The Landscapes3 Protect Goal is to "Protect and restore critical natural resources to ensure a resilient environment that supports healthy communities." The following success stories represent key examples of how this goal has been realized through the actions of public and private entities throughout Chester County. This listing is not exhaustive and there are many more such success stories to be found around the county.
In September 2020, the Chester County Water Resources Authority announced the completion of the Hibernia Dam Rehabilitation Project. The project will extend the dam's lifespan for at least another 50 years. Hibernia Dam provides a source for supplemental drinking water supply, recreation, and flood control. This project helps to implement Landscapes3 Protect Recommendation 7, "Enhance flood resiliency."
During spring 2020, the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust opened to the public its 500-acre Great Marsh Upland Preserve in East Nantmeal Township. It includes three miles of hiking trails. This effort helps to implement Landscapes3 Protect Objective B, "Support comprehensive protection and restoration of the county's ecosystems including woodlands, wetlands, surface waters, riparian corridors, groundwater, floodplains, soil health, steep slopes, aquatic and wildlife habitats, and natural heritage areas."
In March 2020, Natural Lands added 91 acres to its Crow's Next Preserve in Warwick Township. In July, the preserve's trail network was doubled by installing raised boardwalk marsh trails. These trails link to trails in Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, which link to French Creek State Park. These improvements help to implement Landscapes3 Protect Objective C, "Support municipal and regional natural resource protection efforts, and promote a resource-based planning approach."
Photo Credit: Dan Barringer
In April 2020, the Planning Commission released an environmental booklet in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, titled 50 Ways Your Community Can Protect Our Planet. The booklet features five topic areas to help municipalities and individuals contribute to protecting our planet's natural resources, and is available to be downloaded, printed or shared. This helps to implement Landscapes3 Protect Objective D, "Promote the environmental, aesthetic, and economic value of protecting and restoring natural resources to residents and municipalities."
In fall 2020, the Conservation District received a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to assist farmers in implementing or repairing green infrastructure, such as grassed waterways and roof runoff structures. This initiative helps to implement Landscapes3 Protect Objective E, "Promote groundwater recharge, stormwater runoff and pollution reduction, flood mitigation and resiliency, and water quality improvement and protection to support safe and healthy communities."
In January 2020, Natural Lands' announced that a massive tree-planting effort has been completed at their Bryn Coed Preserve in Chester Springs, including 12,500 native species which have been planted along a 3.5 mile stretch of streams creating more than 64 forested acres of riparian buffer. This helps to implement Landscapes3 Protect Recommendation 6, "Promote innovative practices for improved water quality."
In July 2020, educational programs to help teach children about the value of local watersheds and watershed protection in Chester County received $26,100 in state grant funding in July 2020. The grants are funded through the PA Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Education Grant Program, and help to implement Landscapes3 Protect Objective C, "Support municipal and regional natural resource protection efforts, and promote a resource-based planning approach."
In May 2020, West Chester University was recognized as a "Tree Campus USA" by the Arbor Day Foundation. This is the eighth year WCU received the recognition, and it is one of only 18 campuses in the Commonwealth to receive this honor, and the only public university on the list. This helps to implement Landscapes3 Protect Objective D, "Promote the environmental, aesthetic, and economic value of protecting and restoring natural resources to residents and municipalities."
During 2020, the Planning Commission posted natural resource related eTools on its municipal assistance web page. These eTools include guidance for comprehensive natural protection standards implemented through municipal ordinances, guidance for water conservation practices that use water efficiently, reducing use, and protecting water supplies, and guidance for floodplain protection on a land area subject to inundation or the rapid accumulation of runoff. These eTools help to implement Landscapes3 Protect Recommendation 2, "Provide natural resource policy and ordinance assistance."
During 2019, public and private organizations undertook various initiatives that helped to implement the Landscapes3 Protect Goal: "Protect and restore critical natural resources to ensure a resilient environment that supports healthy communities." The following success stories highlight some of the more notable initiatives.
The Chester County Commissioners announced the formation of the Environmental and Energy Advisory Board (EEAB) in the fall of 2019. Goals of the board include creating a Climate Action Plan for Chester County, as well as focusing on the balance, interplay, and impact of energy-related initiatives and issues. This initiative helps to implement the Landscapes3 recommendation, "Promote benefits of natural resource protection."
In the summer of 2019, the Planning Commission updated the county's 2010 Climate Action Plan, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Report, transforming it into a new Climate Action Plan. With assistance from the PA Department of Environmental Protection, Chester County coordinated with Millersville University staff and students to produce a greenhouse gas inventory. This initiative helps to implement Landscapes3 recommendation, "Promote benefits of natural resource protection."
In October 2919, Chester County's Clean Energy Tour, featured "open-houses" for residents to explore local sustainable energy practices such as solar power, wind generation, energy efficiency, and green design. The tour was organized by Chester County Ready for 100, a group which supports local communities in the transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. This initiative helps to implement Landscapes3 recommendation, "Promote benefits of natural resource protection."
In 2019, the County Conservation District facilitated the planting of nearly 1,900 trees and shrubs, through the TreeVitalize Watersheds Program and Keystone 10-million Trees Partnership. By working alongside landowners, tree buffers were planted by over 100 volunteers along stream corridors, adjacent upland areas, and "naturalized" stormwater basins. This initiative helps to implement Landscapes3 recommendation, "Promote benefits of natural resource protection."