Slab Cabin Run Initiative:
Working together to protect our source water forever.
SLAB CABIN RUN INITIATIVE:
WORKING TOGETHER TO MAKE A PERMANENT, POSITIVE IMPACT ON OUR COMMUNITY AND ENVIRONMENT.
The Slab Cabin Run Initiative is an example of how proactive conservation initiatives can ensure a reliable, high-quality water supply for communities and businesses across the region. Protecting our most valuable resource, our water supply, is the smart thing to do not only for us but for future generations.
In 2017, 300 acres of agricultural land in the heart of State College and the source water below it was permanently protected with a conservation easement held by ClearWater Conservancy. The land owned by the Meyer Family and located just outside the State College Borough regional growth boundary. You can learn more about the goals of this initiative below.
Protecting our community's drinking water at its source.
Beneath the 300 acres of land now permanently protected from development lies a major source of our community’s drinking water supply. This source water feeds the region’s most important, most reliable wellfield, known as the Harter-Thomas wells, immediately downhill from the Meyer and Everhart properties and supply the majority of the drinking water to State College residents.
95% of the conserved acreage is within the capture zone (Zone II) of the source water protection area for the Harter-Thomas wells.
A source water protection plan includes assessment of that area and steps a community can take to protect sources of their clean drinking water from overuse and pollution. Proactive efforts such as land conservation can reduce the costs to treat water before it can be used and minimizes public health risks from exposure to contaminated water.
The Slab Cabin Run Initiative is an outstanding example of how ClearWater Conservancy is able to anticipate future needs of the community and collaborate with local governments, the State College Borough Water Authority, other agencies, and the community to work for source water protection as the foundation for a healthy and vibrant region.
Slab Cabin Run flows through the Meyer and Everhart farmland. This 11.2-mile stream flows from Tussey Mountain south of Pine Grove Mills, into Spring Creek and eventually feeds into the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay. Slab Cabin Run is a degraded trout stream in need of restoration efforts. A portion of the stream flows through 21 acres of the Meyer property, making it possible for ClearWater to implement restoration efforts on the stream once the easement is in place.
Restore the health of Slab Cabin Run and all waters downstream.
In the Spring Creek watershed, limestone geology creates a strong interconnection between surface water and groundwater resources. Large springs consistently provide over 85% of the surface water we see flowing through Spring Creek and its tributaries, sustaining a thriving trout population. Recent studies have suggested that increases in impervious ground cover (such as parking lots, sidewalks, or roadways) directly impact coldwater fisheries. This can be attributed to precipitation being warmed before running off into our streams.
Typically, streams cannot sustain trout populations when development exceeds 10% of the total land cover (Carline et al. 2011). As of 2014, 26% of Centre County was developed, with certain sections of the State College urbanized area reaching 50% impervious cover. How can Spring Creek continue to support naturally reproducing trout? The underlying geology provides our streams with large quantities of consistently cold and clean groundwater.
Again, protecting the community’s water resources is critical for the long-term health of a region that boasts world-class trout fishing streams and high quality drinking water. Through proactive conservation practices, ClearWater Conservancy is committed to restoring the quality of our surface waters such as Slab Cabin Run and maintaining the high quality of drinking water resources in the area to maintain a healthy environment and thriving community.
When driving into State College from the South, there is one icon that stands out as your official entrance into Happy Valley, the sign for Meyer Dairy. Through its quiet charm, the Meyer Dairy Store reminds us of the modest, hard-working values and long agricultural history our community takes great pride in. ClearWater Conservancy plans to permanently preserve the timeless farmland responsible for producing the milk, cheese and ice cream that keeps the Dairy buzzing all year round.
Preserve the appealing agricultural character of Centre County.
In 2017, 300 acres of agricultural land in the heart of State College, PA was permanently protected from development with a conservation easement, a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust that permanently protects land and other natural resources such as streams and wildlife habitat.
The goal of a land conservation easement is to protect the land’s “conservation value” such as land that
protects drinking water quality;
is part of a wildlife migration route, or provides critical habitat for endangered or threatened species;
abuts a stream corridor in need of re-forestation to stabilize the banks, reduce erosion and shade the stream; and
is currently agricultural but vulnerable to development