Muncy Creek

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Muncy Creek
Muncy Creek near mouth.JPG
Muncy Creek near its mouth in Muncy Creek Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania
Native name Occohpocheny
Origin southeastern Laporte Township, Sullivan County, Pennsylvania
Mouth West Branch Susquehanna River in Muncy Creek Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania
Length 35.8 mi (57.6 km)
Source elevation 2,260 to 2,280 feet (690 to 690 m)
Mouth elevation slightly less than 480 feet (150 m)
Avg. discharge 44.9 cu ft/s (1.27 m3/s) at mouth
Basin area 216 sq mi (560 km2)
Left tributaries Little Muncy Creek
Right tributaries Wolf Run

Muncy Creek (also known as Big Muncy Creek[1]) is a tributary of the West Branch Susquehanna River in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania and Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is approximately 35.8 miles (57.6 km) long. Major tributaries of the creek include Little Muncy Creek and Wolf Run.[2]


Muncy Creek in Muncy Creek Township

Muncy Creek is approximately 35.8 miles (57.6 km) long.[2]

Muncy Creek begins in southeastern Laporte Township, Sullivan County, near its border with Davidson Township, Sullivan County. The creek flows south and then west for a short distance before reaching the border between Laporte Township and Davidson Township. It then turns southwest as it begins to follow this border. Shortly afterwards it turns northwest and begins to flow into a valley, then turns west and begins receiving very short tributaries from both sides. Examples of these include Rock Run and Lopez Pond Branch. After picking up Peters Creek, one such tributary, Muncy Creek turns southwest and passes the community of Nordmont, where the tributary Elklick Run flows into it. The creek then turns southwest and later west. Deep Hollow Run then enters the creek, which heads south away from the Laporte Township/Davidson Township border.[3] Upon leaving behind the Laporte Township/Davidson Township border, the creek enters Davidson Township and heads west-southwest, passing a gauging station. After several miles, it reaches the community of Sonestown, where the tributary Big Run flows into it from the north. Muncy Creek then makes a sharp bend south and begins flowing parallel to U.S. Route 220. After a few miles, it passes the community of Muncy Valley and makes a sharp turn south, exiting Davidson Township.[4]

Upon exiting Davidson Township, Sullivan County, Muncy Creek enters Lycoming County and flows along the border between Shrewsbury Township and Penn Township for several miles. It continues following U.S. Route 220 during this time, picking up a few tributaries, including Lick Run. The creek also passes by Glen Mawr and Tivoli during this stretch. Beyond the stretch, in Picture Rocks, the creek crosses Pennsylvania Route 864. Beyond the community, the creek continues south into Wolf Township, leaving its valley passing by the eastern edge of Hughesville. Some distance further on, the creek receives the tributary Sugar Run and some miles later leaves Wolf Township in a southwesterly direction. Upon exiting Wolf Township, the creek enters Muncy Creek Township, where Little Muncy Creek flows into it. Muncy Creek then turns northeast, crossing Pennsylvania Route 405 and turns southwest, crossing Interstate 180. The creek then receives the tributary Wolf Run and immediately afterwards empties into the West Branch Susquehanna River.[5]


Significant tributaries of Muncy Creek include Little Muncy Creek and Wolf Run. The watershed of Little Muncy Creek has an area of 82.30 square miles (213.2 km2). This creek reaches its confluence with Muncy Creek 3.90 miles (6.28 km) upstream of its mouth. The watershed of Wolf Run has an area of 11.10 square miles (28.7 km2). This stream reaches its confluence with Muncy Creek 0.06 miles (0.097 km) upstream of its mouth.[6] Other large tributaries of the creek include Lewis Creek, Rock Run, and Sugar Run. The watersheds of these tributaries have areas of 14.5 square miles (38 km2), 10.3 square miles (27 km2), and 10.3 square miles (27 km2), respectively. Muncy Creek also has numerous minor tributaries.[7]


