CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- The Battenkill Conservancy was awarded a grant from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and Land Trust Alliance's Conservation Partnership Program in April for the second year. The conservancy will use this year's funds to start its Battenkill Corridor Connections Project, aimed to increase river access and accessibility in 10 locations.
The project will allow Battenkill Conservancy to begin planning the "corridor," which is a long-term vision to create plans and support among municipalities, businesses and communities along the river and its watershed. Battenkill Conservancy has a public map in the works that will indicate areas of the river that are suitable for fishing, hiking, swimming and kayaking to increase public recreational use and environmental support.
"There is no other organization in the Battenkill watershed that has a mission like ours that is able to do the work the grant commissions us to do," said conservancy founding board member and chair, Stu Bartow.
Bartow said he wouldn't be sure if the project could sustain itself without additional future LTA grant funds, but is dependent on how many volunteers they have in the future. The group audits their database to ensure they are retaining their members, and work to recruit additional members or volunteers during public events.
The next conservancy event is the fourth annual "The Battenkill Runs Through It" Festival at the Greenwich town beach, north of the town on N.Y. Route 29 on Saturday, May 31, from 1 to 6 p.m.
Bartow said the festival promotes interest and recreation on the river, and that he hopes it will attract future volunteers. "All environmentalists agree that anyone who cares about environmental issues needs to be involved and volunteer for a local environmental group There is a genuine satisfaction in doing hands-on environmental volunteer work that is meaningful and gratifying."
Last year, the majority of the LTA grant went toward the conservancy's River Watch Program, testing six sites along the river. Results are processed through the DEC to identify any significant changes in water quality to educate the public and identify areas of contaminated runoff.
Battenkill Conservancy board member Lorriane Ballard said the conservancy needs the support of communities and volunteers. The conservancy needs volunteers for water testing and enhancement of the access sites along the river, because funds are otherwise limited. "The DEC will only accept data from qualified firms and they are expensive, but we feel it is an important aspect of our mission."
Of the 10 key access points that Battenkill Conservancy will work on for its corridor project, the two nearest sites are the Greenwich town beach and the Rock Street Park in the Village of Greenwich, N.Y. The project and planned map will incorporate areas of the Battenkill River around Arlington and Manchester, but have not yet been defined.
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