Special Habitat Areas
Pidcock Creek, Dam & Mill Race
The Preserve is part of the Pidcock Creek Watershed, which encompasses 11 square miles of land and 23 miles of streams in Buckingham, Solebury, Upper Makefield and Wrightstown townships. A watershed is comprised of a body of water, its ecosystem and all of the land that ‘sheds’ or drains water into it. In the case of the creek, which primarily flows east, the watershed begins about 3 miles west of the Preserve and is bounded on the west by Buckingham Mountain, on the north by Solebury Mountain, and on the south by Jericho Mountain and Bowman’s Hill.
The final half mile of Pidcock Creek winds through the Preserve, and the creek includes a dam and a millrace built in the 1830s to service the Mill—located downstream near the eastern edge of the Preserve.
The creek provides important habitat for aquatic life and birds. These include various species of dragon-, damsel- and dobsonflies, water skippers and water scorpions; freshwater mollusks and crayfish; dace fish; salamanders; painted and snapping turtles; mallard and wood ducks, common mergansers, Canada geese, belted kingfishers and Louisiana waterthrushes; and mink and beaver—with transient beaver activity evident by the gnawed-upon and felled ash, beech, hemlock, ironwood and maple trees along the Gentian, Fern and Evergreen trails.
Of these species, belted kingfishers, Louisiana waterthrushes, salamanders, dace fish and dobsonflies are all species whose presence indicates high water quality.
Everything that happens on the land within the watershed affects the quality of the creek’s water. The predominant land use within the watershed is currently agriculture, but the area is constantly under increasing development pressure.
With the help of a PA Growing Greener grant, the Pidcock Creek Watershed Association—of which the Preserve is a member—was formed in 2003 to assess, monitor and protect the water quality. The association conducts public outreach on watershed issues and uses grant funds to train volunteers on watershed management and stream visual assessment techniques, as well as to conduct baseline assessments of the watershed.