Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Watershed Mapping Tool Available

Here's a new and potentially useful tool for mapping natural resources in Esopus:

"Today, the Hudson River Watershed Alliance in partnership with the Hudson Valley Regional Council, unveiled a new mapping service that will help local decision makers and watershed groups better understand the environmental resources in their communities. The Hudson River Watershed Atlas is a regional online mapping service designed to enable users to visualize, explore, assess and better understand the natural resources and built systems of the Hudson River Estuary watershed.

"The Atlas is built using an Adobe PDF platform, which allows users to select from a menu of 28 informative data layers to customize their own map. There are a total of 20 map panels that together provide geographic coverage of the Hudson River Estuary watershed. Each panel includes 25 different data layers which can be independently turned on and off, with three different possible background layers. Examples of data layers include, among others, streams, hydric soils, wetlands, FEMA floodplains, potential environmental justice areas, MS4 communities, lakes and ponds, fishing and public access points.

"The Hudson River Watershed Atlas can be accessed at The Hudson Valley Regional Council obtained a grant in 2007 to enhance the capacity of the Hudson River Watershed Alliance and to undertake several projects. The Watershed Atlas has been funded in part by a grant from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cap and Trade

I thought to share with you all Annie Leonard's (of The Story of Stuff) new offering, "The Story of Cap and Trade". By all accounts this is an introductory video to a very complex issue. It looks like more windfall profits for the financial industry and polluters with us holding the bag and suffering the consequences for a carbon tax by another name. She has it right, lets spend our effort on real carbon reducing like wind, solar and efficiency and not give the polluters new tools to fleece us. I read tonight that John Kerry is a big supporter of Cap and Trade but has failed to support the Cape Wind energy project in his own backyard. Dave Murray

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

16 September Events

The following are some of the potentially relevant and/or interesting September calendar items distributed by Manna Jo Greene:

Tues., Sept. 1, Wetland Habitat Creation and Turtle Conservation Science, a one day workshop in Dutchess County for land managers, regulators involved with review of wetland permits, environmental policy-makers, ecological restorationists, or researchers studying rare wetland animals. Led by Erik Kiviat, Tanessa Hartwig and Gretchen Stevens. 845-758-0600.

Fri., Sept. 4, 11 AM - 3 PM, Open Garden Day. Visit Master Gardener demonstration gardens- Shade, Edible Landscape, Xeriscape, Bird & Butterfly, plus the Nutrition Education (Grow a Row for the Hungry) and Biomass for Heat Crops gardens. Free tours at 11 & 1, garden information table, delicious food samples prepared from our garden harvest. Everyone is welcome!, Dutchess County Farm & Home Center, 2715 Rt 44, Millbrook. Questions? Contact Nancy Halas (horticulture) 845-677-8223 x 115, or Joy Weber-Maass (foods/nutrition) 845-677-8223 x 116,

Fri., Sept. 4, 7 pm & Sat. Sep. 5 (11-5, 7pm concert). CATSKILL MOUNTAIN ECO-HERITAGE FESTIVAL. Alternative energy demos & displays, interpretive walks, colonial craft demos, "Stories of the Catskills" by the Woodstock Oral History Collective, music by: Jay Ungar & Molly Mason, Mike & Ruthy, Rich Bala & the Barefoot Boys. Food available for purchase throughout the day. $5/person (Sat. day). $10/person for concert & dance. The Ashokan Center, Olivebridge, NY. (845) 657-8333. .

Thurs. Sept. 17, 8am-2pm THE SEQRA SOLUTION: FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE, SUNY New Paltz, Explore and discuss how SEQRA could be revised or applied more efficiently. Featuring officials, developers, attorneys and environmental advocates. $40 members, $50 non-members, $30 municipal officials. Agenda information at or call 845-565-4900 for more information

Thurs., Sept. 17, Oct 1 & 15 • 6 - 9 pm, Intro to Permaculture Design. This holistic approach to land stewardship reaches beyond the concept of sustainable design and culminates in a dynamic, productive, and energy efficient design for your urban or rural home landscape, your garden and orchard, or your communities and villages. Stone Ridge Campus & Camp Epworth. Continuing Education: 845-339-2025,, $125

Sat., Sept. 19, noon - 3 pm, Raising Chickens 101. Learn the fun facts about raising chickens at home for fun or profit. Learn to care for your mature chickens including coop design ideas, predator control, health issues, and proper feeding. Little Egg Farm, Stone Ridge. Continuing Education: 845-339-2025,, $49

Sat. & Sun., Sept 19 & 20, Noon to 6 p.m., WORKING ON WATER BOAT TOUR. Free rides and deck tours on historic tugs, fireboat, PT boat, educational activities, free trolley rides and lighthouse tours. Rondout Waterfront, Kingston. Schedule:

Sept. 24-27. BOUNTY OF THE HUDSON RIVER VALLEY. NYSOEA's annual conference ( Pre-conference field trips to Constitution Marsh, Hudson Highlands Nature Museum and Scenic Hudson parks, with a special sail on the Clearwater. Workshops will be held along the banks of the Hudson in Beacon and on the Fishkill Ridge/Hudson Highlands at the Fresh Air Fund's Sharpe Reservation. Arm of the Sea will present their new Quadricentennial show.

Fri., Sept. 25, 7 p.m. THE HUDSON RIVER: TRANSFORMATION AND UNDERSTANDING. A special evening of art and science. Freshwater Ecologist Dr. David Strayer will discuss how human actions have transformed the Hudson River and its watershed. Following the seminar will be a reception for landscape painter Rebecca Allan; her work inspired by riparian environments, including the Hudson River watershed. Cary Institute Auditorium, 2801 Sharon Tpk., Millbrook. Free. RSVPs appreciated. 677-7600 x121 or

Sat., Sept. 26 (tentative time 9am-3:30pm) BIG ANNUAL MID-HUDSON SIERRA TAG SALE at the New Hackensack Church, Rt. 376, Wappingers Fall; indoors, rain/shine. Contact Bibi at

Sat., Sept., 26, 10-4, 7TH ANNUAL MARGARETVILLE CAULIFLOWER FESTIVAL sponsored by Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce. Margaretville Village Park. A FREE celebration of agricultural heritage, local food and community. Tractor Parade at 11:30 a.m. Continuous entertainment; Pure Catskills, Forestry, History and Wellness Tents; food by local restaurants; cooking demos; kid stuff; fine art and crafts. Rain or shine! . 845-586-3300

Sat., Sept. 26 • 10 am - 1 pm, A Day at the Farmers Market. Learn why you should buy local, and taste the bounty of our area with special samples set up just for this class. The class will have a picnic lunch with their purchases from the market. You will receive a printed set of recipes using fresh local ingredients. Kingston Farmers Market Continuing Education: 845-339-2025,, $29

Sat., Sep 26, 7:30 p.m. NIKOLA TESLA: THE ENIGMA, filmmaker Milan Cupurdija talks about Tesla, who invented wireless communication, robotics, and attempted to bring unlimited electric power to the entire world. Demonstrations of inventions. At Unitarian Congregation, 320 Sawkill Rd. Kingston. Presented by the HV Humanists, Ed Poll (845) 247-0098, $4 donation

Tues., Sept 29 & Weds., Sept. 30, 9:00-4:45. STATE OF THE HUDSON RIVER WATERSHED: A Conference on the Ecological Status of the Hudson and its Tributaries, presented by the HRES, HRWA, and many more organizations, in Hyde Park. For information and registration, see or . Cost: $95 before 9/18.

