settings of the watershed translate into a variety of landforms found within it.

Located in the northern end of the watershed (Schuylkill, northern Lebanon, and the northwestern edge of Berks Counties), the Appalachian Mountain Section of the watershed is characterized by long narrow ridges interspersed by narrow to broad valleys. The southern edge of the southern anthracite coalfields comprises the headwaters of the Swatara Creek. The ridges are primarily composed of resistant sandstones and the valleys of softer shales and siltstone. The vertical relief in this area is moderate to very steep. The elevation of Swatara Creek at its headwaters is approximately 1,510 feet above sea level. When it exits the Appalachian Mountains Section in Lebanon County, the elevation is approximately 425 feet above sea level. Over the approximately 25.6 mile length of this section, this would equate to a 0.8 percent slope.

The central section of the watershed (Lebanon, Berks and central Dauphin Counties) is located in the Great Valley Section of the Ridge and Valley Province. This area, as its name suggests, is a broad lowland area south of Blue Mountain. As Swatara Creek flows from the Appalachian Mountain Section into the Great Valley Section, the valley is primarily composed of shales and siltstone. Further south in the watershed and the physiographic section, Quittapahilla Creek, a major tributary enters Swatara Creek. The Quittapahilla flows over the limestones, dolomites, and calciferous sandstones that make up the southern portion of the physiographic province. The vertical relief in this area is mild to moderately steep. The elevation of Swatara Creek entering the Great Valley Section is approximately 425 feet above sea level, and it exits the physiographic province atapproximately 295 feet. Over the approximate 39-mile length of this section, this would equate to a 0.06% slope.  The final section of the watershed (southern Dauphin and Lebanon Counties) is located within the Gettysburg-Newark Lowland Section of the Piedmont Physiographic Province. This area is characterized by rolling hills and valleys. Within the watershed, this physiographic section is primarily composed of shales with intrusions of Triassic diabase (a hard volcanic rock). The vertical relief in this section is mild to moderately steep. The elevation of Swatara Creek entering this physiographic section is approximately 295 feet above sea level, and the elevation as it empties into the Susquehanna River is approximately 279 feet above sea level. Over the approximately 4-mile length of this section, this would equate to a 0.1% slope.

D. Watershed Characteristics

1. Land Use

Land use information was collected through a combination of map review and field verification. The field investigation took place in October, 1999. A total of six (6) land use categories were identified. These land uses include Forested, Agricultural, Developed, Wetland, Water, and Barren. Figure 2-2 at the end of the chapter illustrates the land uses found in the watershed.

Land use throughout the Swatara Creek Watershed is diverse and ranges from vast areas of deciduous forests to regional commercial centers. Figure 2-1, Land Use/Land Cover displays the relationship between these various land uses and the natural features found within the watershed.

The Anderson Land Use and Land Cover Classification System was used to determine land use types for the watershed. The land use and land cover system presented in this report includes the more generalized first and second levels. A description of the land use/land cover types found within the watershed is presented in Appendix B. Table 2-2, Existing Land Use presents the Level 1 classifications and their subcategories as a percent of the total land within the watershed.

Within the watershed agricultural land was the most prevalent land use totaling over 206,658 acres (56.5 percent) of the entire watershed. Nearly all of the agricultural land was cropland/ pasture. It is the primary land use south of Blue Mountain, which traverses from east to west in the northern section of the watershed. Other land uses do occur in the southern section of the watershed, however, minimal in acreage when compared to agricultural land. Most of the municipalities in this area are large townships with small village centers and boroughs, which provide small commercial centers sufficient to provide for the day-to-day needs of the residents.

Forestland also comprised a high percentage of land, approximately 118,623 acres (32.5 percent), within the watershed. With the exception of a few scattered areas in the southern region, forestland is located along the mountains in the northern section of the watershed. Mountains of this area include Blue Mountain, Second Mountain, Peters Mountain, and Little Mountain. The highest percentage of Forestland in the watershed was deciduous, although stands of Mixed Forest and Evergreen Forest existed throughout the northern mountainous areas.

Most of the Urban/Built Up land was identified along the PA Rt. 422 corridor. Large commercial/ service districts were visible in Lebanon, Cleona, Annville, Palmyra, Hershey, Hummelstown, and Middletown. The largest single area of commercial/service land is located at the Fort Indiantown Gap; however, the majority of this area is utilized for military training exercises and is not in commercial development. Much of the residential land in the watershed surrounds these commercial centers or other small commercial areas south of Blue Mountain.

Table 2-2
Land Use Categories and Acreages of the Swatara Creek Watershed
       PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL WATERSHED
Level 1 Level 2      
Urban/Built-Up     29,395.42 8.04
  Residential 148 14,623.46 4
  Commercial 88 7,287.39 1.99
  Industrial 13 849.17 0.23
  Transportation 26 3,866.23 1.06
  Mixed Urban 14 605.34 0.17
  Other Urban 29 2,163.83 0.59
Agricultural     206,658.19 56.54
  Cropland/Pasture 54 205,926.16 56.34
  Orchards 6 700.2 0.19
  Feeding Operations 2 31.84 0.01
Forest     118,623.68 32.45
  Deciduous Forest 105 104,942.80 28.71
  Evergreen Forest 38 7,563.65 2.07
  Mixed Forest 29 6,117.23 1.67
Water     609.5 0.17
  Streams 1 93.73 0.03
  Lakes 5 117.98 0.03
  Reservoirs 14 397.8 0.11
Wetland     244.62 0.07
  Forested Wetland 1 244.62 0.07
Barren     9,967.42 2.73
  Strip Mines 23 9,752.07 2.67
  Transitional Areas 5 215.35 0.06
  Totals 5 365,498.83 100

