Tag Archives: wildlife

Why Wetlands Matter

Raise your hand if you’re a fan of fens?!  How about a sucker for swamps?!  Or go bonkers for bogs?! Marvel at marshes?!  Fens, swamps, bogs, and marshes are all types of wetlands you can find here in PA…and they really are worth going wild about! 

Wetlands are places where the soil holds water either permanently or seasonally. Wetland water may be visible, or it may be below the surface of the ground.

Wetlands support a wide variety of animals and insects, including migratory and resident birds, turtles, fish, snakes, frogs – making them crucial hotspots for biodiversity.  In fact, 40% of all species live or breed in wetlands!

Wetlands are not only a great place to view wildlife, but they can also offer many opportunities for recreation like boating, fishing, hunting, and canoeing.

Wildlife habitat. Clean Water.  Climate Control.  Economic Benefits.  Recreational Opportunities.  Basically, wetlands are like ecological and societal powerhouses. 

Dragonflies can be found patrolling above the water and broods of ducks raise their young at the PPL Wetlands.

NPC members have played an active role in helping to conserve these delicate ecosystems across the region.  Here’s a look at some of those conserved land:

Pennsyl & Homer Webster
These two sisters properties located just north of Wellsboro cover a large area of wetland, locally known at the “The Muck.”  The area was once used to raise lettuce and celery, but today hosts as a breeding ground for a variety of birds, including Marsh Wrens, American Bitterns, Common Snipe, Virginia Rail and Sora Rail.  It’s been designated as one of Pennsylvania’s Important Bird Areas and offers a boardwalk and wildlife viewing blind for the public to enjoy.

Cavanaugh Access
Many people know the Cavanaugh Access Area because it provides quick access to the Pine Creek Trail.  However, this 132-acre parcel of land also helps conserve important wetlands along Marsh Creek.  The wetlands are extensive, fed by Canada Run, and close to wooded areas. This allows wildlife to use the wetlands and Creek by moving from the forest to the stream and wetlands and back.  Marsh Creek is a major tributary to Pine Creek. Marsh Creek meanders and bends through this property for nearly one mile. This Creek and its associated wetlands are a huge sponge that provide water year round that helps keep Pine Creek’s water cooler in the summer.

Clinton County Solid Waste Authority (CCSWA)
Wetland mitigation is the restoration, creation or enhancement of wetlands for the purpose of compensating for unavoidable impacts to wetlands at another location.  During the 1990’s, the CCSWA worked closely with the Army Corps of Engineers to construct a mitigation wetland to replace an area that was impacted during their expansion.  Today, NPC holds a 49-acre easement on the land, protecting the wetlands’ water, soil, fish and wildlife conservation values.

PPL Wetlands
This property was the first conservation easement of any type in Montour County back in 2008.  The entire conserved property consists of nearly 109 acres and includes a 5-acre mitigation wetland constructed by PPL, 59 acres of wooded wetland, cropland, and creek frontage.  Today, dragonflies can be found patrolling above the water and broods of ducks raise their young here.

Fossil Farm
The 150-acre easement holds a variety of unique environmental values, including a beaver pond and several other large wetland areas.  Catlin Hollow Creek flows through the property before entering Crooked Creek before winding its way to the Chesapeake Bay.  This property helps to conserve the water quality of not only this region, but plays a vital role on a much larger scale as well!  

Learn more about NPC’s other conserved properties with wetlands here:  John F LogueLogue/McMahonMaureyViani, Knob Mountain.

NPC Members Help Conserve 29-Acres in Tioga County

Introducing the Brucklacher Conservation Easement

Just a few miles outside of the northern tier town of Wellsboro, PA, sits the 138-acre homestead of Barry and Jane Brucklacher. Originally a dairy farm, the sprawling hayfields are still productive today, harvested by a local farmer to support a mushroom grower in Kennett Square, PA. A woodland of aspen, beech, maple, and oak trees provide food and shelter for white-tailed deer, bears, bobcats, and a variety of other native wildlife. A network of trails meander through the woodland by two ponds and a winding stream on its way to Elk Creek. On the outskirts of the property, a portion of the popular Mid State Trail cuts through, providing hikers with picturesque views of the Tioga County countryside. A trio of donkeys – Jesse James, Tyrone, and Adabel – graze in the pasture. The original barn stores equipment, with the top floor converted to serve as a maternity roost for little brown bats, whose population has experienced a severe decline in the past decade.

Having bought the property in 1972, the Brucklachers enjoy simple strolls around the grounds together and continue to be grateful for the opportunity to own such a special place. With thoughts of the future, they decided to seek out options to conserve the wildlife habitat, biodiversity, farmland, and natural resources on their property for generations to come.

Jane and Barry Brucklacher donate a 29-acre conservation easement to NPC.

Initially, they enrolled 103 acres of their property in the Tioga County Agricultural Farmland Preservation Program. However, they still had hopes to conserve even more of the property. Fortunately, a like-minded neighbor shared her experience with the Brucklachers of conserving her family farm with the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy (NPC).

A Conservation Easement Agreement with NPC is a voluntary, legally binding agreement between a landowner and NPC regarding the use of a property. Most often, these agreements allow for forest management, agricultural use, and some residential use; but easements can also be signed to conserve specific values – such as ecological, recreational, scenic, or historic. The landowner keeps ownership of the land while also ensuring that the land’s conservation values are sustainable.  

The Brucklachers connected with NPC Land Steward, Sara Schlesinger, to discuss their values and conservation goals. After their initial meeting and walking the land together, it didn’t take Sara long to realize that the Brucklacher’s remaining 29 acres aligned with NPC’s mission to conserve and enhance the lands and waters of Northcentral PA.

“It was clear that the land was well-loved and stewarded. The forested land along the tributary that flows into Elk Creek prevents the streambank from eroding and washing away, helping to keep excess nutrients from flowing into the creek and elsewhere downstream. Conserving the water resources, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity, on the property supports the overall environmental well-being of the community.”

Sara Schlesinger, NPC Land Steward
Conserving this stream on the Brucklacher conservation easement supports the overall environmental well-being of the community.

After a year of more meetings, paperwork, surveys, walk throughs on the land, and all the other in-betweens, NPC wrapped up 2023 with the establishment of the ‘Brucklacher’ conservation easement!  Thank you to the Brucklachers for their generosity and commitment, and a special thanks to the NPC membership for their continued support.

The Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy (NPC) is a land trust devoted to conserving and enhancing the lands and waters of Northcentral Pennsylvania to support the environmental well-being and recreational needs of local communities. They operate in 12 counties and take on a variety of conservation projects, including working with private landowners to establish conservation easements. Thanks to the generosity of its members and donors, NPC has conserved over 5,400 acres across 52 properties through its conservation easement program. You can help support NPC’s initiatives and make a difference by donating today.