The highest recorded discharge of Muncy Creek near Muncy is 46,600 cubic feet per second. In 2012 and 2013, the creek's discharge at this location ranged from 29 to 379 cubic feet per second.[8] The discharge of the creek at Sonestown averages 44.9 cubic feet per second.[9] The osmotic pressure of the stream's waters at this location ranged from less than 1 up to 4 millios-moles per kilogram.[8] The annual rate of precipitation near the creek ranges from 35 to 50 inches (89 to 127 cm).[7]

The pH of Muncy Creek's waters near Muncy ranged from 7.0 to 7.5 in 2012 and 2013. The stream's specific conductance ranged from 89 to 134 micro-siemens per centimeter at 25 °C (77 °F).[8]

Between November 2012 and September 2013, the lowest recorded water temperatures of Muncy Creek at Muncy were 1.4 °C (34.5 °F) on January 9, 2013 and 2.6 °C (36.7 °F) on March 19, 2013. The highest recorded water temperatures were 20.6 °C (69.1 °F) and 20.4 °C (68.7 °F), on September 4, 2013 and July 9, 2013, respectively.[8]

The concentration of dissolved solids in Muncy Creek ranges from 50 to 80 milligrams per liter. The concentration of suspended solids, however, is always less than 5 milligrams per liter. The water hardness of the creek (in terms of the concentration of calcium carbonate) ranges from 28 to 49 milligrams per liter. The concentration of calcium in the creek ranges from 8.7 to 10.5 milligrams per liter. Its magnesium concentration can be as low as 1.6 milligrams per liter or as high as 2.0 milligrams per liter, while its sodium concentration ranges from 3.2 to 4.1 milligrams per liter.[8]

There are trace amounts of bromides, phosphoruss, orthophosphates, and ammonia in Muncy Creek. All of these occur in concentrations of 0.3 milligrams per liter or less. Nitrites occur in concentrations of less than 0.4 milligrams per liter. The chloride concentration in the creek ranges from 4.5 to 7.0 milligrams per liter. The minimum sulfate concentration is 6.7 milligrams per liter and the maximum is 8.9 milligrams per liter. The minimum nitrate concentration is 0.65 milligrams per liter and the maximum is 1.2 milligrams per liter. The total concentration of nitrogen in the creek ranges from 0.8 to 1.2 milligrams per liter.[8]

The concentration of aluminum in Muncy Creek ranges from less than 20 up to 30 micrograms per liter and the copper concentration is always less than 4 micrograms per liter. The lead concentration is always less than 1 microgram per liter. In 2013, the creek's concentration of manganese was observed to be 20 micrograms per liter. The zinc concentration ranges from less than 5 up to 30 milligrams per liter. The nickel and selenium concentrations are less than 4 and 7 micrograms per liter, respectively, while the boron concentration is less than 200 milligrams per liter. The creek's strontium concentration is 40 or 50 micrograms per liter.[8]

Geography and geology[edit]

The mouth of Muncy Creek has an elevation of slightly less than 480 feet (150 m), while the source of the creek has an elevation of between 2,260 feet (690 m) and 2,280 feet (690 m).[10] The headwaters of the creek are more than 1,500 feet (460 m) higher than its mouth.[11] The headwaters of Muncy Creek are mountainous and are situated on the Allegheny Plateau.[11][12] The southern edge of the Allegheny Mountain runs from the creek west as far as Lock Haven or Pine Creek.[12] The valley of Muncy Creek is surrounded by scalloped hills.[13]

Muncy Creek's course winds significantly, but flows generally southwest.[11]

A narrow belt of the Chemung Formation occurs along Muncy Creek in Shrewsbury Township, Lycoming County.[1] An outcropping of the Catskill Formation also occurs along parts of the creek in Jordan Township, Lycoming County. The Chemung Formation has an outcropping on the creek near Moreland. This outcropping is 30 feet (9.1 m) high and gray in color. It consists of shale and sandstone. Red shale is also found on the creek.[12] In general, rock formations consisting of sandstone and shale are found along much of the creek, while rock formations of limestone occur close to its mouth.[7]

