Research at LGNC

The mission of the Lehigh Gap Nature Center LGNC) is to protect the wildlife and enhance the habitats of Lehigh Gap Wildlife Refuge and on the Kittatinny Ridge in eastern Pennsylvania. We engage in conservation work in the Lehigh Valley and promote conservation through education, research, and outdoor recreation for the benefit of present and future generations. Much of our research is carried out by research partners, and we encourage collaborative efforts that promote our mission and restoration work.

The Refuge is a multi-use private landholding. It is also a recovering ecosystem with fragile populations of plants and wildlife, including many breeding species. In addition, it is part of the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund site. Careful consideration of these aspects of the Refuge lands are essential for the establishment and continuation of fruitful research partnerships at the Refuge.

Research Approval Process

Anyone wishing to carry out a research project on the Lehigh Gap Wildlife Refuge property must submit a proposal to the Lehigh Gap Nature Center (LGNC) Research Director and have it approved before proceeding with the research. The proposal should be documented on the LGNC Research Proposal Form, be limited to two pages or less, and address the questions included on the proposal form. The Research Director may require additional information. A separate proposal should be submitted for each different research project being proposed.

Please be aware that there are other research and conservation projects occurring at the Refuge on an ongoing basis. These projects are being conducted by EPA/CBS, LGNC, and other partner academic institutions and researchers. This research proposal approval process is designed to prevent redundancy and intrusion of one experiment into other projects, to protect sensitive areas and wildlife within the Refuge, and to allow LGNC to gather results for our ongoing conservation and management efforts. We will supply the applicant with pertinent information regarding other ongoing work.

Researcher(s) must agree to:

• Advise LGNC via email or phone when you will be working on the site
• Abide by all safety rules and restrictions set by LGNC or EPA
• Provide GPS coordinates for project site and GIS or Google Earth mapping layers or shape files as soon as available
• Be aware of other ongoing research so as not to interfere with the studies of others
• Provide periodic (six-month) progress reports and notify LGNC of any major changes in protocols or research directions from what was described in the original proposal
• Submit research results and data to the LGNC Research Director upon completion of the project
• Acknowledge LGNC in all presentations and publications resulting from the research and provide copies of the publications to LGNC


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regulatory authority to govern activity on the site that involves hazardous material, such as soil or plant samples. Any project involving sampling must be approved by EPA and, in some cases, CBS Operations, the responsible party for the Superfund site. Such proposals will require additional time and effort on the part of LGNC staff and will thus require more lead time to be approved.

Please allow three weeks for the approval process if no samples are being collected and five weeks if sampling is involved that will require EPA and CBS approval.

Because of the time incurred by an LGNC staff to approve, manage, and coordinate projects, there will be a modest research fee assessed to the institution. The fee schedule is listed below. The fee will be due upon acceptance of the project and must be paid before access is granted to the Refuge.
Undergraduate project – $50
Graduate project – $100

Please submit research proposal form and/or fees to:

Research Director or
Lehigh Gap Nature Center
P.O. Box 198
Slatington, PA 18080