Tues., Sept .29, 5:30 - 8:30 pm, Hudson River Environmental Society’s 2009 Annual Meeting and Award Dinner, featuring Hudson River author, Robert Boyle, at the Terrapin, Dinsmore Golf Club, 5371 Albany Post Road (Rte 9), Staatsburg. For details and on-line registration:

Weds., Sept. 30, 6PM, LEAST-COST METHODS FOR SUSTAINABLE BUILDING, USGBC NY Upstate Hudson Valley Branch answers a question from Ulster YouthBuild Partnership, Sponsored by Cuddy & Feder LLP, Skytop Steakhouse, Kingston NY, Contact Michelle Garesché, 917-282-5248, , , suggested donation $ see website.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Esopus Accepts Solar Power Bid

From the July 21 Freeman:

PORT EWEN — The Town Board has approved a $492,000 contract with Balston Spa-based contractor Alteris Renewables to install a solar energy system expected to meet 52 percent of electric needs for the Esopus Town Hall.

Read the rest of the story here

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Omega Institute opening

The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY is having a grand opening of its Omega Center for Sustainable Living on Thursday, July 16th at 3:30PM, 150 Lake Drive in Rhinebeck. Tours of the facility will be given. This building supplies all its energy needs and it filters its own wastewater in a 4,500 sq ft greenhouse using plants, bacteria, algae, snails and fungi...WOW. I plan to make the trip to see this remarkable place!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

3 Esopus Sites Listed as Priorities for Conservation in 2009 NY Open Space Plan

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently released its 2009 Open Space Conservation Plan, which includes a list of high-priority areas for conservation. The areas listed as "regional priority conservation projects" are eligible for funding from the State's Environmental Protection Fund, and other state, federal and local funding sources.

"For most of the project areas identified, a combination of State and local acquisition, land use regulation, smart development decisions, land owner incentives and other conservation tools used in various combinations, will be needed to succeed in conserving these open space resources for the long term," the plan reads. "Many of the priority project areas are large and will require a balance between conservation and compatible, natural resource sensitive economic development."

As many as three or four of the 135 priority conservation projects in the state have land in the Town of Esopus. Three are listed here. A possible fourth is the Shawangunk Mountain region. Whether or not Esopus is a focus are of protection for the Wallkill Valley is unclear, as the focus seems to be upriver, possibly because Esopus has not participated in previous biodiversity mapping efforts. (The Northern Wallkill Biodiversity Plan, authored by Danielle T. LaBruna and Michael W. Klemens, prepared by the Metropolitan Conservation Alliance / Wildlife Conservation Society and funded by the DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, includes this note: "This project began as a four-municipality initiative which included the Town of Esopus. However, the Esopus Town Board was unable to commit to assist in requesting site access for biodiversity surveys. MCA was, therefore, not able to survey sufficient land area to warrant the inclusion of Esopus in this report. Due to Esopus’ rich biological resources, future cooperation with Esopus would enhance the Northern Wallkill Biodiversity Plan and should remain an option.")

The text below is lifted straight from the 2009 NYS Open Space Conservation Plan.

PLUTARCH / BLACK CREEK WETLANDS COMPLEX - This project encompasses a very large wetland complex in the Ulster County towns of Esopus, Lloyd and New Paltz, which is important because of its size and variety. It includes the Plutarch Swamp and other nearby wetlands associated with the Swarte Kill and Black Creek drainages as well as associated uplands for buffers, access and management. These wetlands provide habitat for numerous wetland-dependent wildlife species, including critical habitat for the threatened northern cricket frog. The area is important for breeding and migrating waterfowl and river otters. It includes significant and rare ecological communities, including one of the largest dwarf shrub bog occurrences in the Hudson River Valley. The area also could provide significant recreational opportunities including canoeing, hiking, wildlife observation, fishing, hunting and trapping.

KARST AQUIFER REGION - The Karst Aquifers are situated in a narrow band of carbonate rocks that extend throughout Ulster County, generally parallel with the Hudson River and trending southsouthwest, through portions of Saugerties, Kingston, Esopus, Marbletown, Rosendale, Rochester and Ellenville, continuously outcropping just northwest and along the flank of the Shawangunk Mountain Ridge. This region is characterized by such features as caves, sinkholes, mines, springs, lakes and sinking streams. The area is rich in biological, geological and historical resources, provides diverse outdoor recreational opportunities and critical water reserves.

WALLKILL VALLEY The Wallkill River begins in the mountains of northern New Jersey and enters New York via the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge on the NY/NJ border. From there it flows through the fertile black dirt region of southern Orange County and then winds through a variety of landscapes, some amazingly rich in biodiversity, joining the Rondout just south of the City of Kingston, Ulster County, a short distance from its confluence with the Hudson. It provides excellent opportunities for recreational fishing and boating. A recently completed Southern Wallkill Biodiversity Plan (Wildlife Conservation Society/Metropolitan Conservation Alliance) identifies critical areas in need of protection. In addition, Counties and local municipalities are beginning to plan for its protection and restoration through a Wallkill River Watershed Planning program. Through these planning processes open space priorities will be identified for future protection measures.

The Shawangunk National Wildlife Refuge (Galeville Grasslands) and surrounding agricultural landscape in southern Ulster and northern Orange County provide an area of rare grassland habitat large enough to support a suite of grassland-dependent birds including short-eared owls, northern harriers, upland sandpipers, vesper sparrows, grasshopper sparrows and many others. This area also provides significant recreational opportunities including hiking, bird watching and hunting. Opportunities to conserve additional lands in this area should be pursued.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

No Cost 90-day trial of solar street lighting

Wanted: Cities to Try Solar Street Lighting
June 11, 2009
Eco Alternative Solutions, LLC is looking for 25 U.S. cities to participate in a no-cost 90 day trial of the recently announced Integrated Solar Series (ISS).