Land Use Acres by County

Barren Land primarily consisted of strip mine/ quarry land located in the extreme north section of the watershed in Reilly, Frailey, Porter, and Tremont Townships of Schuykill County. Other areas of strip mine/ quarry land existed in Annville, North Annville, North Lebanon East Hanover and North Londonderry Townships in Lebanon County. These were primarily limestone and shale quarries. Limestone quarries in Derry, South Hanover, and Lower Swatara Townships in Dauphin County were also identified.

A summary of the major land uses of the counties in the watershed are presented in the following paragraphs:

Berks County

A small (northwestern) corner of Berks County is located within the Swatara Creek watershed. Only 10.5% (Approx. 38,315 ac) of the entire watershed is located in Berks County. The majority of the watershed in Berks County is composed of farmland, much of this area is intensively farmed, especially the area in close proximity to Little Swatara Creek. The northern end of the watershed in Berks County adjacent to Schuylkill County is forested. Four small communities (Bethel, Frystown, Mount Aetna, and Rehersburg) are the only major residential development located within the Berks County portion of the watershed.

Dauphin County

Dauphin County makes up 22.3% (Approx. 81,544 ac) of the Swatara Creek watershed. The majority of the watershed in Dauphin County is composed of agricultural lands and recently developed residential areas. The exception to this statement is lands adjacent to Swatara Creek and its tributaries, which are primarily forested. The Boroughs of Hummelstown, Middletown, and Royalton are the largest incorporated communities in the Dauphin County portion of the watershed. Additional urbanized population centers include unincorporated communities of Linglestown, Paxtonia, and Colonial Park in Lower Paxton Township; Rutherford Heights in Swatara Township; Skyline View in West Hanover Township; and Hershey in Derry Township. These communities also contain the largest area of commercial and industrial land use in this portion of the watershed.

Lebanon County

The majority of the Swatara Creek watershed, 42.7% (Approx. 156,025 ac), is located in Lebanon County. The majority of this portion of the watershed is agricultural land use. However, the section of watershed north of State Route 443 is primarily forested. Lebanon County also contains a portion of Swatara State Park. The City of Lebanon and Boroughs of Palmyra, Cleona, and Jonestown, and the Township of Annville are the largest population centers in the Lebanon County. These communities also contain the majority of the commercial and industrial land use in the Lebanon County portion of the watershed. Additional residential development is located in the communities of Fredericksburg and Cornwall. Ft. Indiantown Gap, a National Guard training facility, is also located within the watershed in Lebanon County. The facility is used as a training ground for military personnel and subsequently has a variety of land types on site. The mountainous areas on the northern portion of the site are forested. The remainder of the property is primarily a mixture of scrub shrub and field areas. Finally, the southern end of Swatara State Park is located in the watershed near the Lebanon/Schuylkill County line.

Schuylkill County

Schuylkill County comprises 24.5% (Approx. 89,640 ac) of the Swatara Creek watershed. This area is located in the northern and northwestern ends of the watershed and the majority of it is forested. In addition, the southern anthracite coalfields also extend into this portion of the watershed. This results in significant acreage in barren or mining land use. A substantial portion of the watershed in Schuylkill County is in farmland. These farmed areas are located primarily in the southeastern end of the county. The major population centers within the Schuylkill County portion of the watershed are the Boroughs of Pine Grove and Tremont. These communities also contain the largest commercial and industrial land use acreages. The communities of Donaldson and Newtown also contain some residential and commercial lands. Finally, a large portion of Swatara State Park, which also includes parts of Lebanon County, is located in the watershed between Interstate 81 and PA Route 443 along the southern boundary of the county.

2. Zoning

The Swatara Creek study area contains all, or part of 46 municipalities in four counties. With the exception of two municipalities in Schuylkill County, the remaining 44 municipalities have enacted zoning ordinances. 43 of these municipal ordinances have been obtained for use on the project. The municipalities donated many of the ordinances; others were purchased by SCWA.

Mackin Engineering Company analyzed the zoning ordinance and map for each of these municipalities. All of the existing zoning districts for the municipalities were placed into one of the following categories: residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, institutional, or conservation. A composite map of the project area was developed utilizing these categories. The composite map (see Figure 2-3) provides an overview of the uses allowed in the watershed; however, this map should not be used for planning purposes since it is not an accurate reflection of specific existing zoning.

Agriculture is the primary zoning found in the watershed. Potential conflicts could exist between agricultural land uses located directly next to the streams and conservation efforts. A majority of the farms in these locations allow their livestock direct access to the streams. This presents the potential for stream contamination.

Additional conflicts could arise from the increased residential development occurring in the watershed. New housing developments not only encroach on the streams of the watershed, but landscaping, the planting of new grass, and the associated large scale use of chemical herbicides and pesticides could create contamination problems within the watershed.

