WM

Alliance Landfill

Taylor, Pennsylvania, United States

Certified Gold through 2023

Project Name
Project Type
Bluebird Nestbox Project
Avian
Pollinator garden
Landscaped
Kestrel Monitoring
Avian
Mallard Roosting
Avian
Bat Night
Awareness & Community Engagement

About the Program

Located in the city of Taylor in northeastern Pennsylvania, the Waste Management Alliance Landfill property was once the location of deep mining activities, strip mining and waste dumping. These activities were done without the benefit of liners, caps, monitoring or nuisance controls. In 1987, private operators re-opened the facility as a modern lined, capped, and monitored municipal waste disposal facility.

In the present day, the Alliance Landfill’s main habitat areas include mountainside woodlands common to the region, a large sedimentation pond, smaller surface water control ponds and grasslands growing atop the landfill’s synthetic cap. Team members at the Alliance Landfill assist in habitat management and species monitoring to encourage increased wildlife use and native vegetation. The property includes nest boxes for kestrels, mallards and bluebirds, as well as bat boxes and a pollinator garden. The team is constantly improving their site. They also have a 92.9-acre community landscape project featuring native woody and grassland species that encourage regrowth and provide data for other landfill sites. In addition, the Alliance Landfill team educates their local community on bat conservation. 

Practices and Impacts

  • Twelve bird boxes are installed on the property for the bluebirds and tree swallows living near the native planted grasslands. Team members monitor the boxes for nest success and provide maintenance regularly. The project has seen as a success as of 2020, with 10 Bluebird fledglings and 17 Tree Swallow fledglings.
  • Near the entrance to the main office, a 120 square foot patch of non-native ornamental vegetation was replaced by a pollinator garden. Plants in the garden include milkweed, coneflower, and butterfly bush to attract native pollinator species, particularly the declining monarch butterfly. Alliance Landfill team members monitor the site for native butterfly species and health of the garden. The team has had the assistance of two partners. Dunbar Landscaping and Ernst Seed provided consultative services on native pollinator plants, the former organization providing native plants and the latter providing milkweed seed.
  • Within the 200-acre grassland on the property, American kestrel nest boxes were placed to support the breeding and conservation of the native falcon species. The nest boxes were moved to a more suitable habitat in 2018 after the program was restarted. Team members monitor the boxes for kestrel use and maintain the boxes as needed, performing tasks like adding in wood chips for nesting material. The Pennsylvania Game Commission assists the team in banding young kestrel chicks to support the research and conservation of the species.
  • Team members replaced a monoculture grass plot into a 92.9-acre diverse community landscape project to encourage wildlife use and to determine if woody plants could be grown on a landfill cap without affecting the cap’s function. The site is inspected bi-monthly for wildlife use and mowed to encourage native grassland growth.
  • The community landscape project provided important data for other landfill sites on the trees, shrubs and grassland plants that can be grown successfully on-site to improve wildlife habitat while creating healthy and visually appealing landscapes. Partners include Scarlet Oak (who provide mowing services), Kaufman Engineering (which developed the project concept and continues to monitor it), and landscape architect Thomas J. McLane (with Thomas J. McLane Associates, Inc.).
  • Two new hen houses were added to the site’s diversion basins to increase the native mallard duck population. The hen houses were relocated in 2012 to sites that had more mallards present and showed more success with hen house utilization. Team members of Alliance monitor the hen houses monthly and, in the winter, provide maintenance if needed. Willie Wenner with USDA-APHIS assisted with installing the hen houses and monitoring for mallard activity.
  • With rapidly declining populations of bats due to white-nose syndrome, Alliance Landfill team members installed a bat box on property which provided an education opportunity for a group of 50 local scouts. Team members provided education handouts, information about bats and conservation, and materials to build bat boxes. The local participants received the completed bat boxes to install around the community. The site’s partners from USDA-APHIS and Rick Fritsky from the Pennsylvania Game Commission provided technical information and bat box materials.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE WHC INDEX IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY