A 300+ unit housing development has been proposed that would transform 239 acres of grassland birds habitat in the Fort Edwards Grasslands Important Bird Area (IBA). Also known as the Washington County Grasslands, the habitat is frequented by several species at risk in New York, including Northern Harrier, Upland Sandpiper, Sedge Wren, and Vesper, Grasshopper and Henslow's Sparrows. The region is also important for winter raptors, especially Short-eared Owls (endangered in NY) and Rough-legged Hawks. (Peterson/Lee).
It was in these grasslands that I saw one of the Snowy Owls that wintered in the area this past season, which is recapped in my "Search for a Snowy Owl" post.
Southern Adirondack Audubon and Audubon New York are working hard to get the word out in order to protect this area from development. The public comment period ends on Monday, April 20, one week from today.
It is very important that concerned individuals let their thoughts known to the planning board. Even a short letter of comment may help make a difference and you don't have to live in Ft. Edwards to help out. As Mona Bearor of Southern Adirondack Audubon stated, "If you are a birder and have ever seen a Short-eared Owl roosting on hay bales on Fitzpatrick Rd., a Northern Harrier coursing over the open fields, or a Snowy Owl hunting voles, you should be concerned and comment on this issue."
Written comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) will be accepted until April 20, 2009, and may be sent to Mr. William LaPan, Chairman, Fort Edward Town Planning Board, 118 Broadway, Fort Edward, NY 12828.
A hard copy of the DEIS is available at the Fort Edward Town Clerk's Office, Fort Edward Free Library, Post Office and Washington County Clerk's Office. The DEIS is also available for review on their website.
Please join me in taking this step to help keep this important habitat open for the birds. As Mona Bearor stated, "with the help of those who care perhaps we can make a difference."
- Mona Bearor, Southern Adirondack Audubon
- Adirondack Birding - 60 Great Places to Find Birds by John M.C. Peterson and Gary N. Lee
UPDATE May 12, 2009
The public comment period has been extended for the Killian View DEIS. The new deadline is May 26, and there is a second public hearing scheduled for May 13, 7pm, at the Fort Edward Town Hall, Broadway, Fort Edward. If you have not written a letter of comment, it is not too late to do so. There is more information available on the Southern Adirondack Audubon website.
A VERY easy way to share your concern is by using the Audubon Action Alert on this issue. Please join others from across the country to help save this important bird habitat.