Land Protection Model = Bog Turtles, Big Buffers & Clean Water


Open Space Institute

Palmerton Natural Reserve Trustee Council

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

William Penn Foundation

Wildlands Protects Priority Land in the Upper Lehigh River Watershed

Late 2016, Wildlands protected and transferred two priority parcels of land in Monroe County to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for the expansion of the Cherry Valley National Wildife Refuge. The lands total 240 acres and their protection marks significant progress toward protecting the quality of the Lehigh River watershed, and, ultimately, the Delaware Basin.

“The strip from Kittatinny Ridge to the top of Chestnut Ridge is a great model for what we want to accomplish. This extension of protected lands encompasses the slopes that feed the wetlands. And that translates to clean water for the valley,” says refuge manager Michael Horn. “Some may say this seems like an awful lot of land to preserve for a stream corridor, but the bigger the buffer, the better the protection.”

The refuge is also home to several at-risk and endangered species including the bog turtle. Through funding from the William Penn Foundation, Wildlands serves as the lead for unprecedented efforts aimed at preserving thousands of acres of the highest priority forests and wetlands in the upper Lehigh River watershed.

An additional 46 acres situated in Ross Township, Monroe County donated to Wildlands last year by Theron C. and Mary Ann Male, will be transferred, too, to Cherry Valley in 2017.

240 acres protected and transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.