Contributed photos

Volunteers constructed 20 porcupine cribs to be placed in Lake Wallenpaupack to improve fish habitat. As seen at the bottom left, cement blocks were added at the base of each structure to keep it submerged.

Porcupine cribs for fish

On September 12, volunteers assisted the Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District (LWWMD) and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PFBC) Habitat Division in constructing and installing structures meant to improve fish habitat in Lake Wallenpaupack, the popular man-made Wayne and Pike County Pennsylvania lake built in the 1920s. Ultimately, water from the massive lake flows down the Lackawaxen River and into the Delaware River.

Back in 2013, the LWWMD partnered with the PFBC to improve fish habitat in the lake through their Cooperative Habitat Improvement Program (CHIP), which taps the resources and expertise of the PFBC and draws upon the local knowledge of groups like LWWMD.

Twenty “porcupine cribs” (structures designed by fisheries biologists to provide improved habitat in man-made lakes lacking natural habitat) were built and installed that day. The cribs are deep-water structures that function as refuges to protect juvenile fish where abundant submerged aquatic vegetation is lacking. The primary objective is to increase the abundance of native habitat materials like wood and rock rubble, through structure design that mimics native habitat.

“We want people to make the connection between healthy lakes and healthy fish populations,” said LWWMD Executive Director Nick Spinelli. “If we can get people interested in building fish habitat, maybe we can also get them interested in other ways to help protect the lake from pollution and accomplish the watershed district’s mission.”

Visit to learn more about the work of the LWWMD.


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