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Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust PENNYPACK PRESERVE

strategic master plan

2005


Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust 2955 Edgehill Road, Huntingdon Valley PA 19006 Telephone: 215 657 0830 Fax: 215 657 1679 Website: www.pennypacktrust.org Email: contact@pennypacktrust.org

Images courtesy FEODOR PITCAIRN from his book Dreaming Wild In the Heart of the Pennypack unless otherwise designated. Cover and back image >> Skunk cabbage Above >> Beech Woods Sketches by COLIN FRANKLIN

Report prepared by Andropogon Associates, Ltd. 10 Shurs Lane, Philadelphia PA 19127 Telephone : 215 487 0700 Fax : 215 483 7520 Website : www.andropogon.com


Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust PENNYPACK PRESERVE strategic master plan

DECEMBER 2005

Andropogon Associates, Ltd. Carol Franklin, Principal Teresa Durkin, Principal Chad W. Adams, Senior Planner Amrita Dasgupta, Graphic Designer

Steven N. Handel, PhD. Director, Center for Urban Restoration Ecology

Princeton Hydro, LLC Environmental Engineers


table of contents Mission and Vision 1. The Evolving Mission: Land Preservation to Site Restoration 2. Vision

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Strategic Master Plan Recommendations 1. Land Acquisition and Conservation Easements

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2. Site Organization, Site Circulation and Visitor Experience

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Site Organization

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Site Circulation and Visitor Experience

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3. Restoration Background

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Restoration Strategies

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Capital-scale Ecological Restoration Projects

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Signature Projects

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Rehabilitation of Crossroads Marsh Restoration of Papermill Road Woods

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4. Education

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Education Programs

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5. New Facilities Existing Facilities

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Proposed Site and Building Program

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“The preserve and environs are important not only because they constitute natural lands embedded in a sea of urbanization, but also because they are an environmental resource near the center of a watershed with an estimated population of over 300,000.� David Robertson, Ph.D. Executive Director, Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust

Context of Pennypack Preserve within the Philadelphia region

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The Trust’s role as steward of the Pennypack Preserve is to “protect, restore and preserve the lands of the central Pennypack Creek valley so that they: • Remain an enhancement to the quality of visitors’ lives, • Remain a vibrant and diverse natural landscape supporting native plant and animal life, and • Become the standard of excellence for innovative restoration and stewardship practices to be shared with other individuals and organizations joined in common commitment to the environment.”

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MISSION AND VISION “The interest in restoration ecology is growing enormously. Public agencies at all levels—from townships to the federal government—are increasingly focused on adding to the ecological services and biodiversity of our landscape. There is a need to do the work of restoration, to learn best management practices and to teach and inform. The Pennypack land is an ideal setting for these missions. Its problems mirror the ecological stresses of the whole eastern corridor. Because the Trust is private, experiments and research can be conducted here that are impossible on public lands that operate under many constraints. Development of a coherent plan for the entire property, restoring ecological integrity and setting high goals for a deep knowledge base can answer these regional needs. This will attract a wide constituency, and change Pennypack from a lovely private Trust to an ecological resource and beacon that can inspire us all.”

Steven N. Handel, Ph.D. Director, Center For Urban Restoration Ecology

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Forested Wetland in the Pennypack Preserve

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1

the evolving mission: land preservation to site restoration

The Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust (the Trust) was initially established to preserve and protect environmentally sensitive lands along the main stem of the central Pennypack Creek. The tools used to preserve this land have been land acquisition and conservation easements on privately held properties. Today, these conservation efforts have made the Trust’s land Montgomery County’s largest privately owned natural area open to the public. The Trust protects 714 acres of natural land that includes a mosaic of landscapes from rolling, grassy meadows to mature slope forests and the shaded stream corridor of Pennypack Creek. Equally important today, with the increasing pressures on the natural landscape—both global and local—land acquisition and conservation easements alone cannot preserve the historical landscape of the valley and protect the biodiversity of the preserve. The multiple threats of stormwater mismanagement, invasive exotics and deer browsing have degraded the natural plant communities and habitats of the site. This understanding has led the Trust to an extensive and successful program of land management and ecological restoration demonstrated by the spectacular restoration of the tallgrass meadows on Raytharn Farm. However, neither of these two programs—land preservation or ecological restoration—is yet fully realized. There is work to be done to continue and consolidate the land protected in the Pennypack Preserve. There are still critical pieces of land and new easements to be acquired— both on the main stem of the creek and along its tributaries. Building on the Trust’s remarkable base of high quality conservation lands already assembled, and on the 15 years of expertise in land management, a logical next step is to enhance the present restoration programs and to use them as the basis for a future education program that develops slowly. This goal defines the main audience as restoration students and professionals as well as paid or volunteer land stewards. The Trust’s large landholdings and the significant ecological diversity found throughout the Preserve provide a wide variety of opportunities for ecological restoration at many different scales. An increasingly sophisticated program to restore every plant community and habitat on the site will allow the Trust to be the regional leader in demonstrating not only how to protect our stream corridors and their adjacent areas, but also how to take care of these lands once protected. The plan, with its emphasis on restoration, will require increased funding for land management staff, for equipment, and for plants and materials. This will require the same board commitment and ability to raise funds as the Trust’s earlier extraordinarily successful acquisition and easement programs. The restoration program should ultimately include an expanded endowment to support these efforts.

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L to R >> Pennypack stream corridor / Highly disturbed forested area with invasive species

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2

vision

Andre Clewell, former president of The Society for Ecological Restoration International, has written, “The principal rationale for restoring ecosystems is not to revive the past… but to secure our future by restocking a dangerously depleted global inventory of natural areas.” While this is indeed the primary purpose for an active land management program, it should also be recognized that the return of landscapes beloved in our childhoods and now increasingly endangered across Montgomery County is also an important justification for restoration of the Pennypack Preserve. Accordingly, 20 years into the future, the Preserve will present to the public an exceptionally beautiful series of landscapes evocative of the best of the historic landscapes of southeastern Pennsylvania. The Preserve will be an exemplary model for conservation, restoration and multiple-use resource management throughout the region. Arriving at the Preserve, visitors will be welcomed at a modest center adjacent to the creek. This center will provide facilities such as parking, exhibits and restrooms as well as classrooms and meeting rooms. It will also be the headquarters for the Trust’s staff. This center will be “green” in every way and will demonstrate the Trust’s mission in its siting, its sympathetic relationship to the site and its water and energy use. It will have developed slowly and incrementally to match the organization’s needs and financial resources. Immediately surrounding the facility, damaged areas will be transformed into productive ecosystems. These introductory exhibits will illustrate the power and possibilities of restoration. Signs at the entrances to the Preserve will identify all the significant plant communities and habitats and highlight special places. Other signs will remind visitors of Preserve etiquette. The Visitor Center is the nexus of all paths. It connects directly to the Creek Walk. With deer densities reduced to match the carrying capacity of the habitat through innovative management strategies endorsed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, a wealth of local plant communities and a great diversity of individual plant species can be seen and experienced along the Creek Walk. Carefully designed small path loops or spurs take the visitor from this central pathway into special landscape-scale exhibits. These exhibits are named and interpreted with high quality signage that explains the structure, species composition and function of the plant community; identifies the habitat on an overall map of the Preserve; and illustrates the restoration techniques. At the southernmost tip of the Preserve, there is a small outpost for associated scientists working to restore two reclaimed quarries and several partially filled wetlands with the most innovative and far reaching restoration techniques. Here restoration includes extensive soil rehabilitation. 8

