Restoring Streams: The Journey of Jersey Settlement Farm

In the heart of Forward Township lies Jersey Settlement Farm, where Mike and Jen Pasini have worked to restore the natural balance of their land. Steeped in history, this farm was once part of "The Jersey Settlement," drawing pioneers from New Jersey in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Today, it is an example of collaboration, conservation, and sustainable farming practices.  

Challenges and Solutions 

The Pasinis specialize in pasture-raised livestock, including cattle, sheep, and a few pigs, employing rotational grazing techniques to ensure the well-being of their animals and the health of the land. However, two headwater streams, piped and filled by previous owners, posed significant challenges.   

Recognizing the need for change, Mike Pasini initiated collaboration with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to address stream issues. With funding and expertise from NRCS, the pipes were removed, and the stream bed was restored. Additionally, in partnership with the Pasinis, ACCD received a grant to replant the stream bed and riparian buffer zone with native trees and shrubs. 


“I originally discussed the issue with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and they funded the removal of the pipe and the restoration of the stream bed. During this process, I contacted ACCD regarding any possible permitting issues while removing the pipe and restoring the stream bed,” said Mike Pasini. “At this point, they made me aware of a grant program that would assist in replanting the stream bed and riparian buffer zone with native trees and shrubs.”  

A Growing Environmental Impact 

Conveying the flow of streams through pipes can have detrimental effects on the environment. The absence of a natural stream bottom and the obstruction of plant materials hinder the ecosystem's intended functions, affecting rainwater drainage and disrupting habitats for various species. The improperly designed pipes left sinkholes along the former stream course, highlighting the urgency of the restoration efforts.  

NRCS provided design specifications and funding for the restoration project, addressing stream sizing, slopes, and stabilization. The collaboration extended to ACCD, which secured funding from Pennsylvania Association of Conservation District’s Multifunctional Riparian Buffer Grant Program, adding an extra layer of protection to the streams and preventing nutrient runoff from adjacent pastures.  

Future Outlook 

Healthy farms, like Jersey Settlement Farm, play a pivotal role in fostering a balanced and sustainable watershed. The benefits extend beyond agricultural yields, encompassing improved soil quality, reduced flooding, climate change mitigation, enhanced habitat, energy conservation, and increased property value.  

As the trees and shrubs planted through this project mature, their impact will continue to grow. The riparian buffer will filter manure runoff, provide wildlife corridors, and offer shade, shelter, and food.  


Read more in ACCD's 2023 annual report.