Fascinating Talk on Wetland Conservation
Saturday, March 16, 2013 5:34 am
By Allan Stern, RLT Board Member
On Sunday, March 5th, a small but very interested group attended a presentation by Laura Heady, of the Hudson River Estuary Program and Cornell University. Held at the East Greenbush Public Library, it was sponsored by the RLT and the New York State Audubon Society.
The title of the slide presentation and lecture was “Wetland Conservation: What Do We Have to Lose?”
The answer, according to Ms. Heady, is “Lots of things” -- specifically, clean water, flood control, mosquito control, wildlife and bird habitat, and recreation sites with the resulting economic benefits. While Ms. Heady’s talked focused on fresh-water wetlands, a whole other topic of conversation could have been tidal (salt water) wetlands, especially in the context of the recent major storms.
After describing different types of wetlands, Ms. Heady focused on the value and function of wetlands (see above) and then how to conserve the wetlands we do have. One of her main points was that because state agencies (NYSDEC) and Federal (US Army Corps of Engineers) have specific guidelines on what size wetlands they can regulate, over half the wetlands in Rensselaer County (56%) and Albany County (61%) are too small and isolated to be protected. This implies that local municipalities and agencies such as the RLT have to step up.
To read detailed notes from this program please click here (PDF).
Resource websites introduced during this program included:
Capital District Audubon Society
Hudson River Estuary Program
New York Natural Heritage Program
NYS DEC's Environmental Resource Mapper
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Wetland Inventory
Rensselaer Land Trust Receives New Preserve
Tuesday, January 8, 2013 4:25 pm
On December 18, 2012, the Rensselaer Land Trust (RLT) received 54 acres of significant wetlands in the Town of Nassau from the National Audubon Society. Part of Pine Swamp, an extensive marsh and swamp complex adjacent to Smith Pond, the property contains wildlife habitat and supports unusual plant species for Rensselaer County. Located off of Lyons Lake Road, the property will remain a nature preserve, with public access for environmental studies and natural history outings.
“After a full evaluation, RLT’s Board of Directors determined that this untouched property fell within our mission of watershed protection and conservation of ecologically important natural areas,” said RLT Executive Director Christine Young.
Pine Swamp is a mosaic of diverse wetland types, primarily deep emergent marsh and red maple-hardwood swamp, in relatively undisturbed condition. Red-headed woodpecker, a rare bird in New York, and Virginia rail, rare in Rensselaer County, have been reported from Pine Swamp. Among the plants found there are poison sumac and greater duckweed, both uncommon in Rensselaer County.
Closing the Rensselaer Land Trust’s 25th anniversary year, the acquisition of Pine Swamp increased the organization’s permanently protected properties to 846 acres in Rensselaer County. Pine Swamp is their seventh preserve.
RLT's 2012 Accomplishments and Highlights
Friday, December 21, 2012 12:14 pm
- Constructed improved parking areas at Ingalls and Staalesen Preserves.
- Partnered with Capital District Community Gardens and granted them garden plot at Staalesen Preserve.
- Received $17,000 Environmental Protection Fund Grant through Land Trust Alliance to fund boundary survey, signs, kiosk, and property maintenance at Staalesen Preserve in Troy.
Watershed Protection Programs
- 5th Annual Shoreline clean-up of the Tomhannock Reservoir, which provides clean drinking water to 125,000 people. More than 60 volunteers including high school and college students participated.
- Tree planting at RLT Hoosic River property with the assistances of Biology Club at Tamarac High School and other volunteers.
Watershed Education Programs
- “What’s in Our Creek?” Community Day at our new Staalesen Preserve in Troy. Troy Record Coverage
- Received $5,000 Blue Water Project grant from Royal Bank of Canada to fund interactive watershed map for the RLT website.
Outings and Natural History Programs
- Annual 8 mile Hoosick River Paddle led by Paul Schroeder.
- Mushroom Workshops and Walks with a total of 115 participants.
- Spring Wildflower Walk led by led by Tom Phillips.
- Wetland Ecology Hike co-led by RLT President Nick Conrad and Ecologist David Hunt.
- Winter Hike and potluck gathering.
- Tibbitts State Forest Hike.
- Rensselaer Plateau Traverse, a 30-mile two-day hike from Stephentown to Hoosick through numerous public and private properties.
- Taconic Crest Hike up Greene Hollow, over Berlin Mountain, and down Southeast Hollow.
- Snow Hole Hike.
- Hydroelectric Power Plant Tour and Lecture on History of Hydro Power.
- Grafton Lakes State Park Winterfest.
- Sand Lake Bicentennial.
- Taborton Zion Church Earth Day Event.
- RLT President Nick Conrad interviewed by the Times Union’s environmental reporter Brian Nearing on WVCR (88.3 FM). Radio Interview Recording
- RLT Executive Director Christine Young interviewed by the Troy Record. Troy Record Interview
- 5th Annual Oktoberfest at Brown’s Brewing Co.
- 3rd Annual Troy Victorian Stroll Concert by fiddler George Wilson and RLT Open House.
Sustaining Organizational Financial Security for the future
- Established Charitable Remainder Trust.
- Established Endowment Fund.
- Received $20,000 Environmental Protection Fund grant through Land Trust Alliance to prepare for renewal of RLT’s national Land Trust Accreditation.