The Tombs Run and Muncy Creek Anticline runs parallel to the creek through northern Penn Township, Lycoming County and also enters Sullivan County near the creek.[12] The creek also has a cliff known as Picture Rock on it. An area of boulders on the creek forms a Class 2 rapid. There is a levee on Muncy Creek in Hughesville.[14]

The soils in the valley of Muncy Creek are deep but relatively poor.[12] However, farming was done in the valley in the late 1800s and still is as of the late 1900s.[12][14] The valley has forested hills on either side.[14] The Morris-Oquaga-Wellsboro soil series is found along the creek in Sullivan County.[15]

The channel of Muncy Creek is sinuous with high streambanks and the creek has cobble and gravel bars.[7][14] There are a few strainers on the creek.[14]


Map of the West Branch Susquehanna River (dark blue) and major streams in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. Muncy Creek (light blue) is the fifth major creek to enter the river in the county, south of Loyalsock Creek (green). Little Muncy Creek is the shorter branch south of the longer main creek (and is labeled with a '6').

The watershed of Muncy Creek has an area of 216 square miles (560 km2).[6] The area of the watershed upstream of Hugesville comprises approximately half of the total watershed.[11] The are area of the creek's watershed upstream of Sonestown is 25.8 square miles (67 km2).[9] The watershed of the creek occupies parts of Lycoming County, Sullivan County, Columbia County, and Montour County.[7]

There are a number of lakes in the watershed of Muncy Creek. The largest is Eagles Mere Lake, which has an area of 116.2 acres. Hunters Lake has an area of 90.2 acres and Highland Lake has an area of 10 acres. Additionally, the six-acre Beaver Lake is located in the watershed of the tributary Little Muncy creek.[7]

Communities in the watershed of Muncy Creek include Hugesville, Picture Rocks, Lairdsville, and Sonestown. Smaller communities in the creek's watershed include Muncy Valley, Eagles Mere, and Nordmont.[7]

The confluence of Muncy Creek with the West Branch Susquehanna River is 27.88 miles (44.87 km) upstream of the mouth of the latter river.[6]

In the late 1800s, the only road in Davidson Township, Sullivan County besides the Susquehanna and Tioga Turnpike passed near Muncy Creek and the settlements along it.[12] The valley of Muncy Creek is largely undeveloped, largely lacking even summer camps.[14]


Muncy Creek was known to the Native Americans as Occohpocheny.[13] Historically, Native Americans painted on Picture Rock, a cliff on the creek.[14]

Six Native American lance heads made of stone were found near Muncy Creek by Joseph Fahrenbach in the autumn of 1872.[13]

Muncy Creek was settled in 1783 by John Beeber. The Willow Grove Mill was built on Muncy Creek in 1797 by Isaac Walton. In the late 1800s, there was a sawmill on the creek in Shrewsbury Township, Lycoming County. A woolen mill was also built on the creek in Wolf Township, Lycoming County in 1842.[1]

Historically, railroads ran parallel to Muncy Creek 26 miles (42 km) upstream, as far as the community of Nordmont. There were also numerous railroad stations on the creek upstream of the community of Picture Rocks[11] The Reading Railroad also had a bridge over the creek in the past.[16]

Muncy Creek experienced severe flooding in 1889.[13]

In the early 1900s, many of the sewers in the community of Eagles Mere discharged into tributaries of Muncy Creek, such as Outlet Run. Sewage was also discharged into Muncy Creek in Hugesville.[11]

In the early 1900s, the waters of Muncy Creek were contaminated with tannery waste products from Muncy Valley and also chemicals. For this reason, the creek was only used for power during this time. Additionally, a methyl alcohol plant, the Nordmont Chemical Works, discharged chemicals into the creek at Nordstown.[11] Other major industries in the watershed in the early part of the 1900s included clay mines and furniture factories.[7]

