With the building of the Sustainable Resource Facility (SRF) along Route 880 near Loganton, a new conservation area will be developed by Nicholas Meat as compensation for the forested riparian buffer and watercourse impacts that will occur because of the land development needed for the SRF. This new conservation site, totaling 12.03 acres, will be protected with a conservation covenant that will remain with the land in perpetuity. The SRF building site is located along a small, intermittent, high gradient, isolated channel in the Fishing Creek watershed in Greene Township.
After an extensive search to find the ideal location, Nicholas Meat secured land about 12.5 miles northwest from the SRF site. The Reserve will be located in the 100-year floodway of Bald Eagle Creek in Bald Eagle Township, Clinton County, and once completed, will be home to almost 2,500 trees and a wide variety of native wetland grasses and wildlife.
A diverse mix of tree species has been selected to address the planting conditions in the Reserve, which is a mix of wetlands and uplands. The wetter species, including swamp white oak, pin oak, black willow, silver maple, and American sycamore will be concentrated in the wetland areas. The upland species, including big-tooth aspen, American basswood, shagbark hickory, red oak, black walnut, and black cherry will be concentrated in the higher, drier portions of the site. Prior to trees being planted, the newly created wetlands will be seeded with Annual Ryegrass and a wetland seed mix that includes various sedges, arrow wood, gray dogwood, silky dogwood, buttonbush, and meadow sweet. The number and diversity of these proposed plantings should allow the site to become well established with woody and herbaceous vegetation.
Oversight of the Conservation Reserve project is being provided by Cedar Run Environmental Services, Inc. “We’re planting a diverse mix of deciduous trees at industry standard planting density,” said Steve Bason, professional wetland scientist, Cedar Run Environmental Services. “There will be all types of wildlife there once the site becomes established. It truly is a great project and will be a wildlife paradise in the future.”
The property will be fenced to protect newly planted trees and vegetation from deer and other wildlife as it gets established. Development of the Reserve is underway.
“We’re planting a diverse mix of deciduous trees at industry standard planting density,” said Steve Bason, professional wetland scientist, Cedar Run Environmental Services. “There will be all types of wildlife there once the site becomes established. It truly is a great project and will be a wildlife paradise in the future.”
What is a Forested Riparian Buffer?
According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), “Riparian areas are lands that occur along watercourses and water bodies. Typical examples include flood plains and streambanks. They are distinctly different from surrounding lands because of unique soil and vegetation characteristics that are strongly influenced by the presence of water.”1
USDA’s National Agroforestry Center further explains that forested riparian buffers “can deliver a number of benefits including filtering nutrients, pesticides, and animal waste from agricultural land runoff; stabilizing eroding banks; filtering sediment from runoff; providing shade, shelter, and food for fish and other aquatic organisms; providing wildlife habitat and corridors for terrestrial organisms; protecting cropland and downstream communities from flood damage; producing income from farmland that is frequently flooded or has poor yields; providing space for recreation; and diversifying landowner income.”
Why are Wetlands Important?
Wetlands have long been known as productive ecosystems that are often compared to rain forests and coral reefs. This environment can be home to a wide variety of microbes, plants, insects, birds, fish and mammals. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “The combination of shallow water, high levels of nutrients and primary productivity is ideal for the development of organisms that form the base of the food web and feed many species of fish, amphibians, shellfish and insects. Many species of birds and mammals rely on wetlands for food, water and shelter, especially during migration and breeding. Climate, landscape shape (topology), geology and the movement and abundance of water help to determine the plants and animals that inhabit each wetland. The complex, dynamic relationships among the organisms inhabiting the wetland environment are called food webs.”3