I wonder if our town might be eligible.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Esopus Meadows Lighthouse Seeks Volunteers for Weekly Work Parties

The Friends of Esopus Meadows Lighthouse could use help on the project to restore the "Maid of the Meadows." Built in 1871 and put on the National Register of Historic Places about 100 years later, the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse is the Hudson's only remaining wooden lighthouse. (I had the good fortune to cover the story for the Poughkeepsie Journal in 2003 when the lighthouse was re-lit after 38 years of darkness.)

Work parties leave at 9 a.m. Sundays and Mondays through the warm season from Norrie Point Marina (Staatsburg, Dutchess County - enter via Norrie Point State Park from Rt. 9).

Here are additional details from The Esopus Meadows Lighthouse Website:

The normal schedule is Sundays and Mondays. The barge departs Norrie Point marina at 9 a.m. and returns at 5 p.m. Wear old clothes, bring your lunch, favorite tools and join the crew! Last minute confirmation of work schedule will be available on 845-331-4083 or 845-848-3669. The weekend plans will be recorded each Thur evening and updated should there be a last minute change due to weather or what ever. Check before departing for Norrie. Leave a message if you have questions.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Upstream, Dealing With Flooding on the Wallkill

The TH Record today has a report about steps taken (or, mostly, not taken) to address flooding on the Wallkill River, as well as the Esopus and Minisink. The Wallkill forms the western boundary of the Town of Esopus. The article focuses on efforts in the Black Dirt area of Orange County, once the nation's premiere onion-growing region and still a major agricultural center. The Black Dirt region is essentially a prehistoric swamp that's been mostly drained to create amazingly rich and productive soils ... that are also highly erodable.

One interesting point in the article:

"Since 2005, the Black Dirt has suffered three floods that models predict should happen only once every 50 years."

Note that climate scientists have predicted that global warming will result in more intense short bursts of precipitation. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation predicts that "Rising sea levels and strong storms will cause localized floods and threaten shoreline infrastructure and development," as one local consequence of global warming (from Fact Sheet: Climate Change in the Hudson Valley, also available as a printable pdf.

In other words, this upstream problem is likely to continue to affect the Town of Esopus in the coming years, so we should keep an eye on developments with this flood-control project.

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Rock Snot" Making Inroads in Ulster County

An invasive algae known as "rock snot" or "didymo" is being found in more streams in Ulster County, most recently in the Esopus Creek (note: The Esopus Creek does not run through the Town of Esopus). The algae, Didymosphenia geminata, damages fish habitat and is of particular concern in trout streams like the Esopus. This is the third documented occurence of the algae in New York, and the first in Ulster County.

According to the DEC:

Unlike many other aquatic invasive plants, didymo (Didymosphenia geminata) grows on the bottom of both flowing and still waters. It is characterized by the development of thick, gooey mat-like growths - which can last for months - even in fast flowing streams. In addition to making footing difficult, didymo can impede fishing by limiting the abundance of bottom dwelling organisms that trout and other species of fish feed on. There are currently no known methods for controlling or eradicating didymo once it infests a water body.

The Times Union story on the subject makes a critically important point: It's up to all of us -- anglers, kayakers, hikers, etc. -- to avoid spreading this algae from water body to water body. According to the DEC:

The microscopic algae can cling - unseen - to waders, boots, boats, clothing, lures, hooks, fishing line and other equipment and remain viable for several weeks under even in seemingly dry conditions. Absorbent items, such as felt-soled waders and wet suits, require thorough treatment.
The DEC recommends these steps:

Remove visible "snot" from self and gear when exiting water (throw remnants in the trash, don't flush down the drain), then cleanse items in one of these ways:
  • Soak for one minute or more with 140+ degree water (for highly absorbent items, soak for 40 minutes in water above 115-degrees, or for 30 minutes in a 115-degree solution of 5% dishwashing detergent
  • Soak for one minute or more in a 2% bleach solution
  • Soak for one minute or more in a 5% salt or dishwashing detergent solution
  • Place gear in freezer until frozen solid
  • Dry gear for at least 48 hours

Monday, April 20, 2009

Volunteers Needed to Monitor Herring In Black Creek

Scientists need the help of the public in monitoring herring in Hudson River tributaries, including Black Creek in the Town of Esopus.

River herring come in two varieties -- blueback and alewife -- and are important fish in the ecology of both the river and ocean. Their numbers have been plummeting in many rivers up and down the East Coast, including -- most likely (data is scarce) on the Hudson. These fish are small and used to reproduce in huge numbers in most tributaries of the river; damming and other habitat loss, pollution and overfishing for food and bait (herring are popular bait fish for striped bass anglers) are likely contributing to their decline. Like many other species important to the Hudson, herring spend most of their lives in the ocean, but spawn in the river each spring.

Black Creek has traditionally been one of the best tributaries for catching herring -- but in recent years, local fishermen have reported that the spawning run has declined or disappeared.

Now to the volunteer opportunity. The following is from the Department of Environmental Conservation:

NYSDEC's Hudson River Estuary Program and Hudson River Fisheries Unit has initiated a volunteer-based river herring monitoring program during the annual migration of river herring from the ocean into freshwater tributaries to spawn.

We are looking for volunteers to monitor streams from now until 5/31. Monitoring involves looking to see if, where, and when herring spawning runs exist on these tributaries. Each volunteer will conduct visual
observations at least twice a week for 15 minutes at a site close to their town. Training is provided, no experience necessary. For more information on the program, please visit the website! . If you are interested in participating or would like to attend a training, contact us at or (845)256-3182.

The Sites:
  • (Albany County) Coeymans Creek, Vloman Kill
  • (Columbia County) Stockport Creek, Mill Creek
  • (Dutchess County) Fallkill, Wappinger Creek, Crum Elbow Creek
  • (Orange County) Moodna, Quassaick Creek
  • (Ulster County) Black Creek
  • (Westchester County) Croton River
  • (Rockland County) Minisceongo Creek, Sparkill Creek

Dolphin Found in Hudson in West Park

This is a sad story, but shows the amazing vitality and abundance of the Hudson River. This note was in the Hudson River Almanac, published online weekly by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation's Hudson River Estuary Program.
4/7 - West Park, Ulster County, HRM 82: At 11:15 this morning we
received word that a kayaker had found a dolphin carcass on the west
bank of the Hudson River in West Park. It is likely that this was the
offshore bottlenose dolphin which eluded us around Thanksgiving.
- Kim Durham
To sign up to receive the E-Almanac, send an email message to and write E-Almanac in the subject line.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Scenic Hudson Adds 3 Acres to Esopus Meadows Preserve

Scenic Hudson has preserved another three acres of land at its Esopus Meadows Preserve on River Road, according to a story in Mid Hudson News.