An aqueduct carrying the West Branch Canal once crossed Muncy Creek.[16]


92 percent of assessed streams in the watershed of Muncy Creek are inhabited by trout. Of the inhabited streams, 82 percent are inhabited only by brook trout, nine percent are inhabited by only brown trout, and nine percent are inhabited by both brook trout and brown trout.[17] A number of tributaries of the creek are designated as high-quality coldwater fisheries. These include Lick Run, Roaring Run, Rock Run, and Spring Run in Lycoming County and Big Run, Trout Run, and a number of others in Sullivan County.[15][18]

There are some forested areas in the floodplains of Muncy Creek.[18]


It is possible to canoe on Muncy Creek during snowmelts or shortly after heaver rainstorms. Although the creek is used for canoeing by locals, it is less popular for this use than the nearby Loyalsock Creek. Edward Gertler considers the creek to be especially good for novice canoers. He describes Muncy Creek as a "pleasing but generally mediocre mountain stream" in his book Keystone Canoeing. However, it is only possible to canoe on the creek downstream of the plateau of North Mountain. A total of 24.3 miles (39.1 km) of the creek is canoeable.[14]

The difficulty rating of Muncy Creek for canoeing ranges from 1+ to 2.[14]

There is a boat ramp belonging to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission in the lower reaches of Muncy Creek.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c John Franklin Meginness, ed. (1892), History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, retrieved August 6, 2014 
  2. ^ a b Google Maps, 2014, retrieved June 12, 2014 
  3. ^ United States Geological Survey (1991), laporte.jpg, retrieved June 12, 2014 
  4. ^ United States Geological Survey (1991), davidson.jpg, retrieved June 12, 2014 
  5. ^ United States Geological Survey (1993), lycoming.jpg, retrieved June 12, 2014 
  6. ^ a b c Pennsylvania Gazetteer of Streams (PDF), November 2, 2001, retrieved August 8, 2014 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Water Supply Commission of Pennsylvania (1921), Water Resources Inventory Report ..., Parts 1-5, retrieved August 12, 2014 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g United States Geological Survey (2013), Water-Data Report 2013: 01553005 Muncy Creek Near Muncy, PA (PDF), retrieved June 12, 2014 
  9. ^ a b C. A. Billingsley, B. A. Anderson (1976), Surface Water Supply of the United States 1966-70: North Atlantic slope basins-3 v, retrieved August 8, 2014 
  10. ^ United States Geological Survey, The National Map Viewer, retrieved August 9, 2014 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Pennsylvania Department of Health (1909), Report, retrieved August 6, 2014 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Andrew Sherwood, Franklin Platt (1880), The Geology of Lycoming and Sullivan Counties, retrieved August 7, 2014 
  13. ^ a b c d Jeremiah Mertzler Mohr Gernerd (1868), Now and Then, Volumes 1-3, retrieved August 8, 2014 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Edward Gertler (1993), Keystone Canoeing, Seneca Press, pp. 292–294 
  15. ^ a b Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program (2001), A Natural Areas Inventory of Sullivan County, Pennsylvania (PDF), retrieved August 9, 2014 
  16. ^ a b Robin Van Auken (December 13, 2006), Muncy, Arcadia Publishing, retrieved August 6, 2014 
  17. ^ Samuel Silknetter, John Panas, Caleb Currens, Dr. Jonathan Niles, Trout Populations in Unassessed Waters of Loyalsock and Muncy Creek Drainages (PDF), retrieved August 5, 2014 
  18. ^ a b Pennsylvania Science office of The Nature Conservancy (1998), A Natural Areas Inventory of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania (PDF), retrieved August 9, 2014 

Coordinates: 41°22′58″N 76°25′44″W / 41.38266°N 76.42897°W / 41.38266; -76.42897