The Game and Fish and Boat Commissions Wednesday announced completion of a land-transfer agreement with Hanson Aggregates BMC Inc. that secures the long-term preservation of Cogley Island, a 10-acre property in the Allegheny River in Armstrong County.
Under the agreement, Hanson transferred the property to the Game Commission as mitigation for potential environmental impacts related to commercial gravel dredging in the Dashields Pool, Montgomery Pool and New Cumberland Pool of the Ohio River.
A fish survey conducted by Hanson found that the proposed project would potentially impact the habitat of two state-threatened fish species.
“Our foremost goal is always to protect an area’s habitat and to work with companies to find solutions which reduce or offset environmental impacts of a project,” said Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway. “Acquiring Cogley Island and permanently preserving its ecosystem was the best option to offset the potential impact of Hanson’s gravel dredging project. The island has excellent conservation value, including the necessary shallow water and shoreline that supports habitat for rare and listed fish and mussel species.”
The transfer of the 10-acre island to the Game Commission came at no cost to the commission, and was approved unanimously in June by the Game Board of Commissioners.
Cogley Island is expected to provide hunting opportunity, particularly to waterfowl hunters, and some trapping opportunities might also develop from the acquisition.
The island, portions of which are seasonally inundated, represents critical habitat for nesting birds and wildlife. It is forested with sycamore, silver maple, willow and cottonwood, and has a thick understory.
The property is located in Pool 6 of the Allegheny River in Manor Township, Armstrong County. It is adjacent to Ford City and is approximately 2 miles away from State Game Lands 247.
“We’re always looking to preserve wildlife habitat for future generations, and happy to add choices for those seeking good, public-access hunting spots,” said Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough. “Cogley Island certainly would seem to fit the bill.
“Let me extend thanks to the many partners behind this effort. On behalf of Pennsylvania’s hunters, the agency thanks you.”
Ron Kurpiel, vice president and general manager of Hanson Aggregates BMC, said the company was proud to do its part to create that opportunity.“At Hanson Aggregates, environmental sustainability is an integral part of our business strategy. We strive to operate and grow in a socially and ecologically responsible manner, while minimizing the impact of our business on the environment,” Kurpiel said. “The transfer of the Cogley Island property as a means to help preserve its ecosystem clearly demonstrates this commitment.”