Conservation Advisory Council

Regular Meetings Schedule:

The CAC meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 5:30pm on the 3rd Floor in the Masonic Hall in the Town Complex.

CAC Members:

  1. Barbara Mansell, Chairperson
    Term: 1/1/2024 to 12/31/2024
    Member Term: 1/1/2023 to 12/31/2024
    Contact: cac@townofclinton.com
  2.  Mady Goldstein 
    Term:  1/1/2024 to 12/31/2025
  3. Alice Bacon
    Term: 1/1/2024 to 12/31/2025
  4. Jean McAvoy
    Term: 1/1/2023 to 12/31/2024
  5. Margaret Pierpont
    Term: 1/1/2023 to 12/31/2024
  6. Lynne Morrell
    Term: 1/1/2023 to 12/31/2024
  7. Joe Phelan
    Term: 1/1/2023 to 12/31/2024
  8.  Jenn Brown
    Term: 1/1/24-12/31/2025
  9. Deborah Valchar
    Term: 1/1/2024 to 12/31/2025

     Katherine Mustello, Town Board Liaison

We invite you to review our Natural Resources Inventory

Natural resources inventories (NRIs) provide an important foundation for planners and decision-makers for many planning groups, including Towns. They can provide a basis for proactive planning and policies that consider community priorities like habitat connectivity, source water protection, and scenic views.

What is a Natural Resources Inventory?

A natural resources inventory (NRI) compiles and describes important, naturally occurring resources within a given locality (e.g., municipality, watershed, or region). Cultural resources, such as historic, scenic, and recreational resources, are often included in an NRI, as well. The inventory has two basic purposes: 1) to provide the building blocks for comprehensive land-use and conservation planning, and 2) to allow natural resource information to be included in local planning and zoning.

Link to folder with Town of Clinton NRI

Annual Reports:

What is the Conservation Advisory Council (CAC)?
The CAC is charged with advising official municipal bodies active in community planning, and with promoting wise use of the town’s natural resources. Membership draws interested citizens from across the Clinton community and includes a diversity of talent and expertise. The common commitment is a sincere dedication to preserving the quality of the environment. The CAC may have no fewer than three, and no more than nine members. Each member is appointed by the town board for a two-year renewable term, and serves without compensation. CAC Brochure

Goals of the Clinton CAC

  • Advise the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals on subdivisions, site plans, special use permits, community planning and development to protect habitats of concern and encourage wise use of the town’s natural resources.
  • Conduct studies, surveys and inventories of natural and manmade features.
  • Maintain a current inventory of maps and file data for natural resources, open space, wetlands and land use.
  • Encourage the flourishing of pollinators in Clinton through education and encouraging participation in the regional Pollinator Pathway.
  • Host programs at the Clinton Community Library to educate residents on preservation of drinking water, wildlife habitats, and the town’s scenic beauty, among other topics.

Where does your drinking water come from?
Clinton is a small town with forests, meadows and winding roads, and is a natural and beautiful place to live. It is also a town in which each household has its own private well because there is no central town well or reservoir system. A water well is dug into the ground by digging or drilling to access groundwater in underground aquifers. Every resident is responsible for protecting our water. What you can do to protect our water.

Conserving Wetland, Streams and Woodland Pools
Why are wetlands so important? They are important for flood and storm water control, surface and groundwater protection, erosion control, pollution treatment and nutrient cycling, and fish and wildlife habitat. Streams are important by providing wildlife habitat, protecting us from flooding and supplying much of our drinking water. Woodland pools are small, seasonal wetlands usually dry up in the summer. Fish can not survive in these pools but they provide habitat for breeding amphibians such as salmanders and frogs that are important for the food chain.

