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Kittatinny Ridge Coalition Engages Communities and Landowners

Protection of Kittatinny Ridge is critical for migrant raptors and species of conservation concern; Picture by Ginny Kreitler, Audubon
The Kittatinny Ridge is a major raptor migration corridor and home to a host of spectacular Hawkwatch Sites, including the world-renowned Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. As one of the largest remaining forested areas of southeastern Pennsylvania, protection of the Ridge is critical not only for migrant raptors, but for interior-forest and early-successional habitat nesting species, including many species of conservation concern.

In 2012, Audubon and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) emphasized outreach to private landowners in this area and approached those who owned land identified as priority protection targets. Working with local land trusts, Audubon helped enroll landowners in a voluntary registry program that recognizes their importance to the Kittatinny Ridge landscape and asks that they contact their local land trust if they are ever contemplating selling or conserving the property. Audubon Pennsylvania and the ATC are spearheading this effort through the Kittatinny Ridge Coalition, a partnership focused on conserving this most southeasterly of Pennsylvania’s ridges running for 185 miles in the Keystone State.

Municipalities are also engaged in the Kittatinny Coalition’s efforts, often through Environmental Advisory Councils, ordinance reviews, and related meetings. The Coalition created a fact sheet offering communication tower guidelines and was distributed to all municipalities in the IBA. The Kittatinny Coalition also supported science initiatives through a one-day summit that brought together researchers and practitioners from a variety of fields to discuss current science and identify areas of future collaboration. Finally, Audubon and the ATC released the second State of the Kittatinny Ridge report, which details many of the key metrics that can be used to assess the health of the Ridge and highlights conservation success stories. The report and information on many of the efforts noted above are available at: www.kittatinnyridge.org.