Environmental benefits of protecting the land, according to Scenic Hudson, include the preservation of 200 feet of Hudson River shoreline visible from historic mansions and parks in Dutchess County (Mills Mansion, Wilderstein, Norrie Point State Park) and it preserves a large vernal pool where amphibians breed. (I've hiked at Esopus Meadows in the past couple weeks, and the peepers are going like mad.)

The surrounding area is part of the Esopus Meadows Biologically Important Area (pdf), designated in 1987 by New York State. The state deems this area "irreplaceable."

The following, about the designated Esopus Meadows Biologically Important Area, is copied from the NYS Department of State Division of Coastal Resources. (I would note that the text seems to reflect data from the time of the region's designation (1987) and that -- particularly when it comes to fish populations -- the information may be dated. The populations of fish in the Hudson River, with the exception of striped bass, shortnose sturgeon and a handful of others, have been in serious decline. The importance of this area to Atlantic sturgeon, American shad and other significant species may be much more critical today than it was 20 years ago.)

Ecosystem Rarity: Relatively large area of shallow, freshwater, tidal flats and aquatic beds; rare in New York State, but several larger areas exist.
Species Vulnerability: Shortnose sturgeon (federally endangered) may occur in the area, but habitat use not adequately documented.
Human Use: One of the most popular waterfowl hunting and recrea-tional fishing areas on the Hudson River;
commercial shad fishery of regional significance.
Population Level: A major concentration area for various fish species and waterfowl in the mid-Hudson Valley;
Replaceability: Irreplaceable.

Esopus Meadows is located on the west side of the Hudson River, approximately four miles south of the City of Kingston, in the Town of Esopus, Ulster County (7.5' Quadrangles: Kingston East, N.Y.; and Hyde Park, N.Y.). The fish and wildlife habitat is an approximate 350 acre shoal in the river, most of which is shallow (less than 10 feet deep at mean low water), freshwater, intertidal mudflats, and subtidal aquatic beds (dominated by wild celery and Eurasian water milfoil). Esopus Meadows is located adjacent to a natural deepwater area in the Hudson River, so the area is not subject to disturbance from periodic maintenance dredging. The land area bordering Esopus Meadows is mostly wooded, with some low to medium density residential development where County Route 81 runs close to the shoreline.


Esopus Meadows is a relatively large, undisturbed area of shallow, freshwater, tidal flats. Areas such as this are extremely valuable fish and wildlife habitats in the Hudson River, and are not found in other coastal regions of New York State. Esopus Meadows is a productive littoral area located near the lowest reaches of shallow freshwater in the Hudson River, which is a critical area for many fish species. The shallow, subtidal beds provide spawning, nursery, and feeding habitats for anadromous species such as striped bass, American shad, and white perch, and for a variety of resident freshwater species, such as largemouth bass, carp, brown bullhead, yellow perch, and shiners. Concentrations of spawning anadromous fishes generally occur in the area between mid-March and July, with substantial numbers of young-of-the-year fish remaining well into the fall (October-November). Esopus Meadows may also serve as a feeding area for populations of shortnose sturgeon (E) wintering in the adjacent deepwater channel.

The abundant fisheries resources in the area provide excellent opportunities for recreational and commercial fishing, attracting fishermen from throughout the mid Hudson Valley. Esopus Meadows and the edge of the tidal flats support one of the best recreational striped bass fisheries in the Hudson estuary. Research collections have included capture of up to 10 striped bass over 20 pounds (maximum 45 pounds) in a single seine haul. Concentrations of black bass on and adjacent to Esopus Meadows also support a regionally important recreational fishery. Access to the area is available by boat and from much of the river shoreline north of Esopus Meadows Point.

Significant concentrations of waterfowl also occur in the Esopus Meadows area. Dense growths of submergent vegetation provide valuable feeding areas for many species of ducks, and are especially important during spring (March-April) and fall (mid-September - early December) migrations. Concentrations of diving ducks, such as scaups, redhead, canvasback, common goldeneye, and mergansers, are regularly found out in this area. This open water area is also used by dabbling ducks, including mallard, black duck, and blue-winged teal, especially during calm weather, and much of the area provides refuge from hunting pressure in shoreline areas. However, portions of Esopus Meadows that are accessible comprise one of the most popular waterfowl hunting areas on the lower Hudson River. Depending on weather conditions, some waterfowl may remain in the area throughout winter; mid-winter aerial surveys for the period 1976-1985 indicate average concentrations of approximately 80 birds in the area each year (500 in peak year), including black duck, mallard, canvasback, and mergansers. Although occasional observations have been reported, the extent to which other bird species, such as loons, grebes, gulls, and shorebirds, may use the area has not been well documented. However, the variety of birds observed here, and its accessibility, makes Esopus Meadows popular among many birdwatchers in the mid Hudson Valley.

A habitat impairment test must be met for any activity that is subject to consistency review under federal and State laws, or under applicable local laws contained in an approved local waterfront revitalization program. If the proposed action is subject to consistency review, then the habitat protection policy applies, whether the proposed action is to occur within or outside the designated area.

The specific habitat impairment test that must be met is as follows. In order to protect and preserve a significant habitat, land and water uses or development shall not be undertaken if such actions would:
  • destroy the habitat; or,
  • significantly impair the viability of a habitat.
Habitat destruction is defined as the loss of fish or wildlife use through direct physical alteration, disturbance, or pollution of a designated area or through the indirect effects of these actions on a designated area. Habitat destruction may be indicated by changes in vegetation, substrate, or hydrology, or increases in runoff, erosion, sedimentation, or pollutants. Significant impairment is defined as reduction in vital resources (e.g., food, shelter, living space) or change in environmental conditions (e.g., temperature, substrate, salinity) beyond the tolerance range of an organism. Indicators of a significantly impaired habitat focus on ecological alterations and may include but are not limited to reduced carrying capacity, changes in community structure (food chain relationships, species diversity), reduced productivity and/or increased incidence of disease and mortality. The tolerance range of an organism is not defined as the physiological range of conditions beyond which a species will not survive at all, but as the ecological range of conditions that supports the species population or has the potential to support a restored population, where practical. Either the loss of individuals through an increase in emigration or an increase in death rate indicates that the tolerance range of an organism has been exceeded. An abrupt increase in death rate may occur as an environmental factor falls beyond a tolerance limit (a range has both upper and lower limits). Many environmental factors, however, do not have a sharply defined tolerance limit, but produce increasing emigration or death rates with increasing departure from conditions that are optimal for the species. The range of parameters which should be considered in applying the habitat impairment test include but are not limited to the following:

  1. physical parameters such as living space, circulation, flushing rates, tidal amplitude, turbidity, water temperature, depth (including loss of littoral zone), morphology, substrate type, vegetation, structure, erosion and sedimentation rates;
  2. biological parameters such as community structure, food chain relationships, species diversity, predator/prey relationships, population size, mortality rates, reproductive rates, meristic features, behavioral patterns and migratory patterns; and,
  3. chemical parameters such as dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, acidity, dissolved solids, nutrients, organics, salinity, and pollutants (heavy metals, toxics and hazardous materials).