Informational Sheets:
From DEC – Wetland Conservation – Benefits and Protection Status
From DEC – Wetland Conservation –  What does the Hudson Valley have to lose?
From Hudsonia – Swamps
From Hudsonia – Streams
Stand By Your Stream – Streamside Protecting – Why Bother?
Stand by Your Stream – Streamside Protection – Do’s and Don’ts
Stand By Your Stream – Streamside Protection – A Team Effort
From Hudsonia – Intermittent+Woodland+Pool
From DEC – Woodland Pool Conservation

History of CAC Accomplishments
Town of Clinton Municipal Zoning Law
The Zoning Law is periodically updated taking into consideration the plans and maps below.

Farmland Protection Plan and Maps – October 2010 by the Open Space Committee
Farmland protection is commonly defined as the permanent preservation of agricultural land to ensure its future use by the next generation. But it is more than that to the residents and farmers in Clinton. Farmland protection is also about the people who work the land. If the agricultural endeavor is economically viable, both the farmer and the farmland will be preserved. Those are the major goals of this plan.

Clinton Open Space Protection Plan and Maps – October 2011 by the Open Space Committee
The Town of Clinton defines open space as any space or area characterized by natural scenic beauty or, whose existing openness, natural condition, or present state of use (including working and historic landscapes), if retained, would enhance the present or potential value of abutting or surrounding development, or would maintain or enhance the conservation of natural, agricultural, cultural, or scenic resources.

Significant Habitats in the Town of Clinton Report and Maps  – December 2012 by Hudsonia Ltd
The Town of Clinton engaged Hudsonia Ltd website to conduct a town wide habitat mapping project.  The overarching goal of the project is to help land-owners and town agencies better understand our biological resources and develop land-planning strategies that promote development where it causes the least harm to sensitive habitats and species, protecting the most ecologically important areas.

Town of Clinton Comprehensive Plan – January 2012 by the Comprehensive Plan Committee
The CAC took part in the development of the Comprehensive Plan for the town of Clinton. It is designed to be used as a guide for managing growth and change. It consists of planning principles and maps that express the community’s objectives for the town’s future. The plan takes into consideration the wishes of those who answered the Community Values Survey in 2007. Vision Statement: Residents of the Town of Clinton desire to maintain its rural character, consisting of natural landscapes, native ecosystems, working farms, small hamlet-scale development and historic structures, while preserving its scenic quality, and to do so in a manner that continues to promote its small-town atmosphere and quality of life.

Welcome to the Town of Clinton Information Folders
New Resident to Clinton? Folders are available from the Town Clerk and the Clinton Community Library. What’s in the Folder?:
Town of Clinton Directory 1-10-24
Town-Map-with-Speed-Limits
Town of Clinton Election Districts
Town of Clinton – Community Facilities
Town of Clinton Map of Fire Districts
Consult the Zoning Law BEFORE you buy or develop your property
We Live in Tick Country!
Clinton Wells, Septic Systems and You!
Stand By Your Stream – Streamside Protecting – Why Bother?
Stand by Your Stream – Streamside Protection – Do’s and Don’ts
Stand By Your Stream – Streamside Protection – A Team Effort
Woodland Pool Conservation

Pollinator Pathway
What is a Pollinator Pathway?
Pollinator Pathways focuses on establishing native plant pollinator-friendly habitats and food sources for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinating insects and wildlife. It encourages property owners to avoid the use of pesticides, herbicides, and lawn chemicals and manage the removal of invasive plant species. The town of Clinton has a webpage on the Pollinator Pathway website called Town of Clinton in Dutchess County. It shows town properties that have been added to the pathway map. To add your property to the Dutchess County Pollinator Pathway, click on Join The Pollinator Pathway.

Informational Sheets:
From Hudsonia – Backyards for Biodiversity
To Mow or Not to Mow
Pollinator Pathway Autumn Advice
A Dark Night Sky Helps Nature Survive
Pollinator Pathway Resources with Video Links

Pollinator Pathway Property Management for the Town of Clinton prepared and presented by CAC member, Maya Goer-Palenzuela, at March 8, 2022 Town Board Meeting.

