Juniata River

The Juniata River is a major tributary of the Susquehanna River that drains portions of the Ridge and Valley Province of south central Pennsylvania.

Characteristics of this landscape include folded mountains with hard Silurian sandstone tops, lower ridges of fractured Devonian shales, and bottomlands resting on limestones. Significant forest blocks are found at higher elevations, while the landscape’s valleys support rich farmlands.

The watershed is approximately 67 percent forested, 23 percent agriculture and 7 percent developed. Most of the forestland in the Juniata watershed exists on or near the mountain ridges. Agriculture is generally confined to the valley bottoms and impacts biodiversity in this region.

Key Features

  • Medium gradient larger streams and rivers that snake along in between mountain ridges
  • Bottomlands and lower elevations of neutral to alkaline soils supporting rich forests or hot, dry shale barrens
  • Tributary to Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay

Conservation Targets

  • 68 occurrences of globally-rare plants, invertebrates and vertebrates including sida mallow and the Allegheny woodrat
  • Eight natural communities including shale barrens and low elevation forest types
  • 12 Biological Diversity Areas totaling 7,400 acres harboring unique species and smaller ecosystems, such as calcareous fen wetlands
  • Forest blocks totaling more than 200,000 acres
  • More than 50 miles of important stream ecosystems, including a large creek (Aughwick Creek), a medium-sized river (the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River) and a number of smaller limestone based springs and creeks

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