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Stewardship in Action

Watershed Stewardship: Healing and Protecting Our Waterways, Wetlands and Green Spaces

Independence Conservancy is a watershed-based, all-volunteer group of environmental enthusiasts who share a vision of clean water, beautiful vistas and special places in the Raccoon Creek Watershed preserved forever.

We are a leader in environmental restoration initiatives in the Raccoon Creek and nearby watersheds, a well-respected and effective partner in conservation planning, volunteer cleanups, outdoor education and abandoned mine reclamation. In 2014, the members of the Raccoon Creek Watershed Association joined with Independence Conservancy. The Conservancy is the official watershed representative of the Raccoon Creek Region.  

Independence Conservancy works for clean water by owning, operating and maintaining two abandoned mine discharge treatment systems - Solar Mine in Findlay Township, and JB2 in Smith Township. These and three other treatment systems treat 2.5 billion gallons of mine pollution yearly, removing over 600 tons of iron from the headwaters of Raccoon Creek.

Our most recently completed stewardship project is the Raccoon Creek Region Conservation Plan (RCRCP), a cooperative effort with the Washington County Conservation District, Stream Restoration Inc., and the Raccoon Creek Watershed Association (which joined Independence Conservancy en masse in 2014). Funded by an $89,900 Growing Greener grant to the Washington County Conservation District, the RCRCP sought public input to develop a vision for the future of the watershed region. The finished product is a one-stop-shop reference of the natural, cultural, historic and recreational features of the Raccoon Creek Region. 

In 2011, Independence Conservancy completed the Raredon Run Stream Restoration in Independence Township, Beaver County. This $330,000 Growing Greener project was a design-build effort by Wallace & Pancher, Inc. of Hermitage, PA. Natural stream channel stabilization techniques were used to restore 1600 feet of Raredon Run which had been severely damaged by hurricanes in 2004.

Independence Conservancy has partnered with many organizations to clean up tons of illegally dumped trash and thousands of tires from the Raccoon Creek Region.

What is a Watershed?

A watershed is the region or area drained by a river or a stream. Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. They cross county, state, and national boundaries. No matter where you are, you're in a watershed! Watersheds contain our homes, farms, factories, schools, roads, forests—all manmade and natural features, including wetlands.

What is a Wetland?

A wetland is an area that is regularly saturated by surface water or ground water. Its prevalent vegetation is adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.

The Wonders of Wetlands

Wetlands are cradles of life! They provide a wealth of values to society and play key roles in our environment, but are vanishing at an alarming rate. Read more from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. (hotlink)

Where is the Raccoon Creek Watershed?

The Raccoon Creek Watershed is in southwestern Pennsylvania, northwest of Pittsburgh near the West Virginia state line.

It is designated 20D in the State Water Plan.

Its headwaters begin in Allegheny and Washington Counties. From there it flows north to join the Ohio River just upstream from Montgomery Lock & Dam near Industry.