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					Saw Mill River Coalition Update
Summer 2007
From the desks of:
Ann-Marie Mitroff, Director of Urban River Programs
annmarie@groundworkyonkers.org
and
P. Lynn Oliva, River Associate
lynn@groundworkyonkers.org
(914) 375-2151; fax (914) 375-2153

Website Up & Running
www.sawmillrivercoalition.org
Good news! The Coalition’s website is now up and running. Please take a look
at the website and try out these things:
     Click on the “red balloons” on the Google map
     Read the report on our Earth Day Clean Up and go the Journal News link
       and see a video—under Events & Hot Topics—which will also tell you
       when our next vine cutting and/or cleanups are
     See the river being “undergrounded” by the Corps in 1920 under What’s
       Happening in the Watershed—Daylighting
     Get an idea of the Flora & Fauna you can find at Woodlands Lake under
       About the Saw Mill River—Flora & Fauna

We’ll be adding photo thumbnails of vine cutting, flooding, clean up projects, and
restoration sites soon. The forum needs a little work—so bear with us a little
longer before you try to use it for comments and questions about what we’re
doing, or conversing about where people can kayak, where they see birds and
rare plants.

Students from Ardsley High School and Yonkers High School have been working
with us updating information.

This is your website so we want to highlight events, projects, and legislation that
the Coalition partners are involved with which effect the Saw Mill. We give a
special thank you to Riverkeeper’s Sabrina Wells for shepherding the project.
We’d love your feedback!


Looking for Vine “Lookers”
We’re working with the state invasive plant folks—as many of you know who
have been out cutting porcelain berry, multiflora rose, and oriental bittersweet.
Well, there’s yet another very aggressive vine—mile-a-minute—which is rearing
its ugly leaf.
This vine grows up to 6 inches a day - forming a dense mat and preventing
light from reaching native plants. The concern is trying to monitor the watershed
and pull it out as soon as we see it.

This is a CRITICAL TIME, as the plant sets seed in late summer—So, we are
asking those of you who can to
   (1) learn what it looks like:
       see mile-a-minute work sessions where you can learn how to identify it, or
   go to http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/pope1.htm
   (2) “LOOK” for it when you are out and about on the South or North County
       Trailway, in any of the parks you picnic in, etc.
   (3) Report it to us.

It IS close to us, and we want to eradicate it as soon as we see it. Here are
opportunities to learn first hand and also pull the darn stuff:

SATURDAY, JULY 7 AT WARD POUND RIDGE 10:00 AM -12:30 PM (ALSO
July 11, 19 and 27)

SATURDAY, JULY 21 AT ROCKLAND LAKE STATE PARK 9:00 - 11:00 am
Help pull before it spreads to Hook Mountain.

New volunteers will learn how to identify mile-a-minute vine, an invasive plant
which is spreading rapidly in Westchester County.
RSVP by 3:00 Friday before to laweyene@gw.dec.state.ny.us or 845-889-4745
x115
For more information:
Laura Weyeneth
SCA Intern/ Invasive Plants Educator
Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve NYS Department of
Environmental Conservation Norrie Point Environmental Center P.O. Box 315
256 Norrie Point Way
Staatsburg, NY 12580
845-889-4745 x115
laweyene@gw.dec.state.ny.us


Vine Cutting will resume in October!


Coalition Grants
The Coalition has been working on four grants it has received:

The Hudson River Estuary Program (HREP) habitat restoration
assessment has looked at 2-3 sites on publicly-owned land along the Saw Mill
River from Farragut Avenue to Woois working with Sven Hoeger, stream habitat
specialist, to coordinate the project. River RAT (Restoration Action Team)
training and field work was done May 19th. Westchester County Parks has
donated staff time to complete additional flora and fauna assessments in June.
Our goal is to apply for a restoration grant for 2008 to fund the actual work to
revitalize and improve the river environment.


We hope that the following two grants help us identify sections of the river that
are vital to the health of the river and to work on ways of protecting them (through
easements, purchase, restoration, municipal ordinances, etc.) The Coalition’s
EPA funded watershed-wide wetlands study will be used to bring together all
the information on wetlands within our river towns—and share that on a
watershed-wide basis. The land use survey, funded by the State’s HREP, will
help us map what land is actually being used for along the river, its zoning and
property ownership. A Saunders High School student is making this a senior
project, and several Ardsley High School and Hastings High School seniors
will also focus on this for their senior community service internship. Finally, we
have a Yonkers High School student as an intern this summer to complete the
work. For both grants, we hope that sharing the information amongst our villages
will lead to better decisions about what properties are used for. We have begun
working with the County Planning Department on these projects.

The Saw Mill to Hudson River interpretative trail study will focus on
the sections of the Saw Mill River in Yonkers that will be “daylighted”—
uncovered. We’ll pull together a group of people to help us focus on cultural,
historical, industrial, environmental and recreational aspects that need to be
covered in interpretative signs and activities. Please let us know if you would
like to join this group. First meeting will be in September 2007. Funded through
Hudson River Foundation.


Tree clearing along the Saw Mill River
For those of you who drive the SMR Parkway going North, just about a ½ mile
from the exit at Elmsford, you’ve probably noticed lots of trees coming down that
don’t seem related to any storm damage. It’s true. Years ago, a 24” pressurized
gas line was placed alongside the parkway and river—it was an easy place to put
it—and, who knows, maybe no one thought it was a bad idea at the time. Every
15 years or so, the company that owns the pipeline does maintenance—clearing
large trees whose roots might damage the pipeline leading to corrosion and
failure. And, in this day of issues of security, the pipeline company is also
clearing it to maintain its ability to do constant aerial surveillance.

In discussing the matter with the regional manager in charge of this area, he said
the places where trees have been cut will be seeded, mulched and stabilized to
prevent erosion. An employee of the pipeline company is always on-site with the
contractor working on the project.
You are OUR Eyes Out There
Much of our time is spent in the office—probably not too different than your time.
But, many of you drive, walk, or bike along the Saw Mill River Parkway, Saw Mill
River Road, the South & North County Trail, or visit many of the parks adjacent
to the Saw Mill River. When you are out-and-about and see something that
concerns or excites you—tree cutting, pollution areas, erosion areas, wildlife,
canoe put-in, areas that are beautiful and need a little trash pick-up—let us know.
We won’t be able to get everywhere and do everything—but we can keep a log of
what YOU find important and in need or amazing. We’ll at least try to put it on our
weblog (blog).

Have a lovely and safe summer………………. Ann-Marie & Lynn

				
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