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Stewart Airport Ecosystem- Taking off with Innovative Approaches

  • Author(s): Nelson, Debra A.
  • Weiss, Lisa D.
  • et al.
Abstract

The Stewart Airport Access Improvement Project (SAAIP) embraces the essence of New York State Department of Transportation’s (NYSDOT) environmental ethic. The objectives of the project are to provide safe, efficient and improved access to Stewart International Airport, while stimulating the local economy and minimizing environmental impacts. In the end, in addition to meeting the project needs, the project results in the establishment of the nearly 7,000-acre (2,833-hectare) Stewart State Forest; preservation of the 8-acre (3.2 hectare) Colden Mansion ruins; creation of 13 acres (5.3 hectares) of wetland; preservation of a large population of a rare plant and establishment of a seed bank for its propagation; incorporation of wildlife crossings into the highway design to maintain habitat connectivity; conservation of federally-endangered Indiana bat potential maternity roosts and suitable summer roosting habitat; and creation and long-term monitoring of twelve vernal pools as breeding habitat for herptiles. This stewardship approach evolved over ten years, through partnerships, collaboration, innovation, as well as NYSDOT’s willingness and support to improve the environmental conditions.

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