Although not comprehensive, examples of generic activities and impacts which could destroy or significantly impair the habitat are listed below to assist in applying the habitat impairment test to a proposed activity. Any activity that would substantially degrade water quality in Esopus Meadows would result in significant impairment of the habitat. All species of fish and wildlife may be adversely affected by water pollution, such as chemical contamination (including food chain effects), oil spills, excessive turbidity or sedimentation, disposal. Continued efforts should be made to improve water quality in the Hudson River, which is primarily dependent upon controlling discharges from combined sewer overflows, industrial point sources, and ships. Oil and other hazardous substance spills are an especially significant threat to this area, because the biological activity of tidal flats is concentrated at the soil surface, much of which may be directly exposed to these pollutants. Disruption of plant communities or benthos in the area, through dredging, filling (including dredge spoil disposal), or bulkheading, could reduce its value as a fish and wildlife habitat. No new navigation channels should be cut through the area; any dredging activities needed to maintain the existing channel should be scheduled in mid to late summer to minimize potential impacts on most aquatic organisms and migratory birds. Thermal discharges, depending on time of year, may have variable effects on use of the area by aquatic species and wintering waterfowl. Installation and operation of water intakes could have a significant impact on juvenile (and adult, in some cases) fish concentrations, through impingement or entrainment.

Appropriate public access to Esopus Meadows should be maintained or enhanced to ensure that adequate opportunities for compatible human uses of the fish and wildlife resources are available.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tree Seedling Giveaway - Breathe Green Esopus!

The Town Of Esopus Environmental Board will present its Third Annual Breathe Green, Esopus! tree and shrub seedling giveaway on Saturday, April 18 from 1-4 p.m. at the new Town Hall, 284 Broadway (Route 9W).

Bare-root tree and shrub seedlings will be available free for town residents. Varieties available will include Mountain Ash, Witch Hazel and Toringo Crabapple.

Green leaves from trees produce oxygen for all of us. In the fall, they provide material for composting!

Also Saturday, April 18 in Port Ewen:

10 a.m. Old Town Library: Promoting Pride in Port Ewen hosts its Sidewalk Sweep street cleanup. Please bring a broom, dustpan and bucket.

4 p.m. Town Hall: Klyne Esopus Museum presents: American Indians In The Time Of Henry Hudson, a talk by Laurence Hauptman. (Part of New York's Quadricentennial celebration.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Garden and lawn cleanup at Mt St Alphonsus

The Saratogian has this note about a garden and lawn cleanup Saturday:

ESOPUS — The Mount St. Alphonsus Pastoral Center, located in the Hudson Valley, plans a Garden and Lawn Clean-up Day from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, April 4.

The day is organized by Mount staff member Theresa Stewart and Redemptorist priest Fr. Eugene Grohe.

Volunteers, including religious education students who need to complete community service hours, are sought to participate in the cleanup.

Volunteers are asked to register prior to the event by calling Theresa Stewart at 845-384-8015, or e-mailing her at

Participants are asked to bring work gloves and lawn and garden tools.

The Mount is located on more than 400 acres of fields, forest and ponds, and also has more than one-half mile of riverfront property on the Hudson River. For more information, call 845-384-8015.

Friday, March 27, 2009

$754K Coming to Ulster County for Energy Efficiency Projects

Ulster County is in line to receive $754,400, and NYSERDA $29.7 million, as part of the energy efficiency portion of Obama Administration's economic stimulus. According to the Department of Energy:

"The funding will support energy audits and energy efficiency retrofits in residential and commercial buildings, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections, and the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements," according to the Department of Energy. "Other activities eligible for use of grant funds include transportation programs that conserve energy, projects to reduce and capture methane and other greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, renewable energy installations on government buildings, energy efficient traffic signals and street lights, deployment of Combined Heat and Power and district heating and cooling systems, and others."

At the federal level, there is significantly more money being put into these projects, and that money is filtering down to the local level. We should expect to see increased opportunities for matching grants, low-interest loans and other programs related to energy efficiency.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Scenic Hudson Adds 56 Acres to Shaupeneak Ridge

Through a conservation easement that leaves the land in private ownership, Scenic Hudson has preserved another 56 acres on Shaupeneak Ridge. Stories in the Record and Mid Hudson News. That amounts to about a 10% increase in protected acreage; Scenic Hudson's Web site lists the existing preserve at 570 acres.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Clearwater's Public Sail Schedule

Clearwater’s three-hour long sails on its tall ships, which take place under most weather conditions, are regarded to be one of the most unique and unforgettable experiences imaginable on the Hudson River. Each sail offers an opportunity to view the region’s beautiful vistas and historic landmarks from a new perspective while learning about the river’s ecosystem and environmental concerns as well.

Prices for the public sails are $50 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. The adult price for members of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater is $35. Although there is no refreshment stand on either vessel, guests are allowed to bring their own food and beverages onboard (including beer and wine—but no hard alcohol).

Saturday, 04/25 10am-1pm Beacon

Saturday, 05/02 3-6pm Piermont
Saturday, 05/23 4-7pm 79th Street (Manhattan)
Monday, 05/25 Memorial Day 10-1 & 3-6pm 79th Street
Saturday, 05/30 6-9pm 79th Street

Saturday, 06/20 & Sunday, 06/21: Public Sails, Great Hudson River Revival
Sunday, 06/28 2-5pm Kingston

Sunday, 07/05 2-5pm Piermont
Saturday, 07/11 5-8pm Poughkeepsie
Saturday, 07/25 6-9pm 79th Street
Sunday, 07/26 2-5pm 79th Street

Saturday, 08/01 3-6pm Red Hook
Sunday, 08/16 4-7pm Beacon
Wednesday, 08/19 6-9pm 79th Street
Saturday, 08/22 4-7pm Yonkers
Wednesday, 08/26 6-9pm Verplanck
Friday, 08/28 6-9pm West Point

(Mystic Whaler schedule)

Saturday, 05/23 & Sunday, 05/24: Special 5-hour sails from West Point
(all information and reservations through: 1-800-697-8420)
Saturday, 05/30 10am-1pm Beacon
Sunday, 06/14 Strawberry Festival 6-9pm Beacon
Saturday, 06/20 & Sunday, 06/21: Public Sails, Great Hudson River Revival

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bald eagle sighting in Port Ewen

I just got word that there's a bald eagle perched at Medrex, clearly in view from Route 9W in Port Ewen. I'll try to follow with a photo.

