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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 02-1431


Wild Resource Conservation Fund 2002 Annual Report

[32 Pa.B. 4048]

Wild Resource Conservation Board Members

John Oliver, Secretary
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Honorable Peter A. Colangelo, Executive Director
Fish and Boat Commission

Honorable Vern Ross, Executive Director
Game Commission

Honorable Mary Jo White
Majority Chairperson
Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee

Honorable Raphael J. Musto
Minority Chairperson
Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee

Honorable Arthur D. Hershey
Majority Chairperson
House Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy

Honorable Camille ''Bud'' George
Minority Chairperson
House Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy

The following projects were funded with Growing Greener moneys:

Wild Resource Conservation Fund

2001-2002 Projects

Project Sponsor Amount
Invertebrate Biodiversity of Game Lands #211 Bioblitz Penn State $7,000
Evaluating Reintroduced River Otters Frostburg University $25,000
Den Affinity & Movement Patterns of Allegheny Woodrat Penn State $7,000
Extension Fact Sheets on Wildlife Penn State $10,000
Important Bird Areas Volunteer Training and Bird Monitoring National Audubon $10,000
Important Bird Area Conservation Project National Audubon $20,000
Susquehanna River Birding & Wildlife Trail National Audubon $50,000
Appalachian Cottontail Distribution in PA Lock Haven University $9,000
Wild Action Grant Game Commission $4,000
Impact of Hemlock Woolly Aldegid Infestation on Habitat Use and Productivity of Hemlock Dependent Songbirds East Stroudsburg Univ. $10,000
Preparation and Deposition of Vertebrate Specimens From Shippensburg Univ. to the State Museum Nature Conservancy $17,000
Genetic Structure of Vernal Pond Salamander Populations Shippensburg University $32,000
Survey Inland Populations of Burbot Penn State $50,000
Assessment of Genetic Variation of Timber Rattlesnakes Arcadia University $9,275
Conservation and Management of Fish, Herptiles, and Aquatic Species Nature Conservancy $45,600
Impact of Timber Harvesting on Woodland Amphibians Randy Cassell $9,000
Ex-Situ Conservation of PA Native Flora Phipps Conservatory $5,000
Refining Knowledge of Vernal Ponds Western PA Conservancy $20,000
Surveys of Aquatic & Terrestrial Plant Species Morris Arboretum $30,000
Citizens Guide to the Control of Invasive Plants In Wetland and Riparian Ecosystems in The Chesapeake Bay Region Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay $5,000
Native & Introduced Flora Associated with Glacial Lakes Western PA Conservancy $20,000
Herbarium Studies of Plant Species of Special Concern in PA Carnegie Museum of Natural History $5,500
Field Studies of Plant Species of Special Concern In PA Nature Conservancy $10,000
2002 Rare Plant Inventory Within Northwest PA Cleveland Museum $15,000
Use of PNDI Data Management System for PA Dept. of Agriculture Noxious Weed Survey Data Nature Conservancy $15,000
Development of PA Biodiversity Conservation Plan PA Biodiversity Partnership $30,000
Keystone Ecotones: The River Otter In A Changing Habitat Celtic Moon Publishing $10,000
Rare Land Snails of Western PA Appalachian Cons. Biology $9,000
Interactive Display Friends of Wildwood Nature Center $10,000
Natural Areas Inventories Nature Conservancy $200,000
Natural Areas Inventories Western PA Conservancy $200,000

   The Balance Sheet and Statement of Unreserved Fund Balance provided were prepared by the Comptroller's Office on a cash basis of accounting, combined with an encumbrance budgetary system. They were not prepared in accordance with General Accepted Accounting Principles.

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Wild Resource Conservation Fund
Statement of Unreserved Fund Balance
for the period ended June 30, 2002

Unreserved Fund Balance, Beginning $225,516.29
Revenue Received:
   Income Tax Check-offs $142,338.67
   Voluntary Donations 103,646.31
   Income from ''Osprey'' Film 7,332.00
   Wild Plants License/Permits 2,100.00
   Sale of Publications 12,324.73
   Departmental Services 390.00
   Wild Resource License Plate 115,430.14
   Wild Resource Tee Shirts 657.00
   Interest on Securities 15,552.79
      Total Revenue Received $399,771.64
   Prior Year Commitment
      Total Funds Available $798,627.74
   Administrative Expenses $276,4278.77
   Administrative Commitments (1) 16,060.82
   Project Expenses (2) 202,867.65
   Project Commitments (3) 198,970.10
      Total Deductions $694,327.34
Unreserved Fund Balance, Ending $104,300.40

(1)  This figure does not include administrative commitments of $1,803.90 contingently committed against future years spending authorizations.

