Protecting the environment through the preservation of natural habitats
and the advancement of environmental education
Working to Protect the Fort Edward Grasslands Important Bird Area
and the proposed Washington County Grasslands WMA
the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Killian’s
View Subdivision was accepted by the Town of Ft. Edward
Planning Board. This 352-lot
subdivision, located in the center of the Ft. Edward
Grasslands Important Bird Area (IBA), will destroy or
fragment hundreds of acres of habitat used by the
endangered Short-eared Owl, threatened Northern Harrier,
and many other at-risk grassland species.
SAAS and Audubon New York have been following this issue closely because of the huge impact it will have on grassland birds. While minimal acreage has been provided for open space, mainly land that wouldn’t have been developed anyway, this development will ultimately harm grassland birds whose populations have already been declining.
Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has recently
been submitted for the Killian’s View Subdivision. This 352-lot subdivision,
located in the center of the Ft. Edward Grasslands
Important Bird Area (IBA), will destroy or fragment
hundreds of acres of habitat used by the endangered
Short-eared Owl, threatened Northern Harrier, and many
other at-risk grassland species. This
latest revision of the EIS attempts to respond to the 100+
comments voicing numerous concerns that were received
during the public comment period last spring.
SAAS and Audubon New York have raised multiple issues with the inadequacies of this EIS, including its failure to provide adequate mitigation measures, respond to substantial public comments, or address cumulative impacts. In addition, the Town of Ft. Edward’s own lawyer and engineer have written letters raising many of the same issues that we have. In the end, the Ft. Edward Planning Board must adopt this EIS as its own document, and is responsible for its content. SAAS is monitoring this issue closely, not only because of the huge impact it will have on grassland birds, but also because it could set a precedent for future developments within the IBA.
Jason Goldsmith, Conservation Chair
Southern Adirondack Audubon Society and staff from Audubon New York are following this closely to make sure the planning board’s document isn’t skewed by the applicant’s own data. Estimated time frame for the submission of the final DEIS is 1-2 months.5/22/2009 - Public comment period closed.The Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Killian’s View Subdivision was released for public comment and received a huge response. Over 100 letters were written expressing concerns over the impact on grassland bird species that use this property. Thank you everyone who has submitted comments.
This proposed 352-lot subdivision is
located in the Ft. Edward Grasslands Important Bird Area
(IBA) which hosts the endangered Short-eared Owl, threatened
Northern Harrier, Upland Sandpiper, and numerous other
grassland birds. Habitat
fragmentation caused by developments such as this, make
grasslands one of the biggest concerns across the state.
The applicant must now address all
substantial comments received by the public before
submitting its Final Environmental Impact Statement.
public hearing on the DEIS is scheduled for April 8,
2009 at 6:00PM at the Fort Edward High School
the report are available for public review at the Fort
Edward town office, the Ft. Edward Free Library, and the
Washington County Municipal Building. Letters of
comment may be sent to the Fort Edward Planning Board at
118 Broadway, Fort Edward, NY 12828, Phone: (518)
This 327 lot subdivision could
have very detrimental effects on the Ft. Edward Grasslands
Important Bird Area.
Conversation with Jed Hayden in the Warrensburg DEC office revealed that 5 parcels within the IBA have been purchased by the Nature Conservancy, and are currently under the management of DEC. The purchase of these parcels affords protection for approximately 250 acres. Negotiations are taking place on other parcels as well. Read the history below to see how our chapter, with the help of Audubon New York staff, has worked to protect this vital bird breeding and wintering area.
encourages its members to get involved in this public
comment period and the public hearing.
Strong opposition to the proposed
Planned Unit Development (PUD) law was expressed by every
speaker, the majority of whom are residents of the town of
PLEASE ATTEND THIS PUBLIC MEETING
IF YOU SUPPORT CONSERVATION OF THE
Written comments will also be
accepted by mail, but must be received by
Please send your comments to:
Town of Fort Edward, Town Board, 118 Broadway,
with a copy to:
Linda Miles, Town Clerk, Town of Fort Edward, 118 Broadway,
|Fort Edwards Grasslands - April 8 note
|From Mona: The Planning Board
has made a few insignificant changes to the proposed PUD,
none that address the concerns stated by residents and
concerned citizens at the public meeting, and it is still up
for vote. Mr. John Caffrey, attorney for the "Do It
Right" group recommends that the law be tabled until zoning
is updated to align with the Town of Fort Edward Master
Plan. He has written a letter to the Town Board
stating this as well as specific concerns with the revised
PUD language. Suffice it to say that, if the law is
enacted as proposed, development of unlimited density, with
no limit on building height or use, will be allowed on any
plot of land 20 acres or larger within the Town of Fort
Edward - regardless of in-place zoning regulations.