I saw one glide over Ross park a couple weeks ago, headed toward the Hudson.

Eagles have recovered strongly on the Hudson River in the last roughly 10 years, and there are several nesting pairs that live along the river. In winter, many fly down from Canada, too, looking for open water and fish. Who knows is this one is a resident or visitor?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is Esopus Ready for Energy Efficiency Money From the Federal Economic Stimulus Bill?

Interesting piece in the NYTimes today about how some municipalities are preparing, but most are unprepared, to spend the billions in the economic stimulus bill that are to go toward energy efficiency. Is there something the environmental board can/should do to advise the town?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Birding Blog From Mount St Alphonsus

I came across this blog today - written by an amateur birder, Tom Deely, living at The Mount.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Recycling Grant Opportunity Postponed

I just received this from Coca Cola and the National Recycling Coalition. This is in reference to the grant program that supplies recycling bins for public places, like Main Street or parks.

Dear Recycling Leaders,

This message is being distributed to those requesting notification of the next Coca Cola / National Recycling Coalition Bin Grant cycle. The grant cycle originally scheduled for February, 2009 has been postponed until later in the year. New dates have not been set at this time. We will send further updates by email once a new grant schedule has been determined.

Thank you for your interest in the Bin Grant program and for supporting recycling in your community.

Alec Cooley
National Recycling Coalition

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2/28/09: Sojourner Truth concert

Carte de visite, seatedImage via Wikipedia

Listening For Truth, a benefit concert to raise funds for a memorial to Sojourner Truth, will be presented on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009 at 3 PM at the Reformed Church on Salem Street in Port Ewen.

The choral concert will feature the Esopus Festival Choir directed by Linda Bresnahan McCarthy, and the Ulster County Community Outreach Chorus, directed by Dennis Washington. Music will include a variety of songs and hymns, some written by Sojourner Truth, and period music she would have known. In addition, a dramatic reading will be presented.

Tickets will be available for a suggested donation of $10 at the door. Seating is limited. Refreshments will be provided.

Money raised at the concert, through donations, and in the future at other fundraisers will be used to erect a statue to Sojourner Truth in a park being constructed on Broadway in Port Ewen. As a slave, Sojourner Truth lived and worked in a tavern which stood on the site in the 19th century.

In 2005, the Esopus Town Board voted to name the park in her honor and a citizen's committee organized the Memorial Fund to raise funds for the statue. The Sojourner Truth Memorial Fund is affiliated with the Ulster County Community Foundation. All contributions are tax deductible.

2/18/09: Env. Board meeting agenda

1) Roll Call & Approval of Minutes, Vouchers, etc.

2) Membership report

3) Recycling Contract Update – submission of Env. Board recommendation memo to Town Board

4) Lighting Survey Update

‐ Status of data collection and evaluation (due). Status of report progress for March submission

‐ NYSERDA literature, Speaker on urban lighting (Greene County? NYSERDA?)

5) 2009 ‐ New Project

‐ Natural Resource Inventory: Status ‐ finding speaker to discuss process with the group in a combined meeting with Planning Board?

6) 2009 Community Events

‐ April: Arbor Day "Breathe Green Esopus" sapling giveaway

‐ June: Water Chestnut Harvest ‐ will we do this again this year?

‐ July: Hudson River Fulton Event ‐ Plan for event with Waterfront Board. What do we want to do?

‐ September: Fall Festival ‐ Do we want to have a table?

8) Updates and New Business

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More upcoming events

Below are a few area events, as listed by a list Manna Jo Greene sends monthly. Thought some of them could be relevant to either the Environmental Board or residents in Esopus:

Weds., Feb. 18, 6 - 9 pm, Designing the Home Garden. Learn how to site, design, and put in a garden, whether it’s one bed or fifty. Get information on what you can start planning and doing now. BRC, Kingston. Continuing Education: 845-339-2025,,$45.

Weds., Feb. 25, 7-8:30 p.m. ANNUAL CAC/EMC ROUNDTABLE, sponsored by the Environment Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County, affords CAC members the chance to share information, network with colleagues and learn about their accomplishments and priorities for 2009. Open to those interested in joining CACs ­to learn about the dynamic role volunteers can play in preserving their community’s natural resources. Farm and Home Center, 2715 Route 44, Millbrook. Contact: Vicky Buono, (845) 677-8223, x153,

Thurs., Feb. 26, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm. Save Energy, Save Dollars -- a FREE Weatherization and Energy Savings Workshop designed to help people reduce their electric and heating bills resulting in significant savings year round. Student Union Room 407 at SUNY New Paltz. Pre-registration required; attendees will receive a FREE Energy Saving Gift Pack. Free and open to the public. Contact Barbara Grumberg at 845-340-3990 or to reserve a seat.

April-June VOLUNTEER RIVER HERRING MONITORING PROGRAM. Join the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program in our efforts to collect information on the spawning runs of the ecologically important river herring. Location specific to your area -- no experience necessary. Contact Amy Bloomfield, . 845-256-3172 .

Sat., April 4, MAGNETIZING DOWNTOWNS AND HISTORIC VILLAGES. Helping Mid-Hudson cities and villages increase their magnetism with fresh ideas and examples to attract people and job growth to existing centers. At 721 Broadway, Kingston.

Thurs., Apr. 9, 6 - 9 pm, Organic Gardening for Garden and Containers - Pt 2. Learn how to identify and outwit pests and encourage beneficial insects; how to reduce plant diseases; how to build the soil’s nutritional value and increase crop productivity. BRC, Kingston. Continuing Education: 845-339-2025, , $39

Sat., May 2, 10 am - 3 pm, Raising Goats 101. Learn how to start a herd, herd health, preventive care, reproduction, feeding, housing as well as profits from your herd, and financial considerations at Triple H Ranch, Hudson, NY. Continuing Education: 845-339-2025, , $79 (+lunch $7).

Sat., May 9, 10 am - 5 pm, ROSENDALE EARTHFEST AND EXPO. Rosendale Recreation Center, Rt. 32. "Many backyards, one world" with exhibitors and speakers on backyard biodiversity, local food production, water resources, alternative energy, energy efficiency, and green-building. Arm-of-the-Sea Puppet Theater, Dog on Fleas, food, crafts, and fun, hands-on activities for all. FREE/donation. (845) 658-8967.


