Esslie-Frenia Law June 2023 Leaderboard

Ancram conservation panel marks a busy year

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ANCRAM—After 19 years of work the Ancram Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) counts the town’s Biodiversity Map among its accomplishments in 2019.

CAC Chair Jamie Purinton delivered the completed map and a report on the council’s 2019 achievements and activities to the Town Board at its January 16 meeting.

“It’s amazing,” Ms. Purinton said of the map, telling the board it represents “27,000 acres of field work.”

Habitats were identified and mapped by the Ancram Biodiversity Assessment Team by remote sensing and field observations. The habitat information was digitized and edited by Hudsonia Ltd, using color infrared orthophoto images taken in spring 2014 and obtained from the New York State GIS Clearinghouse. Road locations and names were obtained from the New York State GIS Clearinghouse website and modified where necessary. Some habitat types can only be identified in the field. Numbered black and white triangles on the map indicate unchecked areas where such habitats may occur or other ambiguous areas that the team was unable to visit. Map credit: Hudsonia

The map will be updated every 5 or 10 years and questions regarding remaining properties the biodiversity mapping team could not access will be answered as the map evolves over time.

Other 2019 achievements and activities include:

• Erin Robertson, a CAC member and Planning Board member, provides monthly updates on activities of the Planning Board and seeks the council’s advice on environmental issues. The Planning Board sends the CAC applications to review.

• The Natural Resource Conservation Plan brochure prepared by Claire Arnold is now available. CAC made 100 copies for circulation using $250 from its budget.

• CAC prepared a public memo titled, Impacts of Climate Change on the Hudson Valley: Results of the Fourth National Climate Assessment by Ancram Conservation Advisory Council, June 2019. Copies are available to the public and a memo is posted on the town website.

• CAC members Choral Eddie and Kim Tripp had an educational table and members Jane and Jonathan Meigs led a nature walk for the public at the opening of Columbia Land Conservancy’s (CLC) new Overmountain Conservation Area in Ancram, June 1

• In conjunction with the Roe Jan Watershed Association, CAC members conduct sampling at eight sites along 50 miles of the Roe Jan Kill from Hillsdale to Milan, testing for enterococcus. The condition of the Roe Jan is considered overall very good, though some test sites in Ancram included high enterococcus readings and temporary swimming advisories. To see posted water quality results go to: https://www.roejanwatershed.org/

• Participated in the CLC Columbia County CAC Roundtables providing leadership to new CACs and reporting significant undertakings by other CACs in the county. Learning in particular about other CAC initiatives on climate change

• At the request of the Ancram Town Board the CAC prepared lighting recommendation in November to the Town Board for energy efficient upgrade and members of CAC are following ongoing updates on lighting

• Members attend ongoing training and workshops

• Participated in pollinator meadow seeding at the Overmountain Conservation Area with 30 other volunteers November 2

• Began thorough review of Comp Plan and Zoning Regulations so that CAC members can assist the Zoning Review Committee along the way on environmental related topics. Prepared recommendations on environmental protection needed in permitting of potential septic fluids on farm fields

• Reviewed Trout Unlimited culvert study including over $700 of in-kind services

• Contributed to the November Ancram newsletter on topics including how to attract birds, importance of dark skies, and the Overmountain Conservation Area pollinator meadow.

Among the council’s plans this year are to:

• Prepare public education memos on reducing lawn chemicals and invasive earth worms

• Reach out to the town about the health of the Roe Jan watershed, providing recommendations on how to improve the creek’s water quality

• Educate the public on the updated biodiversity map.

• Urge the town to take advantage of available grant money for culvert replacements. A priority plan on specific culverts that need replacement has been completed. With the Trout Unlimited plan, Ancram is in an exceptional position to win grants.

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