Request for Proposals: Quassaick Creek Greenway Implementation Strategy and Master Plan 

City of Newburgh and Town of New Windsor, Orange County, New York
Issue Date: January 19, 2024
Submittal Due Date: February 20, 2024

Download: RFP with Appendices

Download: Addenda to RFP edited Feb 8, 2024 (see highlighted sections below for any text that was changed)

If you are a member of BidNet Direct, you can find the RFP here:


Submission of Proposals: 

Advertisement:Friday, January 19, 2024
Pre-proposal Conference and Site Visit: 2:00 p.m. Wednesday January 31, 2024
Question deadline: 5:00 p.m. ET, Monday, February 5, 2024
Posting of any addenda: 12:00 p.m. ET Friday, February 9, 2024
RFP Response Submission deadline: 12:00 p.m. ET Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Target Award Date: February 29, 2024

Qualified firms or individuals are required to submit one digital copy via Dropbox via this link: and one hard copy delivered to:

Duane Martinez
Scenic Hudson
85 Civic Center Plaza #300
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.

Proposals are due no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Time on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

Proposals shall be suitably bound and organized so that required mandatory information is first, followed by any supplementary information that the respondents wish to include. To the greatest extent possible, the submitted format shall be limited to an 8 1/2″ x 11″ format. The cover of the proposal shall clearly indicate name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address of the firm and designated contact person. 

Pre-Proposal Conference and Site Visit
A pre-proposal conference and site visit will be planned for 2:00 p.m. January 31, 2024, weather permitting. While not mandatory, all prospective applicants are encouraged to attend. RSVP to

Questions are due no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday, February 5, 2024, via email to Duane Martinez at Answers to questions will be issued to all interested bidders/proposers of record via an RFP Addendum at least five business days prior to submission deadline. Client reserves the right to compile questions and answers into a single addendum.


Scenic Hudson Inc., hereafter referred to as the “Client,” in coordination with the City of Newburgh, the town of New Windsor, and Orange County, New York, is soliciting proposals from qualified individuals, organizations or teams of such, hereafter referred to as “Consultant” to prepare the “Quassaick Creek Greenway Implementation Strategy and Master Plan,” hereafter referred to as “the Project.”

The Consultant will provide professional design, engineering, and planning services for the Quassaick Creek Greenway, a proposed linear park and multi-use trail adjacent to Quassaick Creek, reaches of which flow between and within the City of Newburgh and the Town of New Windsor in Orange County, New York. The Project consists of two major components:

  1. A master plan that includes an implementation strategy and a schematic site plan.
  2. Design development of a “Phase I Catalyst Site”, to be selected in consultation with the Client.

The Project will build upon the concepts, preferred path alignment and community engagement that were completed as part of a feasibility study in 2023 (see Appendix E).

The goals of the Project are:

  • Produce a master plan that outlines a clear strategy towards activation and construction.
  • Advance design development of a Phase I Catalyst Site.
  • Highlight and plan for ecological enhancement and restoration in the creek corridor.
  • Address environmental justice through deep community engagement, participatory design, and placemaking strategies.
  • Cultivate broad community and local agency ownership of the project.

The Client will assemble a project steering committee, hereafter referred to as the “Steering Committee” to advise the Client on consultant selection, project management and community engagement. The Steering Committee will meet with the Consultant for a kick-off meeting and hold monthly meetings to review progress. The Steering Committee aspires to include at least one representative from each: the City, the Town of New Windsor, Orange County, Orange County Land Trust (OCLT), and the Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance (QCWA). Other local stakeholders may be identified by these representatives to participate in the Steering Committee as necessary. 

The Project is funded by a $100,000 New York State Conservation Partnership Program catalyst grant awarded by the Land Trust Alliance to The Scenic Hudson Land Trust, Inc. (SHLT), with a $150,000 matching grant provided by SHLT. Scenic Hudson will administer the Project and function as the contractual client of the Consultant. 

The Consultant is expected to direct all activities of the Project including those conducted by any approved subcontractor. The Consultant shall meet regularly with the Client and the Steering Committee to track alignment with Project goals and objectives and make course corrections where necessary. 

A. Project Direction

  • Direct all staff assignments, progress tracking, budget oversight, development of project materials, quality control, etc. 

