|Environment • Unami Watershed|
The Unami Watershed is approximately 9,945 acres (15.8 square mile) of mostly contiguous woodlands that includes the Unami Creek and Ridge Valley Creek watersheds. As stated by the Natural Lands Trust, a local conservation group, this watershed is "one of the largest remaining forested landscapes in southeastern Pennsylvania, supporting a vast, interconnected mosaic of relatively natural habitat, with at least 30 patches of forest-interior habitat (30 acres or greater), a series of uncommon diabase woodlands, and over 24 miles of perennial streams, most of which are well buffered by forest". Distinguished from the gently rolling Brunswick red shale landscape to the north, the Unami has unusually broad forest cover, prominent, diabase ridges and sharply defined valleys. The ecological integrity inherent in this landscape has resulted in an extraordinary combination of unique forest and meadow plant communities, forest-nesting bird species, and high quality streams.
Unami Creek is a tributary to Perkiomen Creek in southeastern Pennsylvania. The stream originates along the border of Bucks and Lehigh Counties northwest of Quakertown and flows in a southerly direction for 15.5 miles to its mouth near Perkiomenville in Montgomery County. The basin drains 48.8 square miles in portions of Bucks, Montgomery, and Lehigh Counties. Townships located in the basin include Milford, West Rockhill, Richland, and Springfield (Bucks County), Marlborough, Salford, and Upper Salford (Montgomery county), and Lower Milford and Upper Saucon (Lehigh County).
The unique combination of ecological factors, and the threat to the Unami Creek Valleys posed by rapidly encroaching suburban development has motivated Natural Lands Trust (NLT) to include this landscape in its list of priority conservation focus areas for southeastern Pennsylvania. The centerpiece of NLT's involvement in the area is its 108-acre Fulshaw Craeg Preserve, which protects a combination of maturing diabase woodland and rare meadow plant communities along the Ridge Valley Creek. To expand its protection efforts in a focused manner, NLT has preparation of this Unami Creek Valleys Landscape Conservation Plan (LCP).
The LCP provides a summary of the key natural features of the Unami Creek Valleys, the landscape ecology that supports local and regional biodiversity, cultural and historic resources, and current and projected land use and land ownership patterns affecting the area. This information has been compiled using NLT's Geographic Information System (GIS) database, field visits, and dialogue with local residents and government officials, and the associated text and series of maps are presented in this report. An assessment of threats and stresses facing the area has also been prepared, with a series of strategies outlined to abate some or all of the threats and/or stresses. Finally, a GIS-based analysis of this information has generated a detailed listing of Landscape Conservation Priorities, including parcel-specific identification of critical areas for short-term conservation and longer-term restoration.