Open Space Plan Released – – The Pine Bush is Top Priority in Region 4

The new York State Open Space Conservation Plan lists the Pine Bush as its number one priority in Region 4.

The Plan states, “Albany Pine Bush: This area of Albany County supports a rare and endangered pine barrens ecosystem. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission adopted a clear, comprehensive set of recommendations in 1996 to guide land protection efforts to complete a viable preserve. While tremendous success has been achieved with the protection of nearly 2,750 acres to date, it is estimated that an additional 1,200 acres will have to be secured to complete the Preserve. The Region 4 Advisory Committee supports the work of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission and the protection priorities outlined in the 1996 Albany Pine Bush Preserve Protection Guidelines.”

Since 1995, the State has invested more than $378 million to preserve more than 394,000 acres across New York. In his 2002 State of the State Address, Governor Pataki outlined a vision for preserving an additional 1 million acres of land over the next decade, through partnerships with local governments, land trusts, conservation groups and the public. The State’s Open Space Plan includes strategies for implementing this initiative.

Under State law, New York’s Open Space Conservation Plan is updated every three years by the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), with the assistance of nine regional advisory committees jointly appointed by the State and county governments. A draft plan developed last year was widely distributed for public comments and a series of public hearings were held across the State.

Nearly 900 public comments were received and were overwhelmingly supportive of maintaining a strong State open space conservation program. Following the public comment period, DEC and OPRHP assessed the comments received and consulted further with the regional advisory committees in preparing the final plan.

The 2002 New York State Open Space Conservation Plan is available on DEC’s website at: Copies of the plan also are available at regional DEC and OPRHP offices.

All people interested in preservation of the Pine Bush are urged to take a moment and call the Governor’s Office at 518/474-1041 to ask the Governor to purchase all of the remaining Pine Bush.and conservation. Native plant landscaping of developments, which is now available, keeps down the number of invasive species in the Pine Bush. Changing exterior lighting to lights invisible to amphibians and insects disturb these native animals and insects less. Easements, set-asides and mitigation fees are also used..

Printed in the October/November 2002 Newsletter