Oley Hills

 

Oley Hills
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Oley Hills
Project Oley Hills
Project Location Berks County
Type of Project

Easement and land acquisition

Total Project Cost

$8,800,000

Funds Needed

$4,400,000

Project Sponsors

Berks County Conservancy

Size

2200 acre focus (27,144 acres overall)

Final Ownership

Easements held by Berks County Conservancy

Final Ownership

Easements held by Berks County Conservancy

Project Overview

Widely recognized in federal, state, and county conservation plans, Oley Hills has been designated a Critical Treasure by the Highlands Coalition. Its large acreages of undisturbed forests and pristine watersheds make it an important ecological hub in the region. Conservation partners including the state of Pennsylvania, private foundations, and conservation organizations have set an objective of saving 2200 acres of this priority landscape.

Project Benefits

Conservation lands in the Oley Hills will protect the area's exceptional water resources and maintain the mature forests which are essential for ecological carbon sequestration. The Oley Hills serve as home to six pristine watersheds that have received state-wide recognition as 'Exceptional Value', the highest water quality designation awareded in Pennsylvania. The protection of these six watersheds represents 46% of exceptional value watersheds in the entire Schuylkill River watershed. We attribute this pristine water quality to the fact that this land is undeveloped, and it is a goal to maintain this status by permanently protecting the land with conservation easements, municipal outreach and best management practices for land and water.

Conservation efforts here will both benefit threatened species as well as provide public benefits in the protection of public water supplies, augmenting existing preserved lands, and protecting the local quality of life.