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Leaving the Visitor Center and going south, the visitor is invited to detour up into a former plantation, now presented as “Penn’s Woods,” with its old trees highlighted and the understory and ground layer restored. After passing the grounds of the Lord’s New Church and getting selected views of this special, historical landscape with its grand stone buildings, orchards, lawns and relic gardens, there is the possibility of leaving the main path to explore a lowland forest with a series of ephemeral ponds. Wandering through the trees on a boardwalk, the damp areas are protected and their rich and varied plant and animal life reestablished. Adjacent to this forest is a woody oldfield filled with cedars and dogwoods and a myriad of shrubs. The mown grass path loop through the meadow that explores this area is almost maze-like, winding in and out of “rooms” defined by the columns of the cedars and the rounded forms of the small flowering trees. Adjacent to this old field is an upland beech-oak forest on a steep ridge. Thick laurels grow in masses in the understory. Lowbush blueberry, partridge-berry, mosses and ferns cover the ground with tufts of Pennsylvania sedge and woodland wildflowers springing up in the soil that collects between the bedrock outcrops. Further down the main path, the visitor will find a tranquil and beautiful floodplain pond and wetland. This restoration showcases the luxuriant vegetation of our local wetlands. Fringed with wetland wildflowers, flowering shrubs and lowland trees, this area is particularly spectacular in spring and fall. Visibly alive with birds, amphibians and small mammals, it is a primordial spot, seemingly untouched by human beings—a special destination along the Creek Walk. Where the floodplain broadens out, the floodplain forest has been cleared of invasive exotics and soars up creating a tall cathedral ceiling with light filtering down in shafts to a dense layer of ferns, sedges, rushes, grasses and wildflowers underneath. The islands in Pennypack Creek, now renovated, are accessible from a high bridge of metal mesh. With the Trust and Temple University’s Center for Sustainable Communities leading community efforts to better manage stormwater, the terrible floods and droughts of the early 21st century are events of the past. Much effort has gone into rebuilding and re-stabilizing the banks of the creek. These lushly planted banks no longer show the ravages of storms. In special areas a number of large boulders have been placed to allow access to the water. The 19th century springhouse that was renovated earlier has become an interpretive way station explaining stream bank and riparian corridor restoration. In response to earlier flooding problems, the central path has been raised and stabilized where it borders the creek. The Trust has purchased the key outholdings that border the creek. Some of these new acquisitions provide the Trust with a presence and surveillance along the central portion of the Creek Walk. [ 2005

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An important destination accessible from trails leading uphill from the Creek Walk is the tallgrass and wildflower meadows on Raytharn Farm. The fields at Raytharn Farm are now fully converted to warm season grasslands. The edge between forest and field is no longer a straight border, but interrupted and diversified by tiny coves and eddys encircled with a distinct mixture of woodland edge wildflowers, successional shrubs and understory trees where the edge faces south and west. Where the edge faces north and east the forest edge is open allowing long views into this dark world. Edge predators and nest parasites have been controlled by a model program which reduces disturbance corridors into the forest, seals edges and culls excess raccoons and cowbirds. This program, in conjunction with the extensive unbroken grassland habitat, has greatly increased both ground nesting meadow and forest interior birds. The forests of the Preserve representing the many possible expressions of the varied conditions on the site now stretch unbroken from the eastern edge of Papermill Woods to the extended meadows at Raytharn Farms. The visitor—professional scientist, land manager or simply a member of the general public strolling along the Creek Walk—is drawn into a world apart from the moment they cross the border into the Preserve, a world that is immediately perceived as strikingly beautiful, well cared for and glowing with health. Ecologists will appreciate the fact that the health and beauty of the site also reflects its scientific value. These restorations demonstrate the appropriate plant and animal community structure and species composition, as well as the functions and dynamic processes of relatively undisturbed ecosystems. The communities of the Preserve will be flexible and adaptive in face of severe changes (such as global warming) and largely self renewing day to day. Along with its work on the site, the Trust has influenced the land use policies of its neighbors and the management of neighboring lands. It has continued a significant outreach program working with adjacent land owners—the golf course, public parks and individual homeowners—to improve the standard of care and to encourage removal of invasive exotics, the sustainable management of stormwater and the reforestation of adjacent properties. Overall, the Trust has had an important effect on the neighboring municipalities’ efforts to reestablish green corridors that run up through the community; acquire derelict lands adjacent to the creek; reduce unnecessary lawn; and bring back the historical forests, wetlands and successional landscapes, wherever possible.

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TOP >> Woody oldfield BOTTOM >> Tallgrass meadow restoration on Raytharn Farm [ 2005

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The Trust developed a Strategic Plan for 1999-2003 that identified the following six goals for the Trust to achieve: 1.

Identify opportunities for landscape scale forest and native grassland restoration in the Preserve.

2.

Identify preferred locations for public contact, administrative and maintenance infrastructure.

3.

Identify currently unsecured properties that would further enhance the ecological integrity of the Preserve and plan to incorporate these properties into the Preserve when they become available.

4.

Identify opportunities to enhance the scientific, experimental and demonstration values of the Trust’s ecological endeavors

5.

Identify opportunities to enhance the accessibility of the Preserve to a diversified audience of recreational and educational users while minimizing the impact of these users on natural resources.

6.

Maintain a focus on the avifauna habitat of the Preserve as the guide for ecological restoration planning and stewardship.

We believe that these goals have been fully met in the Master Plan. The evolution of the institution will involve strengthening and professionalizing the organization, the staff and operations; raising and committing funds to building an institution that can expand and enrich its present restoration program; and fulfilling the strategic goals. Within ten years the Trust should put in place a building complex that will include facilities for an expanded staff and for Preserve visitors; a new education program for the ever expanding discipline of ecological restoration; and a dramatic, beautiful and well cared for site that in itself conveys the message of the Trust and is testimony to the commitment of the institution to the community and to the place.

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L to R >> Raytharn Farm / Proposed site for new visitor facilities adjacent to Mason’s Mill Road

L to R >> Pennypack Preserve / Crossroads Marsh, a site proposed for restoration as a special landscape exhibit

L to R >> Proposed trail treatment / Wild turkeys at Raytharn Farm

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STRATEGIC MASTER PLAN RECOMMENDATIONS The central recommendation of the Master Plan is for the Trust to continue to deepen and broaden the present restoration program. Such a program should lead, as it has at Raytharn Farm, to a site-wide re-establishment of a landscape of beauty, health and ecological integrity, which builds on the remarkable assets of this extraordinary place. The present strategic Master Plan (September 2005) makes programmatic and conceptual design recommendations for specific initiatives in the following areas:

1. Land Acquisition and Conservation Easements The plan identifies currently unsecured properties that would further enhance the ecological integrity of the Preserve. These properties are prioritized by size and proximity to the creek.

