Wallkill River Task Force
The Wallkill River Task Force, which is a formal project of the Orange County Land Trust, is working to protect the quality of life for humans and wildlife in the river's watershed. The Task Force promotes and coordinates activities that: enhance water quality and quantity; protect ecosystems and habitats; encourage economic and agricultural activities; and expand public access and recreation.
Wallkill River Conferences
The Orange County Land Trust has sponsored several conferences about helping to protect the river, one for the general public, two for public officials, and one for the development community and local officials.
Cartop access boat launch, Village of Montgomery
Orange County Land Trust was pleased to provide a grant to the Village of Montgomery to help improve access to the Wallkill River.
Ramapo River Access, Town of Tuxedo
Orange County Land Trust partnered with Palisades Interstate Parks Commission to create this pocket park, providing public access to the Ramapo River including a fishing pier and cartop boat launch.
Bank-seeding project, Black Dirt Region
Working with the farming community and Orange County Soil and Water, Orange County Land Trust helped fund a project to improve bank stabilization of drainage canals feeding into the Wallkill River.
Suspended Sediment Study, Wallkill River
This project teamed Orange County Land Trust with Orange County Soil and Water and the Department of Environmental Conservation. The suspended sediment study conducted during 2004 and 2005 sought to determine the source of sediment loads in the Wallkill River. Researchers and volunteers analyzed suspended sediment loads gathered from points along the main stem of the river and several of its tributaries during storm events. Results indicated that sedimentation in the Wallkill River is disproportionately coming from the banks of the main stem of the Wallkill River and major drainage channels in the upper reaches of the watershed. Surface runoff and streambank erosion are likely the primary sources of sediment in the River.
Erosion Study, Wallkill River
In 2001 OCLT partnered with Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District to quantify the amount of sediment entering the Wallkill River from its bank erosion. Annual inspections of study sites in the Black Dirt Region have revealed that some riverbanks are losing more than a foot per year. During times of high water flow the force of the river's current will wash away sediment from the river's bank, often undercutting trees growing along the bank and causing the bank to become unstable. A paddle trip down the Wallkill River will quickly reveal severely eroded riverbanks, often with tree root systems exposed to the air. Once a tree has been completely undermined, it will fall into the river, further damaging the streambank and creating a barrier to streamflow. Streambank erosion is a natural process and all rivers have some level of suspended sediment. However, the Wallkill River carries an extreme amount of sediment and much of it is deposited in the Hudson River, making its way all the way down to the New York Harbor. Due to the excessive levels of sediment in the Wallkill River, the NYS DEC considers silt/sediment to be the primary pollutant in the Wallkill River.
City of Middletown Master Plan Project
The Orange County Land Trust has been invited by Mayor Marlinda Duncanson to join the team assisting the City of Middletown in the preparation of a new Master Plan. The professional planning firm hired by the City, Saccardi & Schiff will be guiding the city through this process. Executive Director Jim Delaune has been appointed to the Land Use Committee.
Memorial Forest Planting, Town of Monroe
With funding assistance from the U.S. Forest Service and ABC/Disney, Orange County Land Trust worked with relatives of those lost in the attack on the World Trade Center to establish a memorial forest on easement-protected lands of Arrow Park.
Orange County Open Space Alliance
In December of 2002 at the suggestion of Lou Mills, Orange County Land Trust spearheaded the formation of the Orange County Open Space Alliance (OCOSA). OCOSA is an alliance of over twenty members ranging from small grass roots citizens groups working at the local level to professionally staffed area-wide conservation organizations.
Following the successful example set by Westchester County the alliance has worked to increase public awareness of the importance of land conservation. An early project was to cooperate with the county planning department in setting up guidelines and procedures for its open space acquisition program. The alliance continues to cooperate with county and municipal agencies in the determination of open space priorities, referenda and other issues. A current issue of great importance is the extension of the Community Preservation Act (CPA) to cover Orange County.
City of Newburgh and Town of New Windsor
Orange County Land Trust is working with a dozen other government and non-government organizations in an effort to establish a public park in this historic and ecologically important tributary of the Hudson. There are currently efforts underway to survey the Creek corridor and the NY/NJ Trails Conference has undertaken preliminary work to design a trails system. It is our intent to create a continuous trail from the Hudson River to the top of Snake Hill and beyond.