Open Space Institute has acquired nearly 90 acres of the Great Swamp in Putnam County.
Nearly 90 Acres of Great Swamp Protected in Putnam
The Open Space Institute has acquired nearly 90 acres of Putnam county’s Great Swamp in the Town of Patterson.
The Great Swamp encompasses more than 6,000 acres and forms one of the largest freshwater wetlands in New York State. OSI’s 87-acre acquisition is adjacent to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s 444-acre Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area, which is one of the larger publicly protected areas within the Great Swamp.
OSI’s acquisition of land – located within the Croton Reservoir system watershed, which provides 10 percent of New York City’s daily water supply – will help secure long-term access to clean water for millions of New Yorkers. The forested tract includes extensive wetlands and nearly 1,000 feet of riverfront along the East Branch of the Croton River.
The parcel provides wildlife habitat for breeding wood ducks and migrating waterfowl. The New England cottontail rabbit, which is a “vulnerable” species in the northeastern U.S. because of the loss of suitable habitat, is known to occur in the vicinity of the property.
The newly protected property’s location between parallel north-south Highland ridges also makes it an ideal stopover for migratory birds.
“OSI’s protection of the Great Swamp property is a huge win for both humans and wildlife,” said Tom Gravel, senior land project manager at OSI. “The acquisition safeguards precious wildlife habitat and wetlands that naturally recharge the area’s aquifers, which are essential to the health of our communities and planet. Strategic land conservation goes hand-in-hand with providing safe, reliable access to drinking water and protection for the places that our most vulnerable species call home.”
Dr. Jim Utter of the Friends of the Great Swamp thanked the Bayme family for selling the property to OSI, for $385,000.
“I congratulate and thank our friends at OSI and the Bayme family for negotiating protection of a biologically diverse 87-acre parcel,” he said. “The land slopes east from Couch Road down to the East Branch Croton River. Development would have led to soil erosion and other pollutants impacting the river, which is an important source of public drinking water. This parcel is now the center of a protected 444-acre diverse wildlife habitat block anchored by DEC’s Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area.”
The newly protected property has been listed in NYS’s Open Space Plan as a high conservation priority. The property was also recognized by New York’s Natural Heritage Program as important to protect because of its connection to other protected lands.
The Great Swamp has also been designated by the USDA Forest Service as a Highlands Conservation Focal Area, named by the Department of Interior as a national historic landmark, and declared a Critical Environmental Area by Dutchess and Putnam counties.
OSI intends to transfer the Great Swamp property to DEC as an expansion to the Great Swamp WMA.