The LVPC maintains a Natural Resources Plan
for the Lehigh Valley as a component of the Comprehensive Plan the Lehigh Valley...2030.
The Natural Resources Plan is the initial building block of the Comprehensive Plan in that it identifies important natural resources throughout the Valley that are to be preserved as the first priority with the identification of lands for development as the second priority. Components of the Natural Resources Plan include flood plains, wetlands, steep slopes, water quality, river resources, natural heritage inventory areas and woodlands. Natural resource features may be present individually, such as an isolated patch of woods, but often occur together, such as a wooded, steep slope within a natural heritage inventory area. The Natural Resources Plan identifies lands as Very High, High and Medium Conservation Priority and contains goals, policies and implementation strategies to protect these important landscape features.
The natural heritage inventory is a critical component of the Natural Resources Plan. This is a scientific inventory of unique plant and animal communities and geologic features throughout the Valley compiled by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. Exceptional natural features identified in the survey are Blue Mountain – the most extensive area of natural habitat in the two counties – and the Delaware River and its adjacent forested woodlands. Both features are major corridors for the movement of wildlife in eastern Pennsylvania as well as habitat for an extensive array of resident and migratory birds and aquatic animals and plant species. A large cluster of natural features exists in Upper Mt. Bethel Township, Northampton County including the Mt. Bethel fens, Bear Swamp, Minsi Lake vernal pools, Lowman swamp and wetlands, and others. Altogether, 96 sites are present within Lehigh and Northampton counties. The inventory was initially created for the Valley in 1999 with an update in 2005 and is currently in process of being updated. A new version of the inventory will be available in spring 2013 as prepared under contract to the LVPC. The Natural Resources Plan mapping as described above will be updated based on the new natural heritage area mapping.
Lehigh Valley Natural Resources Plan:http://www.lvpc.org/pdf/lv2030/compPlan02.pdf
The Lehigh Valley Greenways Plan: http://www.lvpc.org/UntitledFrameset-7.html
Wildlands Conservancy: http://www.wildlandspa.org/