On Oct. 20, 2013, employees from Gannett Fleming’s State College, Pa., office and their families began volunteering their time to restore land near Little Fishing Creek for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), in coordination with the ClearWater Conservancy.
Similar to the Adopt-a-Highway program, the ClearWater Conservancy has developed an “Adopt-a-Farm” program, allowing organizations like Gannett Fleming to focus on conserving and maintaining a riparian buffer on a single farm for an extended time.
A riparian buffer is land adjacent to a stream that has been fenced off from livestock and planted with hardwood trees and shrubs to stabilize banks and filter runoff. State College employees perform work needed to restore these areas to a natural setting. The result should be improved water quality for Little Fishing Creek in the Hublersburg, Pa., area, which feeds into the Susquehanna River and ultimately to the Chesapeake Bay.
CREP is an offshoot of the U.S.’s largest private land conservation program and targets high-priority conservation issues identified by local or state governments and organizations. In exchange for removing environmentally sensitive land from production and introducing conservation practices, farmers, ranchers, and land owners are paid annually for their voluntary participation in the program.
David B. Gilbert, GISP, a GeoDecisions senior project manager, launched and spearheaded the effort. He, his coworkers, and their families plan to work on the buffer at least two to three times a year.