Over 300 acres protected in Dutchess County

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RED HOOK – The State Department of Environmental Conservation and Winnakee Land Trust, Thursday, announced the acquisition of two parcels totaling 333 acres in the Town of Red Hook adjacent to the Saw Kill.

The acquisition is part of the state’s Water Quality Improvement Project Program. The State DEC awarded the land trust over $1.2 million for the project, which will help protect the public drinking water supply at Bard College, which serves 1,400 residents.

Through the conservation of 333 acres of land bordering approximately 9,000 feet of the Saw Kill, the project will ensure better water quality and help minimize impacts on the source water. Officials said without this protection, the lands could have faced harmful effects from further buildout that could negatively impact the public water supply, such as increases in stormwater runoff, septic system contamination, and other nonpoint sources of contamination.

The acquisitions are the Migliorelli and Leone property, which consists of two parcels totaling nearly 89 acres and more than a half a mile of frontage on the Saw Kill. Approximately 50 acres of this property are within federally designated wetland areas; and Rural Joy property, which consists of two parcels totaling 245 acres including 4,519 feet of frontage on the Saw Kill and approximately 52 acres of federally designated wetland areas.

Officials said acquisition includes a proposed trail through the property that will connect Bard College and the Village of Tivoli and the Village of Red Hook to provide passive recreation while still meeting the program’s source water protection goals. The path will be suitable for recreational uses such as walking and other non-motorized uses.

Between the two properties, there are 258 acres of forest, 12 acres of meadows, and more than 33 acres of wetlands.

Approximately 20 acres were extensively logged prior to the acquisition. This project will limit future logging and provide for the development of a management plan to remove invasives, restore vegetation, and mitigate potential impacts to the adjacent waterway, protecting the public drinking water supply of the college.