Pockets of commercial zoning are concentrated in the more developed urban areas, while agricultural zoning districts are found in the less developed rural areas. Land included in the 100-year floodplain is designated as conservation areas in many of the municipalities. In these conservation zones, development is usually restricted to uses that will not damage or cause pollution during flooding events.

E. Socio-Economic Profile

1. Population

The Swatara Creek Watershed encompasses approximately 571 square miles and covers sections of Dauphin, Lebanon, Berks and Schuylkill Counties (PADEP, 1989). There were an estimated 290,869 persons living within the watershed boundaries in 1998, which is approximately 2.4 percent of Pennsylvania’s 1998 population (Pennsylvania State Data Center, 1999). Estimates revealed that the population within the watershed increased by 4.3 percent between 1990 and 1998. In contrast, the growth rate for the state of Pennsylvania has been 1.0 percent for the same time period.

Lebanon County experienced an overall growth rate of 3.2 percent between 1990 and 1998, while its municipalities within the watershed experienced a slightly smaller population growth rate of 2.7 percent. The countywide population for Dauphin County grew at a 3.3 percent rate during this time and Dauphin County watershed municipalities grew at a 6.6 percent rate. Berks County has experienced the largest population growth within the past decade with a 5.8 percent increase in countywide population and a 6.9 percent increase for watershed municipalities. During the past decade, Schuylkill County was the only county within the study area to experience a decrease in countywide population (-2.8 percent); however, the population within the municipalities of the watershed decreased at a slightly slower rate of 2.1 percent. Table 2-3 compares the change in population from 1990 - 1998 for the counties within the watershed.

When identifying population characteristics of the study area, it is important to consider the distribution of population by age group. Each age group has specialized needs that impose different demands upon various municipal and county services. For instance, the "wage-earner" group (ages 18-64) is that portion of the population which is of working age and able to provide for a family. Ideally, this sector of the population should have the largest amount of persons in order to support those persons not able to work or contribute to the tax base. Age groups such as 65 and over normally include retired persons who eventually require additional medical services and specialized housing needs. Similarly, those under the age of 18 also require specialized services, such as, infants and toddlers who require specialized child care services or children aged 5-18 that utilize the public education system. It is important that government leaders know the characteristics of their population to properly plan for future population demands such as additional schools or assisted living facilities.

Table 2-3
Population Growth Within the Swatara Creek Watershed
  Total Population, 1990 Total Population, 1998 Percent of Population Change, 1990-1998
Berks County 336,523 355,956 5.8
Population within watershed 7,808 8,343 6.9
(Berks County)
Dauphin County 237,813 245,579 3.3
Population within watershed 121,736 129,722 6.6
(Dauphin County)
Lebanon County 113,744 117,434 3.2
Population within watershed 102,261 105,048 2.7
(Lebanon County)
Schuylkill County 152,585 148,266 -2.8
Population within watershed 20,542 20,106 -2.1
(Schuykill County)
Pennsylvania 11,881,643 12,001,451 1
Population within Study Area 252,347 290,869 4.3
(Pennsylvania)

As shown in Table 2-4, the population distribution for the four counties within the watershed is similar to the state’s; except for Schuylkill County, whose percent of population for the Age 64+ category is 5 percentage points higher than the Pennsylvania average of 15%.

Table 2-4

Population Distribution by Age Groups, 1990

 

Total Population

Percent of Population <18

Percent of Population 18-64

Percent of Population 64+

Berks County

336,523

23

61

16

Population within watershed

7,808

29

62

10

(Berks County)

Dauphin County

237,813

24

62

16

Population within watershed

121,736

22

64

14

(Dauphin County)

Lebanon County

113,744

24

62

14

Population within watershed

102,261

24

61

15

(Lebanon County)

Schuylkill County

152,585

22

58

20

Population within watershed

20,542

24

60

15

(Schuykill County)

Pennsylvania

11,881,643

24

61

15

Population within Study Area

252,347

23

62

14

(Pennsylvania)

It is important to compare the specific municipal data to the county average in order to determine the characteristics of the Swatara Creek Watershed study area. For instance, watershed municipalities in Berks County have two categories that vary from the county average; the "age 18 and under" group which was 6 percentage points higher than the county average and the percent of the population"64+" was 6 percentage points lower than the county average. Similarly, comparing the Schuylkill County municipalities reveals that the "64+" population was lower by 5 percentage points than the county average. The remaining two age groups, the "18-64" age group and the "under 18" age group were comparable to the county averages.

Table 2-4, provides an age comparison of the region as a whole compared to Pennsylvania, the specific municipalities within the study area, and their respective counties.

Population trends become apparent when comparing the increase or decrease of persons within a location over a period of time. The 30-year period between 1960 and 1990 was used to identify trends within the Swatara Creek Watershed. Berks, Dauphin and Lebanon Counties all experienced an increase in population over this thirty-year period. However, the growth varied from Lebanon’s 25.2 percent to a smaller increase of 22.2 percent in Berks County and an 8 percent increase in Dauphin County. The only county to experience a decrease in population was Schuylkill County, which lost of 11.8 percent of its population from 1960 to1990 (Table 2-5).

During this 30-year time period, Berks County had the largest average population increase for municipalities located withintheWatershed(77.6 percent)(seeTable2-5). Dauphin County, which had the smallest population growth rate of the study area, had a 58.8 percent growth in its watershed population. Lebanon County municipalities in the watershed experienced a population increase of 26.0 percent, which was comparable to the overall county growth rate. Schuylkill was the only county within the watershed to experience a decrease in countywide population; however, the municipalities located within the study area experienced an average population increase of 18.6 percent.

