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Humans & The Environment

Humans and our impact, while often left out of the conversation of natural resources, are a critical component of our environment and conservation as a whole. Whether we’re looking at human impact on land use and development, the effects of pollution and public health, or our attempts and successes at open space conservation, we as residents, decision-makers, and stewards of the land have tremendous potential for affecting and improving the environment of which we are part. This section discusses many of these areas of natural resource management and protection in which we play a role and provides an overview of the current conservation of open space, pollutants, and human health in Dutchess County.

Dutchess County, as with the Hudson Valley region as a whole, is an area of diverse land use and land cover. From the urban centers of Poughkeepsie and Beacon to the forested mountains of the Taconics and Hudson Highlands, and the wealth of farmland and wetlands in between, Dutchess County’s varied terrain and land cover has led to equally diverse usage of that land over time.

Dutchess County’s population has grown steadily since European settlement, with the most notable increases in the 1950s and 1960s. This change has resulted in historical clearing for farmland, and while agriculture is still vital to the county, some of this farmland has since been abandoned and allowed to revert back to shrub and forest land, as can be seen in the >75% increase in the ‘shrub/scrub’ land cover category from 2011 to 2019 (Table 1) [1]. Definitions for each land cover category can be found in the glossary.

NLCD Category Acreage 2011 % 2011 Acreage 2019 % 2019 2011-2019
Open Water  15,711 3.0% 15,412 2.9% -1.9% 
Developed, Open Space 34,613 6.6% 34,128 6.5% -1.4%
Developed, Low Intensity  29,956  5.7% 30,133  5.7%  0.6% 
Developed, Medium Intensity  18,757  3.6%  19,644  3.7%  4.7% 
Developed, High Intensity  5,506  1.0%  5,960  1.1%  8.2% 
Barren Land 2,044 0.4% 1,661 0.3%  -18.7% 
Deciduous Forest 264,500  50.1%  263,596  49.9%  -0.3% 
Evergreen Forest 5,392  1.0% 5,479  1.0%  1.6% 
Mixed Forest  14,951  2.8%  15,035  2.8%  0.6%
Shrub/Scrub  1,653  0.3%  2,906  0.6%  75.8% 
Herbaceous  4,376  0.8%  3,493  0.7%  -20.2% 
Hay/Pasture  75,132  14.2%  73,837  14.0%  -1.7% 
Cultivated Crops  9,371  1.8%  10,396  2.0%  10.9% 
Woody Wetlands  41,991  8.0%  42,497  8.1%  1.2% 
Emergent Herbaceous Wetlands  3,902  0.7%  3,678  0.7% -5.8% 

An important recent trend in land use has been dominated by expanding developed land, in particular housing, commercial, and transportation activities. From 2011 to 2019, ‘medium intensity’ development and ‘high intensity’ development increased by 4.7% and 8.2%, respectively. Whereas ‘high intensity’ development is typically focused around urban, commercial, and industrial areas, ‘medium intensity’ development most often occurs away from urban centers, as residents increasingly want, and can afford, large lot sizes, larger houses, and longer commutes to work. In the past 10-20 years, roughly one-third of new houses have been built on lots 2 acres or larger—a dramatic transition from the 1960s and 1970s. The implications of this change include (but are not limited to) greater fragmentation of habitat, increased traffic, and greater pressure on suburban infrastructure.

Another trend of note is the continued loss of grasslands/meadows throughout the county. From 2011 to 2019, Dutchess County saw a 20% decrease in this land cover type (NLCD category ‘Herbaceous’), likely due to conversion of these areas to suburban development and/or conversion to ‘shrub/scrub’ as fields are neglected and allowed to succeed, or transition, into woodier habitats [1].

Agriculture has been and continues to be one of Dutchess County's primary industries. Our economy, rural landscape, community character, environment, health of residents, and overall quality of life are all uniquely and positively affected by farms operating here. Although agriculture has changed through time and continues to evolve and diversify, it plays a significant role in both the economy and quality of life for Dutchess County residents.

As of the 2023 Agricultural District 8-Year Review, there were approximately 194,000 acres of farmland in the County’s Agricultural District and approximately 116,700 acres of land enrolled in the County’s Agricultural Assessment Program [2]. Both of these numbers, up from 2012 levels, show the continued growth of agriculture in Dutchess County. These two programs are discussed in further detail below.

Farmland Preservation

As part of the County’s most recent Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan (2015), one of the main initiatives is the preservation of farmland throughout the county. The initiative focuses on the creation and expansion of core areas protected farmland and continued investing in purchase of development rights (PDR) programs, while also broadening farmland preservation efforts to include the lease of development rights and affordability covenants. It also emphasizes the continuation of public/private partnerships between municipal and county governments and land trusts, and support of both ongoing private initiatives and action by local municipalities [3].

Agricultural Conservation Easements

Agricultural conservation easements offer a way to conserve land that is currently being used for agriculture. While these easements generally limit subdivision and development for uses other than commercial agriculture, they usually do not restrict farming practices or construction of farm buildings.  Agricultural conservation easements protect farmland while maintaining private ownership and providing certain tax benefits.

