New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation announced nearly a million dollars’ worth of grants for various Hudson River Estuary Watershed Community projects, with more than $300,000 of that heading to Hudson Valley towns for eight different enhancements.

The projects are being implemented to design and improve recreational access, enhance education about the river, and advance stewardship of natural resources, the state announced.

The grants are funded by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund and administered through the DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program. The projects and their grants in the Hudson Valley include:

Dutchess County

  • Clarkson University - $39,459: River Ecology Displays, Exhibits and Equipment at Beacon Institute. Clarkson will develop new and updated exhibits, curriculum, and programs about the Hudson River estuary, its watershed, and fish and wildlife for visitors and Beacon schools.
  • Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. - $40,000: The Mighty Hudson - An Interactive Traveling Exhibit. The Sloop Clearwater will research, develop, and construct a universally designed educational exhibit to help youth and adults gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Hudson River and its biology. The traveling exhibit will reach multiple audiences at locations throughout the Hudson Valley.
  • Town of Poughkeepsie - $40,000: Natural Resources Inventory and Open Space Plan. The town of Poughkeepsie will create a natural resources inventory (NRI) and open space plan (OSP) covering about 31 square miles in the town. The NRI and OSP will enable the town to identify priorities for natural resource protection, select tools and techniques to conserve natural resources and establish conservation goals and strategies.

Orange County

  • Orange County Water Authority - $27,166: Hudson River Estuary & Watershed Curriculum Guide. Orange County Water Authority (OCWA) will develop a curriculum guide and lesson plans and conduct teacher training about the Hudson River estuary, its watershed, and source water protection. The lessons will be piloted through OCWA's conservation education programs.

Putnam County

  • Hudson Highlands Land Trust - $50,000: East Highlands Green Corridors Plan. Hudson Highlands Land Trust will partner with the towns of Philipstown and Putnam Valley to create an implementation plan for building green corridors between existing conserved lands that includes conservation and financing strategies. The plan will prioritize land parcels based on scientific data about at-risk wildlife species and habitats, natural resource maps, and land use.

Ulster County

  • Town of New Paltz - $35,000: Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) - Town and Village of New Paltz. The NRI project will update and expand on the town's Open Space Plan to provide an online set of maps and information that identify the current natural resources throughout the town and village. The completed NRI will be a reference document for use by town agencies, landowners, and others seeking information about New Paltz's resources and landscapes, and will provide guidance for land-use planning, land development, and conservation.
  • Arm of the Sea Productions Inc. - $50,000: Arm-of-the-Sea Tidewater Center Bulkhead and Walkway. This funding will be used to reconstruct a wooden bulkhead and build an ADA-accessible bulkhead walkway on the tidal Esopus Creek at Arm-of-the-Sea Tidewater Center in Saugerties. The new walkway will provide public access to Esopus Creek for river education programs and enjoyment of nature.
  • Town of Esopus - $30,750: Esopus Parks Surveys and Engineering Evaluations. The survey and structural assessments at George H. Freer Memorial Beach and Lighthouse Park will help the town plan for universal access for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing, and for an accessible trail at Lighthouse Park. The improvements will enhance the park's long-term resiliency to sea-level rise and flooding.

“These grant awards build on local conservation efforts and priorities by advancing new possibilities for nature-based tourism and creating expanded recreational opportunities for people of all abilities,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

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