Bushkill Creek

Image of Bushkill Creek and trees near the Karl Stirner Arts Trail shot by Ken Ek

The Bushkill Creek watershed encompasses 80 square miles of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, stretching from Blue Mountain to the Delaware River in Easton. The creek is classified as a high-quality cold-water fishery. Despite challenges from industrial and agricultural runoff, the stream is thriving ecologically thanks in large part to the work of groups like the Bushkill Stream Conservancy.

Among its many projects, the conservancy has supported the removal of invasive plants and planted native vegetation along 10,000 square feet of stream and river bank where the Bushkill Creek enters the Delaware River.

Monitoring of the Bushkill Creek is conducted by students and faculty of Lafayette College, local high schools, and local citizens from the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. Lafayette students conduct stream sampling at nine locations in the watershed each fall, and the samples are tested at one of the College’s civil and environmental engineering labs.

Automated stream gages obtained through funding from the National Science Foundation and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection are maintained by Lafayette faculty, continuously recording the stream stage, conductivity, and temperature at several locations in the watershed.

Easton owes its original prosperity in large part to the power of the water that flows through and around it. The Bushkill Creek alone supported more than a dozen milling and distilling operations within the city. At one time, Easton was home to two sawmills, two tanneries, an oil mill, four breweries, seven flour and grist mills, nine distilleries, and two bottling establishments. For many years, Easton also served as a market not only for the grain raised in the immediate neighborhood but also from the Wyoming Valley and Warren and Sussex Counties, New Jersey.