SepticSmart Week
SepticSmart Week is held during September. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging homeowners to get SepticSmart and take action. A few small, simple steps of proper care and maintenance of your septic system can lead to a big pay off in terms of keeping you and your neighbors healthy and protecting the environment. For homeowners, proper care can also prevent costly repairs or replacement of systems, protect property values, and save water. New Homeowners Guide to Septic Systems

Household Hazardous Waste Days
The Dutchess County Resource Recovery Agency holds household hazardous waste days throughout the year in order for homeowners to dispose of substances that pose risks to the environment, wildlife and human health. Pre-Registration Form is required.

In The News:
Town of Clinton volunteers work on local environmental issues– Poughkeepsie Journal, My Valley, May 5, 2013
Woodland pools offer safe breeding grounds for amphibians – Poughkeepsie Journal, My Valley, March 31, 2013

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Website The DEC’s Mission: “To conserve, improve and protect New York’s natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being.”
Open Burning Regulations – Burning trash is prohibited statewide and this includes burning household trash in wood stoves, fireplaces, and outdoor wood boilers. DEC recommends that you recycle all appropriate materials (such as newspaper, paper, glass and plastic) and compost your organic kitchen and garden waste. Composting Pamphlet.
Emerald Ash Borer  infests and kills North American Ash trees. It was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and has moved into Western New York as of June 2009. This invasive insect is moving towards Eastern New York, and the USDA has established quarantines on ash trees, logs and hardwood firewood from moving out of areas where the emerald ash borer has been found. More information about this beetle can also be found on the Emerald Ash Borer website.
Giant Hogweed – A Noxious Plant. Avoid this plant, if you see it! Giant hogweed is a large impressive plant with big leaves and flower clusters. The plant sap is a clear and watery fluid and cause trouble for people who are sensitive to it. The combination of sap on the skin and exposure to sunlight can produce painful, burning blisters within 24-48 hours. Contact with the plant sap can also result in purple or black scars. For further information about what this plant looks like and how to remove it, go the New York State Department of Health’s website: Giant Hogweed – Health Advice.
NYS Prohibited and Regulated Invasive Plants – An invasive plant species is a non-native that has become a “weed pest”. They tend to grow very aggressively and quickly, and in doing so disturb the biodiversity of established ecosystems. Each year billions of dollars are spent in the U.S. in an effort to eradicate these plants.
New York State Law Restricts Use of Lawn Fertilizers – DEC is urging New Yorkers to be mindful of the new state law that limits the percentage of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers, and restricts the time of year and locations where fertilizers can be used. These restrictions, along with the law’s provisions addressing the sale of phosphorus dishwasher detergent, will reduce the quantity of phosphorus entering the State’s waters. For more information, visit the DEC Dishwasher Detergent and Nutrient Runoff Law webpage.
Why Are Wetlands Valuable? They are important for flood and storm water control, surface and groundwater protection, erosion control
pollution treatment and nutrient cycling, and fish and wildlife habitat.
Woodland Pool Conservation – Vernal pools are a type of small, temporary wetland found in forested landscapes. They occur in isolated, shallow depressions that typically fill during the spring or fall from rain, snowmelt or groundwater, but dry by late summer or during droughts.  They are critical breeding habitats for amphibians and invertebrates such as fairy shrimp, wood frogs and salamanders, because the pools are devoid of predatory fish. The pools also provide important links in the food chain in forests for plants and animals.

Energy Resources and Materials
Dutchess County Cornell Cooperative Extension – Energy – Provides Energy Efficiency and Conservation Information for Home, Business, & Municipalities:
NYS DEC: Energy and Climate Change Information
NYSERDA – public benefit corporation that administers energy efficiency programs and funding and provides technical assistance with the aim of helping NYS reduce energy consumption.

Did you know that our Town Hall Complex is heated and cooled by geothermal heat pumps?
The system installed is called a closed system. How does it work? A video can be seen on the Department of Energy’s website called Energy 101 – Geothermal Energy.

