Winnakee Land Trust

Winnakee Awarded $1,086,957 DEC Grant to Protect Another 142 Acres Along the Saw Kill

Governor Hochul announced NYS DEC Water Quality Improvement Projects last week across the state, including a $1,086,957 grant to Winnakee Land Trust to further protect the Saw Kill, a drinking water source for thousands of individuals.  Winnakee will acquire a 142-acre parcel in the Town of Red Hook, allowing its natural features to be protected from potential development. The parcel, currently a part of The Louis August Jonas Foundation’s Camp Rising Sun, consists of forests and wooded wetlands, vital land cover that will continue to filter runoff and potential pollutants from entering the public drinking water source. 

This grant enables Winnakee to purchase this land with funds from the CWIA/EPF Water Quality Improvement Project Grant administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), with additional assistance provided by the Town of Red Hook in furtherance of their Community Preservation Project Plan.

The primary purpose for the acquisition is to protect the public water supply from the Saw Kill, furthering The Saw Kill Water Quality Protection Project, a public private partnership land protection acquisition between Winnakee Land Trust and the Town of Red Hook.

The principal water supply area served is in-and-around Bard College, a campus with an enrollment of nearly 2,500 students and approximately 350 faculty and staff in Annandale-on-Hudson.  This funding award will also build additional protections for Saw Kill flows into the Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area.  Managed by NYS DEC, Tivoli Bays is part of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, which serves as a field laboratory on estuarine research, stewardship and education. It is also designated as a NYS Important Bird Area.

 “Winnakee’s protection of this forest ensures no development or harmful practices will take place on these lands, which could negatively impact the public water supply and dependent wildlife,”

Bob Davis, Executive Director of Winnakee Land Trust.

  “Without this protection, development of these lands would require septic systems and increased runoff contamination from imperious surfaces in the area as well as increased siltation.”

“Through the development of a sustainable management plan for this site, Winnakee will also enhance riparian buffers associated with the 54 acres of wetlands on the property, benefiting downstream communities and significant wetland animal habitat in the filtration of pesticides and animal waste from surrounding agricultural land runoff; stabilizing eroding banks and mitigating impacts of flood events,” added Davis.

As with other recent Winnakee property acquisitions, long term plans will include establishment of a preserve and public access and enjoyment of existing trails as well as expansion of trail connectivity in low impact areas in partnership with the Town of Red Hook.

“Winnakee is proud to further our protections of this important watershed. We are also grateful for another collaborative opportunity to partner with the Town of Red Hook to enhance healthy assets for our community.”

David Ping, Chair, Winnakee Land Trust

Learn More about the Saw Kill Trails

Become a part of trail and bridge building!

At the first Saw Kill acquisition site, local volunteer efforts are underway to help expand a trail network between Bard College and Red Hook. Please join this fun, community partnership below, gain new stewardship skills and enjoy staying connected to the land.


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