ROBESON TWP, PA – The Open Space Institute (OSI) and Berks Nature today announced the permanent protection of a heritage farm in southwestern Pennsylvania. The successful project preserves both stream habitat for native brook trout, and protects pristine headwaters essential for drinking water quality within the Delaware River Watershed.
Nestled in the largest unfragmented forest in southeastern Pennsylvania, the “Love Farm” property totals almost 80 acres and is located along Hay Creek — a tributary of the Schuylkill River which drains into the Delaware River. Through a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the project also achieves the innovative protection and restoration of a 1,500-foot forested corridor that will naturally protect the creek.
Due to the property’s significance for the Delaware River, OSI supported the project through its Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund. More than 15 million people rely on the Delaware River for drinking water, including residents of Philadelphia, PA, and Trenton, NJ.
“The protection of Love Farm is an aspiring model for protecting the forested source waters of the greater Delaware River, and for protecting the drinking water resources of millions of local residents along the river,” said Peter Howell, executive vice president of OSI. “We applaud the tireless efforts of Berks Nature in successfully bringing this project to fruition.”
OSI’s Fund is made possible by the William Penn Foundation’s Delaware River Watershed Initiative, which works to protect water quality by preserving forested watersheds within the Delaware River Basin. When permanently protected, forested watersheds and wooded stream buffers on farms have many benefits, such as slowing and filtering water from storms, producing clean air, shading and cooling streams, and providing wildlife habitat.
Since its creation in 2014, the Fund has supported roughly 50 land protection projects that are slated to conserve over 25,000 acres of lands that filter water within the Delaware Basin.
In addition to OSI’s support, additional funding for the project came from NRCS RCPP Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which implements conservation practices on working lands; the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund; the Wyomissing Foundation; the Schuylkill Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative; and the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association.