Based in State College, ClearWater Conservancy is the foremost land trust and natural resource conservation organization in central Pennsylvania. Since 1980, ClearWater has worked to improve central Pennsylvania for all through land conservation, water resource protection, and environmental outreach to the community.

Ottos Golf-Fest 2014 raises $97,000 for conservation

Our 2014 event on August 25, Otto’s Golf-Fest shattered last year’s record of $76,000 by bringing in an amazing $97,000 for ClearWater Conservancy!  That puts our official running total of all the Otto’s Golf-Fests at $475,000.  In addition, we had the event’s first full sell out on July 15.  One of the keys to the event’s success is its popularity with its sponsors and golfers, many of whom come back year after year in support of our cause.

Click Here to visit the event page!

                                                                                                 

 



Press & News

09/03/2014
ClearWater Conservancy receives grant from Richard King Mellon Foundation

(STATE COLLEGE) ClearWater Conservancy has received a $250,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation of Pittsburgh to restore damaged streams in Central Pennsylvania.

Under the terms of the grant, ClearWater will use the funds to restore 20,000 linear feet of stream, install 10,000 feet of stream bank fencing to limit livestock access, remove invasive plants and plant native trees in the stream side area called the ‘riparian zone.’

“This private foundation grant is coming at a great time to add capacity to a program that is already accelerating in scope, complexity and on-the-ground accomplishments. There are plenty of damaged and degraded stream reaches in Central Pennsylvania and with these funds, we can work with interested landowners to put many more feet of it into the ‘restored’ category,” said Katie Ombalski, conservation biologist and staff lead of the Riparian Conservation Program.

ClearWater Conservancy initiated its Riparian Conservation Program in 2004 to eliminate stream impairments caused by human impacts from agricultural, housing and industrial development and to prevent additional streams from becoming impaired.

When people live or farm close to streams, vegetation in riparian areas is commonly disturbed or removed. This disturbance quickly begins to unravel the delicate balance that once existed between soil, water, plants and animals. Stream banks quickly become destabilized, streams become silted and warm, invasive plant species begin to colonize, and riparian-dependent wildlife disappears.

The goal of ClearWater's Riparian Conservation Program is to improve stream quality in Central Pennsylvania through the program’s four areas of focus: stream assessment, stewardship, restoration, and protection. The program educates homeowners and farmers about the importance of vegetated stream side buffers and stream banks; conducts large and small scale restoration projects, installs agricultural best management practices and permanently protects riparian areas through conservation easements and direct purchase of ecologically important properties.

In 2004, the primary focus was to plant forested riparian buffers within the Spring Creek watershed. Over the years, the scope has expanded to include many central Pennsylvania watersheds. The projects have increased in complexity, as well, and have included the development of conservation and forest stewardship plans, extensive stream channel stabilization, in-stream habitat improvements, dam removals, large riparian buffer plantings, and various agricultural best management practices and improvements including stream bank fencing, stabilized livestock crossings and watering systems, among others.

So far, ClearWater has restored about 73,000 linear feet of stream, removed three non-functioning dams, and installed 94 acres of streamside buffer, 168 fish enhancement structures and 16 stream crossings for livestock.

The conservancy is not geographically limited by the terms of the grant, but stream improvements will most likely take place in the Spring, Spruce, Little Fishing, Penns and Shaver’s Creek watersheds.

“The Richard King Mellon Foundation’s willingness to invest in our work in this significant way is a new testament to the effectiveness of our program and our demonstrated ability to work with landowners, contractors, funding partners, and volunteers to get restoration work done in our region,” said ClearWater Executive Director Jennifer Shuey.

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04/29/2014
ClearWater Conservancy receives Western PA Environmental Award

(STATE COLLEGE)  A community conservation program aimed at preventing pollution from entering central Pennsylvania waterways is a winner of the 2014 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards, announced today by Dominion and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.

Representatives of the ClearWater Conservancy will accept the award at the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. The award is presented for leadership, effectiveness and results in making an impact on the environment by Dominion and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and includes a $5,000 donation. 

Miles of streams and creeks in central Pennsylvania are impaired by agriculture. So the ClearWater Conservancy developed its Riparian Conservation Program to restore functioning streambank buffer zones in Central Pennsylvania watersheds.

