Important Bird Areas

Pennsy, Black, & Celery Swamps - State Game Lands 151 & 284

Pennsylvania

An extensive wetland complex extending along a valley in southern Mercer county north of Leesburg, into northern Lawrence County, SGL 284, also known as Schollard's Run Wetlands, is a long, narrow strip of dense cattail marsh interspersed with open water, spatterdock marsh, shrub swamp, and a small amount of farmland; it is locally known as Pennsy Swamp in Mercer County and Black Swamp in Lawrence County, separated by SGL 284 by only a few miles. (PGC NW Region 814-432-3188).

Directions: Take I-79 N from Pittsburgh to Rt. 208 W. Turn left on Veterans Rd., then left on Tower Rd. Turn right at stop sign, then left at Stodolaks. Pennsy Swamp on on right.

Ornithological Summary

High quality emergent wetlands support significant numbers and a high diversity of characteristic breeding species, including Pied-billed Grebe, Am. Coot, Com. Moorhen, Virginia Rail, Sora, and Marsh Wren. American Bittern and Least Bittern are likely breeders. King Rail has been documented nesting in the 1980s, and occurs in migration. A pair of Sandhill Cranes regularly nests and has succesfully raised young in Celery Swamp, and during migration Sandhill Cranes stop over in SGL 284, as well.

Conservation Issues

Development pressure on this site is high. City outlet mall, the fourth largest outlet mall in the U.S., is less than three miles from Pennsy Swamp and is expanding and fueling development. A large theme park and motel complex has been considered for an area directly on the northern border of the site. Some conversion to agriculture has occurred as well as residential housing construction. A nearby landfill and adjacent sand and gravel strip mines and farmlands all pose a potential water pollution problem.