Neversink Preserve
Buymard Turnpike, Godeffroy, Orange County, NY
370 acres


Directions:

From Route 17 west take Exit 113 (Route 209). Follow Route 290 south for about 8.5 miles. Take the second left (Canal Drive) after crossing a green steel bridge. Follow to the end of the road (bearing left at forks) to a T-intersection. Turn left onto Buymard Turnpike. The entrance is a gravel drive on the right by a sign. Drive to kiosk; parking lot on right.


History:

In 1990 the world's healthiest population of the globally imperiled dwarf wedge mussel was found in the lower reaches of the Neversink River. The Ogden/Fields family donated 35 acres to the TNC. In 1994 TNC purchased 170 additional acres (once a hunting camp). In 9997 TNC purchases 131 acres along the river (slated to be a sand and gravel mine).


The Nature Conservancy is working with the town of Thompson to create a conservation and recreation river corridor. (TNC Lower Hudson Chapter newsletter, Fall 1996, p. 9)


Source: the Nature Conservancy website on the preserve

Background

1.How long is the Neversink River?

60 miles long

2.When was the Neversink Reservoir and Dam constructed?  1953

3.How many towns are located in the watershed?  9

4.What will the money go toward? Are we buying up the land, or merely paying them to stay away for longer?

The Nature Conservancy has secured an option to purchase the 131-acre site. The money will go toward the eventual purchase of the property as an addition to its Neversink River Preserve. The project is an example of The Nature Conservancy's non-confrontational approach to environmental problem solving.

After the purchase of the property, the Conservancy hopes to promote the continued agricultural use of the land and pursue the development of a regional ecotourism plan. Both of these efforts will encourage land uses within the river corridor that are compatible with the local economy and environmental protection.

5.Where is it located ?

The Neversink River is located near Port Jervis, NY. Looking at a map find where NY, PA, and NJ come together. This tri-state area is about where the Neversink empties into the Delaware River. The Neversink watershed then extends northward to the Catskill Mountains in New York.

by George E. Schuler The Nature Conservancy

6.What is the name of the mining company?

The company is called E.Terz and Sons Incorporated. After 6 years of  trying to seek permits to develop the site, the company is now working cooperatively with The Nature Conservancy and the Town of Deerpark to protect it. Through this purchase, the mining company is able to recover its investment in the property and the Conservancy along with the Town of Deerpark are able to preserve a valuable and unique resource.

George E. Schuler The Nature Conservancy

History of the Neversink River

The Neversink River is one of the most famous fly-fishing waters on the eastern seaboard. As such, its waters have been explored by fishermen and writers for over a century; Theodore Gordon and Edward R. Hewitt popularized the sport there in the 19th century. In addition to supporting a variety of fish species which are of interest to sportsmen, the river is biologically diverse, and supports a number of rare species. The Neversink is a major tributary to the Delaware River, which is currently the focus of a four-state Conservancy protection campaign.

Although it is only two hours from New York City, the Neversink has escaped many of the encroachments common to other areas near the nation's most populated urban center. However, the fact that the Neversink waters are currently of high quality does not guarantee its future. New affronts to the integrity of the ecosystem threaten not only water quality and the health of rare species that dwell in the river, but also recreational enterprises that have helped sustain local economies in the past, as well as drinking water supplies.

The Neversink River watershed is predominantly rural. Primary economic activities include mining, farming, and a fading resort destination status. For the past three decades, the economy of the region has taken a serious downturn, with demographics and lifestyle changes taking a toll on recreational visitation. A recent revival in the Catskills as a resort area for new demographic groups shows promise, and current ideas for economic recovery build on that revival to include gambling (in the proposal stages only), as well as "green" tourism. Recreation-based tourism has a strong history and appears to have the most potential for supporting an economic recovery.

