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Richland Township wants 4.5-acre lawn to go wild


As an environmental sustainability adjunct to its natural land preservation commitment, Richland Township has approved grant solicitation efforts toward funding conversion of a 4.5 acre lawn in its Morgan Creek housing development to a more natural meadow. The action was taken at Monday night’s board of supervisors meeting.

The meadow would range from 4 feet to 6 feet high, and be dominated by wildflowers instead of the current grasses. After two years of planting, preparation, and maintenance, it would revert to the township for continued maintenance, featuring mowing that it is already doing, except adding annual knockdown of stems.

To be eligible for the 2025 round of grant funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the township would need to maintain a less than 6-inch grass height until then. The primary consultant for the project would be Wildlawn, of Quakertown.

In a presentation at Monday’s meeting from Park and Recreation Board Chairman Tom Marino, Wildlawn representatives noted that the state is home to about 2 million acres of lawn.

That particular land use has come under increasing scrutiny worldwide as officials and their constituents struggle with new commitments to environmental sustainability. Wildlawn refers to that use as “representing a dearth of ecological function and now-antiquated aesthetics.”

Replacement of the Morgan Creek lawn with a meadow “would restore and celebrate native ecology while providing interest and function.” In particular, it would provide “suitable habitat for native pollinators, butterflies, and certain birds.”

The overall goal would be to “achieve an intentionally wild look that is neither too manicured nor too overgrown, but fully functional ecologically.”

Over time, it would “largely look like the tract across the street, which provides ample bird and small mammal habitat.”

In summary, “attracting pollinators, especially butterflies, and supporting the life cycle needs of small birds, is the primary motivation for healing this part of the township.”