Table 2-5

Comparison of Swatara Creek Municipality Population Changes

To County Population Changes

Population 1960-1990

Population

Population

% Change
1960-1990

and Percent Change

1960

1990

Berks County

275,414

336,523

22.2

Average for Berks County Municipalities within Study Area and % Change

1,466

2,603

77.6

Dauphin County

220,255

237,813

8

Average for Dauphin County Municipalities within Study Area and % Change

6,387

10,145

58.8

Lebanon County

90,853

113,744

25.2

Average for Lebanon County Municipalities within Study Area and % Change

4,057

5,113

26

Schuylkill County

173,027

152,585

-11.8

Average for Schuylkill County Municipalities within Study Area and % Change

1,575

1,867

18.6

Following a nationwide trend, the watershed municipalities had a population shift of persons moving from boroughs to townships, which was an movement of persons from urban areas to rural areas. Both Dauphin and Lebanon Counties are good examples of this trend. Dauphin County experienced a decrease in population for each of the three boroughs within the study area while the townships within the same area had an increase in population. Significant to Dauphin County, was a population loss of 17.2 percent in the Borough of Middletown while five townships within the study area all had a population increase over 100 percent (see Table 2-6).

Table 2-6

Population Changes of Dauphin County Communities

Located In The Swatara Creek Watershed

Population 1960-1990

Population

Population

% Change 1960-1990

and Percent Change

1960

1990

Pennsylvania

11,319,336

11,881,643

5

Dauphin County

220,255

237,813

8

East Hanover Township

1,535

4,569

197.7

West Hanover Township

2,770

6,125

121.1

Lower Paxton Township

17,618

39,162

122.3

South Hanover Township

1,841

4,626

151.3

Hummelstown Borough

4,474

3,981

-11

Londonderry Township

3,053

4,926

61.3

Middletown Borough

11,182

9,254

-17.2

Royalton

1,128

1,120

-0.7

Lower Swatara Township

4,508

7,072

56.9

Swatara Township

14,795

19,661

32.9

Derry Township

12,388

18,408

48.6

Conewago Township

1,353

2,832

109.3

Total population within the Dauphin County study area and % Change

76,645

121,736

58.8

For Lebanon County, the increase of persons residing in the county occurred primarily in the townships of North Londonderry (234.3 percent) and South Annville (147.8 percent). The significant decrease in population occurred in the City of Lebanon (-17.5 percent) and the urbanized Township of West Lebanon (-17.3 percent) (Table 2-7).

All of the municipalities in the Berks County portion of the watershed are rural and all experienced over 70% population growth during the past 30 years. Upper Tulpehocken Township had the greatest growth rate (99.4%) within the watershed. Table 2-8 summarizes the growth rates for all of the watershed municipalities in Berks County.

Table 2-7

Population Changes of Berks County Communities

Located In The Swatara Creek Watershed

Population 1960-1990

Population

Population

% Change 1960-1990

and Percent Change

1960

1990

Pennsylvania

11,319,336

11,881,643

5

Berks County

275,414

336,523

22.2

Upper Tulpehocken Township

663

1,289

94.4

Bethel Township

2,152

3,676

70.8

Tulpehocken Township

1,583

2,843

79.6

Total population within Berks County study area and % Change

4,398

7,808

77.6

The Pennsylvania State Data Center, 1999

Table 2-8

Population Changes Of Lebanon County Communities

Located In The Swatara Creek Watershed

Population 1960-1990

Population

Population

% Change 1960-1990

and Percent Change

1960

1990

Pennsylvania

11,319,336

11,881,643

5

Lebanon County

90,853

113,744

25.2

Bethel Township

2,433

4,343

78.5

Swatara Township

2,164

3,318

53.3

Jonestown Borough

813

931

14.5

Union Township

1,967

2,755

40.1

East Hanover Township

2,140

3,058

42.9

Jackson Township

2,778

5,732

106.3

North Lebanon Township

4,713

9,741

106.7

City of Lebanon

30,045

24,800

-17.5

West Lebanon Township

1,054

872

-17.3

Cleona Borough

1,988

2,322

16.8

North Annvillle Township

1,813

2,441

34.6

Annville Borough

4,264

4,294

0.7

North Londonderry Township

1,684

5,630

234.3

Palmyra Borough

6,999

6,910

-1.3

South Lebanon Township

6,584

7,491

13.8

North Cornwall Township

2,624

4,886

86.2

South Annville Township

1,214

3,008

147.8

Cornwall Township

1,934

3,231

67.1

West Cornwall Township

1,020

1,996

95.7

South Londonderry Township

2,911

4,502

54.7

Total population within Lebanon County study area and % Change

81,142

102,261

26

While experiencing a decrease in countywide population, Schuylkill County municipalities located within the study area experienced an average increase of 18.6 percent, which ranged from a decrease of 50.3 percent in Foster Township to an increase of 127.2 percent in Wayne Township (Table 2-9).

