|Posted by Donna Griff on June 25, 2010 at 6:15 AM|
The below was copied from http://morrisvillesfuture.blogspot.com/
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Grant will help improve riverfront
By: PETER HALL
Bucks County Courier Times
Morrisville will receive a small grant from Bucks County to improve a parcel of riverfront land that local environmentalists say will provide a major benefit for the borough.
The Bucks County Commissioners on Wednesday approved the $15,595 grant through the county's municipal open space program to help towards the eradication of invasive plant species on an 8.7-acre parcel of land at the borough's south end.
The commissioners also approved a $261,558 natural areas grant to purchase development rights on a 48-acre property in Springfield Township.
Debby Colgan, a member of the Morrisville Environmental Advisory Council, said the borough-owned riverfront property has the potential to become a unique outdoor resource for the heavily developed community.
"Morrisville is such a small borough and we don't have that much land to acquire. We're pretty much built out," she said.
The environmental advisory council envisions the property as a place for people to walk by the river, fish and for outdoor education.
"This is going to be a very good spot for school kids. It will be an outdoor classroom," Colgan said.
Colgan said the borough is also exploring the possibility of adding an access point for canoeists and kayakers to put their boats in the river.
But before any of that can happen, the borough must remove thickets of Japanese knotweed, an invasive plant that has taken over the property and made walking trails impassable, Colgan said.
The borough will pay a contractor to spray the plants with herbicide two years in a row and then work with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network to introduce native plant species. Delaware Riverkeeper Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the Delaware River watershed.
The grant provided by Bucks County is 75 percent of the project's cost. Morrisville will provide the other 25 percent, Colgan said.
Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia praised borough officials and the environmental advisory council for their work to obtain the grant.
"I know that they've worked long and hard to get this in front of you," she said. "We don't always get that many from the lower end (of the county), so this is nice."
Open Space coordinator Kristine Kern said the grant for Morrisville was made available through a new element of the municipal open space program that allows townships and boroughs to apply for money to improve open space that they already own.
The improvement program was added to encourage more participation from municipalities in the more densely developed southern end of Bucks County, Kern said.
Springfield Township will receive 50 percent of the cost of a conservation easement for the 48-acre Harhigh property on Richlandtown Pike west of Springtown.
Laura Baird, resource protection specialist at the Heritage Conservancy, said the Harhigh family and Springfield Township worked closely with the Heritage Conservancy to preserve the property. The process took about 10 years, Baird said.
Baird said the family, which has owned the land for more than 50 years, applied to the Bucks County Farmland Preservation Program, but the property was ranked very low because it did not fit many of the program's parameters.
Because the property was identified as an ecologically valuable site, the township persevered in efforts to preserve it and worked with the Heritage Conservancy to find a program that would be a good fit.
The property includes some farmland where crops are grown, mature forest and wetlands.
Baird said the Harhigh property contains the headwaters of Cooks Creek, a stream recognized for its exceptional water quality by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The property also includes habitat for a number sensitive species, Baird said.
The property is close to a number of other preserved properties. Its preservation will create a 320-acre area of preserved land in the federally designated Highlands Corridor.