In the next few decades, as home office technologies and mobile communication networks allow more people to work away from urban settings, predictions are that greater numbers of people will settle in suburban and rural areas (Sargent et al. 1991). This Strategic Plan lays the groundwork for an effort that will ensure that the rare species and natural communities, clean waters, healthy ecosystems, and the scenic beauty of the Neversink watershed are protected from development pressures. This document has been developed to provide a working guide for Conservancy staff and partners who will 1) perform and facilitate research to build a comprehensive understanding of the river ecosystem, 2) directly protect high quality habitats throughout the watershed, and 3) educate, enable and empower citizens to protect the natural resources upon which their communities are based. See Appendix B for a full discussion of socioeconomics in the region.

Since The Nature Conservancy's involvement on the Neversink River began in 1990, we have become well acquainted with many of the conservationists, major landowners and town and county officials along the river. Very limited Conservancy involvement began in the early 1980s, when the Conservancy sold a 498-acre tradeland with partial restrictions. On Earth Day in 1990, we acquired our first preserve on the river to protect a 35-acre site which supports floodplain forest (G3G4/S2S3). Three months later, a significant population of dwarf wedge mussels (Alasmidonta heterodon G1S1) was discovered, with the new preserve at its heart. The population was mapped and further studied the following year, when biologists estimated it was the healthiest and largest population of this globally endangered mussel in the world.

Lower Hudson Chapter protection staff have now given the Neversink highest priority, and to date several registries totalling over 500 acres have been signed within the primary boundary. In July 1993, an important 170-acre tract across the river from the original Neversink Preserve was purchased, expanding the preserve to 205 acres. The new site, with a mix of agricultural, recreational, conservation and research opportunities, will be the focus of our outreach and educational program in the bioreserve. Long-term plans for this new preserve include the development of sustainable and compatible agriculture demonstration projects for watershed residents. The partly-built house at the preserve has been completely renovated to accommodate visitors, donors and researchers.

The most recent acquisition to the preserve, completed late last summer, was the purchase of 131.5 acres along the Neversink River previously slated for a sand and gravel mine. The purchase, made possible through cooperative action by The Nature Conservancy, the Town of Deerpark and the mining company of E. Tetz and Sons, Inc., protects a critically important piece of fragile river ecosystem that provides a home to many species of rare plants and animals. One of the significant features of the property is Spring Brook, a healthy tributary of the Neversink that drains into the river in front of the largest wedge mussel bed. Protection of this site eliminates potential threats posed by mining to the underlying Neversink aquifer and water quality of the Neversink, important natural resources for both wildlife and humans.

Support Neversink

Au Revoir Our River?  Tetz Mine Threatens the Neversink

After several years of dormancy, a proposal by the Tetz Mining Company to excavate land in the Hamlet of Huguenot, Town of Deerpark, has been resurrected. The proposed project involves extraction of 37-acres of sand and gravel to a depth of 50 feet, centrally located in the Neversink floodplain aquifer north of Port Jervis. This aquifer has been designated in the Deerpark Master Plan as a future source of water for two local communities.

The proposed mine is expected to have a number of adverse impacts on water quality, quality of life, and local economies. During the expected 20-year life of the mine, which is within the 100-year floodplain, it is probable that erosion and sedimentation will have severe impacts on both Spring Brook and the Neversink River. Excavation and transportation will require storage of chemicals and fuels on site, substantially increasing the likelihood of spills. The mine would result in a 37-acre lake exposing the aquifer to surface influences.

Long-term impacts from the mine are also expected to be serious. Reclamation of the site, even as a town park, would be difficult and expensive. As a swimming pond, which is one proposed future use, the site would become a source of human wastes that would be flushed directly into the aquifer; as a recreational area the pond would have to be chemically treated to manage algal growth, leading to similar pollution problems. All of these are expected to effect local well-water supplies, as has another Tetz operation in Bloomingburg. At this other site, Tetz was ordered by NYS DEC to fill in the excavation after a side of the pit failed and the wells of local residents became polluted.