2. Site Organization, Site Circulation and Visitor Experience The plan shows a conceptual site organization and circulation plan that will enhance the accessibility of the Preserve for a diverse audience of recreational, educational, and scientific users. Identifying the major zones and clarifying and reorganizing the present trails should minimize the impact of these users on the natural resources and on the experience of other people.

3. Restoration The Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust has a vital role to play in giving future citizens of our highly urbanized region an opportunity to experience natural communities at their best and to enjoy the ecological services they provide. Although some basic restoration work has been done at the Preserve, far more restoration is required to achieve healthy, functioning natural habitats. At the broadest level, the plan suggests a green framework for the entire middle watershed with the Trust properties at its core. At a second level, the plan shows critical forest, wetland and native grassland restoration areas at the Preserve. At the specific level the plan identifies individual projects and provides descriptions of the work to be done and cost estimates for each area.

4. Education The Preserve will serve as an exemplary model for conservation, restoration and multiple-use resource management throughout the region. The plan suggests opportunities to bring to a selected audience the scientific, experimental and demonstration values of the Trust’s ecological restoration work. The future of the property should include a more inclusive and more public role.

5. New Facilities After reviewing a number of sites, the plan identified a preferred location for new public and administrative facilities. The site chosen is not presently owned by the Trust and negotiations with the Lord’s New Church are a continuing dialogue. Maintenance facilities will remain at the barn at Raytharn Farm. 14

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Looking into the multi-layered forest on the Pennypack Preserve

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1

land acquisition and conservation easements

The land acquisition and conservation easement map identifies additional key parcels for purchase or donation and for protecting conservation easements. These private holdings create holes in the fabric of the Preserve which lessen its value as an ecological and recreational asset. These parcels are the key to the spatial integrity of the Preserve and are a high priority for preservation. Properties bordering Pennypack Creek should be given the highest priority of all. In many cases it is not necessary to acquire the entire property. The goal is to ensure that over time the Trust’s land along the creek is continuous. In order of priority, these recommendations for conservation or acquisition were based on the following criteria: 1. 2.

3. 4. 5.

Only properties within the middle watershed; Land bordering the Pennypack Creek so that ultimately there is a continuous, contiguous corridor throughout the middle watershed. This will ensure that the creek corridor is protected from development, that the stream banks and riparian forests are restored and able to mitigate flooding, and that the riparian corridor will provide food and habitat; Properties that could connect existing Trust properties or protect undeveloped properties directly adjacent to the existing Preserve; Land not bordering the Pennypack Creek that has a significant natural value within the middle watershed, this includes land along tributaries to the Pennypack Creek; Properties that contribute to eliminating sources of disturbance such as abandoned industrial and derelict lands.

During the planning process, much thought and effort was directed to acquiring a portion of the Lord’s New Church’s land as can be seen on the map opposite – Ownership, Easements and Potential Acquisition. This property completes a large gap in the Preserve on the northwestern side of Pennypack Creek. Negotiations should continue with the Lord’s New Church to acquire a portion of this property, which would give the Trust a site for an easily accessible visitor facility with a public presence on the creek and on a main road that would not impinge visually or functionally on the Church’s campus. In addition to the Lord’s New Church tract, there are several other important opportunities to acquire significant parcels that are either directly adjacent to the Preserve or that are inholdings within the fabric of Trust property. The Trust should continue to be bold and proactive in conserving and / or acquiring these lands.

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Pennypack Preserve Boundary Pennypack Preserve Existing Easement Boundary Existing Easements Semi-Public Open Space Municipal Parkland Acquisition Agreed Open Space Parcels Adjacent to Preserve Potential Conservation Easements Railroad

OWNERSHIP, EASEMENTS, & POTENTIAL ACQUISITION

The Trust’s landholdings and easements are shown here within the context of semi-public open space and municipal parkland. Large open space parcels adjacent to the Preserve (possible considerations for acquisition or otherwise controlled land use) and potential conservation easements are highlighted. It is important to note the relatively fragmented, unconsolidated pattern of the current Preserve landholdings. Acquisitions that secure large, undeveloped, adjacent parcels are critical for optional ecological functions. [ 2005

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2

site organization, site circulation and visitor experience

Site Organization The landholdings and conservation easements shown on the Ownership, Easements and Potential Acquisition Map on the previous page have been organized into three zones that can inform restoration priorities and site use: 1. High Quality Ecosystem 2. Public Experience Area 3. Scientific Research/ Restoration Area Each zone would be managed in a different way and allow a different degree of public or professional access. These zones were suggested to manage visitors and protect the public from the most damaged environments as well as to protect the most fragile natural environments from public impacts. Public experience areas are located at the center of the Preserve, which is the area most frequently used now by visitors and the suggested area for the location of the new facilities. Scientific experiments that are not particularly revealing or interesting should not take place within the public zone. Intensive land management, exhibits, demonstrations and educational and recreational activities should be concentrated here.

ZONE 1 >> High Quality Ecosystems

ZONE 2 >> Public Experience Area

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ZONE 3 >> Scientific Research and Restoration in highly disturbed abandoned industrial sites

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1 PROPOSED SITE ZONES Public experience High quality ecosystem Highly disturbed sites for scientific research and ‘urban’ restoration

2

Rail corridor

3 SITE ORGANIZATION 1: High Quality Ecosystem >> These areas should be managed to enhance the natural ecosystem, to increase biological diversity

over time and to restore the structure and function of each natural landscape type. In Zone 1 ecosystem processes should have priority over human uses. This zone will provide the Preserve with space for long-term scientific research and restoration programs. Only limited and appropriate public and professional access would be allowed. These sites ultimately may require fencing (with gates) to protect these fragile places from deer browsing and unauthorized trespassing.

2: Public Experience Areas >> These central areas are presently most accessible and most used by the public. The Creek Road Trail, as well as the proposed rail conversion trail, will bring the public through this part of the site for both education and recreation. It is recommended that a significant part of this zone be managed to present each plant community and habitat at its best and to restore the characteristic species composition for a range of forest types and successional landscapes. When entering Zone 2, visitors should know they are in a special place that is both protected and well cared for. 3: Research/Restoration Areas >> These areas represent the most highly disturbed properties within the Preserve. They can ultimately provide a location for experimental sites to demonstrate ecological restoration of the most degraded conditions. Research in these areas will add valuable knowledge to the very new field of restoration and adaptive management of industrial lands. [ 2005