(2)  This figure does include $77,478.57 in expenses from special projects approved by the WRCF Board.

(3)  This figure does not include project commitments of $113,334.60 (of which $21,401.60 are special projects) contingently committed against future years spending authorizations.


Public Hearing

   The Wild Resource Conservation Board (Board) has scheduled a public hearing for September 10, 2002, 1 p.m. at the Wildwood Nature Center, 100 Wildwood Way, Harrisburg, PA. The purpose of the hearing is to provide individuals and organizations the opportunity to comment on the recommendations and programs funded with moneys from the Wild Resource Conservation Fund (Fund). The Board is interested in hearing from any individual or organization that wishes to make comment on the projects submitted for funding to the agencies, Game Commission, Fish and Boat Commission or the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Department) list published in this notice. Agencies project recommendations for funding will be presented at the public hearing.

   Only comments from the general public regarding the projects received will be heard at the September 10, 2002, public hearing.

   The Board will then evaluate all recommendations submitted for its consideration and final funding decisions will be approved at the annual meeting on November 13, 2002.

Annual Meeting

   The Board has scheduled an annual meeting on November 13, 2002, 1 p.m., Fish and Boat Commission, 1601 Elmerton Ave., Erie Room, Harrisburg, PA. A full report will be presented on the allocation of moneys from the Fund. The Board will consider all presentations made at the public hearing and the plans outlined by the professional technical staffs of the Fish and Boat Commission, Game Commission and the Department.

   The Fish and Boat Commission, the Game Commission and the Department will administer the recommendations funded by the Board. The recommendation selections will be based on their individual contribution to the management goals of three agencies and those outlined in the Wild Resource Conservation Act (32 P. S. §§ 5301--5313).

   The following list includes the project recommendations requesting funding for 2002-2003 received by the Board. The public is invited to offer comment at the public hearing on September 10, 2002. The public hearing will be held at Wildwood Nature Center, 100 Wildwood Way, Harrisburg, PA at 1 p.m. Please limit comments to 5 minutes and provide eight copies for the Board.

Project Submissions to the Department for WRCF Funding In 2002

*  2003 Rare Plant Inventory within Northwestern Pennsylvania

Objectives: Search for new occurrences of rare plant communities and Plants of Special Concern in PA. Stewardship projects at Presque Isle, Erie National Wildlife Refuge and State Game Land 122 will be maintained and a stewardship project to restore rare habitat on the privately owned Edinboro Lake Fen in Erie County will be initiated. Continue searching for Spiacea virginiana on the Youghiogheny River. Provide advice to the Presque Isle Invasive Plant Control program and assess the effectiveness of the invasive species removal effort. Search for Carex chordorhiza will be continued in Tioga County.

Justification: There is a great need for additional inventory in northwestern region of this Commonwealth for Plants of Special Concern in PA. If rare plants or rare natural communities are identified prior to development, a development can be altered or constructed in a manner that will allow the plants to survive. Discovery of the rare natural communities allows conservation groups to make an effort to purchase a property before it is threatened by development. Landowners often decide to contribute a property after they have been informed that the property has Statewide or global significance.

Sponsor: The Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Cost: $15,000

*  Herbarium and Field Studies of Pennsylvania Plants of Special Concern

Objectives: Provide essential data from herbarium specimens deposited at Carnegie Museum to PNDI for use in managing and conserving this Commonwealth's natural resources, and provide important services to staff of other organizations that are involved in conservation efforts in this Commonwealth: (1)  data recording and specimen verification; (2)  discover and document new taxa for this Commonwealth; (3)  field survey for POSCIP species; and (4) herbarium services to the Heritage Program.

Justification: Specimen label data and accurate identification of specimens are essential to efforts to monitor populations of POSCIP species. Correct taxonomic determinations are critical not only to the reliability of the PNDI database as a tool for environmental review, but also for various organizations and individuals, which rely on specimen label data for personal and professional studies.

Sponsor: Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Cost: $19,230

*  Documenting the Native and Introduced Flora Associated with Glacial Lakes in Northwest PA, with Emphasis on Invasive Alien Species

Objectives: Compile for each glacial lake in western Pennsylvania a list of plant species presently documented with herbarium specimens. Conduct field studies to produce more complete and current lists of the floras of these lakes. Map the locations of invasive alien plant species. Map the locations and assess the size and condition of occurrences of plant species of special concern. Map the major habitat areas of the lakes. Collect data that will assist community ecologists in characterizing aquatic natural communities. Provide baseline data from which changes in population sizes of rare species and invasive species can be detected. Provide recommendations for conservation planners and stewards regarding protection of rare plants and management of invasive species.

