Forest Initiatives Highlight Conservation District Dinner
The Pike County Conservation District held their Annual Dinner on November 8, 2013 celebrating forest landowner initiatives and recognizing a long time District Director who will be retiring at years end. Chairman Savini, the District Board and the Pike County Commissioners recognized District Director Roy Borgfeld for his 16 years of volunteer service to the Pike County Conservation District at the evening’s festivities. Prior to joining the District in 1997 as an Associate Director, Roy Borgfeld, a resident of Lehman Township, was instrumental in a county-wide visioning process supported by the Conservation District and also served on land use planning and environmental task forces in the community. As an Associate Director, Roy spearheaded efforts to develop and track a detailed Long-Range Plan for District operations and supported District programs focused on educating county residents and municipal officials on issues such as open space conservation and conservation design for commercial development. Roy served as District Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Treasurer and played a key role on a number of committees during his tenure with the District. At the dinner, Roy also received citations for his dedication and volunteer service from State legislators and Governor Corbett’s office.
Chairman Scott Savini began the evening thanking the many partners who work closely with the District to provide forest conservation education and implementation of forest practices on the land. District Executive Director Sally Corrigan and Delaware Highlands Conservancy Stewardship and Education Coordinator Amanda Subjin provided an overview of some of these forest initiatives and the benefits they provide to private forest landowners.
Executive Director Sally Corrigan discussed the importance of Pike County forests, both public and private, to the region. The forest resources of Pike County are not only an asset to county residents but also provide important benefits for over 16 million people downstream in the metropolitan areas of Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. Additionally, Pike County’s large tracts of public and private forestland are critically important to water quality, scenic rural character, and wildlife habitat. Our forests also support recreation and tourism as well as the forest product economy in our region.
Corrigan went on to explain how in 2009, the Pike County Office of Community Planning, with the assistance of the Conservation District and the Pike/Wayne Conservation Partnership, completed a survey of Pike County landowners. Survey results highlighted the major concerns of private forest landowners which included taxes, conservation, forest pest management, development pressure, wildlife management, preserving forests and funding for forest management. By identifying these concerns, the District and its partners were able to raise awareness of existing programs and better direct education and outreach efforts to these landowners.
One program developed as an outcome of landowner concerns was the Pike/Monroe Woodland Owners group. Amanda Subjin of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy discussed how this group was formed to provide a network for landowners in Pike and Monroe Counties in order to share information about managing, conserving and sustaining their forests. The group has been meeting on a regular basis with Mike Roche, Service Forester with the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Amanda Subjin, Delaware Highlands Conservancy, to discuss a myriad of issues and participate in educational field trips. To learn more about the group and their programs visit www.pmwog.org. Amanda Subjin also discussed the Shop Local Save Land Forest Products guide and the Women and Their Woods program. More information on these projects can be found on the Delaware Highlands Conservancy website.
At the dinner, the Pike County Conservation District also highlighted the Common Waters Program, another important forest landowner initiative. The Common Waters Partnership was established in 2007 as a cross-boundary collaborative in the Upper Delaware River region to promote the critical role that healthy forests and clean water resources play in the economy of the region. A main initiative of the Common Waters Partnership is the Common Waters Fund. This fund, coordinated by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation with the Conservation District providing local support to Pike County landowners, focuses on funding forest management plans and practices critical to supporting healthy forests in the Upper Delaware region. Since the beginning of the program, Pike County landowners have enrolled 14,942 acres in the program and received $201,231 in funding to support forest management plan development and implementation of forest best management practices. Several of the landowners currently participating in the program were acknowledged at the dinner.
The Pike County Conservation District is committed to natural resource conservation through leadership, education, technical assistance, planning and enforcement to ensure the long term protection and sustainable use of Pike County’s natural resources. The District serves as a community clearinghouse for conservation information and educational resources, as well as state and federal environmental regulatory and permit information. For more information on the District contact the District office in Blooming Grove at (570)226-8220, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.pikeconservation.org.