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Site Circulation and Visitor Experience The Preserve’s trail system must address the problems inherent in a long, thin site that is occasionally interrupted by private properties. Fragmented ownership and limited parking also contribute to the difficulties of providing appropriate public access. Many important natural and cultural sites are facing parallel issues of transforming a primarily recreational use to a greater public participation in the meaning and mission of the institution. While there is a need to accommodate recreational visitors so that they can appreciate, but not damage, the resource, there is also the opportunity to capture this audience through landscape-scale exhibits and a site that is perceptibly different from the surrounding open space. The Master Plan proposes a hierarchy of trails: a main spine; secondary loops where the Preserve widens out; and a tertiary set of direct, small spur trails that lead only to special events. The Site Circulation Plan shows two major north/south trails: 1. The existing Creek Road Trail, the spine along the west bank of Pennypack Creek; 2. The proposed Newtown Rail Corridor converted into a county-maintained trail linking Pennypack Park in Philadelphia to Tyler State Park in Bucks County, and to other Montgomery County trails such as the Schuylkill Trail via the Cross County Trail. This trail is not yet constructed and the Trust is concerned about uncontrolled access to the Preserve as well as issues related to safety, patrolling, maintenance and littering if the trail, which bisects the entire Preserve, is ever established. However, this trail represents one of the most important additions to the Trust’s outreach program. It would extend public access to the east side of the Preserve making visitors’ experiences richer, and would bring a new constituency to support park programs. Small sections of the Creek Road Trail should be redesigned to create a sequential journey that brings the visitor to a variety of special destinations. These destinations should be high priority restoration areas. Small unobtrusive (5-7 car) parking areas are shown along both of the north/south trails and at Edgehill Road to accommodate visitors and to facilitate access to these exhibits. Three secondary trail loops are recommended. The first takes visitors around the Raytharn Farm meadows and back to the creek trail. It reconfigures the multiple existing trails and eliminates redundant and confusing paths. A second loop takes visitors into restored meadow and successional forest at Inverness Lane. A third loop across the creek can be developed later when the Newtown Greenway is in place. This would allow visitors to experience a high quality mature beech-oak forest off Paper Mill Road. The last path system is a series of small spurs that take the visitor from the main creek trails and the path loops to specific destinations within the Preserve. The renovated wetlands at Crossroads Marsh and the Penn’s Woods restoration would be two such exhibits. Imaginative trailhead pavilions should interpret these sites to the visitor and provide emergency facilities, water, and telephones. 20

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The Master Plan recommends but does not explore in detail the development of a comprehensive signage package that includes both directional and interpretive signage. This is clearly the next step for the Trust after the trails are enhanced and reorganized. [ 2005

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The Trail System

ABOVE >> Image showing suggested quality of the loop trail leading from the Creek Road Trail into the Raytharn Farm meadow (note: entrances to the meadow trail are signaled by a grove of trees that create a natural gateway) FACING PAGE : TOP >> Main Creek Road Trail through the Preserve on the western side of the creek BOTTOM >> Newtown Rail Corridor proposed as the main creek trail on the eastern side of Pennypack Creek and a future connection to Montgomery County’s regional trail system

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3

restoration

Background Over the past 20 years, the Trust has undertaken restoration programs in a number of areas: Floodplain Forests Successional Shrublands Grasslands Streambank Restoration The Master Plan recommends new restoration programs in the Preserve in four areas: 1. 2. 3. 4.

High quality plant communities and habitats where biodiversity can be re-established more easily than in degraded communities; Degraded areas that presently act as a source for propagating exotic invasive plant species; Exhibit areas which would include creating woodland edge and rehabilitating special habitats to provide special exhibits directly adjacent to the Creek Road Trail; and Restoration for ecological integrity that would include replanting forest gaps and extending and consolidating native grasslands.

FOREST RESTORATION TOP >> Before BOTTOM L to R >> After clearing invasive exotics / New canopy trees in floodplain shows the Trust experimenting with increasingly natural planting patterns

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MEADOW RESTORATION L to R >> Before : Invasive exotics at edge between Forest and Field / During : Volunteers removing invasive exotics / After : Enhanced meadow landscape at Raytharn Farm

STREAMBANK RESTORATION LEFT >> Before : Streambanks eroded and covered with invasive exotics BELOW >> During: Regrading and stabilizing with jute matting / After : Replanting with native vegetation

DEER MANAGEMENT L to R >> Population control through hunting / Monitoring deer statistics such as weight

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A regional approach to the best possible preservation and restoration of the Pennypack Creek watershed would require land management both within and outside the Preserve. This strategy would necessitate extensive reforestation of riparian corridors, particularly in the first and second order tributaries. Meadows and forests should be expanded to the maximum extent practical to provide greater sustainability to the interior of the Preserve. Gaps in the existing upland forest should be reforested. Finally, south and west facing edges of the existing high quality forests should be buffered to resist invasive species migration. The total acreage of these restoration efforts is: • Meadow restoration 130 acres • Woodland edge restoration / armoring 33 acres • Riparian forest restoration 265 acres • Forest gap restoration 134 acres

Restoration Strategies NEW SURVEY OF EXISTING PLANT COMMUNITIES The map on the opposite page, “Existing Plant Communities,” shows the wide range of plant communities present on the Preserve. Present Preserve management has concentrated almost entirely on the clearing of invasive exotics and replanting trees to fill in large gaps in the forest canopy. Such restoration that establishes (or re-establishes) the structure of the native plant communities in conjunction with deer control is critical before the more subtle work of restoring the species composition and function of forest and meadow ecosystems can be undertaken. When this second phase restoration begins, initiated with the three highlighted projects— Penn’s Woods, Crossroads Marsh and the extension and enrichment of Raytharn Meadows— the species plant communities identified here and the species lists that accompany them will be invaluable. These recommendations follow below:

FOREST AND FIELD MANAGEMENT FOREST The forested areas of the site are primarily in the riparian corridor—floodplain forest bordered by remnant patches of upland forest of various ages. Several remnant patches are greater than 100 years old. These areas are identified on the vegetation map. The largest stands of older growth forest occur at the edge of Raytharn Farm, on the east side of the creek, in the relatively large forested area to the west of Mason’s Mill Road and across the creek in the Papermill Woods.

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RESTORATION 4 Switchgrass Meadow 5 Little Bluestem Meadow 6 Terwood Meadow 7 Wildflower Meadow 8 Creek Road Meadow 9 Indian Grass Meadow 10 Management Spur Plantation 11 Thorne's Meadow 12 Overlook New Forest Plantation 13 Overlook Woods Restoration 14 Rosebush Plantation 15 Floodplain North Plantation 16 Floodplain South Plantation 19 Landing Field Plantation 20 Stonegate Plantation

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Forest fragmentation has been a major cause in the decline of Neotropical migrant birds that nest and breed in the interior of southeastern Pennsylvania’s temperate forests. Properties adjacent to the Preserve are generally not forested, creating a highly fragmented edge. The forest is bisected by Pennypack Creek and an abandoned railroad line, and is periodically interrupted by open residential properties. However, the Preserve forests are of sufficient size and age that, with proper management, the creation of viable forest interior is feasible.

GRASSLAND The grasslands within the Trust’s holdings currently include significant contiguous acreage and total area to support a variety of native grassland bird species. The Trust has established remarkable grasslands on the former pastures of Raytharn Farm. Currently many of these grasslands are young. Development of a viable grassland community is an ongoing process and the plan recommends implementation of additional habitat enhancement measures to increase the long-term value of these areas for desirable grassland species such as the Eastern Meadowlark and the Bobolink. FOREST MANAGEMENT Configuration: To create a contiguous parcel of forest with the minimum amount of edge, circular forest patches are best; the least ecologically sound configuration is a narrow strip. Raytharn Farm forests can be improved by modifying the existing strip forest to create a more rectangular shape. This will mean some loss of grassland but will achieve a more sustainable forest at: • Bethayres Woods • The stream corridor located across the road from Raytharn Farm • The meadow across the railroad to the east of Raytharn Farm • The closed landfill at the southern end of the Trust In Bethayres Woods there is a relatively large area adjacent to the Pennypack Creek that has been disturbed by quarrying. Reforestation will improve the overall quality of the corridor of Pennypack Creek. Reforestation of the meadow to the east of the railroad would also add contiguous riparian forest. Reforestation to link forest fragments will provide important corridors facilitating movement of plants and animals between currently disjunct areas. Before deciding on reforestation at the landfill it will be important to determine the type of cap. If the landfill does not have an impermeable cap, it may be possible to establish woody vegetation without compromising its functional integrity.

