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Acquisition Is the First
Project of More than 7,200 Acres of Land Identified for Protection within
Delaware River Watershed, Directly Benefitting Drinking Water Quality for
PHILADELPHIA, PA—April 20, 2015—A
purchase of ecologically significant land alongside the Delaware Water Gap National
Recreation Area will go towards expanding the celebrated scenic destination for
hikers, bikers, hunters and others to enjoy. The land, formerly targeted for
development into a major complex of townhouses and residences, is also the
first in a series of land preservation projects intended to protect the drinking
water supply for residents in the Delaware River Watershed.
The suite of projects are all part of
the Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI), a multi-year, $35 million
preservation plan, capitalized one year ago by the William Penn Foundation. The
is the first of 10 projects to receive support in this inaugural round of
grants from the Open Space Institute, which received $9 million as part of the Initiative.
The projects, all situated within the
Delaware River Watershed in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and located on lands
that protect drinking water supply for millions of residents in the region,
will collectively conserve approximately 7,200 acres of land in the watershed.
“Forests play a critical role in ensuring
a reliable supply of clean water, in turn helping to meet human needs and strengthen
our communities,” said Peter Howell, OSI’s Executive Vice President of Capital
& Research Programs. “These projects protect important forestland and showcase
the value of innovative and thoughtful collaborative initiatives in preserving
water quality for millions of residents in the region.”
“The protection of land is critical to
ensuring the future water quality of the Delaware River,” said Andrew Johnson,
Watershed Protection Program Director at the William Penn Foundation.
“Significant progress is being made, and it is exciting to see the momentum
continue with this latest announcement.”
“The Trust for Public Land is dedicated to
protecting land for people to enjoy, so we are extremely pleased to have been
able to help expand a highly visited natural treasure like the Delaware Water
Gap,” said Greg Socha, senior project manager at The Trust for Public Land.
“Without the unique collaboration that came together to get this done,
protecting a property of this magnitude would not have been possible.”
Over the next three years, the Delaware River Watershed Initiative will permanently protect more than
30,000 acres, implement more than 40 restoration projects, pilot new incentives
for landowners and businesses, provide replicable models for other locations in
the watershed, and develop long-term water quality data for the watershed at an
Just this inaugural round of
grants will conserve 35 miles of stream bank, 2,000 acres of stream buffer,
4,300 acres of forests that are highly-capable of efficiently recharging
depleted drinking water sources, and 1,000 acres that were highly vulnerable to
development. Conserving land to protect the region’s water supply is one
important strategy for protecting the region’s drinking water quality. Deforestation from commercial,
residential, and energy development, chemical runoff from farms, and storm
water runoff in cities severely threaten the health of the watershed.
Mosiers Knob lies almost directly in the mid-section of the Delaware
River’s 300-mile long corridor, along an area that is designated as a National
Scenic River. The purchase of Mosiers Knob is also vital to protecting scenic
views from the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and unique habitat, which is home
for several rare species. See map of Mosiers Knob.
The property is also a highly climate-resilient landscape that
will provide a refuge for wildlife in the face of a changing climate: in fact, OSI’s
support for the project derived from two funds, with $240,000 from the Doris
Duke Charitable Foundation to protect climate-resilient landscapes, and
$350,000 from the Delaware River Watershed Initiative.
The purchase, which includes steep slopes above the Delaware River
culminating at a 1,120-foot point known as Mosiers Knob—and visible from the
Appalachian Trail—was led by The Trust for Public Land. The Conservation Fund
provided assistance in a variety of ways, including helping to secure funding
to support the $4,330,000 purchase price. A lead grant supporting the
acquisition has been awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and
Natural Resources. Additionally, the William Penn Foundation and the Doris Duke
Charitable Foundation are supporting the acquisition through grants
administered by the Open Space Institute.
Delaware River Watershed covers more than 13,500-square miles spanning portions
of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. In addition to being a
major source of drinking water, the watershed supports an array of
water-related economic enterprises valued at $25 billion per year, as well as
hemispherically significant habitat.
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