Croton Point Meadow restoration plan raises $630,000 in state and federal funding

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and New York State Senator Terrence Murphy announced Monday that $630,000 has been secured in state and federal funds to bolster the ecological health of the Croton landfill. at Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson.

Funding will be used for grassland design and management specifications on the constructed grassland cap of the former Croton Landfill.

The meadow was created in the mid to late 1990s on a capped landfill that operated from the late 1920s to 1986. The meadow is now managed by the Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities, which also monitors and manages methane emissions for capped landfill. .

In addition to improving the overall aesthetics of the park, the project will eliminate invasive species and improve the ecological health of the park and the habitat of the bald eagle of the Hudson River estuary, the largest in the waterway. lower migration of the Hudson.

The project was designed by Larry Weaner, a nationally recognized landscape architect, in a report on potential grassland design and management specifications for the area which was funded by the Friends of Westchester County Parks.

“Grassland habitat is being lost throughout the Northeast, making the grasslands of the former Croton Point Park landfill a critical breeding site and migratory stopover point for prairie-breeding birds, including many have special conservation status,” Weaner said when the funding was first announced. in April. “Our challenge was to develop practical strategies to control the growth of invasive alien plants that threaten grassland integrity while causing the least amount of habitat disturbance in the process.”

“I am proud to partner with and fund one of the largest conservation projects in Westchester County history,” Murphy said during the announcement at the park on Monday. “Restoring the area as a grassland will provide a nesting place for migratory birds and other wildlife. Restoring the area’s natural habitat will create something of lasting value and beauty. ensure that the park will remain a vibrant and attractive place to visit for generations to come.”

Astorino thanked and congratulated Senator Murphy’s office for securing $500,000 in public funds that will pay for the majority of the project, and the county’s Soil and Water Conservation District for securing the remaining $135,000 from federal funds.

“As stewards of the environment, we have a responsibility to conserve our natural resources today and for future generations and efforts like these are important down payments on our endowment for the future,” Astorino said. . “Thank you to Senator Murphy and all of our partners for this magnificent restoration.”

As Anne Swaim, executive director of Saw Mill River Audubon, said in April, “Croton Point Grassland Restoration will support birds like American Kestrels, Eastern Meadowlark and Grasshopper Sparrows. Given the past history of Croton Point Park, this project is a welcome affirmation of Croton Point’s great value to migratory and breeding birds.

Chris B. Hall