NOAA $800,000 grant helps protect critical Hudson River estuarine habitat

New land purchase preserves key New York migratory fish spawning, nursery areas

June 13, 2013

Stockport, NY.

NOAA's Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program helped protect over 300 acres of critical lands along the Hudson River near the town of Stockport, NY that will be managed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation as a protected wildlife habitat, open to the public for passive recreational use.

Download here (Credit: NYS DEC)

A NOAA grant of more than $800,000 has helped New York state complete the acquisition of nearly 300 acres of critical habitat located within the Stockport Creek and Flats biologically important area.

New York’s departments of State and Environmental Conservation and the Scenic Hudson Land Trust, the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley, joined in the purchase.

The $806,017 grant comes from a fiscal year 2010 grant competition held by NOAA’s Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP).

The acquisition will conserve and permanently protect key spawning and nursery habitat for the Hudson River’s migratory fish including blueback herring, alewife, American shad, American eel, striped bass, and the federally endangered short-nosed sturgeon. In addition, 64 acres of globally rare freshwater tidal wetlands will be protected including a segment of land that is part of an important bald eagle habitat corridor.

“This important acquisition will protect vital intertidal marsh and swamp, floodplain forest, and buffer lands which are critical habitat for a host of birds, fish, and other fauna,”said Betsy Blair, manager of the Hudson River reserve. “It will also enable tidal wetlands to migrate landward and upslope with sea level rise, building resilience to climate change in the Hudson River estuary”

“This NOAA conservation grant program is one of America’s best investments because it leverages funds from federal, state and private partners to acquire and protect acres of critical coastal habitat that supports both coastal communities and its ecosystems,” said Margaret Davidson, acting director of NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. “NOAA is pleased to have contributed to the preservation of this important area of the Hudson River valley.”

Stockport, NY.

Map of NOAA's Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program project area along the Hudson River near the town of Stockport, NY.

Download here (Credit: Scenic Hudson.)

This acquisition will protect one of the last major privately owned holdings within the NOAA-funded Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve -- a parcel known as the Plotkin property, which will be owned by New York state’s department of environmental conservation (DEC) and managed as a protected wildlife habitat open to the public for passive recreational use.

With the addition of the Plotkin property, the reserve’s Nutten Hook State Unique Area to the north and Hudson River Islands State Park, Gays Point Section to the south, will now be linked to protect almost five miles of contiguous shoreline within the Stockport Flats component of the Hudson River NERR. The property straddles the towns of Stuyvesant and Stockport in Columbia County, N.Y.

“Protecting the ecological values of Little Nutten Hook and Stockport Flats is critical to maintaining and improving Hudson River habitats for numerous fisheries, migratory waterfowl and marsh birds,” said New York DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “These habitats are important for both the species that depend on them as well as the numerous recreational and economic benefits the Hudson River provides to the people of New York State.”

The Hudson River reserve, one of 28 national estuarine research reserves, is a network of four sites along the Hudson River containing 5,000 acres of estuarine habitat designated in 1982 by NOAA and New York state. The reserve receives funding from NOAA, under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act, and is operated by the DEC as natural field laboratories for research and education, with a strong focus on conserving natural resources, biodiversity, and public access.

NOAA’s CELCP program, established by Congress in 2002 to advance the objectives of the Coastal Zone Management Act, has protected nearly 100,000 acres of critical coastal and estuarine lands in partnership with federal, state, territorial and local government agencies and private organizations.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.