Protects Key Section of Rapp Creek
February 23, 2016 – New conservation easements have secured the protection of an additional 2/3 of a mile of land along Rapp Creek. Two adjacent properties, one in Nockamixon and the other in Tinicum Township, have been placed under conservation easement. This noteworthy accomplishment was made possible through the generosity of two landowners, Jim Diamond of Nockamixon, and Michael Smith and his wife, Paula Chamlee, of Tinicum Township. The Tinicum Conservancy, worked together with Nockamixon Township, Tinicum Township and the Bucks County Municipal Open Space Program to bring these easements to fruition.
Jim Diamond has a long history of community and environmental activism in Nockamixon. In the 1960’s it was Jim, then Professor of Agriculture at Delaware Valley College, who spurred the investigation into chemical dumping along Rapp Creek by Echo Chemical Company (later known as Revere Chemical). He and his wife were initially shunned by neighbors who feared jobs might be lost, but when Revere Chemical caused 42 neighboring wells to run dry the whole community got onboard. In 1969 Revere Chemical was shut down by the State of Pennsylvania. Largely because of Jim’s efforts, the Creek has now evolved from its once toxic conditions to its current Exceptional Value designation, the highest ranking the state can give to a waterway!
Jim’s 38-acre property is aptly named “Clearwater Dell”. It parallels about 1600 feet along Rapp Creek and was formerly leased for “fracking”, but the lease was extinguished after Arbor Resources abandoned gas development in this area. The new easement was partially donated by Mr. Diamond and more than a decade in the making. It permanently prevents any surface drilling and limits activities that could damage riparian and aquatic habitats or cause pollution to enter the creek.
“It is the legacy that a landowner leaves to future generations,” Jim declared.
The property of Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee borders 2,000 feet along the Tinicum Creek and is adjacent to the Diamond conservation easement. In this mostly forested location Michael and Paula live and carry out the work of their non-profit, Arts of our Times, Inc. Both are highly accomplished artists and photographers. The funding that they have received from Tinicum Conservancy and Tinicum Township represents approximately ½ the value of their conservation easement. This means they are donating the other 50% of the development value of the property.
These two new easements represent another step forward in protecting the watersheds of Tinicum, Rapp, and Beaver Run Creeks and highlight the connectedness of the waterways upon which Tinicum and Nockamixon mutually depend. These newly protected properties become part of 300+ contiguous acres of land permanently preserved by conservation easement including a 48 acre property conserved in 2011 by the Tinicum Conservancy and located upstream from the current projects. May this success story continue for the benefit of all members of this idyllic corner of Bucks County!
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