Around 70 Great Blue Heron nest in pairs in the rookery on Chartiers Creek near Bavington. Great Blue Heron Rookeries

Two Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) rookeries exist in the watershed's riparian forest buffer and wetland habitats.  They can be accessed via the Chartiers Creek "blueway"  

These rookeries were noted by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in their file search for "species of special concern" because great blue herons are colonial nesters and land development of their nesting habitat could have a major impact on their population in the Chartiers Creek watershed. Two routes of the proposed Southern Beltway would directly impact one of the rookeries. The PA Game Commission, Turnpike Commission, local conservation organizations and municipal officials must continue working together to protect the habitats of the two Great Blue Heron rookeries.


A portion of Robinson Run with a healthy riparian forest buffer corridor

Riparian Buffers Wetlands & Forest

Riparian forest buffers and wetland habitats are very important to all watersheds. These habitats form transitional areas, or ecotones, between land and stream. As such, they have direct interaction between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. 

Riparian zones act as transportation corridors, maintain biodiversity by creating wildlife and fish habitats, are high production sources of timber and food, and recreational areas for humans. 

Wetlands trap sediments, nutrients and pesticides. They regulate flood and storm events. 

Riparian buffers and wetlands moderate environmental conditions for wildlife, fish and humans. These areas help regulate stream temperatures. They create habitat and microhabitat for insects, wildlife and fish by adding large, woody debris to streams.  Sediments, nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen), and pesticides are deposited here. This is where energy from floodwaters dissipate.  Streamside vegetation controls erosion and sedimentation, stabilizing streambanks to lessen flood damage. 

Forest systems in the Chartiers Watershed are very important habitats as well. Forest is still the dominant landcover type. Forest habitat maintains a healthy environment by adding barriers to urban and agricultural pollutants that runoff the land into adjacent streams. By improving and connecting these riparian and upland forest systems, the aesthetics of the watershed improve and so will the environmental health of the watershed's land, stream, and biological resources.

An inventory and management plan for the restoration and protection of riparian zones, wetlands, forest, and floodplains in the Chartiers Creek watershed is vital to preserving these resources.