B. Project Coordination

  • Project Schedule
    • The schedule should be updated monthly and punctuated by key deliverable dates, dependencies, review dates, and public engagement. 
    • This schedule should be organized by the Tasks outlined below. 
    • Schedule will be coordinated with Client upon commencement of work. 
  • Facilitate monthly coordination meetings with the Client to report on project status, resolve issues, and identify additional needs.
    • Frequency of these meetings shall be adjusted as needed. 
  • Distribute agenda and materials for review at least three days in advance of meetings. 
  • Provide invoices and receipts monthly. 
  • Conduct project coordination conference calls and/or meetings between regularly scheduled meetings as needed to resolve outstanding issues and review action items. 
  • Attend bi-monthly Steering Committee meetings. 

The Client can award a maximum of $220,000 for this scope of work. 

The Client has separately retained Hudsonia Ltd. as a consultant to advise on habitat and biodiversity assessment. The Client will coordinate communications and work between the Consultant and Hudsonia Ltd. (See Appendix B) 


The City of Newburgh and the Town of New Windsor 

This region has a rich and varied cultural history. This land seems to have been originally part of the traditional lands of the Waoranek or Esopus, who were part of the Lenape — an association of peoples linked by their shared use of Algonquin language dialects. European settlements on this land date back to the early 1700s. Currently, these two modern municipalities are located approximately 60 miles north of New York City on the west side of the Hudson River in Orange County, New York. The City of Newburgh is a small, densely populated city with a population of approximately 29,000 people within 3.8 square miles and a population density of 7,500 people per square mile. It is bound by the Town of Newburgh to the north and west, the Hudson River to the east and the Town of New Windsor to the south. New Windsor has a similar size population of about 28,000 people in nearly ten times the land area of 34 square miles. Its population density is 815 people per square mile. Quassaick Creek serves as the municipal boundary of the City of Newburgh and the Town of New Windsor. 

Scenic Hudson, Inc. 

Scenic Hudson, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that seeks to sustain and enhance the Hudson Valley’s inspirational beauty and health for generations to come. Scenic Hudson’s River Cities Program focuses on improving equitable access to nature and creating systems of climate-resilient green infrastructure in the Mid-Hudson cities of Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and Kingston through meaningful community engagement and multi-stakeholder collaboration. We believe that cities should reflect the voices and visions of all their residents while supporting the living natural heritage of the Hudson River Estuary. We focus on key natural assets that provide opportunities for linking neighborhoods, educating youth, and improving biodiversity and climate resilience in urban ecosystems. We value equity, representation, and justice as critical aspects of our collaborative conservation work. Our practice is rooted in the co-creation of vibrant public spaces that support social and ecological wellbeing. 

Quassaick Creek Greenway 

The concept of a Quassaick Creek Greenway harkens back to an early 1900s postcard, showing Newburgh families enjoying repose at what was then called the Vale of Evoca. This watershed is steeped in industrial history, Revolutionary War linkages, archaeological sites and the old Kings Highway, as well as rich estuarine, upland forest and riparian ecosystems. It 

The effort to establish the Quassaick Creek corridor as a linear park and trail produced numerous studies and proposals over the past several decades. The first organized effort was brought into focus by the Quassaick Creek Estuary Preserve and Trail Coalition, a nonprofit formed in the late 1990s. The Coalition ceased work on the project in 2009 after being unable to make headway on securing access to properties deemed relevant to the project. Soon after, QCWA was formed and continued the charge to establish a trail in the corridor and monitor the full extent of the watershed. In 2020, Scenic Hudson received a NYS Conservation Partnership Program Catalyst Grant administered by the Land Trust Alliance to study the feasibility of a 2.5 mile greenway from the Hudson River to Scenic Hudson’s Snake Hill Preserve. 

Important milestones to date include: 

• 1999: $100,000 granted by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to OCLT to provide public access to Quassaick Creek. 

• 2000: OCLT contracted a Phase I engineering study on 5 acres bordered by Quassaick Creek and River Road for a possible trail head. 

• 2002: A well attended charrette for a Quassaick Creek Trail held in Newburgh. 

• 2002: Grant-funded stabilization of an historical “twin arch” bridge at the Candle Factory site. 

• 2003: James Barbour biodiversity study identifying rare and endangered plants. 

• 2007: New York-New Jersey Trail Conference prepared a Phase 1 Trail Feasibility Study 

• 2007: Study of a linear park along Quassaick Creek as a capstone project in landscape architecture for the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry conducted by Marcy Denker. 

