Brandywine Red Clay Alliance (BRC) celebrated May by completing two conservation easements. Both donated conservation easements lie within the Brandywine Creek watershed and serve to protect headwaters, first-order tributaries, and wetlands. These critical resources provide a multitude of benefits for watershed residents with freshwater wetlands being one of the surrounding region’s most at risk habitats.

West Brandywine Township, photo used courtesy of BRC.

The smaller easement, donated in memory of David and June Soricelli, longtime owners who spent nearly forty years caring for it, consists of approximately nine acres of headwaters to the West Branch Brandywine Creek. The property contains a large pond, an emerging wetland, and an established wetland that spans the adjacent property and serves as the start of a first-order tributary to the Brandywine. The property is zoned for 1-acre lots, but these building rights were severed via the conservation easement to greatly limit the potential impact of future development on this critical headwaters area. Of note, the easement serves as BRC’s first in West Brandywine Township.

Pocopson Township, photo used courtesy of BRC.

The second easement completed protects over 15 acres of wetland, open space, and woodland that contain two tributaries to the Brandywine Creek, a one-acre pond, and protects moderate and steep slopes. This easement was found to have several Pennsylvania rare and watch list species, which was exciting as they spanned not just the wetland where BRC were expecting to find something, but the woodland as well. As with the other easement, this one also eliminates all residential house lots, which helps ensure that the property is not built out or developed further. Subdividing these small parcels with critical resources such as wetlands would be detrimental to the larger watershed as runoff from development impacts water quality for everyone within the Brandywine Creek Watershed. This easement lies within Pocopson Township and creates a connection between existing protected lands.

BRC expressed their thanks to the landowners for partnering and donating such high-conservation-value parcels in such watershed-critical areas. With the completion of these two projects, BRC holds conservation easements on over 1,300 acres in eight townships. They have multiple active projects in the works and are happy to speak with anyone considering protecting their property, referring anyone with interest or questions to reach out to Abbie Kessler, BRC’s Land Preservation Director.


This post adapted from a newsletter release by BRC, with collaborative support from (and our thanks to) Abbie Kessler.