Outdoors Notebook: Easement protects French Creek land

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Nationally recognized as one of the most ecologically significant waterways in the mid-Atlantic region, French Creek starts in New York and flows 177 miles through northwestern Pennsylvania, draining a watershed of 1,250 square miles and emptying into the Allegheny River at Franklin, Venango County.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) recently acquired a 4 1/2-acre parcel containing riffles, runs and islands and known as the Venango Riffle. The land is adjacent to another conservancy-owned property and will create 1,570 feet of contiguous creek frontage.

"The French Creek watershed contains numerous fish species of greatest conservation need in Pennsylvania and 26 freshwater mussel species, including rare federally endangered species, and the eastern hellbender salamander," said Thomas Saunders, president and chief executive officer of the conservancy. "This acquisition continues our long-standing focus on conserving land in the watershed."

Since 1969, WPC has protected from development more than 4,224 acres within the watershed. The group plans to plant native tree species and manage the land as a natural area, open to the public for fishing and other outdoor recreational activities.

Frog watch

Families are invited to an informative workshop on how to recognize and document local frog and toad populations. It's part of FrogWatch USA, a decade-old national citizen science program in which people help to conserve amphibians. Analysis of the data is used to help develop practical strategies for amphibian conservation.

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium staff will hold the program 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday at Jennings Environmental Education Center, 2951 Prospect Road, Slippery Rock, Butler County. The workshop is free, but registration is required by Thursday at frogwatch@pittsburghzoo.org. Jennings can be reached at 724-794-6011.

Eagle watch

Some 500 wildlife watchers are expected near Kinzua Dam in Warren County Feb. 2 for the annual Eagle Watch Day. Visitors gather 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at several observation stations to watch juvenile and adult eagles as well as other wintering birds as they dive and pluck fish from the water. Activities include an audio-visual program on eagle restoration, and a geo-meet with temporary caches set up in the surrounding area.

The free event is sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pennsylvania Game Commission and partners.

Call 814-726-0661 or 814-723-2568 for details.

Fly tying demo

Well-known Pittsburgh fly angler Tony Morasco will demonstrate tying techniques, and a film about fishing a Wyoming stretch of the North Platte River will be screened, 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Upper St. Clair Fly Fishing Club, Upper St. Clair Library Multi-Purpose Room, 1800 McLaughlin Run Road. Call 412-835-6107.



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