Stakeholders identified two primary conservation values to guide this plan:
• clean water for people and wildlife, and
• connected forests for plants and animals.

These conservation values can help identify areas of high importance. CLC and stakeholders reviewed available data related to plants and animals, forests, streams, and several analyses of connectivity for wildlife. Five places emerge, each with its own mix of features, but all intricately connected to forest connectivity and clean water. These areas are places where additional conservation efforts might be prioritized, including land protection and land management.

Forested Ridges and Valleys, Hillsdale

Large forests along the ridges to the west and north of Knapp Hollow in Hillsdale are important parts of the linkage between large forests regionally. The Taghkanic Headwaters includes just the southern part of Kijt Uit Mountain; the large forests there extend outside the watershed, and are an opportunity to protect a forest pinch point for wildlife shifting their ranges in response to climate change. These lands also drain to sensitive coldwater streams which provide habitat for trout. From the small streams in this area, water flows through Knapp Hollow before joining the Taghkanic Creek.

Forests, Eastern Claverack

The largest forests in the Town of Claverack are found along the ridges and hills that make up the western edge of the watershed. The streams in this area, which flow to the Taghkanic Creek, are classified as trout spawning streams. Analysis by scientists highlights the opportunity to maintain forest connectivity in this area, with consideration for the size of the forests, road crossings, and other potential barriers for wildlife.

Pumpkin Hollow Swamp, Taghkanic

In Pumpkin Hollow swamp the Taghkanic Creek flows through the largest extent of forested wetlands and streamside habitat in the watershed. There is likely “ancient” floodplain forest here that supports a diversity of native plant species and has additional ecological importance. These extensive wooded wetlands help keep the stream cool, supporting brook trout spawning.

Image via Pumpkin Hollow Retreat Center

Chrysler Pond and Outlet, 

The area around Chrysler Pond and along the outlet stream boasts an extensive complex of woods and wetlands. Important habitats include an exemplary red maple hardwood swamp, floodplain forest, vernal pools, “ancient” floodplain forest, and habitat for rare birds (including the Least Bittern, which is considered threatened in New York). Chrysler Pond outlet is a trout stream that joins the Taghkanic Creek at New Forge State Forest. Part of the Doodletown Wildlife Management Area is nearby. From the perspective of connectivity to support wildlife that are shifting their ranges in response to climate change, this area is of particular importance, providing a path in what is considered a pinch point in the surrounding landscape.


Copake Lake Forests, Copake

In the context of a densely developed lakeside community, the two forests that drain to Copake Lake are important for supporting water quality, which is somewhat degraded in the lake. These two forest patches are part of a linkage zone between larger forests to the east and west, providing connections between larger areas of forest (to the east and west).

Copake Lake image courtesy Erin Philp.