2024 Keystone Coldwater Conference Wrap Up

Almost 190 people attended the 12th Biennial Keystone Coldwater Conference on February 23 and 24 at the Ramada Inn in State College, PA. Attendees included speakers, students, exhibitors, and conservationists; this year’s theme was “Shared Priorities: Ensuring Cold, Clean Water for All through Community and Collaboration.”

Workshops on Friday included So, You Want to Make a Difference? A Guide to Become a Productive Advocate for Your Streams and Community led by Emily BaldauffHer topics included public comments, how to approach decision maker meetings, social media, petitions, and letter writing. She also shared current conservation events going on in Pennsylvania and how TU can be effective in the coming years through advocacy.

Meanwhile, Luke Bobnar of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Phil Thomas from Trout Unlimited, and Troy Stimaker from the PA DCNR Bureau of Foresty led a workshop titled Puttin’ Trees in the Crick? Everything You Need to Know about Large Wood Additions to PA Streams. They discussed why wood is important to aquatic ecosystems, and the techniques and methods with which wood is being reintroduced to stream-valley ecosystems. Project examples, monitoring, funding, and permitting options were also explored.

Friday evening’s events kicked off with a dessert social and student poster contest. Subjects of the 10 posters included stream temperatures, the effects of culverts on fish communities in western Pennsylvania streams, and the impact of shale gas development on stream chemistry and aquatic benthic macroinvertebrate communities, among others.

Another highlight of Friday’s events was the film screening Covenant of the Salmon People, a documentary about efforts of the Nez Perce Tribe to protect Chinook salmon from extinction due in large part to dams on the Snake River that inhibit the return of salmon to native spawning sites.

Saturday’s activities began with a plenary panel featuring conservation and education professionals from across the state who shared how they are engaging various communities in cold-water conservation through unique programming and collaborations. After the plenary session led by Derek Eberly and panelists, R. John Dawes was awarded a certificate of recognition by the Coldwater Heritage Partnership in recognition of his founding role in the Partnership and for his many years of leadership and service within the watershed conservation community.

The remainder of Saturday consisted of concurrent presentations with topics including trout stream restoration, Trout Unlimited’s abandoned mine drainage program, and building communities around conservation. The results of the student poster contest were announced during lunch; the winners were Brady Blackburn (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), Lexie Orr (Penn State), Danielle Tryon (Susquehanna University), Michaela Adams (PennWest Clarion University), and Bridget Reheard (Penn State).

The 2024 Keystone Coldwater Conference was hosted by the Coldwater Heritage Partnership, which includes PATU, the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, and the PA Fish & Boat Commission.

We would like to thank our generous sponsors who helped make this conference a success!


Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Brook Trout

The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds

Brown Trout

Flyway Excavating, Inc.  

Robindale Energy Services

Rainbow Trout


Donegal Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Earth Conservancy

PA Environment Digest

Valley Forge Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Student Poster

Chestnut Ridge Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Donegal Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Kettle Creek Watershed Association

Penns Valley Conservation Association

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