SPARC NEWSLETTER Winter 2003-2004
Butterflies on the Buffer
John Yrizarry, a naturalist who has been investigating Sterling Forest for the NY State Museums's ongoing entomology studies, has this past summer turned his attention to the Stewart Buffer Lands, specifically its butterflies
After only four visits, and joined by several other members of the North American Butterfly Association, he has discovered a surprising richness of species. Said John, "Preliminary studies indicate that the Stewart Lands could potentially be one of the best butterfly habitats in the county."
John and others (Peter Post, Mary Yrizarry, Gay Fugate) visited the Buffer in July and September, surveying Barron Rd., Ridge Rd., Weed Rd., and Maple Ave. They counted thirty-four different species and 172 individuals, most of them on Barron Rd. When asked why such success on Barron Rd., John pointed out the great amount of open wetlands containing Swamp Milkweed, as well as stands of Little Bluestem grass and pink Knappweed, plants which attract and provide food for butterflies.
Wrote John, "Any changes to the Barron Rd. edges could seriously reduce this plant [Knappweed] and the usefulness it serves for attracting insects of many kinds and the predators that feed on them." Among the butterflies that were observed were skippers such as the Wild Indigo and Little Glassywing, swallowtails including the Tiger and Spicebush, and anglewings including the Buckeye, Painted Lady, and Eastern Comma.
In his presentation at the SPARC meeting of November 19, 2003 John emphasized that his observations will continue and that the total count of species could go as high as seventy-five. He also found a group of Tiger Beetles; "This is the first time I have found these in Orange County and they were quite a beautiful sight: running about over a slate rock outcrop, their bright red abdomens and white faces on otherwise dark bodies carried on long turquoise glittering legs . . . "
This establishment of butterfly habitat and populations need to be considered in the pending Unit Management Plan (UMP) for Stewart, as well as the thorough herpetology studies done several years ago.by Dr. Michael Klemens of the Wildlife Conservation Society
SPARC Vice President Rudy Vallet said, "The report by John Yrizarry certainly helps to establish and document the great biodiversity of animal and plant species that are found on the Stewart Buffer Lands . . . it's an amazing place."
Barron Road itself, and approximately 400 acres associated with it, have not yet received protection as part of Stewart State Forest. This means the area is still available for commercial development.
Sandra Kissam said, "In light of Yrizarry's findings, as well as those of Dr. Michael Klemens, the Governor should quickly annex the contiguous Barron Road lands to Stewart State Forest. We must save this natural resource for our county and state."
Volunteers are welcome to help John Yrizarry in his surveys. Contact him at 845 783-4302. )
Barron Road Threatened
In April of 1999 Governor Pataki transferred about 5,200 acres of the Stewart Buffer from the NYS DOT to the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation to be preserved as Stewart State Forest. However he reserved the so-called "Barron Road Industrial Site", (about 400 acres), and the entire length of the road itself with a 50 foot ROW (Right of Way), for industrial development. The documents explains "for ingress and egress, along the existing Barron Road, from NYS Rt. 208, to and along" the industrial site/ Intermodal Facility. Intermodal Facility' means a truck-to-train transfer station, with the trucks using the upgraded and widened roadbed. This would be an environmental disaster and has no place in smart growth planning or the preservation of our treasured Stewart Lands.
Another threat to the Barron Road area is the proposed wetland mitigation site, targeted to replace the wetlands that the Drury Lane Interchange and Access Road would ruin.
Only SPARC's lawsuit and the Court-ordered injunction are holding back this project.
Meanwhile, the Town of Montgomery Master Plan committee has considered turning Barron Road into a public highway, making it a north/south bypass between Rt. 208 and Rt. 17K. Again we would see the destruction of the country lane that now exists and its surrounding fields, woodlands, wetlands. It would erase lands for any wildlife, recreation, hunting, or other open space purposes. In this destroyed landscape an industrial park would soon follow.
The Times Herald Record last June 7th printed an article about the Committee and SPARC's concerns. Committee Chairman Jeff Crist confirmed that they were considering the project, but hastened to add that other roads were also being considered for traffic relief. Columnist Sam Phelps wrote that the Town wanted to develop the road and the industrial site.
In September SPARC took one of the Committee members out to Barron Road for a walk, with inconclusive results. Although the Committee later said Barron Road was off the table, they also said they did not have the final say. Recently, we hear meetings have been held about the road and ownership of adjacent lands. The picture is unclear.
