The South Mountain Partnership recognized two recipients with its annual Spirit of South Mountain Award during its 4th Annual “Power of the Partnership” Year-End Celebration on Friday, January 30th.
The Land Conservancy of Adams County was recognized for its significant contribution to land conservation in 2014. As the Conservancy celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2015, it is coming off a highly successful 2014 in which is collaborated with private landowners in Adams County to complete seven conservation easements covering more than 1,060 acres of land. These lands remain privately owned, but the public value they contribute to us all – clean water, scenic views, wildlife habitat, a thriving local agriculture, and more – is conserved.
In particular, the Conservancy finalized a conservation easement with Boyer Nurseries and Orchards in 2014, the last in a series of easements that have conserved the more than 900 acre “Home Farm,” a crowning achievement that will ensure the forests, streams, and working orchards of the Farm remain preserved for future generations.
The Conservancy was recognized for its ability to work collaboratively with landowners throughout Adams County and to achieve measurable outcomes that advance the preservation of all that makes the County and the broader South Mountain landscape special.
The Conococheague Creek Trout Habitat Enhancement project was recognized as a significant project toward sustaining the South Mountain landscape’s clean, high-quality streams and drinking water.
When the old Chambersburg Reservoir in Michaux State Forest was drained in 2003, it left behind an impaired stretch of the Conococheague Creek – though the “Jig” is one of the healthiest and most productive wild trout streams in the South Mountain landscape, this section was shallow and held little suitable trout habitat. Thanks to the leadership of the Adams County of Trout Unlimited, the DCNR Bureau of Forestry, and the national Trout Unlimited, a two-year project was completed in 2014 to install 23 trout habitat structures in the creek. Partners have enhanced the riparian buffer through tree-plants and have launched long-term physical and biological monitoring to track stream quality into the future.
Most compellingly,this project forged and strengthened a spirit of collaboration across more than a dozen organizations around a common goal of critical importance – conserving the healthy, high-quality waterways and water resources of the South Mountain landscape.
The Spirit of South Mountain award recognizes exemplary projects and organizations that advance the South Mountain Partnership’s mission to conserve all that makes this landscape unique and special. This annual award celebrates collaborative spirit that is so central to the Partnership’s work.