Winnakee Land Trust Receives $1,214,650 Award for Saw Kill Land Acquisition Project from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council Awards
Award will impact northern Dutchess water supply, habitats, trail expansions and more
Rhinebeck, NY- December 13, 2017 – Winnakee Land Trust is pleased to announce Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council Award for the acquisition of land along the Saw Kill in northern Dutchess County. “This grant will allow us to acquire key parcels along the Saw Kill that will enable us to impact the water supply, habitats, trail expansions and so much more,” said Gregg Swanzey, Winnakee Land Trust’s Executive Director and grant author. “We are grateful to the Governor and the Regional Economic Development Council for recognizing the import of this project. We congratulate the Council and all grant awardees in the region.”
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the more than $755 million in economic and community development funding awarded through Round VII of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative to 10 regional councils of NYS. The Mid-Hudson Region was awarded $84.8 million to 113 priority projects. The regional councils were established in 2011 as a way to jumpstart New York’s economy, create jobs, and improve quality of life.
The Saw Kill Land Acquisition Project calls for the acquisition of land parcels
totaling 335 acres in the Town of Red Hook located adjacent to the Saw Kill, a water course that is the water supply for Bard College, approximately 5,000 feet downstream. The primary purpose for the acquisition is to protect the water supply. However, the project will lead to additional positive outcomes including the protection of conservation values such as significant bat habitat and National Wetlands Inventory wetlands. It will enable Winnakee Land Trust to work with partners to create a non-motorized trail for pedestrians and bicyclists that will serve to connect Bard College and the Empire State Trail to the Village of Red Hook and to consider other appropriate uses. In addition, the land could be established as a nature preserve to be managed by Winnakee Land Trust similarly to Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill in Rhinebeck and the Winnakee Nature Preserve in Hyde Park.
The Saw Kill Land Acquisition Project is aimed at protecting the water supply for Bard College, a campus with an enrollment of nearly 2,500 students and approximately 350 faculty and staff in Annandale on Hudson. Just downstream from Bard the Saw Kill flows into the Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area managed by NYS DEC, designated as part of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve in 1982 as a field laboratory for estuarine research, stewardship and education and as a New York State Important Bird Area in 1997.
A biological assessment of the Saw Kill in Annandale-on-Hudson conducted in 1998, determined water quality was only slightly impacted by source nutrient enrichment and/or pesticides as probable sources of impact. However, if buildout were to occur on these involved properties there would likely be significant increases in storm water runoff and contamination from septic systems and other nonpoint sources of contamination.