What is clear is that SPARC and all the users of the lands must be vigilant.
Meanwhile we must urge the Governor and others to save the area and annex these lands to the Stewart State Forest.
We should also monitor and attend town and village meetings in Montgomery. Decisions on their Master Plan will be coming in the new year.
Going, Going, Save the Land
SPARC had its auction on Saturday, last October 11th at the American Legion Post #1420 in the Town of Newburgh. It was a success despite serious competition from the nice weather, the three-day weekend, and Montgomery's village-wide yard sale.
SPARC would especially like to thank the Legion Post #1420 and Commander Tom Forsyth for the use of the hall with its kitchen for the weekend (and a few extra days until all the items were picked up). It was very considerate of them because their schedule for the hall was also packed full!
The Fostertown Elementary School once again lent SPARC platforms for the event. SPARC thanks the school and also our member Mike Serinsky for picking up and returning the platforms, which get heavier every year.
Linda Meyer was Co-chair and is a great organizer who arranged the many details including advertising, food, and recruiting additional volunteers. Her husband Bill willingly delivered the provisions to the hall.
Helping in so many ways were Joan Ruffino, Ronnie Brown, Susan Mischo, Sandra Kissam. Bo Eriksson displayed all the auction items. Emma, his daughter, baked a delicious cake. Rudy Vallet, Pat Williams held down the front table. Jimmy Shovan directed the parking, and helped with lifting and pushing, as did many others. Jeff and Diane Pavia did painstaking registration of items on Friday evening.
Auctioneer Bill Jenack and his wife Andrea took charge early and well. We are grateful to them, as the auction would not have happened without them. We also must thank all our donors of auction items, and we have listed them elsewhere in this news
Lynn Barber, Co-Chair
Donors to SPARC's Auction
Blooming Grove Colonials, Felix & Jeanne Versveyveld
Andrew & Cybele Kehr
Lynne & John Delesky
Tony & Susan Marino
Wendall K. Harrington
Edgeblur, Inc., Bo Eriksson
Gayler Graphix, Anne Gayler
Let's Swing, Diane Newlander
Sam Phelps, Jr.
Dr. Gerald Rogo
Surving Studios, Inc., Natalie Surving
The Family Business, Inc., Judy Noorlander
Paul Van Nieuwerburgh
Exposures Gallery, Nick Zungoli
Clinton Antique Shop, Julia Heavey
Hudson Valley Materials Exchange, Gill Gruber
Joan Buck Smith
Grey Core Press, Joan Schweighardt
Judith Powell, LMT SPARC sincerely apologizes to any donor we may have overlooked.
Exciting and Successful 2003
In January 2003, SPARC and Co-Plaintiffs O.C. Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs and the Sierra Club, had just successfully fought back a challenge from the state and federal Depts.of Transportation to remove the injunction from the Drury Lane Highway/Interchange project.
Then, at a hearing in the Federal Appellate Court on February 25th, 2003, SPARC and Co-Plaintiffs successfully fought a second effort to remove the injunction even as the court set a date for late April to hear the Appeal.
Meanwhile SPARC engaged in a major fundraising drive to raise legal fees for the appeal. Thirty-two organizations and hundreds of individuals responded to the crisis and by mid April the goal of $17,000 was met.
On April 29th, the Appellate Court, 2nd Department, listened to oral arguments on the Appeal, having received the legal briefs and thousands of pages of court records.
SPARC was thrilled when the three justices upheld the injunction against the highway project until they would render their decision.
Meanwhile SPARC continued with fundraisers and community events. A wonderful Trail Ride was held in May; at the first-ever 'Youth Day' in April SPARC's annual scholarship went to Mark O'Hern of Goshen (thanks to Dr. Singman); the Buffer Bike Tour in June was successful in spite of rainy skies, and the Auction was held on October 11th. Unfortunately, the Hike-a-Thon in September was rained out.
SPARC continued to attend airport SAC meetings, various business meetings, do presentations before various groups, have tables at community festivals, go on radio. Last May 2003, members were delighted when the Town Board of Hamptonburgh endorsed the preservation of the Stewart Buffer.
On the lands, there were hike and ski events, a bird walk, informal walks. SPARC meetings continued to be held regularly: last winter at the Boathouse in the County Park, and this fall in the Community Room of the Bethlehem Church.
