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Pennsylvania Game Commission takes ownership of Manor islands in Allegheny

| Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 1:11 a.m.
Louis B.Ruediger | Leader Times
Ownership of the Cogley Island complex pictured here in Pool 6 of the Allegheny River has been transferred from Hanson Aggregates BMC to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.The group of islands is next to Ford City and approximately two miles from State Game Lands 247.

A complex of islands on the Allegheny River in Manor Township is under new ownership in what is being billed as an action to ensure land conservation and a potential site for waterfowl hunting.

The Cogley Island complex, 10 acres in Pool 6, has recently been transferred to the Pennsylvania Game Commission by Hanson Aggregates BMC, which is part of Lehigh Hanson Heidelberg Cement Group.

The land transfer was the result of a deal struck between the state Fish and Boat Commission and Hanson Aggregates.

“We're always looking to preserve wildlife habitat for future generations and happy to add choices for those seeking good, public-access hunting spots,” Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said in a release. “Cogley Island certainly would seem to fit the bill.”

Hanson transferred the island to the Game Commission as mitigation for potential impacts from dredging in the Ohio River, said Travis Lau, Game Commission press secretary.

In exchange for giving the land to the state, the company will be able to continue dredging the river outside of Armstrong County.

“It's essentially a swap,” said state Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Ford City.

Pyle said he would like to have a return of commercial dredging in Armstrong County.

“Those dredging boats should be here. Pool 6 is loaded with gravel and sand,” he said. “Our channel is supposed to be 9 feet. It's now 3 feet. You have to be able to use the thing.”

John Arway, the Fish and Boat Commission's executive director, in the release touted the benefits of the land transfer: “Our foremost goal is always to protect an area's habitat and to work with companies to find solutions which reduce or offset environmental impacts of a project. Acquiring Cogley Island and permanently preserving its ecosystem was the best option to offset the potential impact of Hanson's gravel dredging project. “

Ownership of the island has passed through several hands over the years. It was an asset of Davison Sand and Gravel, which was bought by Pioneer in 1987. Pioneer was acquired by Hanson in 2000 and Hanson by Heidelberg in 2007.

Environmental sustainability is an integral part of Hanson's business strategy, Ron Kurpiel, vice president and general manager of Hanson Aggregates said in the release.

“The transfer of the Cogley Island property as a means to help preserve its ecosystem clearly demonstrates this commitment,” he said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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