• 2014: The Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance, in partnership with Orange County, produced the Quassaick Creek Watershed Plan. 

• 2020: Removal of the first dam on the Quassaick upstream from its confluence with the Hudson River. 

• 2020: Scenic Hudson received a New York State Conservation Partnership Program Catalyst grant from the Land Trust Alliance to conduct a feasibility study. OCLT contributed matching funds. 

• 2021: City of Newburgh prepared a design proposal for the modification of the Holden Dam. 

• 2023: Scenic Hudson published the Quassaick Creek Greenway Feasibility Study produced by thread collective and MUD Workshop with Tectonic Engineers and KB Engineering. 

• 2023: Riverkeeper received a grant to remove the Holden Dam. 

• 2023: City of Newburgh commissions a Natural Resources Inventory with Hudsonia and Greenplan. 

• 2023: City of Newburgh conducts a land survey of of approximately 108 acres of municipally-owned land within the project area and encompassing Crystal Lake. 

• Over the years the NY/NJ Trail Conference and the City of Newburgh developed several proposed trail segment layouts, along with a layout for a trail on the Plotkin property north of the stream. 

Quassaick Creek Greenway Feasibilty Study 

In 2022, Scenic Hudson commissioned the combined team of thread collective and MUD Workshop to conduct a feasibilty study of the greenway. The study was completed in the spring of 2023. This work resulted in a community-informed vision, a preferred path alignment, design principles, rough order of magnitude cost estimates for trail construction, and concepts for phasing, governance, and trail typologies. (see Appendix E) 


The study area is generally defined as a mosaic of public and private parcels located on either side of Quassaick Creek following an approximately 2-mile stretch from the mouth at the Hudson River to Crystal Lake in the City of Newburgh. The Study Area generally includes:
1) Parcels within 100 feet of both sides of Quassaick Creek from the mouth of the creek at the Hudson River to its confluence with Gidneytown Creek in the City of Newburgh;
2) Parcels with frontage on Muchattoes Lake and Crystal Lake in the City of Newburgh; and
3) Publicly owned property within a quarter mile of Quassaick Creek, contiguous with the above parcels.


Required tasks include: 







For most deliverables, findings, analysis and recommendations shall be compiled as a chapter of the final report unless otherwise noted. Format of the final report will be coordinated with the Client. The Client may require interim status memos throughout the project. 


The Consultant shall seek public input and engage the local community throughout the scope of the Project. Local demographics and stakeholder interests shall be analyzed to better inform this strategy. This process should be innovative and creative, and seek to engage a population representative of the demographics of the community. It should be inclusive of hard to reach and historically marginalized populations, residents within the study area, as well as property owners. The outcome of engagement should be broad community ownership of the project. The Consultant will be responsible for developing outreach materials. Language translation, childcare, and refreshments will be provided by the Client as necessary during public meetings. 

A. Stakeholder Analysis

  • Review findings of the 2023 Feasibility Study with the Client. 
  • Brief analysis of sociodemographic factors pertinent to trail and park planning. 
  • Update and maintain an existing record of community leaders, property owners, neighborhood associations, community organizations, key businesses, and potential user groups that have an interest in the Project.
    • Identify stakeholder interests, impact levels and relative priority to realizing the objectives of the Project. 
  • Propose various strategies for community engagement and stakeholder participation based on findings. 


1. Chapter and associated tables, charts, and graphics as needed. 

B. Participatory Design

  • Gather input and vison from diverse populations and achieve participation rates that are representative of the local community. 
  • Conduct an iterative design process that incorporates public input. 
  • Gather preference data on programming, destinations, amenities, etc. 
  • Maintain records of outreach metrics including basic demographics, geographic representation, and unique/repeat interactions. 
  • Facilitate public meetings in collaboration with the Client. 


2. Community Engagement Strategy to be reviewed with the Client and Steering Committee. 

3. Coordinate and facilitate a minimum of five public engagement workshops focused on community vision and participatory design.

  • One project kickoff meeting. 
  • One public review of the draft schematic plan of the corridor. 
  • One public forum to discuss draft schematic design alternatives for one Phase I Catalyst Site. 
  • Two community design workshops focused on design development of one Phase I Catalyst Site. 
  • Other public meetings mutually agreed upon by the Client and Consultant. 
  • Methods and activities to be approved by the Client at least 3 weeks prior to engagement. 

