Monday, February 15, 2010
NORMANS KILL CORRIDOR STUDY
Laura DeGaetano has passed on the link to the Normans Kill Corridor Study. (Please note I won't be separating the word Normanskill into two words except when it is officially presented as such. I guess either is correct but to me Normanskill is correct!) For anyone interested, the Normans Kill corridor study can now be viewed on the Office of Natural Resource Conservation's website. http://www.albanycounty.com/departments/edcp/default.asp?id=399 for information contact: Laura DeGaetano , Sr. Natural Resource Planner Albany County Office of Natural Resource Conservation 112 State St. Room 720 Albany, NY 12207 (518) 447-5670 Notes from Executive Summary of Normans Kill Corridor Study including recommended actions This study of a 1-km corridor on either side of the Normans Kill in Albany County was conducted in order to highlight the value of the stream and surrounding land as a buffer and habitat as well as to explore the opportunities for passive recreation both in the stream and on adjacent land. The resulting document is meant to serve as an overview of natural and recreational resources in the corridor and a basis for moving forward toward protecting habitat and enhancing recreational uses. *** An analysis of the information collected for this study revealed that there are many valuable environmental features along the Normans Kill corridor, a healthy diversity of plants and animals, as well as several opportunities to improve access to the stream and expand passive recreational uses in the corridor. Land use mapping indicated that there are over 11,000 acres of forest, oldfield, agricultural land, and other undeveloped land in the corridor, in addition to concentrated areas of residential development and several large residential subdivisions recently constructed and proposed along the stream. There is some concern about the impact that development will have on stream bank stability and water quality as the currently developed areas appear to be more impacted by erosion and sedimentation problems. Previous studies of the Normans Kill documented landslides and areas along the stream that are slippage-prone due to soil type and slope. While an analysis of current planning and zoning laws found that there are some protections provided to riparian areas and steep slopes, there may be room to enhance local plans and laws to further protect the Normans Kill and the adjacent land that buffers it. In order to preserve important habitat and species diversity; prevent erosion, landslides, and flooding; and protect water quality, it appears that the best use of the riparian corridor is for passive recreation such as kayaking/canoeing, hiking, fishing, and wildlife observation. Toward this end, recommendations for improved recreational access and use include the following: Explore the possibility of a footpath connection between Western Turnpike Golf Course in Guilderland and the Pine Bush Preserve trail network Connect trails at the Normans Kill Farm in the City of Albany to other proximate trail systems Look for ways to extend the City of Albany’s trail network beyond the municipal golf course into Bethlehem possibly using easements along the creek from new developments Work with the Department of Environmental Conservation to establish public fishing access points and easements. Establish formal canoe/kayak launch sites and consider developing a water trail Pursue possibilities for facilitating public use of the area currently limited by conflicts associated with the National Guard Rifle Range in the Town of Guilderland. Encourage and facilitate formation of a Normans Kill Watershed Council consisting of interested stakeholders including residents, government agencies, businesses, and private not-for-profits to examine the potential for trail connections, boating and fishing access, and habitat protection in the corridor.