Pittsburgh, Pa. – Feb. 28, 2017 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) announced today the permanent protection of 92 acres near Cambridge Springs in Crawford County along French Creek, one of the most important waterways in the Northeastern United States for the diversity of fish and mussels living in it.
The property, now open to the public for hunting, hiking, birding and wildlife watching, is located along Millers Station Road and U.S. Route 6 & 19, and is adjacent to State Game Land #277. This property provides a forested riparian buffer on the main stem of French Creek, a natural waterway that has the highest level of aquatic biodiversity of any stream of its size in Pennsylvania. French Creek and its tributaries provide habitat for five species of federally endangered and threatened freshwater mussels and other mussel species, as well as numerous fish species in greatest need of conservation in Pennsylvania.
Protecting forested areas near streams is a high priority for conservation, says WPC Land Protection Manager Ann Sand. “Forested riparian corridors help regulate the temperature of rivers and streams, and create streamside conditions that contribute to improved water quality and aquatic habitat,” Sand added.
The property is located northwest of the Erie National Wildlife Refuge, a Pennsylvania Audubon Society Important Bird Area (IBA), where more than 236 bird species have been recorded including bald eagle, sedge wren, Northern harrier, pied-billed grebe, American coot, Northern saw-whet owl and American woodcock. Although not part of the IBA, this property contributes to the ecological value of the region due to its close proximity, size and habitat types.
Funds from the estate of Helen B. Katz were used to purchase the property. Through a partnership with Ducks Unlimited, a $100,000 grant from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act will also assist the purchase. This federal funding source is used for wetland habitat conservation projects throughout North America.
Since 1969, the Conservancy has protected approximately 5,000 acres within the French Creek watershed.
Photos have been made available courtesy of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy below.
Photos for web use:
About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish 10 state parks, conserved more than a quarter million acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 130 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of about 12,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org or Fallingwater.org.