Justification: Glacial Lakes are among the most treasured natural features of this Commonwealth. Of the 2,500 glacial lakes in this Commonwealth only 50 were naturally formed. These lakes are important scenic and recreational resources and are the focus of much tourism activity. Glacial lakes also comprise habitat for many species of plants and animals that would not otherwise inhabit this Commonwealth.

Sponsor: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Cost: $40,167

*  Continued Field Surveys of Aquatic and Terrestrial Plant Species of Special Concern in Eastern Pennsylvania and PNDI Project Review Assistance

Objective: Expand the coverage of the PNDI database by conducting field inventories of poorly studied or completely undocumented sites of probable occurrence of plant species of special concern. Specific deliverables: PNDI field survey reports to be submitted to PNDI East for data entry. Recommend changes in the status of plant species of special concern as necessary. Recommendations submitted to the Rare Plant Forum for changes in the Plants of Special Concern lists. Survey aquatic vascular of northeastern Commonwealth lakes and coordinate with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) water quality sampling program. Vascular plant survey data for lakes on the EPA's survey list. Provide services to project review staff at PNDI to assist in evaluating the potential impact of proposed development on occurrences of listed species.

Justification: In an effort to protect the natural biological diversity in this Commonwealth, land development proposals must be screened by PNDI to identify those that pose a threat to endangered, threatened, rare or candidate species. Additional surveys are needed to develop more complete data on which to base species classifications.

Sponsor:  Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania

Cost: $32,216

Project Submissions to the Game Commission for Funding in 2002

*  Evaluating the Distribution and Abundance of Reintroduced Otters in the Allegheny River Drainage: Applications of GIS, Genetic and Digital Technologies for Management of a Rare Species

Objectives: In 1999, the Pennsylvania river otter reintroduction project was initiated to restore river otters to the Allegheny River drainage. To date, the project has released otters along Tionesta and Laurel Hill Creeks and the Allegheny and Youghiogheny Rivers. Verify the persistence of otters at reintroduction areas, delineate the current distribution of reintroduced otter populations in the Allegheny River drainage, use spatially referenced habitat data to develop and evaluate GIS-based models for documenting expansion and predicting the future distribution of otter populations throughout the Allegheny River drainage. Develop unique genetic tags for use in identifying individual otters through analysis of their scats deposited along shorelines.

Justification: Although initial radio tracking efforts and subsequent surveys suggest that the reintroduction project has been successful in restoring otters to western Pennsylvania, there has been no systematic approach implemented to evaluate long-term success of reintroduced populations. There is also a need to establish and refine techniques and protocols for monitoring the status and distribution of reintroduced otter populations.

Sponsor: Frostburg State University

Cost: $52,140

*  Preparation and Deposition of Vertebrate Specimens from Shippensburg University and Other Collections into the State Museum of Pennsylvania

Objectives: Organize and install all Shippensburg Vertebrate Museum specimens that have been transferred to the State Museum including specimens preserved in fluids and accessory collections. Organize and archive electronically if possible all paperwork concerning the above specimens including all trapline records, specimen sheets, accession records and any other pertinent paperwork. This will focus on those specimen sheets and paperwork that has not been bound to date.

Justification: With the closure of the Shippensburg Vertebrate Museum and transfer of the collection to the State Museum, the Curator of the Natural History Museum will need assistance with organizing, cataloging, storing and care of the collection of mammals and birds.

Sponsor: Nature Conservancy

Cost: $26,638

*  IBA Monitoring Project

Objectives: Continue and expand avian inventories and monitoring on forested Important Bird Areas (IBA), with a strong emphasis on volunteer training and involvement. Develop a Statewide model for forest bird monitoring. Recommend bird trails to enhance nature-based tourism, as appropriate.

Justification: The IBA Program and international program that began in this Commonwealth in 1996 provides a successful strategy for protecting habitats for birds and other wildlife. With the scientific assistance of this Commonwealth's Ornithological Technical Committee and Audubon's Science Department, 78 IBA sites have been identified in PA. These sites represent biologically diverse and environmentally significant natural areas and provide critical habitat for birds, other wildlife and humans.