4. Chapter compiling and analyzing data and key findings. 

5. Community Outreach Materials

  • Consultant shall develop all outreach materials for print and digital distribution 
  • Client will provide basic style guides and direction to inform/inspire Consultant’s proposed messaging, identity, and graphic design for community engagement. 
  • Client will review and approve proposed messaging and graphic identity at least three weeks prior to proposed public engagement. 

6. Kickoff meeting with Client Communications Team. 


The Consultant will be responsible for advancing key environmental investigations necessary for design of the schematic site plan and design development of a Phase I Catalyst Site. A limited environmental desktop review was conducted as part of the 2023 Feasibility Study (See Appendices E and F). The Client will provide a habitat and biodiversity assessment being prepared by Hudsonia for the Project. (see Appendix B). All final documents shall be signed and sealed by the applicable licensed professional. 

A. Existing Conditions Review and Analysis

  • Review and analyze existing conditions findings from the 2023 Feasibility Study. 
  • Review and analyze natural resources inventory to be provided by Hudsonia. 
  • Augment the findings from the above two sources with any additional research/data necessary to better inform the Project. 
  • Review current local and regional planning projects with which the Project intersects. 


7. Chapter with a summary of key findings. 

The minimum standard for vertical trail alignment and schematic design must be one-meter or higher resolution digital elevation model (DEM). For example, the NYS GIS Clearinghouse has provided one-meter resolution DEMs available here: (Federal High Resolution DEM, 2014 3 County), or by using this Image Service:

At the time of this RFP, Client does not have site control to various land parcels, and the area and landscape complexity of said parcels differs. Site control will evolve during the consultancy. Accordingly, Client encourages the proposers to include bids for two additional alternate items of work:

  1. Complete a two-foot or higher resolution digital elevation model for up to 20 acres within the study area for Design Development of the to-be-determined Phase I Catalyst Site. 
  1. Confirm site conditions via ground truthing and spot elevations, as needed, for up to 20 acres within the study area. 

If bid, fees for these additional alternates shall be provided separately from the base bid.

Client acknowledges that fees for these additional alternatives will be reflective of the geophysical variance within the study area. If the acreage of the Phase I Catalyst site is larger or smaller than 20 acres, Client will negotiate a fee for the final acreage based on the original  bid for both additional items of work, respectively. All work, including additional alternate items must be accommodated within the total project budget. 


8. Boundary and topographic survey of areas outlined above. 

9. Execution of necessary geotechnical services for Phase I Catalyst Site 

10. Chapter with a summary of key findings. 

C. Ecology

  • Habitat and Biodiversity Assessment •
    • Consult with Hudsonia on its biodiversity assessment findings and implications for greenway design. 
  • Geomorphology
    • Provide a general characterization of the geomorphology and ecology of the study area. 
    • Identify key areas desirable for habitat conservation and restoration. 
    • Field work as needed. 


11. Kickoff meeting with Client and Hudsonia. 

12. Chapter with summary and recommendations. 

D. Hydrology

  • Provide holistic assessment of hydrology in the corridor relevant to trail and greenway development. 
  • Provide recommendations for improved stream health and mitigation of negative social and ecological impacts from flood events. 


13. Chapter with summary and recommendations. 

E. Built Environment, Archaeology, Historic Preservation

  • Review resources identified in the desktop review as part of the 2023 Feasibility Study. (See Appendices E and F) 
  • Identify priority sites that may significantly impact the Project. 
  • Consult with the Client on findings and make recommendations for further investigation. 
  • Identify and map existing and planned transportation and utility infrastructure within the study area or otherwise relevant to the Project. 


14. Chapter with an inventory and basic assessment of significant features. 

F. Environmental Assessment

  • Analysis of existing desktop review report of environmental hazards prepared during the 2023 Feasibility Study (see Appendix F) 


15. Chapter outlining opportunities, constraints and recommendations for future environmental assessment and remediation. 

16. Phase 1 Environmental Assessment for the Phase I Catalyst Site 


The Consultant should apply key findings from Task 3 (Environmental Analysis), with references to relevant findings from Task 2 (Community Engagement) to inform a restoration strategy. 

A. Draft Restoration Strategy

  • Delineate areas with high conservation or restoration value. 
  • Consider landscape-level changes due to the climate and biodiversity crises such as sea level rise, extreme weather events, invasive species, etc. 
  • Materials developed should be able to be used for environmental education and seeking additional funding for future ecological restoration, adaptation and resilience work. 


