The 764-acre Mianus River Gorge Preserve and adjacent wild lands comprise a 1000+ acre island of old-growth forest with many trees over 350 years old in suburban New York. Surrounded by 172 private landowners, it is facing escalating threats from development of surrounding lands, the introduction of non-native invasive species and ecological imbalances that threaten its long-term viability.
The 22-mile Mianus River runs through the Preserve and is part of a 42-square mile watershed, spanning five towns in two states. The Mianus Watershed is under intense pressure from development, threatening water quality and quantity in the Mianus River, a drinking water supply for 130,000 people.
The not-for-profit Mianus River Gorge, Inc. (MRG) manages the Preserve and works throughout the Mianus Watershed to protect land in three distinct ways:
Over our 60+ year history, MRG has successfully completed over 200 land projects and protected over 1200 acres of land in the Mianus Watershed. MRG works to protect the watershed and the Preserve by the purchase (or gift) of land and/or conservation easements and by working with local government boards to foster responsible development.
Watchdog for the Mianus Watershed
In the last 30 years, MRG has submitted expert testimony on over 250 development projects totaling hundreds of acres in the Mianus Watershed, working with town governments to limit the impact of developments on the health of the Mianus River and its watershed. To assess the impact of development, Gorge scientists and staff regularly monitor the water quality of the Mianus River at the Preserve. Presently, graduate student Sheila Saia is conducting scientific research at the Preserve to gain a better understanding of the linkages between soil microbes, hydrology and the transport of phosphorous over land and into lakes and streams which could lead to improved water quality in watershed areas.
Mianus River Gorge assisted in putting together a management plan for the Mianus River Watershed. The Southwest Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA) coordinated the development of the watershed plan with input from stakeholders. The consulting firm, AKRF, finalized the plan in September 2012.
For copies of the watershed management plan and information about SWRPA, please click here.
Expanding the Mianus River Greenway
Working with partner organizations, MRG has helped create a nationally recognized greenway that starts with the Preserve in Bedford, NY and ends in Greenwich, CT where the Mianus River empties into the Cos Cob Harbor and Long Island Sound.
The Mianus River Gorge is working with the Mianus River Watershed Council and other partners to protect land in the Mianus Greenway. The Mianus River Greenway Priority Properties to Protect Report identifies some of the key parcels of open space that, if protected, will expand the greenway and preserve vital riparian habitat along the river.