Pine Bush plan comments sought

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is taking public comments on its 2010 draft management plan

he Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is taking public comments on its 2010 draft management plan and draft environmental impact statement through May 5.

The five-year plan calls for spending up to $30 million to expand the ecologically sensitive preserve to 5,380 acres from its current 3,200 acres. It also calls for expanding 10 Karner blue butterfly communities within the preserve to help the endangered species expand its population.

Further, the plan seeks to protect the globally rare pitch pine-scrub oak barrens through controlled burns and other management techniques, while protecting the entire preserve from surrounding development pressures.

As part of the plan, the commission wants to designate 2,180 of the proposed 5,380 acres for full protection and to remove 450 acres from the partial protection category, leaving a total of 635 acres in this designation.

According to the plan, “the long-term future of the Albany Pine Bush is by no means assured. Development pressures in and around the Pine Bush continue. Since 2002, approximately 190 acres in the Pine Bush have been lost to development.”

The commission’s revenues come from the state, from endowments, landfill mitigation, private fundraising and grants from federal, state, and other public and private agencies.

The state Legislature established the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission and created the Albany Pine Bush Preserve in 1988. It consists of dedicated public and dedicated private land. The commission is responsible for managing the preserve for its protection and appropriate public use.

The full plan is available on the commission’s Web site:

The Albany Pine Bush once consisted of 25,000 acres, containing pine-scrub oak barrens, pine barrens, vernal ponds, several rare plant species and at least 45 wildlife “Species of Greatest Conservation Need,” including the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly, according to its Web site.

Categories: Schenectady County

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