17. Map delineating potential areas for habitat conservation, ecological enhancement, restoration, and climate resilience. 

18. Chapter describing and prioritizing ecological enhancement activities. 


The Consultant shall develop a schematic site plan and trail alignment for the greenway and create a set of criteria to determine a Phase I Catalyst Site for design development. The criteria shall be based on environmental analysis, community engagement and consultation with the Steering Committee. 

A. Schematic Site Plan and Trail Alignment of the Greenway

  • Horizontal and vertical trail alignment 
  • Trail typologies 
  • Typical sections 
  • Overall character 
  • Inventory of greenway destinations 

B. Design Development for a Phase I Catalyst Site

  • Establish a set of criteria to determine the most feasible site for design development. 
  • Work with Client and Steering Committee to select Phase 1 Catalyst Site. 
  • Minimum of two schematic design alternatives.
    • Design alternatives will be workshopped with the community and the preferred alternative shall be presented to the Steering Committee. 
    • Design alternatives should reflect different themes gained from the 2023 Feasibility Study, and build on community engagement and other aspects of this scope of work being completed prior to design alternatives development. 
  • Design Development of preferred Phase I Catalyst Site
    • Site plans, vertical and horizontal alignment of the trail, typical sections, vegetation, amenities, proposed grading, etc. 
    • All final documents shall be signed and sealed by the applicable licensed professional. 


19. Schematic site plan of the greenway. 

20. A recommendation for Phase 1 Catalyst Site. 

21. Two schematic design alternatives for selected Phase I Catalyst Site. 

22. Design Development drawing set of Phase I Catalyst Site. 

23. Chapter summarizing approach, design challenges, and key recommendations. 


The Consultant shall build upon the recommendations of the feasibility report and prepare a set of implementation strategies to assist the Client and local municipal agencies in better understanding the path towards construction. 

A. Phasing Strategy

  • Advance an overall phasing strategy for final greenway design and construction. 
  • Provide a detailed strategy for the Phase I Catalyst Site. 


24. Chapter outlining the phasing strategy, rationale, and timelines. 

B. Cost Estimates

  • Provide estimates of probable construction costs for the Phase I Catalyst Site. 


25. Preliminary opinion of itemized probable costs for the construction and permitting of the preferred Phase I Catalyst Site. 

C. Maintenance and Management Strategy

  • Identify potential responsible parties, staff capacity needs, maintenance equipment needs, and suggested regular maintenance practices for access points, trailheads, parking areas, trail sections, ecological stewardship, etc. 


26. Chapter outlining key maintenance schemes and potential responsible parties. 


A. Final Design Drawings

  • This package should include all final plans, models, sections and other graphic documentation necessary to communicate the vison, character, and connectivity of the project. 


27. Final design set

  • Illustrative plan of the greenway. 
  • Section drawings of key sites, to be coordinated with the Client and Steering Committee. 
  • Minimum of 6 renderings of key areas to be determined in consultation with the Client. 
  • Package of digital assets for Client use including maps, diagrams renderings, GIS files. AutoCAD, etc. to be delivered via a portable flash drive or file sharing site. 

B. Final Report

  • Executive Summary 
  • Compiled chapters of all the findings and analysis from Tasks 1-6. 


28. Final Report

  • PDF of the report with necessary printers marks. 
  • PDF of the report less than 25MB for digital distribution 

Respondents shall arrange the following items in the following order for ease of review: 

1. Description of the firm or team, including resume information of principals, licensed professionals, and other professionals who will be assigned to this project, along with current staffing and management of the firm. The team must include a Licensed Professional Engineer currently registered in the State of New York, and a Licensed Land Surveyor currently registered in the State of New York. 

2. A detailed statement describing the firm’s understanding of the scope of the proposed project, including the firm/team’s general approach to such work, evidence of the firm/team’s understanding of the goals and objectives of the project, and methodology for accomplishing the tasks as listed in this RFP. 

3. A schedule in the form of a Gantt chart which depicts sequencing and duration of the scope of work to be completed by the Consultant within 12 months from execution of the Consultant’s contract or February 28, 2025, whichever comes sooner.

4. References that attest to the firm’s experience and expertise on previous projects of similar and relevant scope involving greenway design. With each reference, include a project name, address, person to contract, telephone number, and a brief description of the work completed by the firm. Members of the Steering Committee will contact references as part of the review process. 

