Watershed Land Protection

Dive into a captivating journey through the heart of the Schuylkill Highlands, along the banks and within the tributaries of the majestic Schuylkill River. This curated series of videos highlights the transformative power of collective action and the importance of preserving open spaces in our watershed for a myriad of benefits to wildlife and our communities. Join us on this journey through the Schuylkill Highlands and discover how you can play a pivotal role in safeguarding the natural wonders of the Schuylkill Highlands and beyond.




One of the greatest threats to the Schuylkill River Watershed is the loss of open space. When undeveloped land is converted to hardscapes such as roads, parking lots, and buildings, water quality is impacted by both the introduction of new pollutants and a loss of the watershed's filtering capacity. Natural lands serve as a filter, removing pollutants before they enter waterways. Based on some projections, development is expected to increase by 40% in the Schuylkill River Watershed. The Watershed Land Collaborative Workgroup works with key stakeholders to implement conservation projects on high quality lands. By preserving high quality lands throughout the watershed, the workgroup is protecting water quality.

To learn about the economic benefits of protecting open space in Southeastern Pennsylvania, click here.

Interested in learning how to preserve land? Check out the resources below and connect with a land trust near you:

Chester County Planning Commission "Return on Environment"

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC): Open Space Planning

Montgomery County Open Space Program

Schuylkill County Agricultural Land Preservation Program

Berks Nature "Protect Your Land" Conservation Easements

French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust

Natural Lands: Saving Open Space 


Case studies of collaborative models for protecting conservation landscapes in Pennsylvania can be found by reading 2019 Pennsylvania Conservation Landscapes: Models for Collaboration.



Schuylkill Priority Lands Tool

The Schuylkill Watershed Priority Lands Strategy is a model that recognizes the Land-Water Connection and identifies the highest priority lands to protect.  The project uses GIS modeling to identify areas within the Schuylkill Watershed that are the most important to preserve for both ecological and drinking water source protection, further defined by development threat over the next 20 years.

Related Documents

Name Upload Date Download View

Schuylkill Priority Lands - Areas of Friction

Combined Schuylkill priority lands and future development projections from the 2007 Schuylkill Priority Lands Tool.

January 2, 2018 Download View

Schuylkill Priority Lands

Combined SmartConservation and Drinking Water Source prioritizations from the 2007 Schuylkill Priority Lands Tool.

January 2, 2018 Download View

Schuylkill Priority Lands - SmartConservation

SmartConservation Model for the Schuylkill River Watershed developed by Natural Lands.

January 2, 2018 Download View

Schuylkill Priority Lands - Drinking Water Source Prioritization

Map of Drinking Water Source Prioritization in the Schuylkill River Watershed developed by Philadelphia Water Department

January 2, 2018 Download View

Schuylkill Priority Lands - Future Development Projections

Future Development Projections in the Schuylkill River Watershed developed by Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. Includes DVRPC Regional Growth Model, Berks County Growth Model, and Schuylkill County Growth Model.

January 2, 2018 Download View

2023 Bus Tour Itinerary

August 21, 2023 Download View

SAN Strategic Plan Excerpt WLC

April 8, 2024 Download View

SAN Connections Spring 2024

May 13, 2024 Download View