In partnership with the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC), the Clearpool Model Forest was officially designated in October 2011. As the fourth Model Forest site established in and around the New York City Water Supply Watershed region, it represents 264 acres of privately-owned forestland set aside to support environmental education and forest stewardship of the Croton Watershed within Putnam County.
The Croton Watershed is one of three surface water sources for the New York City water supply, one of the largest surface water supply systems in the world, and provides a portion (10%-30%) of the City’s daily water needs. Model Forests serve as outdoor classrooms to educate forest landowners, students, and the communities of the lower Hudson Valley about effective forest management and stewardship practices that are compatible with water quality protection – a critical issue for the Croton region. The key concepts that create the foundation of the Model Forest educational experience are water quality, biodiversity, forest ecosystems and human interaction with the natural landscape.
Clearpool emerged as an ideal site in 2010 when WAC sought to establish a Model Forest in the Croton Watershed region of Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties. The Model Forest incorporates 264 of Clearpool’s 350 acres, making it the second largest Model Forest in the New York City Watershed region. Clearpool offers countless ecological resources and extensive wildlife for exploration and discovery. Its protected woodlands include over five miles of forest trails, a pond, lake, marsh, wetland, and an extensive stream system, all of which provide multiple habitats for a diverse population of plants, birds, and animals.
Currently in development is a plan for site projects and initiatives to be completed in Year 1, 3 and 5. Some of these include:
The planning process was shepherded by the Clearpool Model Forest Steering Committee, with WAC continuing to serve as a primary advisor. The Committee is comprised of key representatives from Green Chimneys and Clearpool, Town of Kent officials, Putnam County Cornell Cooperative Extension, local environmentalists, foresters, educators, Quality Deer Management Association representatives, and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Committee's work continues and includes the development of a forest management plan, educational programming to be offered, and proposed projects to improve and cultivate the forest site for optimal use.