Legislation makes permanent a federal tax incentive supporting land conservation

You can directly benefit from the tax incentive that encourages landowners to place a conservation easement on their land to protect important natural, scenic and historic resources like Mianus River Gorge.

In a strong bipartisan action, the House voted 318-109 and the Senate voted 65-33 on December 18 to pass the bills that included the tax incentive.

First enacted as a temporary provision in 2006, the incentive is directly responsible for conserving more than 2 million acres of America’s natural outdoor heritage. The incentive grants certain tax benefits to landowners who sign a conservation easement. Such private, voluntary agreements with local land trusts permanently limit uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. Lands placed into conservation easements can continue to be farmed, hunted or used for other specified purposes. The lands also remain on county tax rolls, strengthening local economies.

Once signed into law, the incentive will be applied retroactively to Jan. 1, 2015. An earlier version of the incentive expired Dec. 31, 2014.

IMG_1731 (2)For more information on how Mianus River Gorge can help protect and manage your property—or a portion of it—please call Rod Christie, (914) 234-3455. Mianus River Gorge currently holds nearly 20 conservation easements with local property owners.

Thank you to the Land Trust Alliance for the words in this post. Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents more than 1,100 member land trusts supported by more than 100,000 volunteers and 5 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C. and operates several regional offices. Mianus River Gorge is accredited by the Land Trust Alliance.

Glorious Fall Walk on Levene Property

IMG_3918After a couple of rainy days and the threat of a hurricane, Sunday, October 4, 2015, turned out to be a gorgeous day for a walking tour of the Levene property. Over 40 intrepid hikers of all ages turned out to get a private tour of the 73-acre property that many of them helped protect by their contributions. Led by Mianus River Gorge Executive Director Rod Christie, participants learned about the natural history of the area and why it is was critical to preserve.  From huge glacial erratic boulders to precipitous cliffs with views of the valley below, the tour explored the wildlife, geologic history, and ecology of this important property, all on a glorious fall day.

Thank you to all who joined us for this special walk. We are planning a similar walk on Sunday, December 6, 2015, that will offer a completely different, winter view of this beautiful landscape and adjacent ridge along the Castlebrook property. Please join us from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to enjoy the views from a new perspective! RSVP to info@mianus.org or call 914-234-3455.





More photos (please allow a moment to load) …

Have You Seen Us in Bedford Magazine?

Bedford Magazine recently did a cover story on the Gorge and William Abranowicz‘s recent photography collection, A Year in the Mianus Gorge.

Click here to read the article on Bedford Magazine’s site.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the collection, please visit this page.  All proceeds support the Gorge.

Mianus River Gorge applies for Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Renewal

The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.  Mianus River Gorge is pleased to announce it is applying for renewal of accreditation.  A public comment period is now open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. 

The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications.  Comments must relate to how Mianus River Gorge complies with national quality standards.  These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust.  For the full list of standards see:

http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/tips-and-tools/indicator practices.

To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit www.landtrust accreditation.org, or email your comment to info@landtrustaccreditation.org.  Comments may also be mailed or faxed as follows:

Via Mail

Land Trust Accreditation Commission

Attn:  Public Comments

112 Spring Street

Suite 204

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


Via Fax

Land Trust Accreditation Commission

Attn:  Public Comments

(fax) 518-587-3183


Comments on Mianus River Gorge’s application will be most useful by May 25, 2015.

Please help us protect 73 acres!

Update, 1/7/2014: We have now reached  $2.64 million, and need only another $156,000.  Thank you!

Update, 12/15/2014: Since we posted this appeal, we have raised $550,000 and made it to $2.55 million out of the $2.8 total.  Only $250,000 to go!  Thank you to everyone who has donated!


We will soon be purchasing 73 acres adjacent to our property along Mianus River Road and East Middle Patent Road in North Castle.  This property, known as the Levene property, is the #1 priority property for the Gorge as ranked by our land matrix used to evaluate land parcels for protection. 


The 73-acre Levene parcel (click for larger view).

This 73 acre parcel on East Middle Patent Rd includes the Piping Brook headwaters, a pristine tributary to the Mianus River — the source of  drinking water for over 100,000 people in CT and NY.  A single parcel of 73 acres of undeveloped land is a rarity in our area, and the opportunity for us to protect it forever is happening now.

In addition to funds from the Gorge’s own land fund, we have had the help of generous donors, foundations, and the Town of North Castle to raise over $2,000,000.  We now need to raise $850,000 to fund the balance of the purchase and ensure that this property is added to the Mianus River Gorge PreserveWe are down to the wire and need your help!

Please consider making a donation for this cause

You can use the PayPal button below, or go to our Donation page to see other options.


Why is protecting the Levene property important for our community and our environment?

