Brodhead Watershed Association Asks For Community’s Help

On April 25th, the Brodhead Watershed Association (BWA) issued an environmental alert regarding Swiftwater Solar’s request to clear 450 acres of forest outside of Pocono Manor.

This alert was issued as follows:

“Pocono Township, “Swiftwater Solar” is asking for permission to clearcut over 450 acres of pristine forests near Pocono Manor. The developer is seeking approval to then build 15 stormwater detention basins. The basins are designed to fail simultaneously during a very heavy rainstorm. The risk of severe flooding and sedimentation, erosion of stream banks is a known threat to an “Exceptional Value” PA designated stream.

There’s no mitigation proposed to replace the clearcut forest. Most of the animals that live in those forests will die. Porcupines, opossums, foxes, coyotes, deer, turkeys, grouse, rabbits, and countless songbirds will lose habitat and perish. Black bears and their cubs frequent this to-be-destroyed forest as a key ecological corridor/connection between state game lands and Big Pocono State Park.

This project is financial speculation for the developer and would result in few local benefits (few jobs, low local tax revenue). The developer has no requirement as it stands now to reclaim the land once the use is removed.”

The Swiftwater Solar company is still awaiting approval to clear the 450 acres. In response, the Conservation Voters of PA and the BWA have set forward an initiative to petition against the company receiving this approval. The Conservation Voters and the BWA is asking the public to make their voices heard and submit letters that they have pre-drafted to the governing body that will make the decision (these letters are encouraged to be personalized from their draft).

Their statement is as follows:

“A project proposed in Pocono Township would be devastating to our Pocono forests, wildlife habitat, and significantly jeopardize the water quality of the Swiftwater and Pocono Creeks.

The project that’s proposed would build a massive solar installation. BWA and Conservation Voters of PA fully support clean, renewable energy, but not at the expense of our forests, wildlife, and creeks — natural resources that make the Poconos so special and bring in millions from ecotourists, kayakers, hunters, and hikers.  

Over 450 acres of pristine upland forests at the top of Bear Mountain near Pocono Manor would be clear cut. There’s no plan to replace the lost habitat. Nor would this forest easily re-grow if the solar panels were to be removed. Clearcutting such a massive area would have a ripple effect on all nearby ecosystems and permanently alter the scenic view from Camelback Mountain and Big Pocono State Park. The costs of the project don’t even come close to outweighing the possible benefits to our community.

It’s not too late to stop this project. We need to make sure residents attend Poconos Township Commissioners’ meetings and voice their opinions. Please send a message — we’ve drafted one for you, and strongly encourage you to personalize it.”

To view this statement and submit a letter against the Swiftwater Solar construction, go here:

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