Independence Conservancy recently received the President’s Choice Award and a $10,000 unrestricted grant from Washington County Community Foundation to support establishing the Langeloth Valley Conservation Area near Burgettstown.
Noting her strong support for conservation and environmental preservation, the Washington County Community Foundation’s President, Betsie Trew, said Independence Conservancy has stepped up to fill a void in land stewardship in Washington County and its work to mitigate mine and industrial threats to water supplies “impacts every living creature within the (Raccoon Creek) Watershed.”
The President’s Choice Award assists small but developing charities in the manner that the Washington County Community Foundation’s earliest donors helped it.
(Photo: Independence Conservancy Vice-Chairman Peg Schweinsberg and member Gary Stokum accept the Washington County Community Foundation’s President’s Choice Award.)
Besides program quality, applicants are judged on community impact and improvement in the organization’s finances over a period of years.
Using land trust Standards and Practices, the Independence Conservancy preserves land in Southwestern Pennsylvania to protect open space, wildlife habitat, natural and cultural resources, scenic views and quality of life.
Endeavoring to improve water quality, it owns and manages the Abandoned Mine Discharge (AMD) treatment systems in the Raccoon Creek Watershed, which has its origins in Washington County.
The Conservancy established the Langeloth Valley Conservation Area, near Burgettstown, which will permanently preserve 73 acres of woodlands, wetlands and streams south of the former American Zinc & Chemical Co. smelter site in Smith Township.
The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, based in Huntingdon, PA, has contributed an additional $7500 in support for the Langeloth Valley Conservation Area which will permanently protect the Langeloth Borehole AMD Treatment System.
The system removes over 200 tons of iron and other pollutants yearly from the headwaters of Raccoon Creek, allowing aquatic life to thrive downstream.
The Conservancy has achieved over $1.5 million of environmental reclamation and land preservation since its founding in 1999.
With the help of community partners, landowners, volunteers and others, the Conservancy’s vision is to protect and conserve land in the Raccoon Creek Region in perpetuity.For more information, visit the Independence Conservancy website.