The Albany Pine Bush Management Commission
The Albany Pine Bush Management Commission
The Pine Bush Management Commission was created by the New York State Legislature to study and manage the Pine Bush in response to Save the Pine Bush’s lawsuits with the City of Albany over the landfill. Members of the Commission include the executives of the municipalities which include Pine Bush. The City of Albany, the Town of Colonie, the Town of Guilderland, the County of Albany, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the State of New York Office of Parks and Recreation are all represented. The Nature Conservancy is also a member of the Commission.
It is extremly important not to confuse the Commission with Save the Pine Bush. The Albany Pine Bush Management Commission is an official government body. Save the Pine Bush is a group of volunteers whose only goal is to preserve all of the remaining Pine Bush ecosystem. Ed.
Fight Pyramid Crossgates – Find Out What You Can Do!
Index of Articles
No Credit Given – A Letter From the Commission, published Aug/Sept 98
The Emperor’s New Plan – The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission’s acquisition plan, June/July 98
Developer Takes Preserve to Build Water Lines – Save the Pine Bush Sues the Albany Pine Bush Management Commission & Others, Jan 98
Coyotes in the Moonlight – Response to the Commission’s Final Implementation Guidelines, Mar/Apr 96
Land Crunch in the Pine Bush, Aug/Sept 97
An Exposé by John Wolcott: The 1996 Clean Water, Clean Air Bond Act, What It Is, What It Isn’t, And What Some Of It Might Be, Apr/May 97
This page last updated 8/9/98
Management Plan for Albany Pine Bush Preserve
by Lynne Jackson, Mar./Apr. 91
The Pine Bush Management Commission is getting down to work on a management plan for the Pine Bush.
John Hecklau, of Environmental Design and Research, spoke at the February SPB dinner. His firm has been hired by the Commission to develop a plan to manage the Pine Bush.
Mr. Hecklau explained the process of developing a plan. The first part, identification of issues, began with a public “scoping” hearing this past January.
The process of developing the plan began with a public scoping session in January. Members of the public were invited to give their ideas on the major issues relating to Pine Bush management. To quote from the draft report of the scoping session regarding the major issues:
“Land acquisition was another significant concern. In general, this was seen as a top priority, perhaps even more important than the development of a management plan at this time.”
“The need for active management and controlled burns was widely recognized and generally supportedSuppport was expressed for active management practices that would perpetuate Pine Bush habitat and wildlife species.”
Other issues raised included coordination of preserve management among the various municipalities, recreational use, information and education about the Pine Bush, and regulations.
Next, data about the Pine Bush needs to be collected, maps drawn, and plans drafted. Environment Design and Research intends to produce a draft management plan by July, 1991. Again, public input will be welcomed regarding that plan. The final management plan should be completed by September, 1991.
Save the Pine Bush’s major concern about this plan is land acquisition. It’s great to talk about fire management, hiking trails, etc., but if there is no Pine Bush left to manage, the management plan is useless.
Calling All Pine Bush Supporters, Please Add Your Voice!
The Albany Pine Bush Commission released its Draft Protection and Project Review Implementation Guidelines on March 20. These draft guidelines outline a proposed plan for Pine Bush protection. The public is invited to comment on the draft plan at two hearings to be held on Wednesday, April 12 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Town of Colonie Community Center, 1653 Central Avenue, Albany. Please mark this date on your calendar and plan to attend one hearing and make your voice heard.
These hearings are very important to the future of the Pine Bush. These draft guidelines may become the plan by which all future Pine Bush protection is outlined and it is essential that people who believe in Pine Bush protection be heard. Save the Pine Bush believes that every developer who has any interest in land located in the Pine Bush will attend this hearing to speak against Pine Bush preservation. Now is the time for people who believe in preservation to speak clearly about the importance of the Pine Bush.
The day before the hearings, Tuesday, April 11, 1995, the Commission will hold informational workshops also from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Town of Colonie Community Center, 1653 Central Avenue, Albany. At the workshops, the Commission will present information on the draft guidelines.
