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Big Spring Watershed Association

BSWA group

The Big Spring Watershed Association has been successful in restoring, enhancing, and protecting the Big Spring as a resource thanks to the support of the community. All of our activities are dependent upon volunteers. We encourage all members of the community to join us in our efforts by contacting Tom Smithwick at

How Does the BSWA Benefit the Community?

The BSWA. since 2001. has organized. sponsored. and implemented a number of on-going activities and special projects to aid in:

  • Restoring the water quality of the creek
  • Developing the adjacent habitat to support birds and pollinators
  • Preserving clean water in the area to help maintain a supply of clean drinking water to the residents of the Newville Borough
  • Reestablishing a wild. natl_Jral reproducing brook trout population
  • Improving the depth. flow. and temperature of the water to enhance habitat for fish. insects. and bird-life
  • Increasing access for the handicapped to fish
  • Protecting the stream for residents. visitors. and future generations

How Has The Water Improved?

The BSWA has initiated & collaborated with many organizations on major projects to improve the water quality of the Big Spring Creek including the reduction of bacteria, silt and chemicals; increased depth, flow; and has maintained its natural temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

These projects have protected and created wetlands along surrounding land which provide improved and/or additional habitat for birds and other animals.  In doing so, they enhance the opportunities for recreational activities in and around the creek for residents and visitors.

How Is The BSWA Funded?

The BSWA projects are generally funded by grants. Over the years. the BSWA has sought and obtained grant funding or in-kind donations from many local. state. and national organizations. These include funding from: 

  • The Society for the Preservation of Old Mills for the restoration of the Barrel Factory on Log Cabin Road
  • Pennsylvania Growing Greener Program in collaboration with Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited. PA Fish and Boat Commission. US Fish and Wildlife. and PA Department of Environmental Protection to improve the flow and depth in the upper stretch of the creek
  • Cumberland County Conservation District to improve the:
    • Depth and flow of water and creating better habitat for fish to reproduce in the creek at Nealy Road.
    • Habitat for song birds and pollinating insects at Nealy Road.

The BSWA also has individuals and local organizations who volunteer their time and skills to support activities and projects. These include the late Richard Zarnowski who repainted the outside of the Barrel Factory: Newville Boy Scout Troop 174 and Newville Girl Scout Troop 11463 who helped clean up the area along the Creek: and students from Shippensburg University and Dickinson College who support a number of the science activities on the creek. 


The spring is one of the world's most productive limestone spring creeks

The BWSA was formed in 2001

the Big Spring Creek is the 5th largest spring in Pennyslvania