Climate Change Resources
Cornell Northeast Regional Climate Center
Sustainable Hudson Valley – a regional organization devoted to sustainable development, creator of the regional 10% Challenge

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County (CCEDC)
The CCEDC website provides important education programs to our residents and officials in Dutchess County for support of locally grown food through sustainable farming in our communities, energy conservation, preservation and protection of our environment, family health, financial and consumer management as well as provide 4-H youth programs. The Dutchess county main office is located at the Farm and Home Center, 2715 Route 44 in Millbrook.

Be Aware – We Live in Tick Country – New York State Integrated Pest Management
There is updated information about the Black-legged Tick (used to be called Deer Tick), the American Dog Tick, and, a third species, the Lone Star Tick. Learn about the tick borne diseases they carry, the only way to safely remove a tick, how to protect yourself, and more in this document.Tick Country Page from CAC

Composting and Recycling by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County (CCEDC)

  • Composting – A significant fraction of the solid waste generated in the United States is organic material that can be recycled through small scale composting. Households, businesses and institutions may save money by composting items such as food scraps and yard trimmings while sending less waste to landfills and incinerators. In addition, small scale composting is often the most environmentally sound way of recycling organic materials. The finished compost is a good soil amendment for a variety of gardening and landscape uses. Composting Guidelines are listed on the Cornell Waste Management Institute website.
  • Recycling – Every year, American people throw away 208 million tons of municipal solid waste, which means that every day each person throws away an average of 4.3 pounds of garbage or trash! In order to keep our landfills from getting too full, everyone should be aware of the…3R’s: REDUCE (Use less of Everthing), REUSE, and RECYCLE.

The Dutchess County Environmental Management Council (EMC)
The EMC is Dutchess County’s official citizen advisory board on matters that affect the local natural environment.  The primary mission of the EMC is to advise Dutchess County officials on matters affecting the preservation and sustainable use of the natural resources in Dutchess County, and help to raise awareness of the public about local environmental issues. EMC website

Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District
For technical assistance regarding soil, water, and related natural resources, go to the Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District website to find out about these and other related topics. Also, check out their Annual Spring Seedling Sale to purchase bare-root seedlings (of deciduous trees, coniferous trees, and shrubs), plant material, wildlife and bird nesting boxes, and garden supplies.

Preserving Clinton through Conservation Easements
A conservation easement is a voluntary, legally-binding agreement that limits certain agreed types of uses or prevents development from taking place on a piece of privately-owned property, now and in the future, while protecting the property’s ecological or open-space values for future generations. It enables owners to keep their property to live on and use their land. The easement is usually maintained by an agency, which holds the right to enforce the landowner’s promise not to develop the property. There are two not-for-profit organizations dedicated to this preservation for the public in Dutchess County. To learn more about conservation easements, see: Dutchess Land Conservancy and Winnekee Land Trust.

Bat Conservation – Why?
Bats are an integral part of our ecosystem because they feed on vast amounts of insects, pollinate our flowering plants and scatter seeds. But why are people frightened of them? Rabies? What are the chances of being bitten by a bat? How is a bat caught if it gets into a house? Did you know bats are in danger? The Bat Conservation International website answers these questions and more, and describes the disease, White-nose Syndrome, that is devastating enormous populations of bats. Learn how you can help save the bats by providing bat boxes in your yard. What have you got to lose but a thousand pesky insects?

Clinton Nature Trail – Eagle Project by David Foote of Troop 37
David Foote, from Boy Scout Troop 37 of Hyde Park, completed work on the Clinton Nature Trail as his Eagle Scout Service Project in August 2010. He enlisted the help of volunteers from his Troop, as well as from his father, and adult advisors Kurt and Barbara Schollmeyer, to complete his project. David organized the trail’s cleanup, and performed maintenance. He also created a new entrance sign and numbered trail signs marking features of the trail. These features, of which there are twelve in total, include stream, wetlands, and tree species. He also created a Clinton Nature Trail Brochure describing these features. David and his father conducted months of research and work in order to complete the project, and both the CAC and the Town Board have extended their thanks to him for his excellent work, which will enable many people to enjoy our Nature Trail.