Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Western PA Conservancy Protects 348 Acres Of Forest, Wetland Communities In French Creek Watershed, Erie County

On September 19, the
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy announced the permanent protection of 348 acres of forest and wetlands in Union Township, Erie County, through a conservation easement.

The conservation easement-- purchased from 730 Texas Timberlands II, Ltd., a Texas limited partnership c/o GreenWood Resources, Inc.-- restricts future subdivision development and timber harvesting on 222 acres of forest, streams and wetlands. Sustainable timber harvesting will continue on 126 acres of the property.

The conservation easement safeguards the forested riparian buffer around a portion of the Union City Reservoir and protects additional forestland in the French Creek watershed, a priority conservation region for the Conservancy due to the watershed’s variety and abundance of aquatic wildlife and rare plant and animal species.

In addition to the mature upland forest, the property provides a buffer for streams and rare wetland and fen plant communities, which host habitat for more than 20 species of concern in the state. A large beaver dam and meadow are also present.

The property also hosts rare glacier land forms, including an esker and several kames. Glacial kettle holes, which were formed by retreating glaciers and floodwaters, and a hemlock forest are also on the land that is designated a Natural Heritage Area in Erie County. 

Although the land will continue in private ownership, the property, Bentley Run Wetlands (link connects to a map of the area), is open to the public for hiking, wildlife watching, hunting and fishing, and is adjacent to State Game Land #102.

“Protecting the land and waters in the French Creek watershed continues to be of great importance to the Conservancy,” says Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Conservancy. “We’re pleased to work closely with the landowners and our regional partners to protect this stunning property’s rare species and natural communities.”

The protection of this property was made possible thanks to funding from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Department of Community and Economic Development, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service North American Wetlands Conservation Grant Program, and the Union City Municipal Authority

Grant funding from the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds and the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Babcock Charitable Trust and Hillman Foundation also supported this project.

To date, the Conservancy has protected more than 5,600 acres within the 1,250-square-mile French Creek watershed, starting with the Wattsburg Fen Natural Area in 1969.

More information is available on programs, initiatives and special events at the Western PA Conservancy website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Conservancy, Like them on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter, join them on Instagram, visit the Conservancy’s YouTube Channel or add them to your network on LinkedinClick Here to support their work.

The Conservancy has helped to establish 11 state parks, conserved more than 250,000 acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams, maintains 132 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of more than 11,000 volunteers and the support of more than 9,000 members.

(Reprinted from the WeConservePA website.)


-- Western PA Conservancy: Meet Fallingwater’s Summer Internship Class, Learn About Intern Opportunities  

-- Western PA Conservancy Fallingwater Oct. 25 Webinar: Artisans To Share Inspiration At 50th Anniversary Of Touchstone Center For Crafts School. Noon.

Related Articles:

-- North Branch Land Trust Receives DCNR Grant To Protect 220 Acres In Huntsville Reservoir Watershed, Luzerne County  [PaEN]

[Posted: September 20, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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