Conservation Advisory Council


Serving at the pleasure of the Town Board to advise the town Planning Board, the CAC’s mission is to gather and disseminate information, conduct research, and advise other town agencies in matters related to the conservation of natural resources. The CAC considers issues of air quality, surface water, and groundwater quality and quantity, and soils, as well as plants, animals, and habitats of conservation concern, and other issues bearing on the integrity of ecosystems and sustainable uses of the natural resources that support the health and well-being of the human community.

The CAC’s role in policy-making and environmental reviews is advisory only. The CAC takes a science-based approach to questions related to natural resource conservation, provides information as needed, and proposes solutions and alternatives that aim to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts to sensitive resources.

The basic tasks of the Hillsdale CAC are: 1) assisting the Planning Board in reviews of land use proposals; 2) gathering and providing natural resource information to town agencies, land use applicants, and the general public; 3) conducting a town-wide natural resource inventory and open space inventory; and 4) providing recommendations for local policies, procedures, and legislation related to natural resource uses and conservation.

The Hilldale CAC meets at 7 pm on the 4th Thursday of each month at the Hillsdale Town Hall. Meetings are open to the public.


Paul Duernberger
Mary King
David Lewis, Chair
Gretchen Stevens
Caroline Stewart

CAC members are appointed by the Hillsdale Town Board. If you would like to become a member, we encourage you to attend the next CAC meeting to learn more about our work.

Then, write a letter of interest to the Town Board describing your background relevant to the work of the CAC, your interest, and your availability.

The Hillsdale Natural Resources Inventory

A copy of the NRI can be found here

In the latter half of 2017, the CAC sought and ultimately obtained, funding for the creation of a Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) for the Town of Hillsdale.  The funding, graciously provided by the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, has permitted the CAC to obtain the services of Nan Stolzenburg, a Certified Environmental Planner (AICP), who has assisted over 60 upstate towns in land-use planning, and Rick Lederer-Barnes of Upstate GIS, an Independent Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist and Environmental Planner, in preparing the NRI. They, together with the CAC, collected information and produced a final document illustrating and describing the town’s natural resources, and explaining their significance to the Hillsdale community.

What is a Natural Resources Inventory?

An NRI compiles information about and describes the important, naturally occurring resources of the area. The Hillsdale NRI will include descriptions of the Town’s topography, bedrock and surficial geology, soils, water resources (streams, lakes, ponds, groundwater), biological resources (plants, animals, and habitats such as forest, meadow, and swamp), scenic areas, and outdoor places for public recreation.

Habitat Fact Sheets

Habitat Fact Sheets (prepared by Hudsonia Ltd.) offer brief descriptions of some of the common and less-common habitats that occur in Hillsdale, how to identify them, some of their ecological values and associated plants and animals of conservation concern, and some recommendations for conservation. We encourage landowners, developers, town agencies, and others to view, print, and distribute these to anyone who may want to learn more about the natural areas all around us.

Habitat Fact Sheets

Hillsdale Groundwater Study

Frequently Asked Questions

Ongoing Projects

Farmland Inventory

The CAC has been conducting an inventory of active, abandoned and potential farmland throughout the town. We are using GIS to map farmland on the basis of recent aerial photos and field observations, and recording the current uses (e.g., pasture, hayfield, cropland, nursery, vegetables, etc.). The objective is to provide information on our current agricultural resources to inform land-use planning and decision-making.

Stream Inventory

The CAC is gathering information on Hillsdale streams–their history, current water quality and habitat quality, fish communities and other biota–and developing an inventory that will help us identify our highest-quality streams as well as those that have been damaged and might benefit from restoration efforts.

Ash Inventory

The emerald ash borer is an aggressive, non-native insect pest that poses a huge threat to all species of ash trees in the region. The CAC is undertaking an inventory of ash on townlands and along public roads. The inventory will provide baseline information for monitoring the health of ashes, for detecting early infestations of the emerald ash borer, and for implementing a plan to slow the spread of the insect and protect public safety.

Past Projects

  • Obtained grants for a townwide groundwater study completed by the New York Rural Water Association in 2009.
  • Developed a list of vetted consultants in various disciplines related to land use, such as wetland delineation, forestry, engineering, biology/ecology, hydrogeology, soil science, land surveying, and land use planning.
  • Researched regulations and practices related to construction of artificial ponds, and prepared a summary report for the Planning Board.
  • Researched local regulation of wind energy development, and conferred with the Hillsdale Green Solutions committee on an advisory document on local standards for review and operation of wind facilities.
  • Solicited and obtained a “Hillsdale Habitat Summary” prepared by Karen Strong, Biodiversity Outreach Coordinator, Hudson River Estuary Program, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • Developed draft Guidelines for a Conservation Analysis to be used when gathering information for submission with a new development proposal.
  • Developed a draft outline for a Natural Resources Inventory for Hillsdale.
  • Developed a memo to the Town Board describing the threat posed by the Emerald Ash Borer and offering recommendations for action.