Sponsor: National Audubon

Cost: $20,650

*  Susquehanna River Birding & Wildlife Trail

Objectives: Identify, assess, highlight and connect bird and wildlife observation sites, nature centers and cultural sites. Generate locally based conservation and protection activities for bird and wildlife. Gain economic benefits from nature tourism for local communities. Produce web sites and other communication tools to guide wildlife watchers.

Justification: The Susquehanna Birding and Wildlife Trail will benefit key wildlife sites, such as IBAs, wetlands, nature centers, mammal areas and other sites by generating locally based conservation. Local communities will benefit economically through increased tourism.

Sponsor: National Audubon

Cost: $50,000

*  Wild Action Grant

Objectives: Provide financial and resource support for 20 schools and/or youth groups to create wildlife habitats and outdoor learning areas and incorporate these areas into school curriculum, club programming and after-school programs. Support a minimum of 500 students/youth members in developing these habitats for wildlife and outdoor learning. Promote partnerships between schools, youth organizations, community groups and State agencies in implementing action projects that foster wildlife conservation and earth stewardship.

Justification: To ensure habitat conservation for native plants and wildlife both now and in the future, it is essential that habitat conservation education programs be implemented in our schools and youth organizations. Loss of habitat for native plants and animals is a concern in which students can make a tangible difference.

Sponsor: Game Commission

Cost: $4,000

*  The Effects of Forest Fragmentation on the Reproductive Success of Black-Capped Chickadees in PA

Objective: Test if woodlot size influences the reproductive success of Black-capped Chickadees. Test if Black-capped Chickadees are affected by edge effects that are produced by forest fragmentation.

Justification: The information garnered by this project has the potential to provide evidence that forest fragmentation does affect common, resident birds such as Black-capped Chickadees.

Sponsor: Villanova University

Cost: $4,350

*  Elwood City Hibernacula Protection

Objective: Protect a critical bat hibernacula through construction of two bat friendly gates. By gating the mine we will protect the general public from the hazards of the mine. Produce a map of the mine to aid future population survey.

Justification: This abandoned limestone mine is a hibernacula for over 30,000 bats of five species, including the Federally endangered Indiana Bat. In hibernation, bats are vulnerable to disturbance and destruction. This hibernacula is one of the two largest known in this Commonwealth and is currently accessible to the general public. Bats are long lived and have slow reproductive rates. This hibernacula is located in an area used by a high priority for protection, with high visibility and is in critical need of protection.

Sponsor: Sanders Environmental Inc.

Cost: $7,600

*  Design and Survey Protocols for the 2nd Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas

Objective: Serve as the ''kick-off'' for Pennsylvania's 2nd Breeding Bird Atlas Project scheduled to begin January 1, 2004. We propose to conduct the design phase for the next Atlas over the course of 15 months preceding the official start of Atlas recordkeeping. Design sampling protocols to allow rigorous statistical comparisons of distribution and abundance for all breeding birds of this Commonwealth using data collected by volunteer and select paid staff atlasers. Develop an interactive computer infrastructure for data entry, analysis and archival in concert with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

Justification: Pennsylvania's 1st Breeding Bird Atlas was a monumental undertaking by professional and amateur ornithologists in this Commonwealth, and the results provided a wealth of information. From its inception, the 1st Atlas was intended to provide a baseline for subsequent efforts that would reliably track changes in composition, distribution and abundance through time.

Sponsor: Penn State

Cost: $8,338

Project Submissions to the Fish and Boat Commission for Funding in 2002

*  Conservation and Management of Fish, Herptiles and Aquatic species--Special Projects

Objectives: PNDI Reviews and Impact evaluation, Timber rattlesnake conservation and management, PFBC/TNC Liaison.

Justification: Presently, 54 fish, 12 herptiles and 2 freshwater mussels are on the Commonwealth's endangered, threatened and/or candidate species lists. The position provides much needed baseline data and technical assistance in nongame and endangered species conservation.

Sponsor: Nature Conservancy

Cost: $46,984

*  A Radio-Telemetry Study of Habitat Use by Spotted Turtles

Objectives: Determine, using radiotelemetry, habitat, use and movements of spotted turtles utilizing vernal pond habitats. Evaluate the effects of various human impacts, including timber management, forest roads and hiking trails, on spotted turtle habitat use. Use the information collected in meeting the first two objectives to make recommendations for conserving viable spotted turtle populations.

