Wildlands Conservancy is making a direct and lasting impact in Northampton County through significant, on-the-ground projects aimed at stream and wildlife habitat restoration on the Monocacy Creek.
Monocacy Park Stream Restoration
Together with project partners, Wildlands is bringing together a new vision for Bethlehem’s beloved Monocacy Park – one that enhances the public’s experience while also protecting and restoring the park’s natural features.
The conceptualized design is planned for fall 2016, with construction to follow in 2017. Most significant, is the health of Monocacy Creek, a valued coldwater fishery. The design plans for increased vegetation with native plantings, erosion control and the removal of several rock dams lining the creek. These will be replaced with PA Fish & Boat Commission-approved structures to enhance habitat and fishing opportunities.
Moncocacy Creek Watershed Stream Assessment
Wildlands is conducting a stream assessment of Monocacy Creek watershed. Part of their large-scale efforts aimed at managing the 10-county Lehigh River watershed, the collected data will support the creation of plan focused on the Monocacy.
A small dam on the Monocacy, situated on private land in the vicinity Bridle Path Road, was removed in early July to restore the stream channel, improve fish habitat and in turn fishing opportunities in this popular corridor. Prior to removal, Moravian College students confirmed degraded conditions in relationship to the dam by studying organisms throughout more than 200 feet of the stream’s reach.
To further enhance the health of the creek, Wildlands will next plant a riparian buffer on the streambank, a strip of native grasses, trees and shrubs to help with erosion control, pollution run-off and wildlife habitat.
Wildlands is also advancing stream and wildlife habitat restoration plans for the Saucon and Oughoughton creeks.
Support for Monocacy Creek Watershed Projects
Monocacy Park stream restoration project: Northampton County, PA Department of Community and Economic Development, and PA Department of Environmental Protection
Moncacacy Creek watershed assessment: PA Department of Environmental Protection
Monocacy Creek dam removal: This project was completed in partnership with the Lehigh Valley Greenways Conservation Landscape Initiative. Funding was provided in part by a grant from PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, administered by Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc. In addition, this project was also funded by a grant from the Coldwater Heritage Partnership on behalf of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the PA Fish and Boat Commission, the Foundation of Pennsylvania Watersheds, and the PA Council of Trout Unlimited.