CHATHAM — The Columbia Land Conservancy has received a grant of more than $3,000,000 from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Water Quality Improvement Project Grant Program. The Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) program is a competitive, reimbursement grant program that funds projects that directly address documented water quality impairments or protect a drinking water source.

These grant funds will make it possible to conserve land in the Mid-Hudson Wildlife Corridor from development, protecting drinking water for people in the City of Hudson. The Mid-Hudson Wildlife Corridor, a large, unbroken forest that stretches from the mid- Atlantic states to southern New England. This forest corridor that spans Columbia County is of global importance and each of us has a role in protecting it.

“This grant represents the power of partnership,” says Troy Weldy, President of the Columbia Land Conservancy. “It builds on years of work with our colleagues at the Berkshire-Taconic Regional Conservation Partnership, and a recent collaborative planning effort involving stakeholder volunteers. We are incredibly excited to take the next step in that process and protect critical habitats.”

“The land in the Upper Taghkanic Creek Watershed is important for so many reasons,” says Nicholas Pitel, Conservation Projects Manager. “These forests have been identified as more likely to resist climate change, are relatively unfragmented and connected to other large forests which is important for regional connectivity. They are essential for protecting coldwater streams for drinking water quality and native fish species, wildlife habitat, and forest-based industries like recreation and sustainable timber harvesting.”

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