5. Description of services and associated costs to be provided “in-house” by the firm and what services will be subcontracted. 

6. Proof of professional liability and general insurance. 

7. Non-Collusive Bidding Affidavit 

8. Completed bid sheet including a proposed total lump sum fee. Corresponding milestone payment schedule will be coordinated with the Client. 


Consultants are encouraged to propose additional tasks as separate line items not to be included in the base bid total lump sum fee. Each addition or alternative should include an estimated breakdown of professional service fees and hourly billing rates to provide services, including any subcontracted consultants. The Client welcomes innovative and comprehensive approaches to design and ecological enhancement. 

Such tasks may include: 

1. Phase 2 Environmental Assessment of Phase I Catalyst Site 

2. Design Guidelines

  • A. Develop typical design details to establish a standard tone, look and feel for the greenway and typical features. 
  • B. Employ these guidelines in the design development of the Phase I Catalyst Site. 

3. Additional architectural renderings 

4. Detailed vegetation and planting plans 

5. Maintain a project website 

6. Advanced implementation strategies

  • A. Identify local, state, and federal funding programs for which the project may be eligible 
  • B. Outline key governance, strategic partnership and management strategies. 

Costs of additional services shall be covered within the total project budget. 


Client will award the Project to the individual, firm or team who submits the most responsive proposal for the most competitive fee.

  1. Right to Additional Information: The Client reserves the right to require additional information as deemed necessary to complete the review of proposals. An interview of the respondent after the initial review but prior to final selection should be anticipated.
  2. Right to Reject: The Client reserves the right without prejudice, to reject any or all proposals, to waive any informalities or minor irregularities in proposals, and to accept the proposal deemed to be in the best interest of the Project regardless of price.
  3. A payment schedule will be established during execution of contract. 

Please follow this link to access all appendices:

SECTION K: Summary of Deliverables

1. Stakeholder analysis 

2. Community engagement strategy 

3. A minimum of five public engagement workshops 

4. Community engagement summary 

5. Print and digital assets for each public event. 

6. Kickoff meeting with Client Communications Team 

7. Existing conditions summary 

8. Boundary and topographic survey of selected area. 

9. Execution of necessary geotechnical services 

10. Geotechnical summary. 

11. Kickoff meeting with Client and Hudsonia 

12. Ecology summary 

13. Hydrology summary 

14. Built environment summary 

15. Environmental assessment summary 

16. Phase I Environmental Assessment for Catalyst Site 

17. Restoration map 

18. Ecological Enhancement and Restoration summary 

19. Schematic Site Plan 

20. Criteria and recommendation for Phase I Catalyst Site 

21. Two schematic design alternatives for Phase I Catalyst Site 

22. Design Development drawing set for Phase I Catalyst Site 

23. Design summary 

24. Phasing strategy 

25. Cost estimates for Phase I Catalyst Site 

26. Maintenance and management strategy 

27. Final Design Set 

28. Final Report 

SECTION L: Appendices

Please follow the link below for access to all appendices.

Budget Language

Photo: Jeff Mertz /

What’s at stake?

Scenic Hudson the inclusion of language in the final NYS budget that addresses the following:

Conservation Easements as an Allowable Environmental Bond Act Expense

Conservation easements are perhaps the most affordable tool to achieve the state’s goal of protecting 30 percent of its open space by 2030. However, there has been some debate as to whether or not funds in the Bond Act can be used for conservation easements. Scenic Hudson supports the Governor’s proposed amendment to the state finance law in the Public Protection and General Government Article VII Legislation, Part X §51, 6-a, ii. The amendment adds conservation easements to the definition of “fixed assets”, confirming that conservation easements are in fact an allowable Bond Act expense. This action will act in good faith on the voters’ resounding support of the Bond Act, and further protect our state’s natural resources. 

State Open Space Program Administration

Unlike virtually all other state and federal land acquisition programs, New York does not utilize private title insurance in its open space programs. In contrast, New York State undertakes its own review of land titles, sometimes going back one hundred years or more in an attempt to prove perfect title. This materially slows down transactions and open space conservation program implementation. Scenic Hudson calls on the Legislature for assistance in streamlining the state land acquisition process in their one-house budgets. We ask that you include legislation in your Senate and Assembly Budget Proposals that expressly authorizes the Real Property Bureau of the Office of Attorney General to use private title insurance, consistent with common real estate practice, as a means of achieving marketable title. Utilizing title insurance will improve and increase the pace of state land acquisition, providing communities statewide greater access to the benefits of land conservation.

