Johnstown Local Flood Protection Project

Johnstown, PA

Following yet another a disastrous flood in 1936, the Army Corps of Engineers undertook a five-year project (1938-1943) to create deep paved channels for the Little Conemaugh and Stonycreek rivers as they pass through Johnstown. While the project was a technical success and the channels were subsequently only overtopped once (in the massive 1977 flood), the channels transform these lovely mountain streams into unappealing concrete canyons, creating a questionable aesthetic in a town that now attempts to promote itself as a tourist destination.

The orange-brown quality of the water in the Little Conemaugh due to upstream acidic discharges from abandoned mines. While a watershed protection project succeeded in cleaning up similar pollution in the Stonycreek River, a similar effort for the Little Conemaugh faces significant technical and economic hurdles.

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Little Conemaugh River
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Polluted water in the Little Conemaugh
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JLFPP historic marker
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The clear Stonycreek River passing under the Washington Street Bridge
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Washington Street Bridge / Stonycreek River
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Polluted water from the Little Conemaugh flowing into the clear Stonycreek River
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George Washington Memorial Trees (dedicated 1932)
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Conemaugh Valley Flood Memorial (1940)