Copies of the complete draft guidelines can be reviewed at local libraries in Albany, Schenectady, Guilderland, Troy, Colonie, SUNYA and the state library. Also, copies can be viewed at Albany City Hall, Guilderland Town Hall, Colonie Town Hall, Colonie Village Hall, Department of Environmental Conservation (3 locations), the Office of Parks and Recreation and The Nature Conservancy. Copies can be purchased by calling the printer, American Speedy Press at 456-6773. However, single copies can cost big bucks ($40 or more) due to the number of color maps. To reduce the cost of a copy, ask that the cover and all maps except the “Vision” map be copied in black and white.
Copies of the Executive Summary of the guidelines are available by calling the Commission at 464-6496.
Some History Behind the Guidelines
The Albany Pine Bush Management Commission was created by the New York Legislature in 1988. The creation of the Commission was one of the mitigations required to have the Albany landfill expanded. Save the Pine Bush was instrumental in having this mitigation included.
The Commission was mandated to create a preservation plan. In May of 1993, the Commission adopted a preservation plan. As soon as this plan was adopted, developers were waiving it in the face of zoning and planning boards saying, see, the plan says we can build here in the Pine Bush!
This was an untenable situation. In the fall of 1993, Save the Pine Bush sued the Commission saying that its plan was inadequate. Several months later, an embarrassed Commission asked to negotiate a settlement with Save the Pine Bush. After much soul-searching and discussion, SPB agreed to settle. One of the conditions of the settlement was that the Commission was to come up with a better plan to save the Pine Bush.
These Draft Implementation Guidelines were written in response to SPB’s suit. Though the Draft Implementation Guidelines adopt the theories behind preservation that SPB has been advocating for years, they do not once mention SPB or the scientists (Jerry Mueller and John Cryan) whose theories they use. But thats OK. The goal of Save the Pine Bush is preservation of the Pine Bush.
Reviewing the Guidelines?
Each person will have their own observations about the guidelines. People may have general concerns such as the meaning behind the designation “partial protection areas” or the fact that not enough funds have been identified to purchase the remaining Pine Bush.
People may have specific concerns about specific parcels, such as why 300 Washington Ave. Ext. (between the Dunes and preserve, area #6 on the Vision Map), is not slated for full protection.
What is Really Important
What is really important is that you attend a hearing or write to the Commission (1653 Central Ave., Albany, 12205). Your voice is very important. Now is the time to express your opinion on Pine Bush preservation.
If you have any questions, or wish to speak to someone in SPB about the guidelines, please email Lynne Jackson.
Anthony Adamczyk Explains Bureaucrat’s Plans for Pine Bush Future
by Lynne Jackson, Oct./Nov. 92
The September 23 Save the Pine Bush dinner was the setting for Anthony Adamczyk to explain the future of the Pine Bush from his point of view as the Department of Environmental Conservation Region IV (Capital District) Director.
Adamczyk said that the DEC needs to protect the Pine Bush mitigation provisions locked into the landfill permit conditions. These provisions include the setting aside of a minimum preserve of 2000 acres, providing for a portion of the landfill tipping fees to go to management of the Pine Bush, and other mitigation measures. The City of Albany needs to site a long-term landfill.
As part of his job, Adamczyk is the Chair of the Pine Bush Management Commission. When he took this position about a year ago, he found that although there was legislation creating the Commission, there were no rules and regulations, not enough funding, and not enough Pine Bush management. Rules and regulations are necessary so that the Commission has a basis in law to fulfill its mission of Pine Bush preservation.
Adamczyk believes that permanent funding for the Pine Bush will only come with a line-item in the state budget, which would need to be passed by the legislature. Public support for the Pine Bush is essential; if the Legislature views support for the Pine Bush as antagonistic, they won’t approve money. The unique nature of the Pine Bush needs to be emphasized so that it will be easier to obtain grants for management.
