WPC and Partners Conserve Forested Land along West Branch of French Creek

West Branch French Creek

WPC, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the French Creek Valley Conservancy, have conserved nearly a mile of frontage along the West Branch of French Creek in Erie County.

A globally significant stream, French Creek contains more species of fish and freshwater mussels than any similar-sized stream in the United States. The West Branch of French Creek contains even greater varieties of rare fish and mussels than the main stem. Today’s acquisition of 40 acres in Venango Township helps to protect this important waterway and the aquatic life it supports, while also conserving valuable floodplain forests. The conserved property is situated within a high-priority location in the Erie County and Northwest Pennsylvania Greenways Plans, and includes meandering woodland trails that will be open to the public.

“This important and scenic property now becomes part of a larger conservation landscape area within the West Branch of French Creek,” said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of WPC. “With this acquisition, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy now has conserved 547 acres within this significant watershed.”

The acquisition was made possible through one family’s generous financial contribution in memory of their son and brother, Brad Barnes. Barnes, who lived in the area, was dedicated to conservation and to protecting endangered plants and animals. His family has conserved several ecologically significant properties in northwestern Pennsylvania with WPC in his memory.

The permanent protection of this property also was supported by The Nature Conservancy. The project is the most recent completed by WPC as a partner in the French Creek Conservation Joint Venture, which also includes the French Creek Valley Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy.

xThe newly acquired property includes .87 miles of scenic creek frontage and will be open to the public for fishing, hiking and other forms of non-motorized recreation. WPC will hold the property and will manage and steward the site as a nature reserve along with its other properties along the West Branch.