Page 58 - The Hunt - Summer 2019
P. 58

                IN THE FLOW
 TWO ENTITIES THAT DON’T NECESSARILY LIKE VFTU: THE TROUT THAT GET CAUGHT AND THE DEVELOPERS WHO GET CALLED ONTO THE CARPET.
Essentially laymen with a passion, Hughes is a former business consultant and Goodman is a retired operations specialist at a family-owned elevator corporation. The worst part of their work may well be attending mind- numbing township meetings. “Some townships change their stripes; some recognize the need to come to us,” says Goodman.
Developers typically aren’t big fans
of VFTU. Brian O’Neill paid the price
for his Worthington Steel property in East Whiteland Township, where a VFTU-prompted stream investigation resulted in a $9 million reconstruction job. “Developers don’t like us,” Hughes says. “We cost them money.”
VFTU is also there when human error erodes the natural world. Between 2009 and 2018, enough chlorinated water
spilled from fire-suppressant lines to
cause significant local fish kills in Chester County’s Little Valley and Valley creeks. “When chlorinated water hits streams and the chlorination hits fishes’ gills, they die,” Hughes says. “They can’t breathe.”
VFTU has numerous educational and service partnerships and hosts of annual events like spring cleanups, a fly fishing school, a trout show and a group fishing trip to the Little Juniata River. At the Church Farm School in Exton, students clean and repair streams, and there are plans to bring trout into the classrooms. Administered nationwide through the Veterans Administration, Project Healing Waters introduces fly-fishing to vets and active-duty military personnel recovering from PTSD. VFTU sponsors Healing Waters programs in Coatesville,
West Bradford Township and Royersford.
“We get as much out of the programs as we give,” Hughes says.
Valley Creek is a shining example of why VFTU’s work is so essential. “It’s remark- able that a stream is this productive so close to a major metropolitan area and in such a rapidly developing county,” Goodman says.
A limestone bed makes Valley Creek unique, its natural habitat fed by springs that keep it cool. “Valley Creek is a miracle of sorts, but only because VFTU’s eyes and ears are always open,” says Hughes. “Without us, we’d all be fishing carp in warm weather. You’d have to travel a long way to find a good stream.”
Valley Forge Trout Unlimited meetings are held September-May (except for March) the second Thursday of each month at the Chester Valley Grange in Malvern. They are open to the public. To learn more, visit www.valleyforgetu.org.
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