The Tetz mining project is also expected to have devastating effects on the economies of local communities. Because the mining facility would be centrally located in the beautiful valley between Route 209 and the Shawangunk Ridge Route 209 will experience an increase in heavy truck traffic and require increased maintenance. Noise from mining operations and the continual roar of trucks as they enter and exit the site will be heard throughout much of the valley and along the Neversink, where outdoor enthusiasts and tourists have come for over a century to experience nature in solitude and spend their money at local businesses.

The time to act is now before this stretch of peaceful valley falls to development pressures that devastated the Route 209 corridor in Pennsylvania. A copy of the Tetz Environmental Impact Statement is on view at Deerpark Town Hall. Residents are encouraged to make their feelings known by submitting comments to the Town Planning Board, which will make a decision on the project soon.

Additionally, the Neversink is crucial to the welfare of another type of  animal. Eventually, the 60-mile long Neversink flows southwest into the Neversink Reservoir and from here into the Neversink Gorge, ultimately emptying out into the Delaware River in New Jersey. The Reservoir provides clean drinking water to millions of people in New York City.

The Conservancy currently owns 205 acres at the Neversink River Preserve and is protecting hundreds of acres of riparian habitat through conservation agreements with other landowners. We want to increase the Preserve's size by adding the 131-acre tract now available. While being purchased primarily to protect mussel habitat, the new property is also a good dose of ecological preventative medicine. Mussels, while important in and of themselves, are an especially sensitive group. They need clean, clear freshwater in which to survive. But they are not the only ones: fish, frogs, osprey and people all rely on good water.

The development of an open mine, operating for 20 years along the banks of the Neversink surely threatens the delicate equilibrium a river has with its dependents. Erosion, sedimentation and associated pollution are a likely by-products of the mine. None of these contributes to the life of the Neversink.

Instead of this scenario, the Conservancy wants the Neversink River Preserve to continue to be a place where people can come to see one of this country's Last Great Places. It will be a place to learn about river ecology, wander trails and perhaps while seated on the river bank, wax rhapsodic, as Freneau did around the turn of the 18th century, when he wrote of the Neversink's "thousands springs of water blue."

But for the Neversink today, steeped in history as it is, time is of the essence. September 10, 1997, is soon and raising $200,000 in the interim will not be easy. We need your help today. Please contribute to our efforts to keep the Neversink afloat as it has been and as it deserves to be.


Habitats:

Floodplain forest, field, successional forest, mixed hardwood forest, swamps, streams, river, marsh and beaver ponds.


Trails:

You can make a circular walk clockwise: take the blue trail east to a large pond and continue east to the yellow trail; travel southwest to the orange trail; go northwest passing by two ponds; the orange trail returns to the parking area.


7/20/02. Brief visit after long trip to nearby Bashakill.  Took the red trail over the Olivia P. Millard Bridge and on to the Neversink River and then returned, although you can take other trails to make a circular walk.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney and Judith Fitzgerald, 7/20/02, brief visit


Trees:
Abies balsamea (balsam fir)
Acer pensylvanicum (striped maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula nigra (river birch)
Betula papyrifera (paper birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (ironwood)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Picea rubra (red spruce)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Prunus virginiana (chokecherry)
Pyrus sp. (crab apple)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Cornus racemosa (gray-stemmed dogwood)
Corylus americana (hazelnut)
Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Lyonia ligustrina (maleberry)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rhamnus sp. (buckthorn)
Rhododendron maximum (rosebay rhododendron)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Spiraea alba var. latifolia (meadowsweet) 7/20/02
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium sp. (a low bush blueberry)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum) smooth
Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides (wild raisin viburnum)

