OUR ROLE

Our ongoing effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  and the National Park Service  to acquire and conserve the largest unprotected property within the core of the Refuge—encompassing more than 4,600 acres—is underway! This priority conservation effort will also secure more than five miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Thus far 1,731 acres in Northampton and Monroe Counties have been transferred to the Refuge thanks to funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the Middle Delaware Mitigation Fund, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through Walmart’s Acres for America Program, the Open Space Institute’s Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund through funding from the William Penn Foundation and its Resilient Landscapes Fund through funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and Northampton County.

The Fund aims to acquire the remaining 2,931 acres in late 2018 from Pennsylvania American Water Company and soon after transfer it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the help of additional LWCF, state, local and private funds.

WHY THIS PROJECT MATTERS

This effort is the largest conservation acquisition in the history of the Lehigh Valley. The lands we are working to protect are located within Pennsylvania’s largest Important Bird Area, a globally-significant flyway for migrating birds, with more than 140 bird species—including vultures, raptors and songbirds—migrating over the land each fall. The area is also home to at least 77 vernal pools, which are seasonal wetlands that serve as critical habitat for a range of amphibians and other wildlife. Once fully added to the Refuge, the area will offer added recreational activities for hiking, hunting, birding and camping.

From Milford to Palmerton, this corridor encompasses over 70 miles of recreational opportunities along contiguously protected lands. These lands represent a relatively undisturbed tract of upland forest that supports habitat of a critical migration corridor along the Kittatinny Ridge and the headwaters of Ross Common Creek and Aquashicola Creek, tributaries of the Delaware River.

– Lauren Imgrund, Deputy Secretary of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

 

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