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Disturbed Land, D Developed Land, DL Maintained Lawn, ML Meadow - Hayfield, Agricultural Grasses, Pasture, MH Meadow - Warm Season Grasses, MW Meadow Forbs & Grasses, MFG Late Woody Oldfield, WO Horticultural Plantings, HP Hedge Row, HR Plantations - Deciduous, PD

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Structure and Species Composition: A variety of techniques—from allowing natural succession to proceed to aggressive planting—can be used to recreate forest. Management will be required no matter what scenario is chosen. Replacing non-native understory with native shrubs and small trees such as viburnums, sassafras and dogwood is a simple and immediate method for improving bird habitat. By establishing a sub-canopy layer of understory trees, saplings and shrubs in a variety of sizes, more vertical layers of forest are created, resulting in more foraging and nesting opportunities. Any missing layer of forest will limit both diversity and density of nesting birds. Species such as the Wood Thrush nest from 2-6 meters up in the forest canopy, the Scarlet Tanager nests from 6-10 meters up in the forest canopy, and Eastern Pewees and Red-eyed Vireos nest in the treetops. The appropriate species to enhance diversity can be determined from reference sites and from historical references. A number of these plants are identified in the database created as part of this plan. Edge On the south facing edges of a forest, it is critical to create a rich, stable transitional community or “ecotone” between the forest and the adjacent open land. This elongated edge will soften the artificial abruptness of a former farmfield, moderate the microclimate and buffer the forest from the propagules of invasive species and the incursions of nest parasites and predators. GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT “Area sensitive” species cannot breed or nest in fragmented areas. Two “area sensitive” grassland birds—Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark—have been seen on the property. Warmseason grass meadows are also valuable to generalist grassland birds, such as the Killdeer and over-wintering sparrows, as well as a variety of insects, including butterflies. Additional management measures to improve the quality of the grasslands for these species may also encourage greater use by other grassland birds. Size A number of species, such as the Upland Sandpiper, require larger contiguous tracts of grassland than are potentially available on Raytharn Farm and may never inhabit the site. To achieve the maximun success, the Trust’s grassland management program should primarily target the habitat requirements of species already making use of the site. Although Bobolinks generally prefer large grassland areas, their occurrence is positively associated with patch areas and inversely correlated with perimeter-area ratio. Eastern Meadowlarks are moderately sensitive to habitat fragmentation and the breeding bird density of Eastern Meadowlarks is positively associated with the size of the field. Studies in Kansas indicated that nests need

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to be more than 100 meters (approx. 300 feet) from a forest to prevent brood parasitism. Nests located in grasslands between a forest and a development are subject to higher levels of predation and parasitism. Due to the highly developed nature of the region and the restoration recommendation to increase the size of the forests, expansion of the grasslands will take careful planning. Grassland management at the Preserve should focus heavily on improvements to habitat quality and measures to minimize nest parasitism and predation. For example, trails should be located only along the margins of grasslands to avoid unnecessary fragmentation. Configuration Areas selected for grassland creation and management should be designed to minimize the amount of edge. A circle is the shape with the lowest edge to volume ratio. Narrow areas or peninsulas of grassland surrounded by forest may be more appropriately converted to forest to reduce the edge impacts to both communities. However, the creation of a gradual or feathered ecotone between grassland and forest, rather than an abrupt edge between the two community types, may help to reduce nest predation. Research indicates that sharply contrasting edges have higher nest predation rates than “feathered� edges. Creation of less abrupt edges will also serve to reduce the edge effect within the forest. Structure and Species Composition The use of grassland by desirable grassland birds requires the creation of a relatively complex community of grasses and forbs with distinct vertical as well as horizontal diversity. Improving habitat for grassland birds on the Trust’s property requires a more varied mosaic of species and sizes. Both the Bobolink and the Eastern Meadowlark favor grasslands with no woody vegetation, medium to tall grasses and forbs (grassland communities with approximately 25% forbs), moderately dense to dense vegetation, and relatively deep litter. Bobolinks are found in native grasslands, hayfields, lightly to moderately grazed pastures, no-till cropland, small-grain fields, old fields, wet meadows, and planted cover. Both the Bobolink and the Eastern Meadowlark favor the inclusion of forbs in the grassland. Forbs provide perches and nest cover and attract insects for food. Suitable perches include common milkweed, goldenrod, evening primrose, wild lettuce, thistle and dogbane. Natural succession will generally foster the establishment of forbs but the process should be speeded up by planting forbs or distributing their seeds.

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Edges Brood parasites such as Brown-headed Cowbirds that lay their eggs in other birdsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; nests, and nest predators that simply eat the eggs, such as raccoons, are a terrible threat to both forest and meadow birds. The natural habitats of cowbirds are farms, fields, barnyards, roadsides, riversides and forest edges. They feed in short grass or pastures. The horse pastures and extensive areas of lawn near Trust properties provide extensive feeding grounds for cowbirds. In a Maryland study, researchers ranked the occurance of cowbird brood parasitism in different plant communities and determined that forest edge had the highest occurrence, followed by streams, power lines, open roads and closed roads. Reducing areas attractive to cowbirds is an important management strategy. This would include elimination of as much maintained lawn as possible to reduce feeding areas. Where lawn is required, grass height should be more than 10 cm to discourage feeding by cowbirds, especially in areas adjacent to forests. Encouraging tree canopy over openings such as trails and roads through forests will increase shade and decrease light penetration into the forest interior. Brood parasitism is shown to decrease the farther from woody edges, and nest depredation rates were lower on large (130-486 ha) as opposed to small (16-32 ha) grasslands. Nest productivity is highest for nests furthest from a forest edge. In Nebraska, Bobolink abundance was greater at >100 m (300 feet) from woody edges and less at <100 m woody edges. The removal of woody vegetation in the meadows significantly reduces nest predation and brood parasitism. Studies in the Midwest have shown that nests near small patches of woody vegetation suffer significantly more predation and parasitism and that high perches in grasslands increases the ability of cowbirds to identify potential brood sites. Mowing and Burning Regimen The Trust presently mows the meadows every year to prevent encroachment of woody vegetation. Burning every 2-3 years would be preferable to prevent thatch build-up, but burning is presently limited by municipal prohibitions and air quality constraints. The Trust should work to develop a cadre of fire-certified staff members and volunteers and should provide strategies to allow the grass fields to be control burned.

