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.