Adamczyk believes that all pieces of the Pine Bush should become under the aegis of the state, to take care of liability problems.
In about two years, the escrow account for the tipping fees will be available. The settlement with respect to the landfill includes the provision that a certain amount of each tipping fee be set aside in a dedicated fund for management of the Pine Bush. The principle of the fund will be $1,000,000., which at today’s interest rates will only produce around $30,000 to $40,000 a year income-hardly adequate for acquisition and management of the Pine Bush.
Currently, the City of Albany is paying for the management plan and paying the Nature Conservancy for management. That will end soon.
Adamczyk was asked why hasn’t something been done sooner to preserve the Pine Bush. His reply was that people only have so much time and energy; that when the Pine Bush Commission was first talked about, a huge staff was envisioned, but there was no follow-through with a line-item budget. The Nature Conservancy is doing a great job with management, but they just don’t have enough staff. The Commission does not have the power to take land by eminent domain. This issue must be handled very carefully, if not, the Commission could be in litigation forever. If the status was that of a state agency, this would be much easier.
Another question was asked about what is going to keep the Pine Bush from being developed piece-meal while the Commission is getting it’s rules and regulations in order.
Unfortunately, Adamczyk says he can’t move any faster. He cannot put a hold on development. However, he can and does comment on any proposed developments that come before the local planning and zoning boards. His comments must be taken into account with the SEQRA process.
Adamczyk was asked since the Commission can’t do anything about preventing current developments, should Save the Pine Bush continue its course of lawsuits to stop developments. Adamczyk replied, “Doesn’t hurt. Doesn’t make my life any easier, [but] you have to do what you have to do.”
Politicians Wake Up-Pine Bush Commission Meeting
by Gregg Bell, Oct./Nov. 90
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission held its quarterly meeting at the Colonie Community Center on the afternoon of September 27. In attendance were Fred Field, Supervisor of the Town of Colonie; Thomas Whalen, Mayor of Albany; Kevin Moss, Supervisor of the Town of Guilderland; Peg Olsen, Executive Director of the Eastern New York Chapter of the Nature Conservancy (TNC); staff members from the TNC, NYS DEC, and from Environmental Design & Research, P.C., an environmental consulting firm.
While Save the Pine Bush disagrees with the Commission on which parts of the Pine Bush should be saved and on many of it’s policy details, we can all take heart in the progress which is being made on the official level to actually save the Pine Bush. The Commission meeting presented for all to see the substantial amount of work which is being done daily on implementing the many policies which we have been calling for. A list of parcels being proposed for purchase for addition to the Preserve was discussed. While they add up to about 400 acres, they are located largely in wetlands in Colonie, hardly the critical connector parcels on Route 155 which should be bought for preserve.
Next quarter’s meeting will be on December 13 at 2:00 PM at City Hall in Albany. All are welcome. Our members are encouraged to attend to keep track of what is going on at the official level to our beloved Pine Bush. On October 25, 1990 at 2:00 PM the Technical Subcommittee will meet at Colonie Town Hall.
Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission Meets
At its quarterly meeting, Jane Magee, Chairperson of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission announced that the Federal Government is moving ahead to add the Karner Blue Butterfly to the Federal Endangered Species List. Currently, the Karner Blue Butterfly is only listed on the State Endangered Species List. Being included on the Federal list will protect not only the butterfly, but its habitat as well.
Land acquisition for preserve in the Pine Bush was discussed. Ms. Magee expressed considerable concern that several developments are being proposed on land that it was hoped would be preserved. Also, she commented that the Commission does not always know about proposed developments. A need was expressed for keeping adequately informed about development proposals in Albany, Colonie and Guilderland.
A pilot prescribed burn is being planned for this spring. Considerable progress is being made with blue lupine management. About 10 sites have been cleared for regenerating lupine and more sites are planned.
The next meeting of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission will be on Thursday, March 14, 1991 at 2:00 p.m. at the Guilderland Town Hall. The public is invited to observe, but not allowed to speak during the meeting.
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