Mexico Road_Wheat FieldNo, Northcentral PA Conservancy (NPC) is not greatly expanding its coverage area, this Mexico Road is in northcentral Pennsylvania’s Montour County.

Chillisquaque Creek originates in the Muncy Hills on the Lycoming/Columbia County line, but for most of its length passes through Montour County before it finally flows into the Susquehanna River’s West Branch south of Milton. Unfortunately, for much of its length the stream is heavily impacted by agriculture.

The Montour County Conservation District has been actively working with landowners along the Creek and its tributaries to reduce the agricultural impacts and improve water quality.  Many of these projects have been done through the stream restoration partnership NPC is involved with.

Now, with the finalization of a conservation easement on a 46 acre property with frontage on Chillisquaque Creek in Montour County NPC has acted to protect a portion of the stream. The property contains seven acres of prime agricultural soils and 37 acres of agricultural soils of statewide importance; the fields have been leased to a neighboring farmer and will remain in agricultural production.

There are approximately five acres of woodland on an excellent growing site that comprise a riparian buffer between the cropland and Chillisquaque Creek. Riparian buffers such as this protect water quality by filtering out the silt and chemicals before they enter the stream.

The easement donor’s family has owned the property for many years, although he has lived out-of-state. But, he felt it was time to move on in life and pass the property on to someone else. At the same time, housing development has been moving into what had been an area of family farms, and the owner wanted to insure that the property would not become part of a roadside housing development.

Now there is a conservation easement on the property held by NPC and the easement donor will be selling the property to a nearby farmer who is enlarging his operations. The conservation easement’s limit on development made the property more affordable for agricultural purposes. The conservation easement requires use of best management practices on cropland and protects the existing riparian buffer.

Mexico Road between Milton and Washingtonville borders the property and offers a scenic view of the entire parcel in a sweeping arc from the road, across the fields and on to the woodland along Chillisquaque Creek.

This is NPC’s second conservation easement protecting a portion of Chillisquaque Creek in Montour County.

Thank you to the landowner for working with NPC, Montour County Conservation District for referring the landowner to NPC, and to all of NPC’s donors and supporters for helping make this project possible!