Penns Valley group receives fish and wildlife grant funds

MILLHEIM — Penns Valley Conservation Association (PVCA) has received a $107,000 grant from the Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, one of eight 2017 grants in Pennsylvania funded by the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

The grant supports a “Young Forest Initiative” launched by PVCA in 2012 to integrate establishment of early successional wildlife habitat for American woodcock, golden winged warbler and many more bird species dependent on shrub habitat with native riparian flora that maintain cold water temperatures and improve water quality and clean gravel spawning habitat benefiting wild native brook trout.

The project will improve brook trout habitat in the Muddy Creek and Pine Creek tributaries to Penns Creek and create 19 acres of wildlife habitat on five properties in Penns Valley. Grant matching funds and in-kind contributions totaling $124,102 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “Partners for Fish and Wildlife”, Habitat Forever, Pennsylvania DEP Growing Greener grants, Woodcock Limited and PVCA donor members bring the total project investment to $230,944.

Project manager Lysle Sherwin noted, “The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation/Richard King Mellon Foundation support and the matching commitments will accelerate PVCA’s efforts to improve fish and wildlife habitat in the Valley. Further, the NFWF grant will support educational and outreach activities such as development and delivery of young forest and watershed stewardship curriculum classes at Penns Valley School District.”

PVCA is also cooperating with state Game Commission wildlife biologist Lisa Williams to establish a volunteer staffed census route of singing male woodcock breeders in the habitat management areas to document improved reproduction of a species reduced in population by more than 50 percent over the past two decades.