Conservation effort pays off
By: AMANDA CREGAN
Congressman Patrick Murphy joined environmental leaders and local officials to spread the word about $700,000 in federal funding that will be spent to conserve land within the Cooks Creek Watershed.
Standing against the backdrop of picturesque Knecht’s Covered Bridge spanning over Cooks Creek in Springfield, Murphy praised county conservation efforts Wednesday afternoon.
“This $700,000 is to make sure we maintain and conserve this wonderful watershed that is so important to us here in Bucks County,” he said.
Cooks Creek is part of the Highlands region, which winds through 3.5 million acres of forests, farmlands and rugged hills through Southeastern Pennsylvania and into New Jersey, New York and parts of Connecticut.
The Highlands provides clean drinking water for more than 15 million people and is home to more than 250 endangered, threatened and rare species.
“For people in Upper Bucks County, they need to know that when they turn on their faucets their drinking water is safe,” said Murphy.
Cooks Creek is designated as an Exceptional Value Waterway by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, meaning the state has determined the water quality to be superior.
Its 30-square-mile watershed and surrounding 337 acres of wetlands are home to nearly 200 bird species, including endangered and threatened species such as the least bittern and peregrine falcon.
Federal funds secured by Murphy are aimed at preserving a larger slice of open space along Cooks Creek in Upper Bucks townships.
“There are 2,000 acres preserved in Springfield Township so far,” said Supervisor Rob Zisko. “We have another 1,500 to 2,000 acres of property in our pipeline. We’re looking forward to preserving as much land as we can in Springfield Township and Cooks Creek Watershed in the next few years.”
Heritage Conservancy officials are already meeting with property owners along Cooks Creek to discuss open space protection.
“At the end of the day, there will be a landscape here that will last for future generations,” said Jeff Marshall of the Heritage Conservancy.
Amanda Cregan can be reached at 215-538-6371 or acregan@phillyBurbs.com
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