Charles Bier, senior conservation scientist for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, walked properties Tuesday that the conservancy recently added to public lands in Erie County. The Pittsburgh-based conservancy has bought more than 600 acres of local stream banks and lakeshore since fall.
Its goal is to protect habitats and species and to open natural land to the public. Toward that goal, the conservancy has acquired and preserved almost 4,000 acres in the Lake Erie region.
“There is a lot of property that we’ve been able to acquire and a lot of property that we’re still targeting,” Bier said. “Streams in the Lake Erie region, glacial lakes like LeBoeuf, Edinboro and Lake Pleasant, and Lake Erie itself are our main focus.”
The conservancy’s latest acquisition, announced Monday, is 92 acres along Elk Creek in Girard Township. Located on both sides of the stream south of the CSX Railroad track, the property includes wetlands and forest that protect the stream and its habitat.
The property also is home to a number of birds and is a natural buffer to nearby Erie Bluffs State Park, Bier said. Erie Bluffs was acquired by the conservancy in 2003 and turned over to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Natural Resources as a state park in 2004.
The conservancy additionally is buying property along French Creek, considered to be the most biologically rich stream of its size in Pennsylvania.
Recent acquisitions along the creek and its tributaries include conservation easements on 400 wooded acres in Erie and Venango counties and 27 acres purchased in LeBoeuf Township, near Waterford, in September.