We engage in a wide variety of monitoring and management activities that help to protect natural resources, ensure a suitable environment for research and education, and provide useful information to coastal managers. Monitoring activities are primarily focused on assessing the condition of natural communities, rare or declining species, and ecosystem stressors, including climate‐change effects and invasive species. Results of monitoring efforts may indicate the need for adaptive management actions, such as controlling an invasive species, or protecting critical habitats to sustain biodiversity and critical ecosystem functions that benefit and protect coastal communities.
Many of the Reserve’s habitats are vulnerable to the direct and indirect changes associated with rapid climate change, including accelerated sea level rise, more intense storms, more frequent surge, changing patterns of drought and rainfall, and increasing heat. Of major concern is whether the Reserve’s tidal wetlands will be able to keep up with or adapt to changing water levels, wave energies, and other factors. In order to inform resilience planning and management, we closely monitors changes in marsh surface elevation, accretion, erosion, vegetation, and hydrology. Based on these data, we are developing and testing strategies to enhance resilience by reducing marsh edge erosion and increasing sediment deposition.
An invasive species is an organism that causes ecological or economic harm in a new environment where it is not native. Examples of invasive species at the Reserve include water chestnut, common reed, and zebra mussels. Invasive species can harm both the natural resources in an ecosystem as well as threaten human use of these resources. At the Reserve, we use the best available science and test innovative techniques to improve the efficacy of invasive species detection and management. Sincemanagement is most effective at the early stages of invasion, we actively monitor Reserve habitats to prevent the establishment of new populations of known or suspected invasive species. Established populations of invasive species are mapped and monitored to prioritize and inform management. If management is deemed feasible and necessary, we develop and implement site‐and species‐specific actions to protect rare species and exemplary natural communities.
We are working with South Carolina’s ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve; New York Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; Audubon New York, and the Northeast Motus Collaboration to establish a network of Motus receiving stations in the Hudson Valley. The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is an open-source, international collaborative network of community hosted radio-telemetry receivers and wildlife researchers designed to track the movement of flying migratory animals, including birds, bats, and insects. This data will be used to document where and when migratory wildlife make their journeys, as well as how they use the habitats along the Hudson River.
Young Forest Initiative
As part of the statewide Young Forest Initiative, DEC staff is developing a plan to increase young forest habitat at Tivoli Bays. Wildlife need all types of habitat to survive, including young forest. In the early 1900s New York State was more farmland than forest. Today 63% of the landscape is forested and is shifting to predominantly mature trees. While some wildlife species thrive in mature forests, other depend on the structural conditions provided by young forests. Increasing young forest habitat will benefit a variety of species, including American woodcock, wild turkey, and eastern box turtle.