The Town Board, rather than the Planning Board, will have
final say on approval of any proposed PUDs. This will
fragment the IBA beyond any hope of repair.
Quote from law office of John Caffry: "As you know, the public hearing continues on Monday, April 9, 2007 at 6:30 p.m. at the Town's offices on Broadway. Written comments will be accepted through Monday, and possibly thereafter if the Town decides to leave the public hearing open at this Monday's meeting. We encourage all those that attended the previous public hearing, that submitted written comments, and others that are interested in this issue to attend the meeting on Monday night. Even if folks don't have something additional to say or have anything to say at all, it is still very important to have people show up at this Monday's meeting to show that they are still concerned and interested in the issues surrounding the PUD."
If you attend, sign in as Audubon members, HMBC members, interested birders, nature photographers, along with your name... anything to get names on the public record that there are many of us, in addition to residents, who care about what happens to this area.
|Fort Edwards Grasslands - end of March 2007
|Approxiamtely 50 Town of Fort
Edward residents, Southern Adirondack Audubon members and
Sean Mahar from Audubon New York, attended the March 21
public hearing to speak against the proposed Planned Unit
Development law. It was eveident that the residents
value the rural character of their town and wish to conserve
the natural areas for the benefit of birds, wildlife and
their families. The public comment period was extended to
April 9 and anyone wishing to submit a statement is urged
to do so.
Please send your comments to:
Town of Fort Edward, Town Board, 118 Broadway, Fort Edward, NY 12828.
with a copy to:
Linda Miles, Town Clerk, Town of Fort Edward, 118 Broadway, Fort Edward, NY 12828.
|Fort Edward Grassland
Development - early March 2007
Over a year ago, a huge subdivision was proposed smack in the middle of the Fort Edward Grasslands Important Bird Area. Southern Adirondack Audubon members and staff from Audubon New York have been attending planning board meetings and voicing opposition. SAAS has also been coordinating weekly raptor surveys and conducted a Short-eared Owl survey to learn more about which areas the birds use most heavily in the IBA.
The latest threat - and a huge one - is a recently proposed law to allow Planned Unit Developments in the Town of Fort Edward. We in SAAS are in support of the "Do It Right" group (local landowners in the IBA area) and are going door-to-door to make residents of the rural areas of the town aware of this proposed law. A flyer has been produced and we are leaving it with those we talk to and at any residences where no one is home when we visit. We are trying to cover all the rural areas to give them notice in hopes that many will attend the meeting on March 21 to show their opposition.
If anyone is available to help with flyer distribution, even a couple hours will help, please contact Jason Goldsmith at 518-792-8382 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Jason cannot check email everyday, so phone contact is preferred.
Thank you for your interest in conserving the Fort Edward Grasslands IBA.
March 2007 PUD Flyer
Proposed 2007 PUD Local Law
Edward IBA - Fall 2006
During the summer months, members of Southern Adirondack Audubon attended Fort Edward Town Planning Board meetings and wrote letters asking for protection of this important grassland area. The current Killian Farms proposal for development of over 200 acres is just one of many threats on the horizon.
In addition, SAAS members and birders from outside the chapter gathered data for a grassland bird monitoring project. Breeding bird species were surveyed throughout the Fort Edward Grasslands IBA and surrounding areas. Leadership was supplied by Audubon New York's bird conservation department. The new data will support advocacy for increased protection with the town, or through a local Land Trust or other land conservation/farmland preservation organization.
Monitoring will continue in the winter months and again next spring breeding season. We need volunteers to monitor birds, assistants to record data and people to write advocacy letters. If you are interested in helping with this important project, please contact any Director or Officer listed on the mailing page of this newsletter.
|Southern Adirondack Audubon
Monitors for Grassland Birds - Winter 2006
The Fort Edward Grasslands Important Bird Area (IBA) is under tremendous pressure for development. Currently before the town board is a proposal for the construction of up to 397 homes on 200 acres of prime grassland bird habitat – habitat which supports the following species of endangered, threatened, or of special concern status: Henslow’s Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Horned Lark, Northern Harrier, Upland Sandpiper, and Short Eared Owls. Other development projects await approval of this project to move ahead, thereby increasing the threat to this important area.
With the leadership of Audubon New York’s bird conservation department, a monitoring plan to conduct a survey of bird species throughout the Fort Edward Grasslands IBA and surrounding areas has been developed and is now being implemented by Southern Adirondack members. Three routes will be covered in both the winter and spring breeding season periods. SAAS members have recorded observations and behavior for over twenty years that will be valuable for comparing trends and distributions. New data will support advocacy for increased protection with the town, or through a local Land Trust or other land conservation/farmland preservation organization. A Chapter Collaborative Funding Grant was awarded by Audubon New York to aid in completing this important project.