Overall, the Swatara Creek Watershed is an area that is attracting new residents. The population within each age group is typical of the state average, with the exception of Berks County, which has a higher percentage of persons under the age of 18 than the other three counties. Trends indicate that the population is shifting from boroughs to the more rural townships. The population growth trend has continued over the past thirty years for all counties in the watershed, except for Schuylkill County. Although Schuylkill County experienced a countywide population decline, its watershed municipalities experienced an increase in population. The population trend for the Swatara Creek Watershed is one of continued growth as people continue to move to the area.

Table 2-9

Population Changes Of Schuylkill County Communities

Located In the Swatara Creek Watershed

Population 1960-1990

Population

Population

% Change 1960-1990

and Percent Change

1960

1990

Pennsylvania

11,319,336

11,881,643

5

Schuylkill County

173,027

152,585

-11.8

Foster Township

600

298

-50.3

Branch Township

1,749

2,051

17.3

Reilly Township

1,088

835

-23.3

Frailey Township

637

518

-18.7

Porter Township

2,738

2,560

-6.5

Tremont Township

442

297

32.8

Tremont Borough

1,893

1,814

-4.2

Wayne Township

1,729

3,929

127.2

Washington Township

1,292

2,423

87.5

Pine Grove Borough

2,267

2,118

-6.6

Pine Grove Township

2,887

3,699

28.1

Total population within Schuylkill County study area and % Change

17,322

20,542

18.6

 2. Transportation Facilities

The mobility of residents and travelers is central to the economic and social vitality of a community and region.  From roads and bridges to railroads and airfields, transportation infrastructure can lend itself to the economic vitality of a region and improve the quality of life.  Several modes of transportation are represented within the transportation network of the Swatara Creek Watershed. The project area includes Interstate, U.S., and PA Highways, as well as Municipal and private roads. In addition, the project area has a strong rail system with two primary operators that can move both goods and people across the region. Air transport is available throughout the project area with a concentration of public airports in Lebanon County. Transportation facilities in the watershed are detailed on Figure 2-4 at the end of this chapter.

ROADWAY

Within the Swatara Creek Watershed, there are currently 2,360 miles of roads that provide residents with vehicular access. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation classifies roads as either major or local, and further classifies them as, Interstate Highways, U.S. Highways, PA Highways, State Routes, Township Roads, and Other Roads. An important consideration regarding the roadway system in the Swatara Creek Watershed is to understand how they function. Transportation facilities are classified by the relative importance of the movement and access function assigned to them. The access function detracts from the movement function 2-12 population growth during the past 30 years. Upper Tulpehocken Township had the greatest growth rate (99.4%) within the watershed. Table 2-8 summarizes the growth rates for all of the watershed municipalities in Berks County and vise versa. In the hierarchy of highway facilities, freeways and major arterials constitute the major highway system (most efficient), while collector and local roads comprise the local street system (most access). The classification of streets essentially is determined by the degree of efficiency and access that they provide. Each of the classifications is mentioned briefly below.

Roadway Inventory

bulletBased on function, roads within the watershed can be classified into one of the following categories.

Major Highway Network (function to efficiently move traffic)

bulletControlled Access Highway - A highway to which owners of abutting land have no easement or access. (Interstates)
bulletMajor Highway (Arterial) ΠA facility on which geometric design and/or traffic control measures are used to expedite through traffic, while access to abutting property may be restricted but not eliminated. (PA and US Highways)

Local Street System (function to provide access to adjacent land)

bulletCollector Street ΠA Street that serves traffic movements within a neighborhood and connects this area with the major highway system. It is not intended to handle long through trips, but performs the same land service function as local roads.
bulletLocal Street ΠA facility having the sole function of providing access to immediately adjacent land.

Using Table 2-10 below, a comparison can be made between major and local roads within the watershed, giving a representation as to the total amount of miles existing in the watershed. 

Table 2-10

Summary Of Roadway Miles In Swatara Creek Watershed

According to Penn DOT

Major Roads

Interstate Highway

62 Miles

U.S. Highways

105 Miles

PA Highways

197 Miles

Total Miles for Major Roads = 364

Local Roads

State Routes

273 Miles

Township Roads

982 Miles

Other Roads (includes private roads)

741 Miles

Total Miles for Local Roads = 1,996

 The road network within the Swatara Creek Watershed study area is comprised of Interstates, U.S. Traffic Routes, PA Highways, State Routes, Township Roads and Other. All roadways are presented on Figure 2-3.

Within the watershed there are three fully controlled access Major Highways, they are Interstates 78 (I-78) and 76 (I-76), which run east west and Interstate 81 (I-81) which travels north to south.

INTERSTATE SYSTEM

I-78

This Interstate, traveling east to west, begins at I-81 in Lebanon County southwest of Fredricksburg.  It provides travelers on I-81 with access to Allentown. This interstate parallels the U.S. Route 22 corridor for the length of the watershed. Full interchange exits provide access to the following PA Route systems, 645, 501, 419, and 183.

I-81

Traveling north to south, Interstate 81 enters the United States in New York and ends in Tennessee.  This road skirts Harrisburg south of the Swatara Creek watershed. I-81 provides access to Pine Grove and Minersville in Schuylkill County, Lickdale and Ft. Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County, and Grantville and Manada Hill in Dauphin County. In addition to connecting with I-78, full interchange exits provide access to the following PA Route systems, 39, 743, 934, 443, 125, 25, and 901. I-81 also provides access to U.S. 209 to Tremont in Schuylkill County.

