The Bradford City Water Authority heard some of the data collected as part of an inventory of timber on its properties at its regular meeting Wednesday.
Ken Kane, president of Generations Forestry, provided an update that include data collected about the West Branch watershed, the authority reported to The Era after Wednesday’s meeting. The goal of the inventory is to have a viable, healthy watershed that can sustain annual harvests.
The total volume of timber decreased nearly 35% from 25 million board feet to 16 million board feet as a result of harvesting 40% of the board feet identified in a 2002 inventory.
This harvesting was part of “an effort to balance the age class of the forest,” the authority reported to The Era. “This effort has created early successional forest on 1,141 acres of the West Branch Watershed.”
Another 533 acres of watershed are ready for regeneration in a shelterwood harvest stage.
“The effort of creating a desired forest condition and balancing the age classes fortunately occurred at a time when timber was in demand to create an environmental and economic benefit,” the authority reported.
However, Kane indicated the watershed has reached a point in the balancing process where timber activity needs to slow.
They will begin evaluating timber inventory this winter on the Gilbert and Marilla watersheds.
This is the first inventory taken in West Branch since 2002, which took nearly four years to complete. This time, Kane was able to complete the data collection and compilation in less than nine months due to more intense efforts and modern equipment.
The board also learned about the status of plans to install a redundant 24-inch transmission line — a project intended to prevent a water crisis such as the one Bradford area water customers experienced in 2015.
Executive Director Steve Disney reported that the authority anticipates the project going to bid around Sept. 16 with a bid opening date of Oct. 16. The authority is currently in the loan settlement process with PENNVEST, and Eckert Seamans and Lang & Hvizdzak have been retained as bond counsel during the process.
The authority heard about several other ongoing projects, too.
Regarding a Forman Street bridge project, the authority accepted a bid of $64,444 from Bob Cummins Construction Co., which submitted the lowest of the two bids that were opened Tuesday. Once the bridge is replaced, remaining work will include installing a new 8-inch water main on the north of the new bridge superstructure and connecting it.
Following a recommendation from Bankson Engineers, the authority has rejected all five bids opened Tuesday for a different project, the Kenmar Acres main line extension.
Disney explained the project is being funded in part by a Pennsylvania Small Water and Sewer Grant, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. To be eligible for the grant, the total cost of the project including construction and engineering must fall between $30,000 and $500,000. All of the bids exceeded the maximum amount.
Bankson Engineers will re-evaluate the project and reduce its scope so it falls within the funding limits.
Construction is slated to begin Sept. 6 for a different bridge project: Toad Hollow in Bradford Township. The water authority needs to relocate an 8-inch water main by the site of a bridge replacement project by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Authority crews are expected to begin excavations the first week of September for the replacement of several gate valves. Disney said the installation scheduled is being finalized with the contractor, and authority personnel are planning exact excavation points.
Disney reported on the Gilbert Dam spillway pedestrian bridge, too, explaining that bridge abutments have been installed, the east side access ramp is complete and the west side ramp was modified. He anticipates the bridge structure to be delivered today.