Funding will help restore Croton Point Park Meadow
The Westchester County executive and a Hudson Valley state senator announced funding for a grassland restoration project on Monday. The site is a paradise for migrating birds, including bald eagles.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and New York State Senator Terrence Murphy announced that $630,000 has been secured in state and federal funds to strengthen the ecological health of the Croton Landfill in Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson. Murphy secured $500,000 in public funds to pay for the majority of the project.
“I take my kids and wife here every year to EagleFest,” Murphy says. “The $500,000 was a high priority to make sure we can keep something like this for a lifetime.”
Astorino says the County Soil & Water Conservation District secured the remaining $135,000 in federal funds. He says the restoration project will be used to redesign and manage the grasslands of the former Croton landfill, protect the Hudson River estuary from invasive species and secure the park as a year-round habitat for eagles. White-headed Hudson River.
“And this conservation project, which is one of the largest in Westchester’s history, will not only restore the meadow as a functionally viable habitat for migratory birds, including bald eagles, it will also a recreational opportunity for our residents and visitors here. at Croton Point Park,” says Astorino.
Astorino says that when the Croton landfill was originally capped over 15 years ago, the idea was to use it as a habitat for grassland birds, but this vision of the larger lower flyway grassland of the Hudson has become threatened. The funds will be used to restore this vision to the 100-acre built prairie on the old landfill. Charles Roberto sits on the board of directors of the nonprofit Teatown Lake Reservation in Westchester. He is also involved in a number of local Audubon chapters. Roberto applauds the funding needed to beautify the prairie.
“So we still have a very good habitat here. And we have nesting grasshopper sparrows, which are threatened in New York State. We have goglus. It’s a nice call and they’re up in the morning, not in this heat. They’re a little smarter than us, but they fly everywhere. We have meadowlarks here,” says Roberto. “I saw a kestrel, which is a small hawk, and they’re in decline in the northeast, and habitat like this is needed to help them migrate.”
He says the restoration project will be good for tourism.
“No one has made the economic value to the county on this. We have people from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and even further afield coming here to see birds,” Roberto says. “During migration, tundra birds stop here because it’s the closest habitat they see from the tundra until they get to the beach. You have things like snow buntings and Lapland buntings and you get short-eared owls, which they were actually wintering here when they first made this hat. So it’s an amazing bird, and at one point you were coming here and you were seeing four different species of owls, and it’s really because of this dump that you’re seeing them.”
Roberto, who also runs programs for the State Parks Department, says the meadow should serve as a classroom for area students.
“They should bring schools here and talk to them,” Roberto says. “Our children are so removed from nature. There is a natural deficit and it is only a scientific laboratory.
During that time, Senator Murphy says he has been working on other restoration projects in his district.
“The governor just signed my two inland waterway bills,” Murphy said. “So basically what’s happening is it’s allowing these lakes and waterways to have access to money for restoration.”
The meadow is managed by the Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities, which also monitors and manages methane emissions for the capped landfill.