SaveGreenPond.org - in a nutshell.
There exists a small wetland in Bethlehem Township, PA, that is a very special place. This area, called Green Pond Marsh, is an Audubon Society IBA (Important Bird Area) where over 180 species of birds have been sighted.
There are many cornfields that can be developed in the Lehigh Valley, but the developer has chosen this 108-acre cornfield that contains Green Pond Marsh, to build more than 220 homes. The Green Pond Marsh could be preserved if the developer simply did not touch or impact the Marsh area (about 20 acres). But that amount of untouched land has been rejected by the owner (Green Pond Country Club) and by the developer (Traditions of America). Their plan guarantees them a huge profit. But the price for this will be sacrificing the viable Green Pond Marsh mini ecosystem, that most of the 180 species of birds presently rely on, and ruining a unique treasure in the Lehigh Valley.
The five Bethlehem Township commissioners will, at some point, be voting on whether or not to approve this project. Three of the five commissioners appear not to have an understanding of the value of any aspects of the natural world. They seem determined to have this development, even at the cost of ruining a treasure in their own backyard.
Close, But No Cigar - March 8, 2016
The discussion about Green Pond Marsh has come a long way since mid-2014 when TOA first introduced their development plan to the public. Those were the days when TOA told everyone, untruthfully, that The Audubon Society, Hawk Mountain, and Ducks Unlimited supported their project (which would have destroyed Green Pond Marsh). Yes, those were the days when TOA claimed that only 1/3 of an acre of wetland existed in Green Pond Marsh, contrary to common sense as well as factual data.
The Army Corps of Engineers, after much badgering from SaveGreenPond, finally upped the wetland figure from 1/3 of an acre to 4.77 acres. SaveGreenPond accepted this figure, although in fact there is actually a little over 8 acres of wetland there! SaveGreenPond decided not to waste time, energy and money to argue anymore with that bureaucracy.
TOA's current report on the Green Pond Marsh area is much improved from their initial analysis (when TOA was insisting that Green Pond Marsh consisted of only 1/3 of an acre of wetland). But in terms of properly protecting the Marsh their current sketch plan falls short. Their current plan has detention areas in what is in fact part of the actual wetland! This area, where the wetland will be displaced/destroyed by detention areas, is what TOA is calling "open space"!
To properly protect the Marsh, the area on their current plans where their detention ponds are located should be left untouched, as a buffer; the detention ponds should be removed from the current detention pond area. The detention ponds should then be located OUTSIDE of that buffer area. That way, they would be PROPERLY protecting the Marsh and the habitat that over 180 species of birds rely on.
Green Pond Marsh is still under threat...
"I want to make it clear that the National Audubon Society is not in favor of the proposed development, or any development at this site. Any development will diminish the wetland system that supports the many birds, and the proposed development by Traditions of America will probably result in the area supporting only a fraction of the birds that have been there annually, thus destroying the site as an IBA (Important Bird Area)."
-- Paul Zeph, Director of Conservation at Audubon
Pennsylvania, August 14, 2014
Click here to download the 10 page PDF of the "Likely Hydrologic Impacts on Green Pond Wetland” report.
Click here to download the 66 page PDF of the "Green Pond Marsh wetlands report".
Click here to download a PDF of "Audubon Pennsylvania IBA Site Information for Green Pond Marsh".
Click here to read brief descriptions of Bethlehem Township meetings on this issue.
Click here if you would like to be notified of the next important township meeting.
We will also post the information here when we know of the next important meeting.
Click here to view our Facebook page.
Click here to sign the petition.
The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.
- Theodore Roosevelt, 1910
Green Pond Marsh is one of the best areas for wetland birds in the Lehigh Valley and perhaps, eastern Pennsylvania. This area has been attracting unusual birds since the 1970’s and continues to do so. There is virtually no place of its kind in the Lehigh Valley. Over the years, the fields at Green Pond have attracted over 160 species of birds and at least 20 different species of shorebirds. READ MORE...
The Threats to the Birds of Green Pond Marsh
Bethlehem Township, PA
Threat 1: The Green Pond Country Club owns the Green Pond Marsh. The principal land conservation organization in the area is extremely interested in preserving the Green Pond Marsh and has met with and sent a letter to Green Pond Country Club (in June of 2012) expressing their interest in purchasing the parcel for conservation purposes.
The response from the Green Pond Country Club was that they "appreciate the Conservancy's interest in the 68 acres", but they "are proceeding with the developer."
"Today (summer 2014), a consortium of environmental conservation organizations is extremely interested in
purchasing the Green Pond Marsh area for preservation purposes."
Threat 2: In the Fall of 2011 the road between Green Pond and the Green Pond Marsh was resurfaced and the road was raised enough to block the water from flowing across the road from the Pond overflow into the Marsh area during most high water events. This appeared to be good for drivers using the road, but unfortunately, it stopped water from reaching this extremely unique wet area. The raised road acts like a dam to contain the water on the “Pond” side of the road, so that now when the water overflows the road, there is much more water on the road creating hazardous driving conditions.
On January 31, 2013, for the first time since the Fall of 2011, the Pond water flowed over the raised road (see video below) and entered the Green Pond Marsh area. Thanks to heavy rains the previous night, the Marsh, which had been dry for over a year, finally was replenished with water. Unfortunately, because of the raised road, there is much more water on the road in places next to the pond where it DIDN’T occur before PennDOT raised the road level. So the driving conditions are now more dangerous for vehicles (and drivers) than it was before the road was raised. The solution to both of these problems - getting water to the former Marsh and fixing dangerous driving conditions on the road during high water events - is for PennDOT to put a drainage pipe under the road to reconnect the Pond overflow back into the Marsh area.
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