North Pocono CARE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the environment in the North Pocono area in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Our primary focus is on protecting the headwaters of the Lehigh River and its watershed.
North Pocono CARE was founded in 1988 when there was a threat of pollution to the Lehigh River from a proposed medical waste treatment and disposal facility. The group was formed to raise consciousness about the facility and the impact it would have on the fragile local environment. The medical waste facility was never built. Another challenge arose in 1992 when a school and developer proposed to discharge sewage to the Lehigh River – which has special protection status. The actions of North Pocono CARE and others persuaded the school and developer to consider a more environmentally friendly land based system.
In 1996, North Pocono CARE was incorporated under Pennsylvania law and in 2001 it received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. This makes it possible for the organization to receive tax deductible gifts from individuals and grants from governments, foundations and others.
The support we needed soon followed. In 2001, North Pocono CARE received a technical assistance grant from C-SAW, the Consortium for Scientific Assistance to Watersheds. The following year, it received a Growing Greener Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. These tools have enabled the volunteers to develop additional watershed protection skills and begin a volunteer stream monitoring program.
The headwaters of the Lehigh River are a unique ecosystem. They extend over 20 miles, from Pocono Peak Lake and Lehigh Pond in Lehigh Township, Wayne County to Tobyhanna Creek in Tobyhanna Township, Monroe County. These headwaters also include many beautiful tributaries and lakes such as Ash Creek, Pond Creek, Choke Creek, Big Bass Lake, Brady’s Lake and Arrowhead Lake.
The Nature Conservancy has recognized the Poconos as “One of the Last Great Places on Earth” and has identified many areas in the watershed as having significant communities of rare and endangered species. We are working to protect this great place for future generations.
These headwaters are currently designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as High Quality Cold Water Fisheries, the second highest classification assigned by the State. Following a study of the water quality, North Pocono CARE petitioned to have these waters recognized at the highest level, Exceptional Value, in order to protect the existing water quality and prevent any further degradation. The Petition has been accepted for study and we are hoping to receive this designation in the near future.
There are many challenges to protecting the headwaters of the Lehigh River and its watershed, including forest fragmentation, pollution, the loss of important wetlands, streamside buffers and vernal ponds, the spread of invasive species and the loss of native species. North Pocono CARE is conducting educational programs, monitoring conditions and taking necessary actions in order to meet these challenges and protect our waters and watershed.