Real Property Tax Law Section 532

Both Sojourner Truth State Park and Franny Reese State Park are owned by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. Since the formation of these parks, the lands that they encompass have been removed from their respective communities’ tax rolls. For the Town of Lloyd specifically, this host community has not received the tax benefits from the Franny Reese State Park property for almost 15 years. Most other New York State Parks owned by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission fall under Real Property Tax Law (RPTL) 532, which requires specific lands owned by and/or used by NYS to pay local property taxes. Throughout history, there have been many amendments to RPTL 532 to include the lands owned by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, so that the host communities receive property tax payments. Scenic Hudson supports amendments to RPTL 532 as part of the budget process that would add the current and future state park lands that are in the City of Kingston and the Town of Ulster (Sojourner Truth State Park) and the Town of Lloyd (Franny Reese State Park).

Environmental Bond Act Implementation

Photo: Tyler Blodgett /

What’s at stake?

We are grateful to the Governor and Legislature for their efforts over the years to craft and pass an Environmental Bond Act that will benefit all New Yorkers. Scenic Hudson joins the New Yorkers for Clean Water and Jobs Coalition in asking for the continued, expeditious implementation of the Bond Act. The Bond Act is meant to be additive, not a substitute for existing programs. Therefore, by maintaining the funding for other environmental programs, including those outlined above, Bond Act resources will better contribute to addressing the significant needs that exist in communities throughout the state.

More resources

Clean Water Infrastructure Act

Photo: Eva Deitch

What’s at stake?

Scenic Hudson joins with the New York Clean Water Coalition in asking for $600 million for clean water infrastructure. The proposed $250 million appropriation for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act represents a 50% reduction from current annual appropriations. Now is not the time to decrease funding for this program, as New York communities need at least $80 billion in funding to update water infrastructure, remove toxins from their drinking water, and address the impacts of climate change. This funding will enable New York State to tackle both longstanding and emerging threats to clean water in our state.

More resources

Parks Capital Funding

Photo: Jeff Mertz /

What’s at stake?

Scenic Hudson is grateful for the one-time infusion of $100 million in new capital funds into our state parks system as part of the New York State Parks centennial celebration. However, the $200 million allocation on an annual basis falls short of the overall need for funding, and is a decrease from the $250 million that was allocated in FY 2022-2023.

Even as the state makes the extraordinary $100 million investment, the Parks Capital Fund needs a baseline appropriation of at least $250 million annually for the next decade. This level must be sustained — to address climate change through smart management of state parkland, site renewable energy to help state parks become carbon neutral, address the backlog of deferred maintenance, maintain the state’s national leadership in connecting people to nature and outdoor recreation, and meet goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

More resources

A Fully-Funded Environmental Protection Fund (EPF)

Photo: Tyler Blodgett /

What’s at stake?

The Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) is the state’s only dedicated capital investment program for over 100 environmental projects and initiatives in every village, town, and city in the state. Scenic Hudson supports maintaining the EPF at $400 million without the $25 million reduction for agency operations and staff. We join with the New Yorkers for Clean Water and Jobs coalition in urging the Legislature to once again reject this proposed offload, and restore the EPF programs that were reduced because of it. 

We are supportive of funding for individual EPF line items and programs at the following levels: 

