DEC Releases Draft Management Plan to Protect and Restore Piermont Marsh Reserve

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DEC Releases Draft Management Plan to Protect and Restore Piermont Marsh Reserve

Public Meeting Scheduled for February 5, 2018, 7-9 pm, Piermont Village Hall

Public Comments on Draft Plan Accepted through March 1, 2018

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released the Draft Piermont Marsh Reserve Management Plan for public comment, Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

"The Draft Piermont Marsh Reserve Management Plan recognizes the vital role the marsh plays in buffering the village of Piermont from storms, as well as the marsh's beautiful views, ecological significance, and opportunities for visitors to canoe and kayak," said Commissioner Seggos. "Governor Andrew Cuomo is committed to encouraging New Yorkers and visitors alike to enjoy and appreciate our state's outstanding natural resources and the many recreational and environmental benefits they provide and this draft plan advances that commitment."

A public meeting will be held at 7-9 p.m. on Feb. 5, 2018, at Piermont Village Hall, 478 Piermont Avenue, Piermont, NY. The meeting will provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about the proposed management actions in the draft plan and to share comments. The meeting facility is wheelchair accessible. Please submit requests for specific accommodations to hrnerr. In case of inclement weather, the meeting will be postponed to Feb. 8, 2018 and notice will be given on the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve website. The draft plan was released in the Environmental Notice Bulletin on January 17, 2018.

The plan will guide management of the Piermont Marsh Reserve for the next decade, including marsh management, habitat restoration, resource stewardship, public access, education programs, and research. It provides a foundation for increased educational programming, greater community participation in stewardship and direction for collaboration among research partners. Although the plan covers the next 10 years, it establishes a monitoring and adaptive, long-term management approach to support marsh resilience and conservation. In addition, the plan provides for the protection of both natural and human communities and the services the marsh provides as a natural wave and debris barrier.

Key elements of the draft plan include:

  • A large buffer of more than 200 acres of unmanaged marsh will be retained to provide storm protection for neighboring landowners.
  • Habitat restoration focusing on a 10-acre site at the center of the marsh, more than one-half mile from neighboring residential areas, will be treated to reduce the abundance of Phragmites and facilitate the return of native plants. If this project is successful in restoring native communities and meeting other performance benchmarks, two adjoining 15-acre units will be treated (successively) over the next 10 years to restore native ecological communities. The total potential restoration is 40 acres, which represents 15 percent of the marsh.
  • Stewardship projects, including eel passage at Ferdon Dam, rare species protection, and nest boxes are planned.
  • Access improvements will be explored, including a marsh boardwalk.
  • Educational programming will be expanded to include on-land and canoe programs, as well as presentations about marsh restoration and ecology.
  • Research and monitoring will focus on marsh ecology, resilience to sea level rise, impacts of restoration, and the marsh's role in protecting the village of Piermont.

The Piermont Marsh Reserve hugs the base of Tallman Mountain along the west shore of the Tappan Zee, the widest part of the tidal Hudson River, and extends 1.5 miles below Piermont Pier. The site's 1,030 acres include the Hudson River Estuary's largest brackish tidal marsh, a broad swath of adjacent shallows, and small areas of upland in the village. The marsh and shallow-water habitats are regionally rare, ecologically significant, and historically home to a host of specially adapted plants and animals.

Access to the interior of Piermont Marsh is limited, though the tidal creeks and shallows can be experienced by canoe or kayak. Residents and visitors can enjoy close views of Piermont Marsh and its adjacent shallows from several land locations in the village of Piermont and Tallman Mountain State Park. The area offers excellent warm water recreational fishing opportunities that vary seasonally and from year to year, with blue crabs and both marine and estuarine fish present. The reserve also offers excellent bird-watching opportunities in and along the marsh and river. Piermont Pier is recognized by Rockland Audubon Society as a local birding hotspot.

DEC will accept comments on the draft plan until March 1, 2018. The draft hrnerr.

Written comments may be mailed to Reserve Manager, NYS DEC, PO Box 315, Staatsburg, NY 12580 or emailed to hrnerr.

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Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor * Basil Seggos, Commissioner

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