  • Piping Brook, a tributary to the Mianus River, runs through the property and provides clean drinking water to the Bargh Reservoir.  Development of this property would threaten the quality of this waterway.
  • The property is a corridor for wildlife and this parcel links separate Gorge lands from both north-south and east-west.
  • This property contains many acres of vernal pools, wetlands, and flood plains — important areas for water filtration and homes for rare plants and animals.  The west side of Piping Brook in particular is is rich in rare native wildflowers.
  • This property is made up of lowland wetlands and hardwood forests, “high-and-dry” ridgeline habitats, and rocky steep slopes.  Thus, in addition to a lot of raw acreage, this property contains an array of habitat types that serve as home for many native species.

If you would like to learn more about this acquisition, please email Rod Christie at Rod or call 914-234-3455.

Use AmazonSmile to support Mianus River Gorge

This time of year many will be making online purchases, several likely through Amazon.com. We ask that you consider making your purchases through Amazon Smile, an easy program where Mianus River Gorge can receive a .5% donation from Amazon for every purchase you make. It’s simple and free to use. To link your purchases to our Smile account, please use the link below when logging in to Amazon.


11/7/2014: Conservation Cafe on Citizen Science


Learn how you can participate in scientific research happening in your own backyard and help make a positive impact on the environment during People Power: How Citizen Science Is Changing the Way Scientists Work, to be presented during the Conservation Café on Friday, November 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., at the Westchester County Center in White Plains.

Citizen science is professionally-led research conducted in tandem with community-based volunteers. Citizen scientists learn valuable skills in order to collect and submit data, share experiences, and spread essential information, all while observing nature with a critical lens. In turn, these large, open volunteer networks often allow researchers to accomplish tasks that would be too expensive or time-consuming to accomplish through other means.

Speakers for the program include:

°         Dr. John Rowden, Research and Grants Manager at National Audubon Society, who will discuss the large-scale citizen science projects with which he has been involved;

 °         Dr. Chris Nagy, Director of Research and Land Management at Mianus River Gorge, who will share how local citizen science initiatives help maintain and restore native communities and ecosystem function across the region;

 °         Dr. Linda Rohleder, Director of Land Stewardship at New York-New Jersey Trails Conference, will speak about her recent efforts leading the citizen science-driven Invasive Strike Force.  


A panel discussion with a question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentations. Additionally, a printed listing of local and regional citizen science projects will be distributed.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The program runs from 8:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Admission is free.

To receive free parking at the County Center lot, you must pre-register for the program by 5 p.m. on November 6 at: https://coccitizenscience.eventbrite.com; or evelyn@westchesterlandtrust.org; or call (914) 234-6992 ext. 22.

Conservation Café provides a forum for dialogue about current environmental issues. Sponsors are Westchester County Parks, Friends of Westchester County Parks, Pace University, Grassroots Environmental Education, Teatown Lake Reservation, the Greenburgh Nature Center, Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Mianus River Gorge and Westchester Land Trust.

The Westchester County Center is located at 198 Central Avenue in White Plains, NY 10606.

Research Assitantship Program – Grant Proposal Deadline Extended to June 1

We’ve extended the deadline for 2014’s RAP applications to June 1. 

The RAP offers 3-years of funding for thesis research to graduate students investigating applied ecology in urban and suburban ecosystems. RAP students are awarded a grant of $5,000/yr for two (Master’s) or three (Doctoral) years.

More info is available here and the application is here.  Please email Chris Nagy at research@mianus.org if you have any questions.

Lecture: “The New NIMBY: Nature in My Backyard,” April 22nd

Come celebrate Earth Day and help kick off our Birds and Bees Wildlife Needs event series on Tuesday, April 22:

Dr. Chris Nagy will be giving a lecture entitled – “The New NIMBY: Nature in My Backyard.” Dr. Nagy will focus on the connectedness of animals, plants, and humans while highlighting the role that both preserves and private lands play in protecting the environment and our quality of life. Light refreshments will be served at 7:00, lecture begins at 7:30pm. Bedford Historic Hall, (608 Old Post Road, Bedford).

This talk is part of the Birds and Bees: Wildlife Needs event series brought to you by Bedford Audubon Society, Mianus River Gorge, Pound Ridge Land Conservancy and Westchester Land Trust.

About the lecturer: Dr. Nagy, Director of Science and Land Management at the Mianus River Gorge, is an ecologist whose research focuses on Eastern screech owls and coyotes in New York City, the effects and management of white-tailed deer, and protecting the biodiversity in suburban forests.


Research Assistantship Program Grants – Now Accepting Applications for 2014

We’re now accepting applications for our Research Assistantship Program.  The RAP offers 3-years of funding for thesis research to graduate students investigating applied ecology in urban and suburban ecosystems. RAP students are awarded a grant of $5,000/yr for two (Master’s) or three (Doctoral) years.

The application deadline is May 1st.  More info is available here and the application is here.  Please email Chris Nagy at research@mianus.org if you have any questions.

The mission of Mianus River Gorge, an independent, not-for-profit organization, is to preserve, protect and promote appreciation of the natural heritage of the Mianus River watershed through land acquisition and conservation, scientific research and public education throughout the region.
Mianus River Gorge, 167 Mianus River Road, Bedford, New York 10506     914-234-3455     info@mianus.org

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