Building a conservation blueprint for Pennsylvania

The Gatesburg Formation

This bedrock layer was formed during Earth's Cambrian Period, which means when exposed at the surface these are some of the oldest rocks you can find in the state. The Gatesburg consists of sublayers of sandstones, limestones and dolomites (limestone with magnesium). Because of its sand, gravel and limestone nature, the resulting subsoils are coarse and very well drained, yet with some calcium content. Iron deposits in the Gatesburg drew steel magnate Andrew Carnegie to mine certain areas here in the 1880s.

View a map of the conservation priority areas.



Juniata River Basin

The Juniata River is a major tributary of the Susquehanna River and drains portions of the Ridge and Valley Province of south central Pennsylvania. Characteristic of this landscape are folded mountains with hard Silurian sandstone tops and lower ridges of fractured Devonian shales. Significant forest blocks are at higher elevations and the 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 is an influence on biodiversity in this region.

Key Features

• Medium gradient larger streams and rivers that snake along in between mountain ridges
• Bottomlands of neutral to alkaline soils supporting rich forest 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 species and ecosystems above
• 13 forest blocks totaling 225,000 acres
• 50 miles (or more) of important stream ecosystems, including a large creek (Aughwick Creek) and a medium-sized river (the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River)


Juniata Clean Water Partnership
Juniata College

View the next conservation priority area: Potomac Tributaries





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