About Us - Our History
Independence Conservancy is the first and only land trust based in Beaver County, PA. We are an all-volunteer organization headquartered in Industry, PA, and are active throughout the Raccoon Creek Region. Independence Conservancy is not a unit of state, local or county government. We are a 501c3 non-profit supported 100% by public donations, project grants and stewardship programs.
Independence Conservancy was incorporated on July 4, 1999 in Aliquippa PA, as the Independence Marsh Foundation to care for the Independence Marsh mitigation wetlands along Route 151 in Beaver County. As time passed, this purpose became unnecessary and the Foundation expanded its work throughout the greater Raccoon Creek Region.
On January 1, 2007, we changed our corporate name from Independence Marsh Foundation to Independence Conservancy to better reflect our status as a land trust and to recognize our larger role as an independent steward of the Raccoon Creek Region in Beaver, Washington and Allegheny Counties of Western Pennsylvania.
On March 31, 2015, the members of the Raccoon Creek Watershed Association voted to disband the RCWA and join with Independence Conservancy. Independence Conservancy is the official advocate for stewardship of the greater Raccoon Creek Region including Mill Creek, King's Creek and Harmon Creek which flow westward toward the Ohio River.
Here are some highlights of our ongoing work:
- Protect 99 acres of land in three counties, including Rocky Bottom Natural Area on Raccoon Creek Road in Potter Township - the only free public access to lower Raccoon Creek.
- Keep Raccoon Creek flowing clean with two abandoned mine discharge treatment systems removing over 600 tons of iron pollution from the headwaters every year.
- Offer the Community Tire Collection Program providing economical waste tire disposal options to municipalities in four counties - over 41,000 tires and wheels processed since 2004.
- Hold Land Camp, a week-long, rustic camping experience for teens to learn how "Life Depends on Land."
- Helped to draft the Raccoon Creek Region Conservation Plan, a guide for sustainable development in the Region.
- Removed 22,000 fugitive tires and 300 tons of scrap metal from many illegal dump sites throughout the Raccoon Creek Region.
- Restored 1600 feet of eroded Raredon Run with natural stream channel design and native plant buffers.
Independence Conservancy's newest project is bringing the Raccoon Creek Greenway to life. The Greenway begins in Potter Township near the Ohio River, and will eventually unite the entire length of the creek with land and water trails linking natural, historic and cultural attractions. To kick off the Greenway, Independence Conservancy has launched the Rocky Bottom Public Access Project in Potter. Slated for construction in 2016, the project will offer much-needed parking, comfort stations and ready access to Raccoon Creek for people of all abilities.
Although Independence Conservancy has its roots at Independence Marsh, the Conservancy has no offices or operations there. Independence Marsh is owned and operated by the Beaver County Conservation District whose headquarters are located in the Beaver County Conservation District Environmental Center at the wetlands.
Independence Conservancy and the Conservation District are two separate but cooperating entities with different staff and different focuses. The Conservancy and the District cooperate on many projects of environmental and public benefit such as the Raccoon Creek Region Conservation Plan and implementing the Beaver County Greenways & Trails Plan.