The Hudson River Estuary Program’s “TREES FOR TRIBS” Initiative is accepting applications for spring stream buffer planting projects. The program offers free native trees and shrubs for qualifying projects in the Hudson River Estuary watershed. Applications are due by March 1st. For more info contact Kevin Grieser at or (845)-256-3145. See for info & applications

NYSDEC’s Environmental Resource Mapper is an on-line, interactive mapping application that can be used to identify some of NYS's natural resources and environmental features that are state protected, or of conservation concern.

Environmental Board Roundtable

Dutchess County's EMC holds an annual roundtable discussion for members of local environment boards. This year's is Wed. Feb. 25 from 7-8:30 p.m. (more details below)

I've attended these in the past. Even though it's not our county, the same issues come up in neighboring towns, and these meetings are a good way to learn what projects other boards have taken on in the past year.

Weds., Feb. 25, 7-8:30 p.m. ANNUAL CAC/EMC ROUNDTABLE, sponsored by the Environment Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County, affords CAC members the chance to share information, network with colleagues and learn about their accomplishments and priorities for 2009. Open to those interested in joining CACs ­to learn about the dynamic role volunteers can play in preserving their community’s natural resources. Farm and Home Center, 2715 Route 44, Millbrook. Contact: Vicky Buono, (845) 677-8223, x153,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Coffee and Conversation

The Kingston City Board of Education is hosting a "Coffee and Conversation" open house on Monday, January 26th from 9-10am at Dominicks on the corner of Wall and North Front Streets. Good opportunity to ask questions one-on-one outside of the formal Board meeting sessions.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

1/22/09: Sea-Level Rise Meeting

Public Invited to Meetings on Rise of Sea Levels
State Task Force Seeks Input on Adaptation Planning

Thursday, January 22
4 to 7 PM: Open House
7 PM: Presentations
Nelly Goletti Theatre
Student Center, Marist College
Poughkeepsie, New York

The public is invited to a series of meetings about the effects of sea-level rise and the development of recommendations for dealing with rising sea levels, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today.

The meetings, sponsored by the New York State Sea-Level Rise Task Force, will be held at four different locations -- in Poughkeepsie and Manhattan and Suffolk and Nassau Counties.

Each meeting will feature an informal open house session followed by staff presentations and a public-comment period. The open house includes exhibits related to various aspects of climate change andsea level rise. Agency staff will be available to explain the exhibits and answer questions. Those interested may come at any time during the scheduled open house. The meetings give the public an opportunity to provide input on the task force's work plan.

"Global warming is one of the most significant environmental and economic issues of our generation. I commend Commissioner Grannis and his staff for convening this important planning group and urge thepublic and elected officials to participate in this process that will help the state chart a responsible course on this issue," said Governor David A. Paterson.

In his State of the State speech last week, Governor Paterson addressed global warming by calling for one of the most ambitious clean energy plans in the nation. He unveiled his "45 by 15" plan that calls for New York to meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and clean renewable energy by 2015. This goal will alsocreate 50,000 new jobs for New Yorkers, helping build the workforce necessary for a clean energy economy. Governor Paterson also announced the creation of a consortium on hybrid electric batteries and energystorage technologies to make strides in the development of technology for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

New York State is a leader in taking action to address climate change and is implementing a broad portfolio of tactics to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, from promoting energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy programs to participating in the nation's first mandatory carbon cap-and-trade program for power plant emissions. As part of this proactive approach, the New York State Legislature established the State Sea-Level Rise Task Force in 2007, under a bill sponsored by Senator Carl Marcellino and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney. The task force will issue a report making recommendations toprotect New York's coastal ecosystems, natural habitats, infrastructure, and coastal communities from flooding and other potential impacts.

The task force is comprised of state agencies, local governments, not-for-profit organizations, community groups, and private citizens. Commissioner Grannis serves as chair of the task force.

The geographic scope of the task force report will include the five boroughs of New York City and the counties of Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk. The tidal waters of the Hudson River to the Federal Dam at Troy are also included because of the potential risks from rising waters to Hudson River ecosystems, drinking water supplies, and infrastructure.

More information about the State Sea Level Rise Task Force is available at:

To receive e-mail notification of meetings and other task force activities, subscribe to the Sea-Level Rise Task Force e-mail list at:

Submit comments on the work of the Sea-Level Rise Task Force to:

Contact: Mark Lowery, 518-402-8027

Draft Meeting Notes for the Jan. 21

Draft Minutes of the Jan. 21 meeting of the Town of Esopus Environment Board

Meeting called to order at 7:15 p.m. in the Esopus Town Hall

In attendance were Chairwoman Emily Pereira, Town Board Liaison Deb Silvestro, members David Murray, Susan Holland, Dan Shapley and Kathie Quick (waterfront board liaison) and pending member Kate Landi.


Kathie Quick and Andy Bicking have been re-appointed to the board. Emily Pereira is acting chairwoman, pending official acceptance by the town board. Three are three vacancies on the board. Kate is awaiting town board confirmation of her application to fill the first. Chris Bowser is also expected to submit an application to fill the second. The town board plans to publish a solicitation in local newspapers announcing open board seats, including for the Environment Board.

There were no minutes or vouchers to approve.

Lighting Survey

Dave reported on the lighting survey, which is now approximately 80% complete.

Central Hudson, by contract with the town, will replace up to 5% of the town's lightbulbs per year, at the town's request. We will recommend the replacement of approximately 100 1950s-era mercury vapor bulbs that use approximately three-times the wattage of more efficient bulbs. Given that we have approximately 400 bulbs in all, it will take five years to swap out all inefficient bulbs. Once that process is complete, Dave estimates a yearly savings of $10,000. Most of these older bulbs are in Port Ewen, so the savings would be focused on the Port Ewen lighting district.

The goal is to complete the survey by our March meeting, and complete a draft report to the town board by April. In the meantime, to take advantage of the 5% annual bulb switch-out clause in the contract, Dave will draft an interim letter to the town board outlining which bulbs can be replaced, and updating the board on the progress of the lighting survey. To complete these goals, Dan will continue to canvas Port Ewen, and both Emily and Kathie offered additional help, if they receive instructions from Dave about which areas to canvas.

Deb reported that Steve Aaron, developer of The Birches senior complex, has requested 16 street lights, at expense of electricity and poles to the town, for a stretch of road that the Environment Board feels does not require lighting. Deb reported that there is already sidewalk lighting as part of the development. Dan noted that excessive lighting would be a detriment to the view from the Hudson River, given the development's location on top of a prominent hill.

