Environmental Advisory Council
Land ~ Preservation of Open Space & Natural Resources
Land ~ Preservation of Open Space & Natural Resources
The November 2016 election  included a referendum question on the ballot asking to continue the 1/4% EIT that is dedicated to our township's open space fund. Residents of the township voted to approve this. This is the third time the open space referendum has passed which shows that township residents value the rural characteristics of our area and want to see our natural resources preserved.

Over 700 acres have been permanently preserved so far allowing us to help maintain the rural characteristics of the township that we enjoy living in.

In addition to enabling the preservation efforts to continue, the referendum allows for newly colleced open space funds to be used to enhance and maintain existing preserved land and to eliminate the debt incurred when the land for Polk Valley Park was purchased. This will save residents approximately $200,000 in interest.
A great deal of time & planning goes into the Conservation of our Natural Resources

As the population of Lower Saucon Township grows, preservation of open space will become a more important priority. However, open space preservation can only be successful if it is understood and embraced by the community as a whole. The Township already contains numerous open spaces, and the vast areas of agricultural lands and
natural resources provide ample opportunity for further open space preservation.

Natural Resources Inventory

Before the township even began its open space planning and land conservation efforts, a Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) was completed in April, 2000. This was prepared under the expertise of Dr. Ann Rhoads and Dr. Timothy Block from the Morris Aboretum along with the assitance of Reichard's Herpetological Services, surveying reptiles and amphibians and and Robert Criswell who survey fishes.

Among otherthings, the NRI gave us information on the quantity and quality of the natural resources including:


  • Species of special concern
  • Large forested areas
  • Riparian corridors
  • Water sources
  • Limestone wetlands
  • Vernal ponds with adjacent forested habitat


Steep slopes need special protection
Open Space Plan

There are many documents that guide the planning and development of the township. Many of them include some aspect of open space, but none that specifically had the goal of preserving open space. Therefore in 2007, an Open Space Action Plan was created. Goals, methods and procedures have now been suggested in order to help the Township make informed decisions regarding future open space preservation.

The goals of the plan are:

1. Preserving, protecting or conserving open space, natural areas, historically important areas, agricultural lands and other culturally important areas;
2. Providing passive and active recreation areas where they are needed;
3. Restoring or rehabilitating brownfields and other underused properties to their highest potential in the best interest of the community;
4. Protecting and rehabilitating properties which directly affect groundwater or other resources which may have a direct effect on the health, safety and welfare of the community;
5. Protecting lands which are in previously identified environmentally sensitive areas such as the Floodplain or Carbonate Geology Overlay Districts;
6. Creating links to and from neighboring communities such as Hellertown Borough, the City of Bethlehem, Upper Saucon
Township and others;
7. Creating links to and from natural areas and cultural or recreational sites;
8. Creating links which connect portions of the Township across Route 78;
9. Supporting land use and planning goals for the Township and the region as described in the Lehigh Valley Comprehensive Plan;
10. Protecting the overall character and aesthetic qualities of the Township.


Spotted Salamander (Left) and  the Box Turtle (below) are some of the local critters that need their habitat preserved.

Woodland Hills
Preserve

The Township has opened the Woodland Hills Preserve property to the public. The 148-acre former golf course property was acquired by the Township in 2014 with the assistance of state, county and Township open space funding.

Access to the site is off of Countryside Lane where a parking lot with a portable toilet, trash receptacle and trail signage are available. Two grass trails have been mowed through the preserve allowing visitors to hike, bird watch, and fish in the several ponds on the property. The Preserve is open from dawn to dusk.

Permitted Activities: Hiking on marked trails, Birdwatching, Fishing in ponds, Cross Country Skiing, Dogs Permitted on Leash
 
Prohibited Activities: No motorized vehicles, no hunting, no Horseback Riding.



A view at the Woodland Hills Preserve
Opossums - Nature's Tick Killers

They may be a bit creepy looking, but opossums are helpful in reducing the tick population, which also translates to less lyme disease. Opossums are also resistant to rabies. Read more.