Salisbury Township is a wealth of natural resources and is critical to the area's water supply, the township’s Environmental Advisory Council told commissioners at their Sept. 8 meeting.
The committee worked for two years to compile a natural resources inventory of the township. Presenting it to the board, EAC member Glenn Miller said the inventory “gives you an idea of what beauty we have here in Salisbury.”
His PowerPoint presentation was illustrated by photographs taken by of the Emmaus, which contributed information to the inventory.
More than beauty, “Salisbury Township contains some of the most precious and unique resources in the Lehigh and Northampton county areas, including water features on ,” said Rebecca Kennedy, watershed specialist with the Lehigh County Conservation District who also helped prepare the report.
In addition to many species of wildlife and many acres of woodlands, unique resources include the headwaters of Trout Creek, watersheds of the Lehigh and the Little Lehigh rivers, numerous vernal (springtime) pools and seeps on South Mountain that are crucial to the survival of salamanders, toads, frogs and other amphibians.
Studies such as this are very important for protecting resources, said Kennedy, because “it’s very difficult to protect those that are not defined or located.” Vernal pools on South Mountain are often at risk to off-road vehicles that disrupt muddy areas and damage natural habitats.
The inventory also identified several invasive species of plants threatening to crowd out natives and upset ecosystems, but Salisbury could still win some battles, said Kennedy. “The township has an opportunity to do visible projects to restore biological integrity and diversity.”
Additionally, “there are a lot of park areas that could be naturalized and used for environmental education,” she added. These areas would need less maintenance, and people would enjoy being closer to nature.
Commissioners will receive individual copies of the Natural Resources Inventory for review before they vote to accept it at an upcoming meeting.
Established by Pennsylvania law, environmental advisory councils work with elected officials on matters dealing with protection, conservation, management, promotion, and use of natural resources. Natural resources inventories can serve as blueprints for community environmental programs, or when municipalities consider land purchases.