I-76

This fully controlled access toll-road begins at the border of New Jersey and continues west to Ohio.  I-76 enters the southernmost tip of the study area in Dauphin County near the borders of Conewago and Londonderry Townships. Although the toll-road moves west past Harrisburg, there are no access points located within the watershed study area.

US TRAFFIC ROUTES

Four US Traffic Routes are located within the Swatara Creek Watershed, US 322, US 422, US 22, and US 209.

US 422

Route 422 is classified as a major through traffic route and begins near Norristown and extends west to Hershey, where it joins with US 322. Within the watershed Route 422 provides access to Myerstown, Lebanon, Cleona, Palmyra, and Hershey.

US 322

Originating in New Jersey US 322 travels west through the study area and continues into Ohio. US 322 enters the southern section of the watershed in Lebanon County and extends west through Dauphin County. This section of US 322 is considered a secondary traffic route and provides access to Cornwall, and Campbelltown.

US 22

US Route 22 runs east and west through the entire state. Within the watershed US 22 runs north of Swatara Creek in Dauphin and Lebanon Counties, US 22 parallels I-81 to the south before joining I-78 near Hamlin. US 22 provides access to the municipalities of Fredericksburg, Jonestown, Ono, Harpers Tavern, and East Hanover.

US 209

US Route 209 runs from Millersburg, PA North into the state of New York. Route 209 only runs through the Schuylkill County portion of the watershed. It runs from the Village of Joliett to Branch Dale at the headwaters of Swatara Creek. In addition to Joliett and Branch Dale, Route 209 provides access to the communities of Tremont and Newtown in the watershed.

PA TRAFFIC ROUTES

The state traffic routes can be classified as roadways that interconnect communities to Major Highways within the study area. PA State Traffic Routes include; PA 441, PA 283, PA 230, PA 743, PA 39, PA 117, PA 241, PA 72, PA 419, PA 89, PA 934, PA 443, PA 343, PA 645, PA 501, PA 895, PA 125, PA 25.

At the county level, the road network for the four Swatara Creek watershed counties is extensive and covers a total of 8,101+ miles. Within Schuylkill County, there are 1,263 miles of local roads and 623.93 miles of major road. Berks County has 2,257.26 miles of local roads and a major road network consisting of 964+ miles. Lebanon County has 386 miles of major roads and 754+ local roads. Dauphin County has 1,264+ miles of local roads and 587+ miles of major roads. Only a small portion of Berks County and less than half of Schuylkill and Dauphin Counties are located in the Swatara Creek watershed. Therefore, the listed amounts of roadways are not the totals found in the watershed.

RAIL

Complimenting the extensive network of roads within the study area are a freight rail and passenger rail system.  Rail systems have historically moved large amounts of goods in and out of the watershed. They have also  served as a source of transportation for people through the watershed. Today the rail systems in the watershed   are freight haulers, with the exception of one passenger line that runs through and stops in the watershed.  Freight rail systems are also being used as a tourist related resource as sightseeing trips are becoming increasingly popular.

The Swatara Creek Watershed contains the following rail lines ΠAmtrak, Norfolk Southern (formerly Conrail), Penn Central, Middletown and Hummelstown, Reading and Northern, Reading and Blue Mountain, and Steelton and Highspire. This rail network is categorized into three Penn Dot Classifications ΠPassenger Transport, Freight Rails (Operating) and Freight Rails (Other). Freight Rail (Operating) move freight from one location to another on major rail lines. Freight Rails (Other) could be minor rail line operators, excursion operations, abandoned, or in transition.

Of the above listed rail lines, Amtrak is the sole passenger line. It has one stop (Middletown) in the watershed and less than 2 miles of rail line in the watershed. Norfolk Southern and Reading and Northern, are Freight Rail (Operating) and have 47 miles of rail line in the watershed. The Freight Rails (Other) category has 49 miles or rail line and contains the other operators.

RAIL TRAIL

Within the Swatara Creek Watershed there are several recreational walking and bicycling trail-ways. Some of these trail-ways have been converted from abandoned rail lines. This form of recreation has become increasingly popular as communities recognize the benefits to both economic and quality of life issues. Studies have shown increases in tourism and money spent in relation to the development of a trail system. In addition, property values and business support have been shown to increase with this form of recreation. The Swatara Creek Watershed will have a small portion of completed rail trail by the end of the summer. Acquisition and completion of the remaining 11 miles of trail into the City of Lebanon is scheduled for completion in 2001. A feasibility study for extending the trail to Swatara State Park is scheduled for the future as well (Wengert, 2000).

AIR

Assisting in the movement of people and goods into and from the watershed is a comprehensive system of air travel. Serving as a convenient and faster way to move items from one area to another, air travel is also used for medical emergencies and military transport. The Swatara Creek Watershed has four public airports within the study area and one privately owned airport, Rover Landing Strip in Lebanon County. As indicated in Table

2-11, Public Airports in Project Area, Lebanon County has three public air facilities and Berks County has one public facility, while Dauphin and Schuylkill have none located within the project area.

Table 2-11
Public Airports in the Swatara Creek Watershed

County

Type

Name

Lebanon

Public

Reigle Airport

Lebanon

Public

Millard Airport

Lebanon

Public

Farmers Pride Airport

Berks

Public

Grimes Airport

The Harrisburg International Airport is located in Middletown, PA adjacent to the Susquehanna River, just outside of the watershed. Two heliports are located within the watershed, one privately owned facility in Berks County, the Summit Heliport, and one public facility located at the M.S. Hershey Medical Center in Dauphin County.