  • Soil and Water Conservation Districts: $18 million (Governor proposed at $18 million)
    Much of the current work to transition farms to climate-resilient farming practices in New York State would not be possible without local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs). SWCDs form one pillar of an information delivery system that is among the strongest in the nation and is very effective at delivering technical assistance to farmers and land managers. In particular, SWCDs in every county of the state are vital to enabling the on-the-ground application of research-informed climate-resilient farming practices. Scenic Hudson supports the Governor’s forward-looking proposal to increase the funding level for SWCDs to $18 million from last year’s $16 million. Increased funding is needed to further build the capacity of SWCDs in every county of the state to assist and educate farmers and land managers on the front lines of a changing climate. Scenic Hudson is working collaboratively with SWCDs in the Hudson Valley through the Northeast Carbon Alliance to promote economically productive and climate-effective healthy soils management.
  • Climate Resilient Farming Program: $15.25 million (Governor proposed at $15.25 million)
    Farmers throughout New York State have been building healthy soils by employing systems that have been used for centuries as well as innovative practices that reduce emissions, sequester carbon, protect and increase water quality, and support greater biodiversity. While we would ideally like to see this program restored to its historical $16.75, we support the Governor’s proposed $15.25 million in funding for climate resilient farming projects. This funding will support the farmers who are already using these methods and will enable more farmers to adopt practices that reduce on-farm emissions, increase food system resiliency, and provide essential ecosystem services.
  • Farmland Protection: $25 million (Governor proposed at $18.25 million)
    The need to protect farmland is especially urgent in fast-growing regions of the state — such as the Capital Region and Hudson Valley — facing acute development pressure and conversion of working farms to non-agricultural uses. To keep local farms in business and meet growing demands for fresh food, the state must protect more farmland. Successfully accomplishing this requires an allocation of at least $25 million (up from last year’s $21 million). Protecting farmland and avoiding its conversion to other uses is a critical step in achieving the state’s 30×30 goals and ensuring that these precious lands are available to feed our communities and achieve climate solutions. Scenic Hudson is continuing our work to conserve farmland in the Hudson Valley’s Foodshed.
  • Municipal Parks: $26 million (Governor proposed at $22.75 million)
    The Grant Program for Parks, Preservation and Heritage (Municipal Parks program) currently provides up to $26 million in matching grants to projects that acquire, develop, and plan municipal parks and recreational facilities. These grants empower municipal governments to work with both the state government and local organizations to build and improve the outdoor spaces that their constituents enjoy. In recent years, the total amount of annual applications for this program has frequently met or exceeded $90 million. Maintaining the $26 million appropriation from last year’s budget will allow the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) to continue fulfilling many of the grants needed to improve the recreation infrastructure so critical to our state. 
  • Open Space/State Land Conservation: $38.9 million (Governor proposed at $34.5 million)
    New York state has a goal to conserve at least 30 percent of state land and water by 2030 (30×30). 20% of the state has been protected so far, leaving another 3,190,806 acres needed to meet the goal. In the Hudson Valley alone, approximately 360,000 acres need to be conserved in order to meet a 30% conservation goal of the lands in just our ten county region. We encourage the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), OPRHP, and the Attorney General’s Office to work with the land trust community to streamline the land acquisition process in New York so more land is protected at a faster pace – for climate mitigation, biodiversity habitat, and public use. The state needs to ramp up conservation efforts in order to meet 30×30 goals, and consequently, the ambitious goals set by the NYS Climate Action Plan. 

    Conservation of land and water has a big role to play in achieving climate goals. Scenic Hudson developed Hudson Valley Conservation Strategy (HVCS) in part to identify the best potential conservation investments for achieving a resilient, functional, and productive landscape in the Hudson Valley region. Guided by the HVCS and our existing conservation strategies, we have conserved more than 50,000 acres, including creating or enhancing more than 65 parks, preserves, and historic sites that provide places for people to relax, enjoy recreation, and be inspired by the valley’s natural beauty and heritage. Maintaining funding for open space and land conservation at $38.9 million will allow Scenic Hudson and our regional and statewide partners to continue conserving New York State land that matters most.
  • Hudson River Estuary Program (HREP): $7.5 million (Governor proposed at $7.25 million)
    In 2022, funding for the HREP received a $1 million increase to $7.5 million, the first substantial growth for the program since its inception in 1996. We support the maintenance of this funding level in this year’s budget, as demand for this program and a safe, accessible Hudson River necessitates an annual allocation of at least $7.5 million. Maintaining this allocation will enable HREP staff and its partners to continue providing technical support and grants to local communities and projects committed to preserving and increasing connections to the Hudson River.
  • Conservation Partnership Program (CPP): $3 million (Governor proposed at $3 million)
    We join with the Land Trust Alliance in requesting that the CPP be maintained at $3 million in this year’s budget. The CPP is a successful public-private partnership between DEC and the Land Trust Alliance. It offers competitive grants to New York land trusts to advance local land conservation for the climate, health, and economic benefits they provide. The CPP is a model of efficiency as appropriated dollars are awarded annually in coordination with DEC, delivering tangible outcomes for communities and directly advancing New York’s Open Space Plan. The program has protected more than 36,000 acres without adding to the state’s management burden. With increased demand for open space, worsening climate change impacts, and growing awareness of the importance of locally led conservation in achieving a 30×30 goal, it is critical to continue funding for this program at a level of at least $3 million.

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