Vines:
Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)
Cuscuta sp. (dodder)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vicia cracca (cow vetch) 7/20/02
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (yarrow) 7/20/02 10/03/02
Ajuga genevensis (ajuga) identified by TNC
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 7/20/02
Anemone quinquefolia (wood anemone)
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp dogbane) 7/20/02
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster cordifolius (heart-leaved aster) 10/03/02
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster) 10/03/02
Aster spp. (asters)
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle) 7/20/02
Callitriche sp. (water starwort)
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy) 7/20/02
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)
Claytonia virginica (spring beauty)
Conyza canadensis (horseweed)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) 7/20/02
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink) 7/20/02
Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches)
Elodea sp. (waterweed)
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) 7/20/02
Erythronium americanum (trout lily)
Eupatorium purpureum (sweet-scented Joe-Pye-weed) 7/20/02
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot) 10/03/02
Euphorbia maculata (spotted spurge) 7/20/02
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry)
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Galium mollugo (wild madder) 10/03/02
Galium tinctorium (Clayton's bedstraw) 7/20/02
Gentiana clausa (closed gentian )
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)
Geum canadense (white avens ) 7/20/02
Gnaphalium obtusifolium (sweet everlasting) 10/03/02
Habenaria lacera (green fringed orchid) 7/20/02
Hedyotis longifolia (bluets)
Helianthus divaricatus (woodland sunflower)
Helianthus strumosus (pale-leaved sunflower)
Hosta sp. (hosta)? 7/20/02
Hypericum mutilum (dwarf St. Johnswort) 7/20/02
Hypericum perforatum (common St. Johnswort) 7/20/02
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) 7/20/02
Iris versicolor (blue flag)
Lapsana communis (nipplewort) 7/20/02
Lathyrus latifolia (everlasting pea) 7/20/02
Lemna sp. (duckweed)
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper) 7/20/02
Lespedeza capitata (round-headed bushclover)
Linaria vulgaris (butter-and-eggs) 10/03/02
Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower)
Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco) 7/20/02
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil) 7/20/02
Lycopus sp. (bugleweed) 7/20/02
Lysimachia ciliata (fringed loosestrife) 7/20/02
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) 7/20/02
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Monarda didyma (beebalm) 7/20/02
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Myosotis scirpoides (forget-me-not) 7/20/02
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose) 10/03/02
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel) 7/20/02 10/03/02
Penstemon digitalis (smooth beards tongue)
Penstemon grandiflorus (bear tongue) identified by TNC
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum biflourm (true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 7/20/02 10/03/02
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed) 7/20/02
Potentilla argentea (silvery cinquefoil) 7/20/02
Potentilla norvegica (rough cinquefoil) 7/20/02
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) 7/20/02 10/03/02
Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (watercress)
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan) 7/20/02
Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Silene pubera (star chickweed) 7/20/02
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Solidago caesia (blue-stem goldenrod) 10/03/02
Solidago canadensis var. scabra (tall goldenrod)
Solidago juncea (early goldenrod) 7/20/02
Solidago rugosa (rough-leaved goldenrod) 10/03/02
Solidago spp. (goldenrods)
Stellaria media (common chickweed)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue) 7/20/02
Tiarella cordifolia (foam flower)
Trientalis borealis (star flower)
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 7/20/02
Trifolium repens (white clover) 7/20/02
Uvularia sessilifolia (sessile-leaved bellwort)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein) 7/20/02
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)
Viola rotundifolia (round-leaved violet)
Viola sp. (violet)

Rushes:
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Sedges:
Carex folliculata (sedge)
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered sedge type)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)

Grasses:
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Brachyelytrum erectum (long awned wood grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Digitaria sp. (crab grass)
Elymus sp. (grass)
Glyceria striata (mannagrass)
Leersia oryzoides (white grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Phalaris arundinacea (canary reed grass)
Phleum pratense (timothy grass)
Poa compressa (Canada bluegrass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem grass)

Ferns:
Lycopodium digitatum (ground pine clubmoss)
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris carthusiana (toothed woodfern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)

Other:
Sphagnum sp. (sphagnum moss)


From the TNC booklet:

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches)
Erythronium americanum (trout lily)
Gentiana clausa (closed genetian )
Iris versicolor (blue flag)
Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower)