SCOTIA BARRENS TO RIDGELINE INITIATIVE:
Connecting woods, water, and wildlife in Central Pennsylvania
For landowners near the Scotia Barrens and surrounding areas...
When you think of home, what picture forms in your mind? Are there images of mountains? Fields? Streams? What defines your sense of place? The Scotia Barrens to Ridgelines Initiative (SBRI) is about people caring about each other and the place where they live. It’s about valuing traditions, like working the land, hunting and fishing. People here love the woods and all of nature. It’s part of their family heritage.
Central PA is dotted with natural heritage sites supporting rare and uncommon plants and animals, like the Scotia Barrens. Helping landowners care for the land, provide places for wildlife, safeguard stream water quality, and leave behind a healthy forest for future generations, these are the goals of the Scotia Barrens to Ridgelines Initiative. Simple actions like these can have profound impacts on nearby natural areas, including the Barrens. If you’ve noticed that your trees are dying, or the familiar species you remember from long ago have been replaced by something new that suddenly seems to be everywhere, or maybe you just want to find out more about the natural world around you, keep reading, because the SBRI is about all of these things and more.
There are many strategies and resources that landowners can tap into to improve habitat on their property. Even the smallest backyard action can benefit wildlife, including imperiled species living farther away. Converting a small patch of mowed lawn to a wildflower meadow, for instance, will attract insects. Nearly all terrestrial birds rely on native insects to feed their young, and insects need native plants. The Scotia Barrens supports at least 33 species of warblers and a significant population of golden-winged warblers, a PA Species of Special Concern.
The SBRI is about connections: connections between important habitats; connections between people and the natural world. It’s about the individual decisions we make for our properties and our community and the recognition that landscape health is dependent on these decisions.
Take a virtual tour of John Hoover's Bald Eagle Tree Farm to learn more about what makes a forest healthy.
About the Scotia Barrens to Ridgelines Initiative (SBRI):
To ensure success, the Scotia Barrens to Ridgelines Initiative takes a broad approach to conservation with strategies built around connecting and restoring the special places that we call home. We will focus on multiple issues, such as:
Restoring young forest habitats for imperiled wildlife
Improving stream health and riparian habitats
Connecting natural areas and reducing forest fragmentation
Reducing the spread of invasive plants and animals and bringing back the natives
Maximizing conservation potential on conserved lands
Enhancing existing open space, greenways and other recreational opportunities/areas
Finding the right professionals and funding sources to get the job done
Overall, the SBRI involves four main tools, or strategies by which ClearWater will work with landowners and local municipalities and organizations:
Forest Management & Habitat Improvements
Provide training, technical guides and other support for landowners who want to take immediate actions to enhance or restore wildlife and pollinator habitats on their lands, including forest management plans, invasive plant management guidance and converting lawns to habitat.
2. Land Conservation
Work to implement conservation easements or other land conservation strategies on private lands to permanently protect areas of high-quality core forest, wildlife habitat, and connective travel corridors.
3. Streamside Forest Connections
Restore and connect forested stream and riparian corridors in the Halfmoon Creek, Beaver Branch Creek, and Warriors Mark Creek watersheds, which are three priority locations identified as crucial connective corridors between the Scotia Barrens and surrounding ridges.
4. Community outreach and education
Provide workshops, field tours, training and other educational opportunities to learn more about the above strategies and support successful conservation of the region. Check back for upcoming events.
With these tools, landowners can create a connected network of high-quality natural habitats and ecosystems to support diverse, abundant and viable populations and communities.
All good things start with a good conversation...
Often, technical service providers cover large regions and are short-handed, allowing little to no time for initial consultations. You might simply desire more information without being pressured to sign up for programs you may not want or need.
That's where we come in...
The SYFI is about listening to landowners about their personal goals and top priorities for their lands. ClearWater provides opportunities for landowners to casually ask questions and voice concerns about options for managing their woodlands, fields and streams. The SBRI is intended to make forest and woodlands management easier for everyone involved without compromising results.
What is most important to you about your woodlands, fields, and streams?
We can work with landowners to discuss questions such as:
What’s that weird plant over there? Is it good or bad? Should I get rid of it? How?
What is a forest management plan and why do I need one? Where do I start?
How do I know if my backyard stream needs help? Is there anything living in it?
Is a conservation easement right for me and my family? Are there other options to plan for the future?
Are there programs available to help me with any of this? Do I qualify? Who do I contact?
Call or email to connect with ClearWater today!
We'll listen and do our best to help you find the solutions you need to make the most of your woodlands, fields, wetlands, streams, and other natural areas.