The Little Juniata is a 111 square mile watershed, the largest to pass through Blair County. It spans the northern part of the county from west to east before passing into Hungtingdon County. The watershed covers large sections of the City of Altoona, Logan Township, Antis Township, and Bellwood Borough, in addition to other municipalities. It contains parts of State Game Lands 108, 156, and 267. Development pressure is high along the I-99 corridor, which passes through a large portion of the watershed.
The 32 mile Little Juniata River, sometimes referred to as the “Little J,” begins in Altoona and flows northeast through the Logan Valley. After its confluence with Bald Eagle Creek at Tyrone Borough, the Little J turns southeast and enters the Sinking Valley. The river continues into Huntingdon County, where it joins with the Frankstown Branch to form the mainstem Juniata River. The Little Juniata River is valued for its fly fishing opportunities and contains a Class A population of wild brown trout.
The Little Juniata is subject to a TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load), which functions as a “cleanup plan” or “pollution diet” for the river. The TMDL seeks to reduce levels of sediment and nutrients that wash off the land and into the river during storms and snowmelt. These pollutants hurt water quality, degrading wildlife habitat for fish and other species. The TMDL directly affects the City of Altoona, Logan Township, and Antis Township.
Drinking Water Supplies in this Watershed
Two reservoirs are located in the Little Juniata Watershed. The Homer Gap reservoir is fed by Homer Gap Run, west of Altoona. The Kettle reservoir, which is east of the city, is fed by Kettle Creek. These reservoirs are operated by Altoona Water Authority, which provides clean drinking water to thousands of people in Blair County. Click here to learn more about Blair County Drinking Water and what your role is in preventing drinking water pollution.
Everyone Lives Downstream
Click the image below to learn more and interact with the water bodies that flow into the Little Juniata River.