Lebanon County has the only military use air transport. These facilities are located North of I-78 and East of I-81 in Lebanon County. The military airfields are West Grass Field, Muir Field and East Grass Field. A feasibility study for a public/private airport with FIG and Lebanon County is currently being completed.

According to 1995 PennDOT data, two other airport classifications exist, Statewide Airport (Special) and Other (Airpark/landing strip). These facilities are identified in Table 2-12.

Table 2-12

Additional Airports Within The Project Area

County

Type

Name

Dauphin

Other

Hershey Airpark

Other

Brookside Landing Strip

Statewide Airport

Ecko Field

Lebanon

Military Airfield

Muir Army Airfield

Statewide Airport

Sky Classics Field

Berks

Statewide Airport

Brubaker’s

Statewide Airport

Krill

Schuylkill

Statewide Airport

Fairview Farms

Statewide Airport

Cider Field

 3. Major Sources of Employment

In the last decade, the four counties that lie within the Swatara Creek watershed (Dauphin, Lebanon, Berks and Schuylkill Counties) have experienced varying degrees of growth in employment with a steady rise in the service industry and various degrees of growth in the manufacturing industry.  Data for this section was acquired from second quarter unemployment compensation tax reports filed by employers (Pennsylvania County Industry Trends 1994-1998).

Dauphin County

The study area in Dauphin County is located in the southern third of the county from Middletown, it skirts the City of Harrisburg to the east, and extends north to the Second Mountain ridgeline that separates the Swatara Creek watershed from the Stony Creek watershed. During the period from 1994-98, Dauphin County experienced a growth in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; Mining; Construction; Transportation; Wholesale and Retail Trade; Finance, Insurance, Real Estate; Services, and Public Administration sectors. The county experienced a small (3.0%) decrease in the Manufacturing sector, more specifically, apparel products, furniture/fixtures, and primary metal industries over this period.

Lebanon County

The study area within Lebanon County covers all but the northwestern corner and the southern most portion of the county. The primary employment in the study area portion of the county is manufacturing.  Industry in the county experienced growth in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing (16.7%), Manufacturing (7.1%), Transportation and Other Utilities (5.7%), Wholesale Trade (15.0%), Retail Trade (2.8%), Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (7.9%), and Services (9.2%) sectors.

The largest employer in the county is the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs with 1,200 employees. Three health care providers, the Veterans Administration Hospital (980 employees), the Good Samaritan Hospital (814 employees), and the Philhaven Hospital (396 employees) are major employers within the county.

Berks County

The Swatara Creek Watershed study area covers only a small portion of Berks County that is located in the northwestern corner of the county. Berks County has a broad economic base, 28% of all jobs are in the Manufacturing Sector, and the remaining jobs largely consist of the agricultural, metal production, textile and apparel, and retail trade industries. During the period of 1994-1998, the county as a whole has seen an increase in the number of establishments for the following industry sectors: Agriculture, Forestry and Finance; Mining, Construction, Manufacturing; Transportation; Wholesale Trade; Finance, Insurance and Real Estate; Services and Public Administration. The county experienced a decline in Retail Trade during the same time period, primarily in General Merchandise, Food Stores, and, Apparel and Accessory Stores.

During this period, a growth increase of over 10% occurred for Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing (12.7%); Transportation and Other Utilities (24.9%); and, Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (14.7%).

The largest growth sector within Transportation & Other Utilities was Electrical, Gas and Sanitary Services, which grew from 38 establishments in 1994 to 57 in 1998.

Schuylkill County

The study area within Schuylkill County is located in the southwestern corner of the county and borders Berks and Lebanon counties. Schuylkill has experienced an increase in agricultural production including areas of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing. No other industrial sector experienced a growth over 10%. Decreases in the industrial sectors included Mining (-14.1%), Wholesale Trade (-3.6%), Retail Trade (-2.8%), Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (-4.6%), and Public Administration (-1%).

Workforce and employment figures show that the study area is located in an area that is generally experiencing good economic conditions and employment opportunities. These economic statistics show a region with a generally low unemployment rate, with the exception of Schuylkill County at 6.2% (Table 2-13).

Table 2-13

Swatara Creek Watershed

1999 Area Employment and Unemployment

 

Labor force

Employment

Unemployment

Unemployment rate

Berks County

186,000

178,500

79,000

3.20%

Dauphin County

144,200

138,500

5,600

3.50%

Lebanon County

67,000

65,100

1,900

2.80%

Schuylkill County

70,400

65,800

4,600

6.20%

Pennsylvania

5,971,300

5,729,600

241,800

4.00%

According to the 1990 Census Figures and the Department of Labor and Industry, the median household income for Berks County ($32,048) was higher than the state average of $29,069. Per Capita Income in 1994 for Berks County was $22,465 that was almost equal to the state average of $22,471 and higher than the national average of $21,696. The average weekly wage for persons employed in Berks County was $557 while the statewide average weekly wage was $594. Within Berks County there were a total of 8,014 firms in 1999 that helped to keep the 1999 unemployment rate around 3.2%. The unemployment rate for Berks County has varied from the 1970 rate of 2.9% to the high in 1980 of 7.4%.

