The 2016 Conservation Award winner is the Somerset County Conservancy.
The conservancy’s mission includes preserving areas of natural and historical significance, as well as remediating damaged habitats.
The organization has worked on five acid mine drainage treatment projects that are currently removing hundreds of tons of waste from aquatic systems, resulting in restoration of the fishery and improved bird habitat. These systems have positively impacted water courses far beyond the county, including the Monongahela River.
At the Kimberly Run Natural Area, the conservancy preserved and maintains a wide array of habitats that include grasslands, hemlock forest, a bog, and other wetlands.
The Conservancy’s Somerset Lake Action Committee was formed to increase public awareness of the importance of the lake, not only to migrating birds but to the residents of Somerset and beyond.
The committee expended great effort to save the lake by obtaining funds to repair the dam. Somerset Lake attracts numerous waterfowl and shorebirds during migration. The lake is now part of a county park due to the efforts of this committee.
To learn more about the conservancy, their numerous projects, membership and to read their newsletters, visit their website at www.somersetconservancy.org.