Scenic Hudson buys a lot of land in Catskill

Adds 132 acres to popular RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary

CATSKILL (Greene County)—Scenic Hudson’s protection of 132 acres adjacent to its RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary ensures this land will continue sustaining one of the most unique and unspoiled habitats along the Hudson River estuary and will help the region be more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The acquisition adds to the 480-acre nature preserve offering two miles of trails that Scenic Hudson co-owns with Audubon New York. Open daily dawn to dusk and free of charge, RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary provides unparalleled opportunities for hikers and paddlers to explore and observe wildlife—including bald eagles, osprey, muskrat, beaver, otters, turtles and dragonflies.

 Property part of marsh containing globally rare habitat

The newly protected property features more than 3,400 feet along the estuary shore, including a significant portion of Ramshorn Marsh. A state-designated Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat containing the largest freshwater tidal swamp along the Hudson River—and one of just five major locations statewide of this globally rare habitat—Ramshorn Marsh provides irreplaceable habitat for American eel, American shad, smallmouth and largemouth bass, as well as many amphibian, reptile and plant species. It also furnishes vital resting and feeding habitat for large concentrations of waterfowl during their fall and spring migrations, and is an important waterfowl wintering area.

The property ranked highly in Scenic Hudson’s new Hudson Valley Conservation Strategy (HVCS) due to its importance in the estuary’s adaptation to sea level rise and climate change. Scenic Hudson developed the HVCS—the next generation of its strategic ranking system Saving the Land That Matters Most initiative—to pinpoint properties whose conservation will maximize land investments by achieving multiple benefits: sustaining biodiversity, increasing resilience to rising sea levels and other climate change impacts, securing the pathways many species depend on for survival and preserving working farmland.

The HVCS identifies networks of conservation areas that add up to more than the sum of their parts, and charts the most efficient way to conserve those places critical for helping the region withstand the impacts of a warming climate. Conserving the tidal wetland at Ramshorn Marsh and immediately adjacent upland areas is key for allowing its habitats to adapt and migrate inland in response to sea level rise. The acquisition also contributes significantly to climate change mitigation by effectively storing large quantities of carbon. In addition, tidal wetlands like Ramshorn Mash help maintain the river’s water quality.

Due to the property’s high ranking in the HVCS, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation provided a portion of the purchase price.

As a large tidal wetland adjacent to both the village and town of Catskill, Ramshorn Marsh is recognized as playing an important role during storms, absorbing floodwaters and reducing the impact of waves on the land. Such services were noted by the Catskill Waterfront Resilience Task Force, an effort led by Scenic Hudson and the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program that resulted in a set of recommendations to make the village’s waterfront safer and more resilient in both the short and long term.

Bill Williams

Bill Williams

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