Land Use Project
In 2007 the Coalition began a new project with the watershed municipalities to document land use in the watershed. “The State of the Watershed – Land Use” project will pull together a cohesive picture of the watershed in terms of land use, zoning, and property ownership. These three issues often determine the health of the river over time in terms of stormwater pollution, impervious surfaces, and risks of new development and commercial activities that could lead to additional pollutant loadings. It is a complex picture in many localities, with types of land use, zoning and property ownership changing multiple times on both sides of the river, even within a quarter mile. There is even less knowledge about land use patterns across jurisdictions, or in the watershed as a whole. A clear land use analysis will significantly help communities, the Coalition,and the County set priorities for public information campaigns, regulation enforcement, and zoning and planning enhancements and changes.
The Saw Mill River Coalition proposes to broadly categorize and graphically present land use information, including property ownership and environmentally-sensitive areas, within the watershed to promote clearer decision-making that will allow local governments to both protect the river and achieve other community goals.
In 2008 the Coalition designed a Land Use survey in order to gather this information. The survey was conducted by SMRC staff and a group of Americorps volunteers from May-June 2008. A survey was filled out for most businesses within 500 feet of the river, beginning at the border of Yonkers and Hastings on Hudson, going through Ardsley, part of Dobbs Ferry, Greenbrugh, and ending in Elmsford.
The data is now being compiled onto an excel document which will soon be used to create multiple informative layers on an interactive map, which is expected to be posted on our website in the near future. Using this map the public will be able to view a visual schematic of where the top polluters exist within the Saw Mill River watershed. More specific information will be available by clicking on each individual site.
The ultimate goal is to work with the identified polluters and encourage safer practices within environmentally sensitive areas.
Funded by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Hudson River Estuary Program.