OPEN SPACE SURVEY
The Hillsdale Open Space Survey can be found and completed at the link below. The survey seeks to understand the current views of town residents, frequent visitors and others about the value of open spaces, that is, undeveloped areas of land, in the Town. A prior survey conducted by the Town over three decades ago found that over 90% of town residents highly valued the town’s open space, the preservation of agriculture in the town and the Town’s rural character. This survey is a follow-up on that to determine, after the changes in the intervening years, whether people still value open spaces, the value they place on different kinds of spaces (e.g., forested land, meadows, water bodies, fields in active agriculture) and their reasons for their view. The ultimate aim of the project is to propose an open space plan for the Town supported by its residents.
The survey is a product of an Open Space working group in the Town consisting of members of the Conservation Advisory Council, the Town Board, the Planning Board, and the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and supported by a group of Cornell University students under the guidance of Professor George Frantz of the Cornell Department of City and Regional Planning.
Please take the survey here. Your responses are totally anonymous
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.
David Lewis, Chair
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
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
- 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.