NRCS Works with Muncy Historical Society to Enhance Local Parks
By: Ryan Koch, NRCS
The Muncy Historical Society currently owns two properties in the borough of Muncy and Muncy Creek Township. The properties were provided to the Historical Society by landowners as well as benefactors who wanted the properties managed for public use and to uphold their historical and aesthetic values for the local community. The Historical Society had a comprehensive site master plan completed in 2017 which included both forest and wildlife habitat management as part of the plan. Through the master planning process, the Historical Society became aware of USDA’s-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as a potential partner to assist with accomplishing some of their goals, such as managing invasive species and pollinator planting.
The Muncy Historical Society contacted the NRCS Montoursville Office and inquired about possible assistance with the John Brady Heritage Park site. A meeting was held with both local NRCS Staff, and members of the Muncy Historical Society to discuss potential assistance with accomplishing their goals regarding habitat management with the park. Based on the site meeting, the Historical Society applied for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
The CSP application was selected for funding and a contract was awarded to the Captain John Brady Heritage Park for treating invasive species on site and creating pollinator habitat in an open area at the park. The project resulted in more than 2-3 acres of invasive species control on Japanese stilt grass, mile-a-minute, Japanese knotweed, autumn olive, and multiflora rose. The pollinator planting was planned at the required minimum for the enhancement, but the Historical Society exceeded this and planted 1.25 acres of pollinator habitat.
The results of the CSP enhancements at the Captain John Brady Heritage Park addressed degraded plant conditions and created wildlife habitat, all while complimenting and accentuating the natural walking trails and historical value of the park. These positive changes at the park resulted in the Historical Society deciding to reenroll in the CSP Program to complete enhancements at the second park site, Muncy Heritage Park and Nature Trail.
A new CSP contract has been started focusing on invasive species control (degraded plant condition) and establishing pollinator habitat (wildlife habitat) at the new park site. The Historical Society has already completed much of the invasive species control along the nature trail and planted the pollinator habitat on 0.7 acres at the park this spring. When people visit the park, they will be greeted by the pollinator habitat by the parking lot as they enter the site.
These projects highlight the partnerships formed within NRCS and the local community working together to accomplish the goals and objectives of the landowner. The projects are fulfilling visions created as part of a community’s comprehensive master plan while utilizing the conservation planning efforts and financial assistance that NRCS can provide. The partnership was able to address resource concerns by getting conservation on the ground while preserving historical significance and enhancing natural beauty all at the same time.