The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania

Fette Island Slideshow

At 42 acres, Fette Island is one of the largest islands in French Creek, a major tributary of the Allegheny River. It was donated by Mr. and Mrs. John Fette and is the first island in the watershed to be protected by The Nature Conservancy. © PA Spatial Data Access

Created at a meander in French Creek, when a small back-channel grew and forced its way through to a reconnection with the main channel, Fette Island remains relatively inaccessible. Its island character has saved it from habitat-altering agricultural practices. © Todd Sampsell/TNC

Fette Island is a primeval landscape. The floodplain forest, lorded over by towering silver maples and sycamores, acts as a natural filter for runoff and sediment, and helps maintain high water quality. © Todd Sampsell/TNC

Federally endangered northern riffleshell and clubshell mussels inhabit the riffles at Fette Island, which lies in the Mystic Valley, a particularly biodiverse area of French Creek. Some of the mussels, which provide their river-cleansing benefit as they filter water to feed themselves, are 60- to 70-years-old. © George Gress/TNC

The cool, clear waters of French Creek at Fette Island provide quality habitat for the hellbender, one of the largest species of salamanders. © Greg Lipps

In addition to habitat for rare mussel, fish and amphibian species in the waters surrounding it, Fette Island itself is home to wading and wetland birds, migrating songbirds, amphibians, spring ephemerals and more. © Cheryl Rose

French Creek is the most biologically diverse river in the northeastern United States and contains 28 species of native mussels and 89 species of native fish, including almost all native species present when George Washington followed the river before the French and Indian War. © Todd Sampsell/TNC

French Creek is possibly the only river in the entire Ohio drainage with an historically intact ecosystem. It’s now seen as a conservation refuge for species that eventually could be reintroduced back into other parts of the river system. © Todd Sampsell/TNC

The Conservancy has been active in the Pennsylvania portion of the French Creek watershed since helping to acquire land near Lake Pleasant in 1995. The Central and Western New York chapter began work in its part of the watershed in 1991. © Todd Sampsell/TNC


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