The Albany Pine Bush ecosystem once stretched over 25,000 acres, spreading across vast sand dunes of the bed of glacial Lake Albany. Today, the 3,200-acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve is a local and national treasure, containing globally unique pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, pine barrens vernal ponds, rare plants, and more than 45 wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the federally-endangered Karner blue butterfly.
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve in the heart of Albany’s Capital District is one of the most imperiled landscapes in the Northeast. It is being restored and expanded by the AES work to design and construct the Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Plan at the neighboring Rapp Road Landfill, and within the Preserve.
AES’ wetland mitigation for the landfill expansion began in 2006 with pre-construction baseline monitoring of vegetation, birds, butterflies, moths, reptiles, and amphibians. With a clear understanding of ecological conditions, AES ecologists developed the phased Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Plan.
By 2016, AES restoration crews completed work on all four construction phases, which included…
- treatment of invasive plant species
- cleanup and removal of a former mobile home park
- installation of a 3-acre native plant nursery to supply plants for the restoration, and
- construction of a 40-acre wetland mitigation area
- conversion of 55 acres of hardwood forest to high-quality oak savanna
- enhancement of 35 acres of forested wetland
The mitigation required two stream relocations, creation of an extensive biofilter wetland complex for surface runoff, and protection of a rare pine barrens vernal pond community.
To vegetate the restored landscape, AES collected native seed by hand within a 50-mile radius of the project site. This provided more than 1,000 pounds of seed with over 200 genetically local species, many of which were rare or undocumented in the area.
With the restoration plan in place, the City of Albany received permit approval to begin construction of its new expansion cell. Restoration work through 2020 will include sand placement and dune plantings on the closed portions of the landfill, and the final closure of the Albany Rapp Road Landfill.
Chosen as a National Natural Landmark for its extraordinary sand dunes, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve is also a New York State Unique Area, Bird Conservation Area, and a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area.
The Rapp Road Landfill mitigation and habitat restoration will add to the preservation and improvement of ecological conditions in this important ecosystem Preserve.
- Natural Resource Inventory
- Ecological Design
- Permitting Assistance
- Restoration Construction
- Construction Oversight
- Operation + Maintenance
- Adaptive Management
- Project-Specific Nursery Establishment
- Annual Monitoring