Justification: Populations of spotted turtles are declining throughout their range, most likely from a combination of habitat loss/degradation and overcollecting. These turtles utilize a variety of aquatic habitats, including venal ponds. Little is known about the terrestrial habitat requirements of these turtles or how human impacts, such as timber harvest, forest roads or trails, affect turtle movements.

Sponsor: Shippensburg University

Cost: $4,998

*  Survey of Fishes of Special Concern in Western Pennsylvania

Objectives: Determine the status of the southern redbelly dace, least brook lampray, and gravel chub in Bull Creek. Prepare report on the status of these species based on this survey and other known data. Make recommendations for conservation, recovery and listing for these species.

Justification: I surveyed all the known historic sites for the southern redbelly dace, excepting those in Beaver County, and have not detected it. This work will finish this status survey and provide the basis for reassignment into endangered or extirpated status. There are records from the Bull Creek drainage for the endangered gravel chub from the late 1970s early 1980s, but its status there is unknown now.

Sponsor: Robert W. Criswell

Cost: $2,050

*  Timber Rattlesnake Den Inventory and Assessment

Objectives: Classify historic sites as dens, basking areas or rookeries. To verify/confirm and ground truth den locations using Global Positioning Systems (GPS). To describe habitat and use GPS to determine habitat boundaries. Assess threats to viable dens. Assess captured rattlesnakes for relative health and reproductive condition and mark them with PIT tags for research and identification purposes. Assist in ongoing population genetics study by obtaining blood samples. Rattlesnake and den habitat information will be entered into a database and submitted to the Fish and Boat Commission Nongame and Endangered Species Unit and Element Occurrences will be reported to PNDI.

Justification: The timber rattlesnake is designated as a candidate species to be listed as threatened or endangered in this Commonwealth. Given that the timber rattlesnake dens are central to the life history of this species, protecting dens is paramount to their conservation

Sponsor: Christopher Urban

Cost: $15,000

*  Crayfish Identification and Curation For PA

Objectives: Provide 300 crayfish identifications for State employees, private citizens, students, and the like. Identification results will be sent in writing to the collector and/or relevant agency. Preserve and maintain all crayfish specimens and associated documentation at the Pennsylvania Crayfish Reference Collection housed at Lock Haven University. Purchase two GPS units to be used in crayfish collection. These units will be lent to collectors in this Commonwealth to facilitate GPS data collection for the construction of a GIS database.

Justification: During the 2002-2003 time frame, the Nature Conservancy and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy are constructing a classification of stream types from a ''bottom-up'' database of stream systems in this Commonwealth that will include crayfish. Additionally, crayfish collected during normal or targeted stream surveys are often either discarded or stored without further consideration, primarily because crayfish identification can be extremely difficult. No facility or professional biologist within this Commonwealth, except the PCRC, has until now been available to identify and curate these specimens.

Sponsor: Ted Nuttall

Cost: $4,000

*  Inventory and Ecological Studies of Aquatic Snails in this Commonwealth

Objectives: In conjunction with the Nature Conservancy, this project would help to better define the role that gastropods play in streams, lakes and wetlands in this Commonwealth. Examine sites across this Commonwealth, examining species present and measuring chemical and physical parameters. Coordinate the identification and compilation of data with museum and university experts as necessary. Produce a final report that will detail the fauna documented at all sites, any relationships between water quality and snail species and use of this data into the ongoing aquatic classification project by PNDI.

Justification: Ongoing research by PNDI is focusing on examining the various constituents of lotic zoological communities, primarily freshwater mussels, fishes and macroinvertebrates. Distributional data for these groups, along with abiotic data, are being examined to classify aquatic systems using a ''bottom-up'' approach. A data set for aquatic gastropods is not currently available due to lack of research.

Sponsor: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Cost: $38,000

*  Survey of Inland Populations of Burbot in this Commonwealth

Objectives: Survey all known and potential locations of Burbot populations outside of the Lake Erie catchment basin in this Commonwealth. Determine age/size structure of extant populations, habitat selectivity or extant populations, important breeding/nursery habitats of extant populations.

Justification: Glacial relict populations of burot exist in the headwaters of the Susquehanna and Allegheny Rivers. Susquehanna populations are known only to exist in New York. Specimens have not been collected in the Pennsylvania portion of the Susquehanna. The absence of records may be due to lack of adequate sampling, extirpation or natural distribution.

