Something’s happening at Nutten Hook

STUYVESANT–The 117-acre Nutten Hook Unique Area owned by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is a key spawning and nursery habitat for the Hudson River’s migratory fish. The list includes blueback herring, alewife, American shad, American eel, stripped bass and the federally-endangered short-nosed sturgeon. It is a globally rare freshwater tidal wetlands and includes lands that are an important bald eagle habitat corridor. The area also provides feeding, resting and nesting habitat for migratory waterfowl and marsh birds.

The area, located off Ice House Road in Stuyvesant, will now be more accessible as a result of $100,000 in completed and planned improvements that include gravel car and bus parking areas, a covered pavilion with a view of the Hudson River, picnic areas and a trailhead informational kiosk.

The DEC also plans to complete a universally-accessible pathway to the river, which will permit wheel-chair travel and improvements to the beach area to facilitate the launching of car-top boats this year.

Nutten Hook is a bedrock outcropping in the Hudson River Estuary. As a result of a series of acquisitions by Scenic Hudson and the state, including an $800,000 grant from the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, nearly five miles of contiguous shoreline from Nutten Hook south to the Hudson River Islands State Park, Gays Point Section are linked, protecting valuable ecological areas within the Stockport Flats and providing public access for recreation.

The improvements were the result of a collaboration among the DEC, the Town of Stuyvesant, the state Department of Transportation and the Hudson River Valley Greenway.

The funding was received by DEC via an environmental benefit project resulting from an enforcement action against GE many years ago. The Greenway served as a conduit to manage the funds while the access improvements were being evaluated and engineered. DEC operations crews did most of the work, and the DEC and the town will maintain the area through a cooperative agreement.

The designation “Unique Area” is a DEC classification referring to land acquired by the state “due to its special natural beauty, wilderness character, or for its geological, ecological or historical significance…”

Also on the Nutten Hook property are what remains of the Scott Ice House, said to be the largest of the 135 ice houses that lined the Hudson River during the 19th century. The ice industry was a major area employer until the early 1900s, may have had as many as 6,000 workers in Columbia and Greene counties. The Nutten Hook ice house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Elevators, powered by steam generated in adjacent powerhouse structures, would hoist the ice cakes cut by laborers and horse-drawn cutters up into the 3-to-4-story ice house. The cakes would be packed in insulation made of wood shavings, sawdust or hay for as long as two to three years and then would be transported down river to New York City.

 

 

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