It's Your Battenkill, Explore It in 2016!
Save the Date!
The Sixth Annual Battenkill Runs Through It Festival
May 28, 2016
Read more below….
Our work is supported in part by the NYS Conservation Capacity Program administered by
The Land Trust Alliance.
The Battenkill Conservancy (or BkC) was one of six state wide land trusts awarded a professional development grant under the NYS Conservation Partnership Program and administered by the Land Trust Alliance out of Saratoga Springs. The Professional Development grants are one of the LTA's most competitive programs, open by invitation only to organizations that pass an initial pre-screening... Read more here.
Winter Speaker Series: The Value of Source Water Protection
The Connection between Land Conservation, Healthy Watersheds & Water Quality Protection
The Battenkill Conservancy was proud to bring Dr Chi Ho Sham, Chief Scientist with The Cadmus Group, Inc. of Waltham, Massachusetts and an expert in Source Water Protection to speak on Sunday, Feb 28, 2016 at The Elks Club in Greenwich, New York.
The presentation was timely given the water concerns happening in nearby Hoosick Falls, New York. Dr. Sham spoke on the value of protecting the water supply at its source and the connection between land conservation, maintaining healthy watersheds and ensuring quality drinking water.
As an active member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the current Chair of its Water Resource Sustainability Division, Dr. Sham has spearheaded numerous research projects on watershed and source water protection and worked with the U.S. Forest Service to determine the connection between watershed conditions and water quality. He has also developed source water protection courses and workshops for the U.S. EPA, AWWA, and various states drinking water programs.
A project that Dr. Sham used as an example of an innovative and collaborative success story revolved around the relatively small water system of Remsen, Iowa. When high levels of nitrates were discovered in the municipal well, a coordinated effort was mounted to implement a “pro-active and out of the box” public/private partnership to plant native grasses and reduce nitrate levels. Dr. Sham uses the Remsen project as an example of what can be done to improve water supplies across the country using creative partnerships and habitat restoration.
In 2013, Dr. Sham was the recipient of the OASIS (Outstanding Achievement, Service and Initiative in Sustainability of Water Resources) Award which recognizes an individual’s “contribution, initiatives and dedication to advancing sustainable water resources”. The award is given by AWWA, the nation’s largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. As a life-long educator and dedicated scientist, Dr Sham travels the country to speak to hundreds of groups both large and small on the value of source water protection. When he is not mentoring and training the next generation of Cadmus thought leaders, he serves as adjunct professor and is a research fellow at Clark University in Worcester, MA.
Battenkill Conservancy's Director, Lorraine Merghart Ballard was thrilled that Dr. Sham was willing to donate his time and expertise to speak to the community on this important topic that ties in beautifully with BkC's mission of watershed protection and land conservation.
The event was open to the public free of charge and attracted over 70 participants. For those unable to attend the event, Dr. Sham has made his presentation available for review on our website.
Schmidt Family Donates Prime Riverfront Parcel
At Battenkill Conservancy's annual meeting, Director Lorraine Merghart Ballard announced the donation by the Schmidt family of 10+ acres of prime riverfront property. The parcel which boasts over 1,000 feet of direct frontage on the Battenkill in the town of Jackson will be preserved in perpetuity and protected from future development.
Six members of the Schmidt family attended BkC's meeting to participate in the announcing the donation. Lat Schmidt of Bennington, Vt spoke on behalf of his father, George Schmidt, Sr. and other family members. The 91 year old George Sr. has been a trout fisherman for nearly 75 years and has been active in conservation in both New York and Pennsylvania (where a similiar riverfront parcel was donated for permanent conservation).
BkC began working with the Schmidts in April 2013 after being brought together by members of the local chapters of Trout Unlimited including Rich Norman. The family chose BkC to be the recipient of the parcel based on their shared philosophy and appreciation for preserving and protecting the Battenkill watershed. The parcel is located along a key stretch of the river long popular with trout fisherman and is made up of mostly low lying meadow lands and riparian vegetation. The parcel's deed ensures the land will remain undeveloped thereby providing its real value as an important environmental riparian area for the Battenkill watershed.
Riparian areas provide multiple benefits to watersheds. These include regeneration of ground water by providing the soils through which excess sediments and nutrients from surface runoff are neutralized; stream bank stabilization that reduces erosion and improves aquatic habitat; the reduction of downstream flooding by slowing down fast flowing water and providing productive and diverse habitats and food and water corridors for wildlife and plant species. It is well documented that saving even an acre of forested or riparian land results in widespread benefits to the underground aquifers and the resulting water quality that eventually supplies our collective drinking water. Based on that information, the donation by the Schmidt family and our commitment for it to remain "forever wild" is a gift to all those who reside, enjoy and appreciate the beauty and health of the Battenkill watershed.
BkC's Annual Meeting Featured Storyteller, Elizabeth Cockey
Elizabeth Cockey, artist, writer & story teller sharing her "Stories of the Battenkill"
During Battenkill Conservancy's annual meeting, watershed supporters were treated to a series of short vingettes and personal memories encapsulated in Elizabeth Cockey's oral history of the Battenkill.
Cockey, whose great-great grandfather sold land to Susan B. Anthony's father, grew up in Greenwich on the family homestead located on Thunder Mountain overlooking the Battenkill. Known to many as Betsi Barber, her talk began with her plans to divest of her Battenkill property before diving into her family's history and her own memories dating back to the 1960's.
Many of those events centered around the Greenwich Town Beach which according to Cockey, had its heyday between 1955 and 1970 when families planned evening meals around the famous meatball subs that were served by a local Italian family. Not even the toxic spill that came flowing down the river as Cockey was lifeguarding one summer stemmed the popularity of the beach as a community meeting place. Fast thinking farmers brought in bales of hay to help clean up the spill and stem the chemicals from continuing down river.
By providing a good mix of history interspersed with collective memories familiar to the community and to some of those in attendance, her stories brought to life the ability of the river and the natural resources that surround us to connect multiple generations and constituencies.
Stories of the Battenkill is the precursor to a longer term project that will work with both current and past community residents as well as visitors to the area encouraging them to share and document their stories. Be prepared to share your story through Battenkill Conservancy's upcoming "What's Your Story" project. More information will be posted here as it becomes available.
Save the Date: Saturday, May 28, 2016