Sponsor: Penn State

Cost: $59,875

*  Appalachian Cottontail Distribution in this Commonwealth

Objective: Determine the current distribution of Appalachian cottontail rabbits in this Commonwealth relative to the historical range as reported in literature. Determine an index of abundance for the Appalachian cottontail rabbit in selected locations to allow future comparisons and trend analysis. Determine general associations between selected habitat conditions and the presence/absence of Appalachian cottontail rabbits at selected trap locations. Produce management recommendations to conserve and enhance the Appalachian cottontail rabbit populations in this Commonwealth.

Justification: The current distribution and population trend of the Appalachian cottontail rabbit in this Commonwealth is unknown. This rabbit has declined substantially in adjoining states where monitoring efforts have been completed and has been identified in Commonwealth literature as either ''at risk'' and current biological survey classification as ''Status Undetermined'' due to lack of information. Prudent management decisions cannot be made without current information about this rabbit's population status and distribution.

Sponsor: Lock Haven University

Cost: $10,703

Multiagency Project Submissions for
Funding in 2002

*  Biodiversity Conservation Plan: Inventory of Human Resources

Objectives: Biodiversity Conservation Plan enters Phase 2 which is beginning to fill the gaps in our knowledge about the biodiversity in this Commonwealth. One of the gaps not fully addressed is an inventory of existing human resources and expertise in Pennsylvania biodiversity both internal and external to this Commonwealth. Expand the human resource inventory to all aspects of biodiversity (education, policy, stewardship, land management, and the like) as well as to update the database of taxonomists. Create a web-based directory of PA biodiversity experts with keyword search capability, identify expertise necessary for biodiversity conservation in this Commonwealth, determine what is presently lacking, begin to develop strategies for increasing the needed expertise and integrate the results into the Biodiversity Conservation Plan.

Justification: This project is critical to the development of a Pennsylvania Biodiversity Conservation Plan which specifically addresses recommendations in the 21st Century Environment Commission Report (1998) and other documents. Conservation biodiversity is vital to the state's ecological health, economic vigor and quality of life of all citizens.

Sponsor: Pennsylvania Biodiversity Partnership

Cost: $31,614

*  Refining the Natural Communities in PA through Zoological Studies on State Forest Lands

Objectives: Filling data gaps sampling ponds that were either not sampled or only sampled 1 or 2 months during the first 2 years of this study due to drought or time constraints. An estimated 30,000 specimens will be examined and identified to family level. Identifications to the finest level possible with current keys and equipment available.

Justification: The current classification of natural communities in this Commonwealth is based primarily on assemblages of plants. It is a goal of this study to determine if invertebrate data can be used to define vernal pool community types; it would create a more comprehensive tool for land use planning, natural lands management and for designations of conservation areas.

Sponsor: Nature Conservancy

Cost: $29,635

*  Wetland Diorama Exhibit at the Benjamin Olewine Nature Center at Wildwood Lake Sanctuary

Objectives: Interactive exhibit for students and adults.

Sponsor: The Friends of Wildwood Lake Nature Center Inc.

Cost: $35,000

*  County Natural Heritage Inventories

Objectives: Complete county natural heritage inventories in two counties (Mercer and Huntingdon) and initiate and perform inventories on five additional counties in western Pennsylvania. Each project runs on a 2-year schedule and additional counties will begin each year as others are completed. Products from the inventories include a report detailing the most significant ecological resources in the county under study, full scale maps covering the entire county, online information and findings and public presentations and education. The inventories will be available in both paper and electronic formats and will include GIS maps with a layer of Natural Heritage Area polygons.

Justification: Final results provide a list of the most important biological sites, identify the resources and map their locations. Sites are prioritized and recommendations are included regarding the management of the biological resources present. The inventory produces a written report and maps of the entire county with Natural Heritage Areas identified. These studies were conceived as tools to assist in planning at both the county and municipal levels and have been used effectively in that capacity.

Sponsor: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Cost: $370,510

*  Counties Natural Areas Inventories

Objectives: Complete the identification of sites with rare species and exemplary natural communities in Schuylkill and Lebanon Counties, initiate three new county inventories for rare, threatened and endangered species and exemplary natural communities; provide these data to county and municipal officials, conservation organizations, the development community and the public to make better informed conservation decisions in the respective counties.

Justification: The 21st Century Environment Commission Report recommended funding for the completion of the NAI's as a step toward preserving this Commonwealth's natural diversity. To preserve that diversity, land use planners and others must know what that diversity is and where it is represented on the landscape.

Sponsor: Nature Conservancy

Cost: $214,689


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 02-1431. Filed for public inspection August 16, 2002, 9:00 a.m.]

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