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Scrub-shrub habitat on Karl Striedieck's property.The 245 acres property was recently approved as a conservation easement through the Landowner Incentive Program.CDT/Michelle Klein Karl Striedieck's property was recently approved as a conservation easement through the Landowner Incentive Program. CDT/Michelle KleinKarl Striedieck (right) and Brad Ross, a biological consultant with ClearWater Conservancy look at a red-tailed hawk nest along the edge of Striedieck's 245 acre property. CDT/Michelle KleinA robin egg sits in each of two nests on the stairs to an old fire tower on Karl Striedieck's property. CDT/Michelle KleinScrub-shrub habitat makes up a significant portion of the property around the runway on Karl Striedieck's land. CDT/Michelle KleinI-99 can be seen beyond the mature mixed coniferous deciduous forest on Karl Striedieck's land. His 245 acre property was recently approved as a conservation easement through the Landowner Incentive Program. CDT/Michelle Klein"There's that cuckoo," Striedieck said of the bird making a clicking noise.The chirping came as Striedieck talked about a conservation easement he signed last week with ClearWater Conservancy.The easement, supported by a $104,500 federal grant, permanently protects Striedieck's 245-acre property from development.The goal is giving forest interior birds -- such as scarlet tanagers, warblers and wood thrushes -- a route for migrating and habitat for nesting, breeding and getting cover."I thought at least I could do my part with 245 acres.It really doesn't affect my life that much," Striedieck said.He made the comments from near the top of the 95-foot fire tower that he bought for $100 and had moved from Reynoldsville to his property."It's the greatest view in Centre County," Striedieck said.It's also a bird watcher's paradise.In 1993, the group he was with saw 39 golden eagles in one day.William Hilshey, ClearWater Conservancy's conservation easement manager, said the easement on Striedieck's property is the first one in the Pennsylvania to be completed through the federal Landowner Incentive Program."With land grant programs like this people can enjoy the property and still protect the resources that need to be protected," said Hilshey, who worked with Striedieck to coordinate the grant and easement.The grant targeted the 190 acres of forest land on Striedieck's property, but the easement also protects the 35 acres of early succession fields -- with lower growth favored by some birds -- and 10 grassy acres.The easement means that Striedieck and whoever owns the land after him are limited in what they can do with it.Housing developments, for example, are off limits.Striedieck's property -- most of which is in Patton Township -- is also about a mile and a half from State Game Lands 176, known as Scotia Barrens, which is also a designated important bird area.Striedieck, a retired military fighter pilot, lives on the property with his wife, Iris."When you lived out here in the 60s, it didn't look like you needed an easement on anything," Striedieck said.In 2004 he talked with ClearWater about looking into one.A longtime member of the Sierra Club, Audubon Society and Hawk Mountain Association, Striedieck said "it just seemed like the right thing to do."When he was growing up his mother would take him to a fire tower and drop him off and he'd watch birds all afternoon, he said.Later he became interested in raptors through the Hawk Mountain Association.He also learned falconry, which he still does, along with flying gliders from the runway on his property.Striedieck said what pushed his interest in getting an easement was seeing the area in transition."This property is getting gobbled up by developers," he said.