SPARC applaudedCitizens for Crestviewfor stopping the County and Town of New Windsor from abandoning the facility. Co-Chairs Louisa Flaningam and Jean Antonelli mobilized their group, and successfully lobbied to open the Lake. Congratulations.
As the opposition well knows, the Court has not yet made a decision on the Appeal. However, while awaiting the outcome, SPARC is successful in that the injunction continues to hold back the project.
What's most important is that our citizens have been able to use and enjoy the Stewart Buffer Lands for another year. The open space is untouched by development. The wildlife flourishes, and the lands protect the air and water even as they buffer the airport.
Using this criteria, SPARC has been successful for the past 16 years.
SPARC could not function without hardworking and loyal Board members and others.
We sincerely thank Ronnie Brown for taking on SPARC's data entry work, and Verne Bell for handling it in the interim. Diana Krautter has conducted SPARC mailings for more years than she would care to remember, and her efforts are deeply appreciated.
Vice President Rudy Vallet is always effective and persuasive presenting to many groups and attending numerous functions as an officer of SPARC. We thank him for his years of service.
Susan Mischo works almost every SPARC event and was a true lifesaver at SPARC outreach tables this fall. Thank God for SPARC treasurer Pat Williams for her ongoing expert management of SPARC's revolving door finances---comes in, goes out. We so appreciate Joan Ruffino, always ready to lead a walk on the lands. She, Mary Ann Filardi and Barbara Farabaugh have manned numerous information tables at community events.
Bo Eriksson, graphics professional, has done so much for us. His SPARC map continues to inform the public and raise needed donations (almost $2500) for our cause. He designs and does the layout for our newsletter.
The Bethlehem Presbyterian Church has shown true support in providing their community facility for our public meetings. Thank you. Last winter Graham Skea did the same with the Boathouse at Thomas Bull Park. Thanks to him.
We are grateful to noted author Dennis Wepman, who arranged for SPARC to address the Goshen Rotary Club at their regular meeting on October 23rd. Rudy Vallet and Sandra Kissam spoke to the Rotary and thank them for hosting us.
Wepman also approached the NDA (Newburgh Developers Association), and they invited Sandra Kissam to speak at their November 5th meeting. SPARC's appreciation goes to Gerry Sanchez and the NDA for providing a forum.
Thanks also to Rich Cortell of New Windsor who interviewed Sandra Kissam November 20th on his radio show 'Perspectives', broadcast on Newburgh station WWLE at 1170 AM. Chuck Stewart, publisher of the Hudson Valley Press, operates this station for the community.
Wed., Dec. 17th, 2003, Potluck Holiday Party, Bethlehem Church Community Room, 6:00 PM
Tues., Jan. 27th, 2004, SAC meeting, 8:00 AM, Administration Bldg., Stewart Airport
Mon., Feb. 2nd, 2004, SPARC meeting, 7:30 PM, Bethlehem Church Community Room
Mon., Mar. 15th, 2004, SPARC meeting, 7:30 PM, Bethlehem Church Community Room
Mon., April 19th, 2004, SPARC meeting, 7:30 PM, Bethlehem Church Community Room
There will be a hike/ski event on the Stewart Buffer. Please call Diana at 845 562-6249 for date, place and time.
Dear Friends of SPARC,
As your days fill with holiday preparations and your focus is on family and friends, please do not forget a most basic and important gift that you can give.
That gift is the protection of open space for our children and generations to come.
SPARC is working to save this open space in our collective backyard, the Stewart Buffer Heritage Lands.
We are reaching out to you to support our earnest efforts with your donation. Funds are critically needed to help us realize our goal: saving the Stewart Buffer for us all.
We thank you for your contribution.
The Potluck Holiday Party!
We invite you to spend the evening with all your SPARC friends as we unwind and reminisce about the past year.
We will gather onWednesday, December 17thto enjoy a Potluck Supper in theCommunity Roomof the Bethlehem Presbyterian Church
The time will be6:00 PM. Feel free to bring a friend. If you have an instrument, bring that along too!
Rudy is coordinating the food, so you can call him at 294-7209 and let him know what you are bringing.
The Bethlehem Presbyterian Church is on the northwest corner of Rt. 94 and Jackson Ave. in New Windsor. For more information call 564-3018, or email email@example.com.
Be sure to join us. We'll be looking for you.