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16 ha / 40 ac w/ 300' edge

16 ha / 40 ac w/ 300' edge

Pennypack Preserve Boundary Existing Easements PA Major Highways PA Local Streets LAND COVER Maintained Lawn Agricultural or Successional Field Forest Old-growth Forest Stands (min 100 years)

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NEW RESTORATION PROGRAM A. Establishing an Initial Baseline and Long-Term Monitoring Monitoring is a critical part of both the restoration and education program as well as all scientific studies that may be a part of the future activities of the Trust. Monitoring is an ongoing process and must be a major long-term commitment of the Trust. Establish the baseline condition of the Preserve and document all interventions rigorously using the latest, best science. B. Expanding Restoration Expertise Establish a scientific advisory committee comprised of experienced regional restoration ecologists and land managers. Attracting a good group that will have an informed and thoughtful perspective on the Trust’s work may require making a financial commitment to compensate the committee members for their input. C. Reinforcing Existing Partnerships and Establishing New Ones Developing strong restoration partnerships within the immediate area of the Preserve to positively influence adjacent lands and provide habitat connections will be critical to long-term restoration success. The Trust has a history of developing strong partnerships, notably with the four surrounding municipalities, Montgomery County, The Philadelphia Water Department, The Fairmount Park Commission, Temple University’s Center for Sustainable Communities and Rutgers University’s Center for Urban Ecology. The Trust should continue to seek out new partnerships to strengthen the support of regional watershed initiatives and to protect and restore a continuous forested riparian corridor along the Pennypack Creek and its tributaries.

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The Master Plan suggests three levels of restoration priority: 1. Present Restoration Sites, where clearing of invasive exotics and replanting of canopy trees is ongoing; 2. High Priority Restoration Areas, encompassing high quality plant communities and habitats where it is critical to remove invasive exotics from highly disturbed areas that serve as sources of “infection;” 3. Large Scale Restoration within the entire central portion of the Preserve including reforesting gaps, extending and consolidating meadow areas, creating woodland edge where the forest meets the field, and rehabilitating special habitats such as small wetlands to provide special exhibits along Creek Road Trail. [ 2005

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NEW RESTORATION PROJECTS The Trust estimates that the Preserve and surrounding appropriate habitat support 125 deer per square mile. In contrast, wildlife biologists estimate historic carrying capacity at 8-12 deer per square mile. Such deer densities result in: 1. Poor ground-layer development; few wildflowers, tree and understory seedlings 2. Some plant species favored over others, which shifts overall species composition. The Trust presently manages the deer population through hunting with firearm and archery. Private hunters harvest between 40-60 deer each year. Vegetation studies conducted at 5year intervals show that, despite hunting for two decades, deer densities remain at levels that preclude natural regeneration. The impact on vegetation continues with little improvement. No Trust restoration project can succeed without augmenting or replacing the present deer management program with other methods. Initially, the Trust must enhance its present program of deer management with a series of deer exclosures to: 1. Monitor and document vegetation recovery 2. Focus public awareness on the necessity of deer control 3. Protect the Trustâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s investment in restoration sites

Deer over-population at the Preserve continues to impact vegetation despite management efforts

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HEADQUARTERS

High Quality Forest Highly Disturbed Old-Growth Forest Stands (min. 100 years) Existing Forest Pennypack Preserve 02-03 Existing Easements 02-03

HIGH PRIORITY RESTORATION

Areas of high priority restoration within the Preserve are identified on this map. These areas are either high quality existing forest that could be improved and maintained as reference forests or highly disturbed landscapes that have restoration potential or that would improve the overall connectivity along Pennypack Creek. [ 2005

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In addition to specific restoration projects detailed in the next section, “Capital-scale Ecological Restoration Projects,” a number of other recommendations are made to reinforce the Trust’s present program. These recommendations include: a) Initiate three important and highly visible projects as soon as possible: 1. Begin to restore selected larger tracts of existing forest to an “Historic Reference Forest” to be called “Penn’s Woods.” These areas should be managed to encourage old growth forest structure, function and species composition. 2. Restore Crossroads Marsh to a beautiful and dramatic representation of a regional lowland. 3. Expand the conversion of Raytharn Farm’s Meadows. b) Expand the existing native plant nursery and expand the Growing Native Gardeners Program to include a woody propagation program for commercially unavailable native species to be used for restoration on site, as gifts to members and for plant sales to raise money. c) Establish a Scientific Advisory Committee. The committee should develop restoration policies and review each restoration project to ensure that it contributes to an increasing sophistication of both methods and results. d) Increase the present restoration staff to enable the Trust to broaden and deepen its restoration efforts. e) Create a Restoration Endowment to fund future restoration efforts. This endowment should be part of the next Capital Campaign. John Berger in his book “Restoring the Earth” called restoration “an effort to imitate nature in all its artistry and complexity by taking a degraded system and making it more complex and productive.” While the Trust’s present management has been forced to use all resources simply to slow increasing degradation, with commitment by the board and with appropriate funding, it will be possible to bring selected parts of the Preserve to a place where they can evoke the beauty and complexity of the presettlement landscape of southeastern Pennsylvania. Of course restoration of the Trust’s lands to actual pre-settlement condition is not possible, but it is still critical to research and understand these old forest ecosytems. These historical ecosystems, undisturbed by wholesale logging and plow agriculture, are the baseline whose conditions we must move towards if we hope to restore even a small portion of the richness of environment and a complexity of interactions in the forest and meadows of the past. For the Trust this will mean a restoration not only of selected species but of the whole panoply of species once known to be part of each system, in their historical relationships to other plants and to environmental conditions at every scale.

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Capital-scale Ecological Restoration Projects NATIVE WARM-SEASON GRASSLANDS AND ENDANGERED MEADOW-NESTING BIRD HABITAT ($403,000) Beginning with its acquisition of the 160-acre Raytharn Farm in 1997, the Pennypack Trust has made a commitment to convert a majority of the historic farm to native, warm-season grass and wildflower meadows. Meadow and grassland-nesting birds are the most endangered group of birds on the East Coast of the United States because hay meadows are being allowed to revert to woodlands, are being used for row crops and are increasingly being developed. To date, approximately 60 acres of the farm have been planted in native grasses; 100 acres remain to be planted. Establishing native grasses involves eliminating the existing vegetation (i.e., non-native grasses and weeds), seeding native grasses onto the site, allowing the grasses to become established for at least one year, and then applying a selective herbicide that controls weeds but allows the grasses to dominate. Herbicide, planting and herbicide applicator labor, and the native grass seed are the most costly items for the first two years of the program. Thereafter, the fields must be mowed or burned on a regular basis to maintain the dominance of grasses.

FOREST RESTORATION Reforestation of Inverness Tract ($255,800) 9-acre tract of porcelainberry vineland and riparian corridor. The woodlands long ago were overwhelmed by porcelainberry, and then nearly all of the trees that remained standing were toppled by a tornado in 1999. As a result, the formerly wooded slope has become an impenetrable tangle of vines scrambling over pick-up-stick logs. The riparian corridor of Terwood Run, an urbanized Pennypack tributary that experiences severe flooding, has been largely denuded of vegetation and the banks have been eroded and undercut. Conditions are so challenging and overwhelming that the Trust has devoted no attention to Inverness. The upland needs to be mechanically cleared and then completely reforested; the riparian corridor needs streambank restoration. Forest restoration in Papermill Road Woods ($666,800) 137-acre second growth, even-aged woodlands about 80 years old. The Papermill Woodlands are important because they are the largest contiguous block of forest in the Pennypack Preserve and, with forest restoration sites in progress around the edges, represent the best potential for creating true forest interior habitat. Threats: Accelerating invasion by porcelainberry and multiflora rose; species homogeneity and paucity, with the canopy comprised largely of short-lived species reaching the end of their life spans; large canopy gaps in locations of old farmsteads; disposal of domestic garden debris in the center of the forest.

