Rensselaer Land Trust is the recipient of two stewardship planning grants through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation totaling $85,000. The grants are funded from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.
A $50,000 grant will promote better protection of water quality in western Rensselaer County by identifying locations of non-point sources of pollution that may threaten human health. The grant will fund water sampling by citizen scientists and lab testing for enterococcus, a bacterial indicator of fecal contamination. Additional testing will be done at certain locations to determine the presence of hormones, pharmaceuticals, detergents, personal care products, flame retardants and other compounds that can impact fish and human health. Water samples will be collected from Hudson River tributaries in Troy, Rensselaer, North Greenbush, East Greenbush, Schodack, Castleton, and Sand Lake. Rensselaer Land Trust is partnering with the Hudson River Estuary Program, River Haggie Outdoors, Watershed Assessment Associates, LLC, and U.S. Geological Survey, with Riverkeeper providing technical advice.
The second grant for $35,000 will augment other funding for a Rensselaer County Conservation Plan, which will include an inventory and map of the natural resources and significant open spaces and landscape features of Rensselaer County, such as water resources, wildlife habitat, scenic areas, lands valued by communities, and lands offering resilience to climate change. This project will then assess which lands contribute most to these resources and features, and produce a Conservation Plan that will help Rensselaer Land Trust and others to focus their conservation projects where they will have the most impact. Rensselaer Land Trust is partnering on this project with the Hudson River Estuary Program, Hudson River Valley Greenway, Rensselaer Plateau Alliance, Agricultural Stewardship Association, Louis & Hortense Rubin Community Fellowship Program, Open Space Institute, and Ecological Intuition & Medicine.