This IBA includes much of the northeastern end of the Allegheny National
Forest, Bradford City Water Authority lands and adjacent forested lands
surrounding the Allegheny Reservoir and Allegheny River, upstream from below the
Kinzua dam to the New York line, where it abuts NY’s Allegany IBA. Greater than
95% of this area is forested, much of the remainder is open water; together
with adjacent areas of federal and state lands, it constitutes the largest
tract of relatively intact forest between the Adirondacks in NY and the Smokies
in central Appalachia. This area is located at the transition between
oak-dominated forests to the south and maple-dominated northern hardwoods of
more northern areas; this juxtaposition of forest types contributes to the high
avian diversity found here. The proposed
area supports very high densities of many forest-interior and area-sensitive
birds, including one of the state’s largest concentrations of Cerulean Warblers.
In addition, the area includes numerous long-term study areas for studies of
avian conservation as well as other ecological and natural resource management
This site supports a diverse assemblage of wood warblers (20-plus species) and other representative forest species, including many forest-interior, area-sensitive species. Common breeding birds include Sharp-shinned Hawk, Black-billed Cuckoo, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Northern Flicker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Wood Thrush, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded Warbler, Canada Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. At-risk species that this area supports include the Common Loon (migrant), Pied-billed Grebe (migrant), American Bittern (migrant), Osprey (breeds), Bald Eagle (breeds), Northern Harrier (migrant), Sharp-shinned Hawk (breeds), Cooper’s Hawk (breeds), Northern Goshawk (breeds), Red-shouldered Hawk (breeds), Golden Eagle (rare migrant and uncommon winter visitor), American Golden- Plover (rare migrant), Hudsonian Godwit (rare migrant), Short-billed Dowitcher (rare migrant), Common Nighthawk (migrant), Olive-sided Flycatcher (migrant),Willow Flycatcher (breeds), Wood Thrush (breeds), Blue-winged Warbler (breeds), Bay-breasted Warbler (migrant), Cerulean Warbler (breeds), Worm-eating Warbler (rare visitor), Canada Warbler (common breeder), Yellow-breasted Chat (occasional breeder), and Rusty Blackbird (migrant). The reservoir is a resting stopover for a diverse group of waterfowl, including large numbers of Tundra Swans under certain weather conditions.
Allegheny National Forest; smaller parcels owned by Bradford City Water
Authority, Collins Pine Company, The Boy Scouts of America, The Seneca Nation
of Indians, and other private landowners.
The proposed area supports large, mostly intact tracts of
deciduous and mixed forest. Elevations
range from 362 m in the Allegheny River channel to 680 m on plateau tops. Forests include both mixed oak-dominated
forest types, primarily along southern exposures and at lower elevations
adjacent to the Allegheny, as well as maple- and cherry-dominated northern
hardwoods elsewhere. Many cold-water
streams are lined with eastern hemlock, and some lower-lying areas include
extensive hemlock-red maple swamps. The
majority of forested areas support mature second-growth (85 – 120 yrs old)
resulting from landscape-scale clearing between the 1880s to the 1930s. Less
area has been harvested more recently, resulting in a patchwork of stands of
various ages within a matrix of older forest.
Within this matrix there are also scattered conifer plantations
containing native red pine and non-native pines and spruces. Several of the
bays within the Allegheny Reservoir include extensive shrubby areas (alder,
dogwoods, viburnums) and limited areas of marsh. Downstream from the Kinzua dam, multiple
small river islands support sycamore – silver maple woodlands.
Aquatic habitats include the relatively shallow,
fast-current Allegheny River below the dam, the deep, slow-moving reservoir
above the dam, several smaller lakes protected as part of the Bradford PA water
supply, and numerous small streams.