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Forest restoration in the Peak Woods Ancient Forest ($34,069) 7-acre Mixed Mesophytic old growth woodland of oaks, American beeches, and tuliptrees. Of the three old growth stands in the Pennypack Preserve, the Peak Woods is most accessible to the public and is in most peril. Threats: alarming spread of invasive, non-native vines; exposed location on a topographic high point leading to vulnerability to storms; mountain bike use. Forest restoration in the Overlook Woods ($24,335) 5-acre Mixed Mesophytic woodland with character approaching old growth. Crowning a rocky knob and extending downslope toward Crossroads Marsh and Pennypack Creek floodplain, Overlook Woods is a highly disturbed forest remnant. The Trust has devoted considerable attention to this forest because it is the first woodland that visitors encounter as they leave the Trustâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s headquarters property. As such, the Trust has aggressively controlled the porcelainberry vines that previously had cloaked the southern exposure of the woods. In addition, the staff has planted native shrubs and wildflowers throughout. Threats: deaths of mature trees leading to gaps in the forest; exposed location on a topographic high point leading to vulnerability in storms; invasive vines (especially Asiatic bittersweet) and shrubs (especially winged euonymus) spreading throughout the understory. Forest restoration in the Mitchell Woods ($48,670) 10-acre Mixed Mesophytic woodland, one of the three old-growth woodlands protected in the Preserve. The Mitchell Woods is a narrow peninsula of woodlands extending upslope from the Pennypack Creek floodplain, bordered on its north by oldfields and on its south by residences. A privately owned 4-acre second-growth woodland along the southern boundary of the Mitchell Woods may soon become the site of a new residence, further fragmenting and affecting the Mitchell Woods. Threats: invasive species (especially Asian bittersweet and barberry); mountain bike use; declining canopy trees; equestrian activities and associated erosion. Forest restoration in the Brandywine Ancient Forest ($34,100) 7-acre old-growth forest protected in part by the Pennypack Trust through fee-simple ownership and in part by a private landowner (with a conservation easement held by the Brandywine Conservancy, hence the name). The forest is a fairly even-aged stand of mature American beeches, tuliptrees and oaks that are at least 150 years old. The forest is bound on three sides by a younger tuliptree-white ash community and on the west side by swamp forest. Non-native periwinkle vines, intentionally introduced when the forest was part of an extensive pleasure garden with walking paths, now grow thickly over the ground and exclude all native vegetation. Threats: invasive species (especially periwinkle); declining canopy trees; lack of advance regeneration due to heavy deer browsing.

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Forest restoration in The Maze ($73,000) 15-acre thicket and early-successional red maple woodland. Threats: colonization by invasive plants; erosion from road runoff; rogue trails created by off-road vehicle use and equestrian activities; disposal of domestic garden debris at the edge of the thicket. Completion of reforestation in the Overlook New Forest ($6,000) 1/2-acre in two plots (0.15 acre and 0.35 acre, respectively) that will complete the reforestation of this site. The majority of the site was planted in 1992, but the last half-acre along the western and northern boundaries was never reforested. Completion of reforestation in the Landing Field New Forest. ($3,219) 1/4-acre plot to complete the reforestation of this site. The majority of the project was completed in 1994, but the northern boundary of the tract consisting of one-quarter acre was never reforested.

STREAMBANK RESTORATION Streambank restoration south of Papermill Road ($94,300) 900 linear feet of Pennypack Creek streambank to be restored alongside the Creek Road Trail. Streambank restoration between Huntingdon Road and Papermill Road ($128,800) 1,230 linear feet to be restored alongside the Creek Road Trail. Streambank restoration north of Masonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mill Road ($386,400) 3,680 linear feet of Pennypack Creek streambank to be restored alongside the Pennypack Parkway at the northern end of the Preserve.

GENERAL PROJECTS Restoration of Porcelainberry Flats ($25,000) 15-acre riparian corridor along both banks of Pennypack Creek south of the Papermill Trail; canopy trees are mostly intact but the understory has been overwhelmed by porcelainberry. The western bank, which has been heavily invaded by multiflora rose in addition to porcelainberry, is accessible from the Creek Road Trail but moist soils and deposits of flood-borne debris effectively restrict access to the interior by wheeled stewardship machinery. The eastern bank is inaccessible to wheeled stewardship equipment because it is confined between Pennypack Creek and the Newtown Railroad corridor. Threats: continuing contagion from porcelainberry; inability to control invasives or restore forest because of limited access.

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Rehabilitation of the Webb Memorial Walk ($75,500) Long, narrow 6.5-acre riparian woodland bordering west bank of Pennypack Creek. Site features several toe-slope seeps, a scenic reach of a perennial Pennypack Creek tributary, a restored colonial springhouse, and many specimen plantings and naturalized spring bulb displays persisting from the site’s historic use as a formal landscaped garden. Threats: aggressive spread of invasive, non-native species; mountain bike use; indecision on the part of the Trust on how to manage or restore the site; streambank erosion; repeated trail damage from flooding. Rehabilitation of Crossroads Marsh ($40,000) 2-acre site containing two marshes created in 1976 by diking toe-slope springs. The uppermost marsh, the smaller and shallower of the two, has naturally developed into a highly desirable sedge wetland protected from human intrusion by a fringing growth of multiflora rose. The lower marsh, uniformly 15 inches deep, is covered by a dense growth of spatterdock during the growing season. During severe droughts, this marsh nearly dries out completely. The topography of the lower marsh needs to be restructured to diversify the wetland habitat and to create refugia for aquatic fauna during droughts. Capital projects at the Home Farm ($123,000) Capital projects at the Trust’s maintenance complex on Paper Mill Road include: Residence (installation of basement floor and sump, repointed exterior wall - $18,520); Shed (new metal roof, siding removal, new doors and floors- $30,923); “Henhouse” (new metal roof, new siding, new doors & windows, repointed masonry - $18,642); Springhouse (new metal roof, new window, gable repairs - $5,410); “Pigshed” (new metal roof and gutters, gable repairs - $9,206); Maintenance barn (new metal roof, new door track - $38,140); and Electrical (miscellaneous throughout all structures $1,760).