Thirty-six individual volunteers and three corporate groups acted as site stewards and another 85 volunteers assisted with restoration work in 2013, the inaugural year of the riparian site steward program. Over the course of the year, stewards and volunteers collectively invested 800 hours in the program and planted 375 seedlings at 17 existing restoration sites and another 360 seedlings at three new restoration sites.

To date the Riparian Conservation Program has protected 4,600 acres of high-value riparian habitat. More than 300 ClearWater staff and volunteers have installed riparian buffers along more than 69,890 feet of stream. They’ve also installed 35,988 feet of streambank fencing and 16 stream crossings for livestock, removed three dams, installed 168 streambank stabilization and fish habitat enhancement structures, and treated countless acres of invasive species.

This project is one of four winners from throughout Western Pennsylvania chosen to receive this award by a group of independent judges of environmental experts and Pennsylvania Environmental Council staff in response to a call for entries earlier this year.

All entries were judged on the basis of their relevance to local environmental priorities, evidence of their impact on the environment, their approach to solving an environmental problem, and the environmental benefit of their work.

About the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards

The Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards program is open to individuals and organizations that demonstrated a commitment to environmental excellence, leadership and accomplishment, and made significant contributions toward improving Western Pennsylvania’s environment. Dominion and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council sponsor the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards each year to encourage the community to emulate the achievements of the winning entries, thereby promoting innovative environmental efforts and enhancing the quality of life in Western Pennsylvania.

The Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards recognizes and honors outstanding achievements of organizations, businesses, and individuals in a wide range of environmental initiatives throughout the region and pays tribute to those that have demonstrated a commitment to environmental excellence, leadership, and accomplishment in their respective fields.

The Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards program is made possible by a grant from Dominion.

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12/03/2013
Musser Gap Greenway to connect State College, Rothrock State Forest

(STATE COLLEGE) Construction is under way on the first phase of the new Musser Gap Greenway, a recreational connection between Rothrock State Forest and the proposed Whitehall Road Regional Park. The trail will be completed and open in spring 2014.

The effort is a collaboration between ClearWater Conservancy and Penn State.

“This project is the culmination of a lot of planning and a lot of dreaming,” said Dan Sieminski, associate vice president for Finance and Business at Penn State. “This is a wonderful use of the property and a great partnership between the University and the community.”

The Greenway will eventually link the Musser Gap parking area off of State Route 45 in Rothrock State Forest to the planned Whitehall Road Regional Park on Whitehall Road.

“ClearWater Conservancy is excited about the greenway because, when it is complete, residents and visitors alike will be able to access Rothrock State Forest safely by foot or by bike from just about anywhere in State College,” said ClearWater’s conservation biologist Katie Ombalski. 

Once complete in fall 2015 or spring 2016, residents and visitors using the existing Centre Region bikeway system will be able to travel from downtown State College to Rothrock State Forest. Phase 1 includes the section from the Musser Gap parking area that crosses SR 45 (Shingletown Road) and Slab Cabin Run to a gravel road on existing farmland.

Surfacing of the greenway is happening in phases, with the fall construction almost complete. The final trail surface layer will be deferred until spring when conditions will be right to ensure proper curing.

“Increasing public access to conserved lands and nature improves the quality of life for everyone in our region and is an important part of ClearWater’s mission,” said Ombalski.

“We were happy to be able to partner with ClearWater,” added Sieminski, “and also the many other local and regional organizations who also made this project a reality.”

Primary funding for the first phase of the Musser Gap Greenway comes from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Recreation and Conservation and Bureau of Forestry, Stahl Sheaffer Engineering, Penn State, ClearWater Conservancy, Department of Community and Economic Development, Centre Region Bike Coalition, Bikes Belong Coalition, Kodak American Greenways, State College Borough and Ferguson Township.

Additional Greenway partners include Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Outdoor Experience Organization, Freeze Thaw Cycles, The Bicycle Shop, Specialized, Rothrock Trail Challenge, LaSportiva, Sweetland Engineering and Associates, and WHM Solutions. The general contractor for the project is John Nastase Construction.

The 423-acre Musser Gap property was conserved by ClearWater Conservancy in 2006 and transferred to Rothrock State Forest in 2007. ClearWater Conservancy is also partnering with Penn State to plant a riparian buffer along Slab Cabin Run as part of this project.

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