Essex County, New York
Forever-Wild Easement; Completed Project
In March 2004, the Northeast Wilderness Trust accepted a conservation easement on a 60-acre property know as Beaver Falls, part of the Split Rock Wildway. Beaver Falls contains upland forest, open and shrub wetland, and a former agricultural field. Beaver activity is present in the wetland and riparian areas. As a low-elevation conservation parcel situated in the well-conserved Split Rock Mountain landscape, Beaver Falls contributes to filling conservation gaps in the region.
Forest ecosystems of several different types occur on the property. The property hosts clayplain forest, hemlock forest, floodplain forest, wet mesic black ash-hemlock forest, rocky ledges, hardwood forest, sedge meadow, alluvial forest/shrubland, and open wetlands. According to ecologist Marc Lapin, “The juxtaposition of clayplain, rocky hill and wetland is very characteristic of the Champlain Valley; not only do all of those occur on the parcel, there are also fine examples of forest and open wetland natural communities. Mosaics of wetland, upland, riparian area and aquatic ecosystems are known to be important for numerous animal species, and the fact that much of the forest at Beaver Falls is ecologically intact suggests that numerous species of small mammals, birds, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles would find the site to have appropriate breeding and non-breeding habitat. The sedge meadow is a classic beaver meadow and as such is characteristic of the natural openings in the Champlain Valley landscape.”
Lapin also notes, “It is interesting to see such a well-developed alluvial community associated with such a small stream. Small streams in the Champlain Valley are among the most highly modified ecosystems, since most have been cleared of forest to their edges, ditched, straightened and chemically altered due to the preponderance of agricultural land use. Conservation of a Champlain Valley ‘natural’ stream of this size that is not fully bordered by open lands is significant in its own right.”
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