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TOP >> Streambank restoration BOTTOM >> Replanting open areas cleared of invasive exotics with native canopy trees

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Signature Projects REHABILITATION OF CROSSROADS MARSH

TOP >> Before : by 1990 the Marsh was completely overgrown with almost no open water MIDDLE >> After : proposed Marsh restoration

BOTTOM L to R >> Wetland birds presently found on the Preserve

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RESTORATION OF PAPERMILL ROAD WOODS CLOCKWISE from TOP LEFT >> Before : Papermill Road Woods showing a highly disturbed forest where the typical forest layers are absent and the remaining plants are covered by invasive exotic vegetation / Birds characteristic of healthy forest interiors / Proposed restoration of Papermill Road Woods showing all five layers of a healthy forest, from tree canopy to a rich herbaceous ground layer

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education

While restoration is the future central focus of the institution, research and education that explores and communicates restoration approaches, materials and techniques, are intertwined with this focus and cannot be considered separately. The Preserve’s large size, contiguous nature and significant ecological diversity–from mature upland forest to swamps and wet meadows–provides unique opportunities to undertake ecological restoration projects in a great diversity of native plant communities and at many different scales. It is this variety of natural lands that also positions the Trust to become a significant site for public education programs—both interpretive and experiential. The strategic goals currently articulate only a need for better public contact and increased accessibility of the Preserve to a diverse audience. However, during the planning process, the Board also identified a strong commitment to public education. Educational programs are important for the future of the Trust not only to help create an ecologically literate citizenship, but also to ensure continued public support and funding for the institution. Private funding sources and foundations are now concerned with the relevancy of the institution to the community, which is communicated to the public and is vital to the foundations’ missions when considering funding requests. As county and state sources diminish, Trust members and the public will become increasingly important funding sources.

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EDUCATION PROGRAMS Currently the only education programs at the Trust are volunteer restoration activities and classes conducted by or for regional colleges/ universities. A future educational program at the Trust should: • Focus on local and regional environmental issues, continuing to be an influential presence in regional initiatives. Eventually the Trust could serve as a “community clearinghouse” for regional environmental information. • Develop an Educational Program that will create awareness and inform government agency staff and decision makers at every level, as well as land management professionals and landowners, about the latest and best land and water resource management techniques. • Develop partnerships with educational institutions — primary and secondary school teacher training, and technical and professional education. • Initiate restoration conference opportunities. • Develop and conduct Environmental Leadership Educational Programs and Workshops • Maximize the potential of the site to heighten public awareness. • Demonstrate restoration techniques for a wide variety of landscape types and degrees of degradation. • Provide information and management techniques for the entire gamut of present-day ecological impacts, from the removal of natural processes, such as fire, to the addition of new and aggressive plant and animal species to the eco-system. • Develop and endow a Docent Program to enlist trained volunteers to conduct public education programs. • Recruit staff to develop, conduct and coordinate public education and outreach programs and manage volunteers on-site.

FACING PAGE >> Meadow management by controlled fire at the Pennypack Preserve L TO R >> Erosion Repair / Volunteers learn to use a “weed-wrench” / Students study soils in Central Park

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FACING PAGE >> Signage at Central Park TOP L to R >> Exhibit signage at Tyler Arboretum BOTTOM >> Signage for the Wissahickon Valley Park

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5

new facilities

Existing Facilities The Trust’s existing facilities are found on two different parts of the property. Administration, visitor contact and education are concentrated at the headquarters on a former estate located off Edge Hill Road; maintenance activities are located in a wooden barn on Raytharn Farm. The Edge Hill headquarters are in former estate buildings that have been refurbished to accommodate the Trust’s administrative and visitor needs. The headquarters also serves as the main entrance to the Preserve and includes administrative offices located in the caretaker’s cottage, a combined visitor center / shop / meeting room in a converted stone and wood barn, and the Executive Director’s residence in the estate house. Since occupying the headquarter’s larger property in 1972, the Trust has added a bird blind, wooden observation deck overlooking a farm pond, two greenhouses and a native plant propagation area.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT >> Existing Visitor Center / Entrance to existing Visitor Center / Existing picnic area / Office viewed from Visitor Center area

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The Raytharn Farm maintenance complex is in a 2-story wooden barn. Recently, three large equipment bays were added to the north side. The complex also contains three stone and wood outbuildings of varying sizes used for equipment storage. In addition, the Preserve Manager lives in a stone colonial farmhouse and there is a small springhouse near the building. In addition to these principal facilities, the Trust owns and maintains a second stone colonial farmhouse. The Groundskeeper presently lives in this house at the southern end of Raytharn Farm on Creek Road. The presence of the Groundskeeper, the Land Manager, and the Executive Director helps to provide security for the Preserve. At present the administrative facilities are cramped, function poorly and are largely run-down and unattractive. They would not provide adequate offices for additional staff. The Visitor Center is an indifferent room that houses three different functions poorly. There is no adequate welcome and orientation for visitors, no exhibit on or of Preserve activities, and no appropriate meeting room for board or community. The place has a musty air of the 1950s and is confusing, difficult to use and does not reflect the Trust’s mission and accomplishments. The greenhouses and nursery have recently been refurbished and are now far more inviting and functional.

SUMMARY OF EXISTING FACILITIES: Headquarters (Edge Hill Road) Visitor Center (barn) Office (caretaker’s cottage) Executive Director’s Residence Greenhouses (2)

3,500 2,200 2,400 2,000

ft. 2 ft. 2 ft. 2 ft. 2

Maintenance Complex (Raytharn Farm) Barn 4,500 ft. 2 Storage 500 ft. 2 Storage 1,300 ft. 2 Storage 850 ft. 2 Springhouse 300 ft. 2 Land Manager’s Residence 3,200 ft. 2 Groundskeeper’s Residence (Creek Road) Residence 1,700 ft. 2

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Proposed Site and Building Program Perhaps the most difficult and engaging problem for the Master Plan has been the location of a new visitor center. Many sites were reviewed, and in creating this plan, six alternatives were fully explored. Site criteria included proximity to Pennypack Creek; easy access from a nearby road; and ample flat, open land for parking, outdoor exhibits / restoration gardens, and events. Choices range from a high profile presence and a campus-like facility that will improve public awareness of the Trust to a modest facility that is more welcoming to the public. Whatever ultimate decision is made about the size and character of a new facility, it is recommended that the Trust acquire approximately 28 acres from the Lord’s New Church for this new facility. This site meets all of the stated criteria and would also complete a large gap in protected land on the northwest side of the Pennypack Creek. The site is at a considerable distance from the Church’s facilities and would not intrude visually or in any other way. At present, this piece of land has been leased to the Bryn Athyn Borough sewer authority and is the site of a spray irrigation site and two treatment ponds. The sewer authority will terminate this lease shortly. Acquisition of this site would also provide the Trust with an opportunity to restore a disturbed and degraded landscape. The transformation of the two treatment ponds into a more natural, better functioning and more beautiful landscape will provide wetland exhibits that demonstrate both restoration techniques and Best Management Practices for stormwater management. The facility should be a transition between forest and field, approached from the open meadow. The building should be modular and be able to be constructed over time to form a complex of buildings whose size and function can respond to the Trust’s needs as they are understood over time. Every part of this building complex and the landscape should be considered an exhibit of the mission of the Trust. Parking should be divided into three levels of impact — paved parking, parking on gravel, and overflow parking on mown meadow which can accommodate nearly unlimited event parking for seminars and symposia. Paved parking should be porous paving built over a recharge bed to capture water in the uplands where it falls and return it to groundwater. The majority of the roofs should be “green roofs,” which can capture 70% of the rainwater. Stormwater runoff from the surrounding hillside can be directed into planted swales that will diminish pollutants and sediment entering the Pennypack Creek.

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Recommended site acquisition of Lordâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s New Church Property Current land holdings

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© PENNYPACK ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION TRUST | 2005


274 pennypack report