Dauphin County™s 1990 Median Household Income ($30,985) was also higher than the state average. 1994 Per Capita income for Dauphin County was $23,277, higher than both the state and national averages. The average weekly wage for persons employed in Dauphin County, $589, was slightly lower than the state average.

In 1999 there were 6,361 firms in Dauphin County. These firms provided employment to residents and helped to keep the 1999 unemployment rate at 3.5%. The unemployment rate for Dauphin County has varied from a low in 1970 of 2.9% to the high in the 1980™s of 6.1%.

1990 Median Household Income for Lebanon County ($29,469) was lower than Berks and Dauphin Counties but still higher than the statewide average. The 1994 Per Capita Income for Lebanon County ($19,937) was lower than the state™s average of $22,471 and also the national average of $21,696. In 1999, the average weekly wage for the county was $479, which was lower than Dauphin and Berks counties as well as the statewide average. In 1999 there were 2,391 firms located within the Lebanon County, employing 40,690 persons. The unemployment rate for Lebanon County mirrors the previous two counties having a low unemployment rate of 2.9% in the 1970™s and the highest unemployment rate in the 1980™s at 6.6%.

When comparing Median Household Income, Schuylkill County has the lowest average of the counties within the Swatara Creek Watershed at $23,028 in 1990. The results from the comparison are similar when relating 1994 Per Capita Income as well. Per Capita Income was $18,031 in 1994, much lower than any other county within the watershed. In 1999, the average weekly wage was $412 for Schuylkill County and there were a total of 3,089 firms employing 54,207 persons. Schuylkill County currently has the highest unemployment rate of the four counties within the Swatara Creek Watershed. Since 1970, high unemployment rates have been found within Schuylkill County. In the 1970™s, Schuylkill County had an unemployment rate of 5.1% that rose to a high of 9.9% in the 1980™s.

Major Employers located within the Swatara Creek Watershed were identified as those firms employing 100 or more persons. Tables 2-14 through 2-17 list the names of the employer, general location within the watershed and the product or service. Each table list firms employing 100 or more persons, except for Berks County where the largest employer in the watershed is listed; but does not employ over 100 persons. and the product or service. Each table list firms employing 100 or more persons, except for Berks County where the largest employer in the watershed is listed; but does not employ over 100 persons. 

Table 2-14
Dauphin County Major Employers Within the Swatara Creek Watershed

Name

Location

Product or service

Giant Food Stores, Inc.

Derry Township

Retail Food

K-Mart Corporation

Derry Township

Retail

Hershey Foods Corporation

Derry Township

Chocolate/Confectionery

Hershey Medical Center

Derry Township

Health Care

HERCO Inc./ Hershey Entertainment and Resorts

Derry Township

Resorts

Milton Hershey School And Trust Company.

Derry Township

Education/ Private School

H.B. Reese Candy Company

Derry Township

Confectionery

Mt. View Thoroughbred Racing Association (Penn National)

East Hanover Township

Horse Racing / Entertainment

Ingram Micro CLBT

Lower Paxton

Computer Technology

Lower Dauphin School District

Conewago, East Hanover, South Hanover Twps. and Hummelstown Borough

Education

Derry Township School District

Derry Township

Education

Verdelli Farms East, Inc.

Swatara Township

Food Processing

Hummelstown

Watkins Motor Lines, Inc.

Swatara Township

Freight Trucking

Weis Markets, Inc.

Derry Township

Retail Food

Walmart

Swatara Township

Retail

 

Table 2-15

Lebanon County Major Employers within the Swatara Creek Watershed

Name

Location

Product or service

Dept. of Military & Veterans Affairs

Annville

Military

Veterans Administration Hospital

Lebanon

Health Care

Lebanon County Government

Lebanon

Government

AMP

Jonestown

Manufacturing/ Electronics

Good Samaritan Hospital

Lebanon

Health Care

Farmer’s Pride, Inc./Bell & Evans

Fredericksburg

Poultry

Walter H. Weaber & Sons, Inc.

Lebanon

Lumber

Cornwall-Lebanon School District

Lebanon

Education

Lebanon City School District

Lebanon

Education

Temp Force

Lebanon

Temporary Employment Agency

Supreme Mid-Atlantic Corp.

Jonestown

Truck Body Manufacturing

ALCOA-Foil Products Division

Lebanon

Aluminum Products

New World Pasta/ San Giorgio Plant

Lebanon

Food Production

 

Table 2-16

Berks County Major Employers within the Swatara Creek Watershed

Name

Location

Product or service

Peifer Machine

Tulpehocken Township

Machine Repair Service

Table 2-17

Schuylkill County Major Employers within the Swatara Creek Watershed

Name

Location

Product or service

Guilford Mills, Inc.

Pine Grove

Textile

As stated previously, the Swatara Creek Watershed is an area that is experiencing economic growth. This is indicated by the increase in employees and corresponding low unemployment rates. Unemployment rates are generally lower than the state™s rate of 4.0% with the exception of Schuylkill County. This increase in employment can be attributed to rises in the manufacturing and service industries in the region.

As economic conditions improve, area wages and household income increases as well. Generally, the study area is above the state and national averages for Median Household Income, Per Capita Income and Weekly Wage. However, Schuylkill County once again falls below the state and national averages and lags behind the other three counties in employment and income earned.

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