The board discussed inviting a speaker to educate the board on community lighting best practices, so the board's recommendations to the Town Board relative to removing lights from service can be based on sound principles. Deb will contact a representative of Greene County that has worked on this issue. Dave will contact a representative of NYSERDA. Dave noted that street lighting is not typically based on hard and fast guidelines, but involves many community considerations, such as perception of safety.


Deb reported that the town board has approved a request from the town's transfer station contractor, Dankelmann and Associates, to raise the bag fee at the transfer station in 2009 to $4.50. She reported that Dankelmann complained to the town board about rising costs associated with gas and the Ulster County Resouurce Recovery Agency. She reported that the town board appears close to approving a five-year contract extension for the contractor to continue operating the town's transfer station/recycling center.

Dave reported about a community in Washington State that asks users of a swap shack to sign a waiver before using it. It has come to the board's attention that liability may be a concern of Dankelmann's that is prohibiting the establishment of a swap shack that town residents could use to freely exchange gently used items.

Dan reported that Dankelmann has written a letter of support for a Hudson Valley Materials Exchange grant proposal to the USDA that would establish a regional reuse network among Southern Ulster County towns. In that letter, he estimated that Plattekill and Esopus transfer stations (the two towns his firm operates) could divert an estimated 200 tons of trash from the waste stream into reuse. Dan reported that Jill Gruber at the Hudson Valley Materials Exchange is willing to work with Esopus to expand reuse services to town residents, but that any effort, including staff time, would be billed for. The Hudson Valley Materials Exchange, which is run out of the New Paltz transfer station, is on shaky financial ground, according to Gruber.

Dan reported on data he'd gathered from the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency showing that among the 14 Ulster County towns that recycle more than 100 tons of materials each year, Esopus recycles the least. He reported that other towns in the county charge residents fewer fees for use of their transfer stations, though he noted that the data may not be fully up to date. The $4.50 per bag fee appears to be about 50% above any fee charged by any town-run transfer station. The town's annual fee of $20 is slightly above average ($18). The tonnage recycled per transfer station permit is two- to three-times lower in Esopus than comparable Ulster County towns. Dan reported that the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency has offered its help in drafting a new contract, or putting the contract out for competitive bidding. While Dankelmann is the only independent contractor of its kind operating in Ulster County (all towns but Plattekill and Esopus run their own transfer stations), UCRRA said there are additional independent contractors in the region that would bid for the contract.

UCRRA also said that one or two towns in the county run their transfer stations at no loss. Deb noted that Esopus runs a loss on its transfer station. The board noted the need for transparency in any contractor's bookkeeping for accountability and enforcement of any contract's provisions.

The board discussed the need to re-write the town's contract for transfer station services so that it clearly expresses a vision for the services that should be offered, and several board members expressed a desire to see the town bid a new contract.

Dan will draft a letter to the Town Board outlining the board's findings and recommendations and circulate to Environment Board members so that the letter can be delivered to the Supervisor before the Town Board's workshop Feb. 2.

Waterfront Advisory Board report

Kathie reported that the board has won a grant to purchase a new water chestnut harvester. Deb reported that the town can trade in its old harvester and get as much or more money than it paid originally, and that the town was exploring options to share the harvester with other towns with water chestnut problems, like Saugerties.

Kathie reported about the availability of a Biodiversity short course offered by Hudsonia and paid for by the DEC Hudson River Estuary Program. It's an intensive course using mapping and site visits to assess the ecological importance of various landscapes. Dan reported that many other town environment and planning boards in the region have taken this course in preparation of Natural Resource Inventories used to assess the impact of development projects.

Web site

Susan said Sustainable Esopus will soon have a subscription service so that board members can receive email updates whenever there's a new post to the blog.

2009 Goal Setting

The board agreed that its goals for 2009 should include completing the LIghting Survey and continuing the Recycling Initiative, beginning a Natural Resource Inventory, engaging the community at additional events, networking more with the Town Board and Planning Board, and holding another tree giveaway with an expert speaker.

The board agreed that it should begin work on a Natural Resource Inventory by inviting a speaker to explain the process, and invite other relevant boards to attend that speaking session. Kathie will ask the Ulster County Environmental Management Council if it has a knowledgeable speaker, and Dan will ask the DEC Hudson River Estuary Program.

The board discussed participating in the Hudson-Fultion-Champlain celebration July 25, the Hudson River Sweep, the Hudson Valley Ramble, the Apple Festival and another water chestnut pull, if necessary. No decisions were made about how the board should participate, or to what extent.

Deb reported that there will be a fundraiser for the creation of Sojourner Truth park on the site of the old town hall on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. at the Port Ewen Reformed Church on Salem Street. Tickets are $10 suggested donation, and there will be choir and storytelling performances to recognize the importance of this Town of Esopus slave-turned-abolitionist. She's one of the town's most famous and celebrated residents. The board expressed its support.

Notes for followup

Emily - offered to do more lighting survey work

Cathie - offered to do more lighting survey work, and will contact the EMC to request a speaker about the Natural Resource Inventory process

Dave - will send lighting survey information to Emily and Cathie, draft a letter to the town board about progress to date and savings potential this year, and contact NYSERDA to request a speaker about community lighting

Deb will contact Green county for a speaker about community lighting

Dan will continue the Port Ewen lighting survey, contact UCRRA for additional information about recycling, draft and circulate a letter to the town board about the recycling contract and contact the DEC HREP for a speaker about Natural Resource Inventory.

Meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.

Meeting notes by Dan Shapley - posted to Sustainable Esopus blog Jan. 22.

Google Alerts

Just following up on the anecdote from last night about Google Alerts... Here's the link: You can set up alerts for any keyword you want, and choose the frequency, and which media types (blogs, news, video, etc.) you want to receive. I get them for Esopus, Port Ewen and Rondout, and that way I don't miss any news about my area ... though I also have to wade through a lot of sports results for Rondout Valley schools, etc.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

1/21/09: Env. Board meeting agenda

Proposed Agenda:
1. Roll call, approval of minutes and vouchers, etc.
2. Membership
3. Lighting survey
5. Recycling
6. Waterfront Board update
6. New business

Emily P: In addition to the agenda for tonight’s meeting, I would like everyone to think of some goals for the new year, particularly another tangible project that we can reasonably complete within the year. I think that by the end of tonight’s meeting we should have established completion dates for existing projects (lighting survey and recycling contract); discussed goals for the year to include a new project and long term goals; and a list of community events we want to head and/or participate in during the year (another sapling giveaway?, guest speaker, chestnut pull, Hudson Fulton, etc.).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rosendale Starts Unofficial Swap Shack

Looks like the Rosendale transfer station is offering some "unofficial" ways for residents to swap usable stuff, rather than throw it out, according to an article in the Freeman.