Working Lands

July 3, 2017

Upper Watershed Working Lands Priority: Effects of Marcellus Shale and point source pollution are understood by residents and mitigated appropriately.

Efforts to mitigate the effects of point source pollution are currently poorly understood by residents, who lack trust in current water quality and the sources of information about water quality.

  • Improve access to and interpretation of water quality data to the public. Expand data collection to include emerging containments.
  • Work with entities trusted by local communities to deliver water quality messaging, especially related to Marcellus Shale development.
  • Establish a method to effectively deliver water quality information to the public. Survey results indicate that residents believe the river is getting sicker, but this is also the least trusting region.


Middle Watershed Working Lands Priority: Efforts to carry out extractive and consumptive land and water uses sustainably are supported.

This region is rich in natural resources, including natural gas, timber, and agricultural production, which through careful and thoughtful planning can be sustainably extracted.

  • Promote flexible opportunities for landowners to fund best management practices (BMPs). For example, the DCNR’s income-producing buffer option in their Riparian Forest Grant Program addresses farmers’ concerns about taking farmland out of production while still achieving environmental benefits.
  • Use new models to identify and prioritize sites where BMPs could achieve the greatest reductions in nutrient and sediment loads.
  • Measure riparian forest buffer coverage and set restoration goals for different segments of working lands.
  • Encourage the meaningful participation of working lands industries in efforts aimed at land, water, and wildlife stewardship.
  • Support and highlight successes in working lands management to encourage landowners to be ambassadors for environmental stewardship.
  • Establish long-term protection of sites where substantial investments in remediation and restoration has occurred, including abandoned mine reclamation lands and riparian buffer restoration sites.


Lower Watershed Working Lands Priority: Activities related to utilities are integrated into long-term planning.

Utilities are major landowners in this region—providing drinking water, transporting natural gas, and delivering hydroelectric power to millions of people along the eastern seaboard.

  • Integrate the creation and management of public access sites and trails into plans for utility land management. For example, establish safe, well-maintained portages around hydroelectric dams.
  • Prioritize fish and eel passage in dam relicensing efforts.
  • Overcome barriers to partnership with traditional farming communities including Amish and Mennonite.