Agricultural Districts and Agricultural Assessment Programs

Determining the location of agricultural resources is an important step in developing municipal strategies for farmland and open space protection. New York State enacted Agricultural Markets Law, Article 25-AA in 1971 to help local governments keep land in agricultural production. The Agricultural District and Agricultural Assessment Programs established under this law have formed the basis for identifying and protecting farmland in Dutchess County since its first Agricultural Districts were certified in 1972 [4].

The Agricultural Districts Program provides “right to farm” protections, including defense from private nuisance lawsuits and restrictive local ordinances.  The Agricultural Assessment Program provides property tax relief for landowners by requiring that eligible farmland is assessed on the basis of actual agricultural production value rather than its full market value. Enrollment in an Agricultural District does not automatically qualify the property for the Agricultural Assessment Program; farmland qualifying for the Agricultural Assessment Program does not have to be enrolled in an Agricultural District.

As of 2024, Dutchess County’s four Agricultural Districts will be combined into one. This district encompasses the entire county and currently includes approximately 194,000 acres of certified agricultural district farmland, as mentioned above.  Each town in Dutchess County includes certified agricultural district parcels.  The highest concentration of certified farmland is located in the northern half of the County, which was previously Agricultural Districts 20 and 21; development over time has converted a higher proportion of farmland in southern Dutchess County to residential and commercial uses [2].

In general, inclusion in the County’s Agricultural Districts is based on the land’s current or potential viability either as farmland or in support of a farm operation.  Inclusion is voluntary.  However, once certified, properties can only be removed from the program after a comprehensive review of Agricultural Districts conducted by the Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board every eight years.

A second measure of a municipality’s agricultural resources is provided by identifying those parcels that have qualified to receive agricultural value assessments based on actual income derived from production.  The Farmland Protection Board’s program summary explains that “Any owner of at least seven acres of land which produces a minimum of $10,000 annually, or any owner of less than seven acres of land which produces a minimum of $50,000 annually on average in the preceding two years, from the sale of crops, livestock, or livestock products, or from commercial horse boarding, is eligible to receive an agricultural assessment.”  As of 2023, ~116,700 acres of Dutchess County farmland had qualified to receive real property assessments based on the value of the land for agricultural production rather than on its development value.

Local officials may not be aware of the restrictions on local government authority imposed by Agricultural Districts Law until a site-specific issue arises.  The Law provides a mechanism that allows the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets to independently initiate a review of a proposed or existing local law or ordinance or proceed upon the request of a farmer or municipality in an agricultural district.  AML 25-AA and the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Guidelines for Review of Local Zoning and Planning Laws provide detailed accounts of the protections provided to participating Agricultural District landowners and of each municipality’s responsibilities to implement state regulations [4].

The County’s Division of Real Property Tax Services can provide the most up to date record of a town’s certified agricultural district acreage and maintains an annual record of properties receiving agricultural value assessment.  Additional resources for local information include the Department of Planning and Development GIS office and the Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District.  Detailed information about provisions of the NYS Agricultural Districts Law is available from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Agricultural Districts Program.


  • Continue to purchase the development rights on key farm properties – through multiple funding partners including federal, state, and local government, and local land trusts. Judicious and balanced use of County funding for PDR purposes should also be considered – especially where there is an opportunity to leverage funding from outside sources bringing state, federal and private dollars into the local farm economy.
  • Encourage farm conservation organizations and land trusts to continue to expand their working partnerships in order to leverage existing resources and coordinate fundraising and grant opportunities.
  • Initiate a Lease of Development Rights Program (LDR) based on the NYS Incentive Payment program and encourage and assist organizations that are willing to work with farmers on term leases and payments by the State’s new funding program.
  • Encourage and assist organizations and agencies that are willing to enhance conservation easements with Affordability Covenants (also known as Options to Purchase at Agricultural Value, or OPAV).
  • Identify opportunities to create and/or build upon existing core areas of preserved farmland – such as Red Hook’s “Bread Basket” – in each of the County’s farming communities.
  • Expand and support the existing Farmer/Landowner match programs including the Dutchess Land Conservancy/Columbia Land Conservancy, the Winnakee Land Trust and the American Farmland Trust Hudson Valley Farmlink
  • Encourage local municipalities to consider adopting zoning and overlay measures that support local agri-businesses and the preservation of farmland.

Significant natural areas are valued for their environmental importance and beauty and include unusual geologic features such as scenic mountain ridges, steep ravines, and caves; hydrological features such as rivers, lakes, springs, and wetlands; and areas that support threatened or endangered species or unusually diverse plant and animal communities. Both significant natural areas and scenic resources enhance the environmental health and quality of life in Dutchess County.

An area can be significant for several different reasons, including its habitat, scenic, cultural, economic, or historical values. Many areas are significant because they are unique in some way. Significant natural areas provide many ecosystem services, including wildlife habitat, water supply protection, recreational space, and opportunities for outdoor research. In order to sustain their value, it is important to protect these areas. Municipalities, agencies, and organizations can designate or categorize areas as “significant,” and there are various mechanisms to protect these important places.

Open space can be generally defined as an area of land or water that remains in its natural state or is used for agriculture, without intensive residential, commercial, industrial, or institutional development [5]. More specific definitions depend on context; for example, public parks, agricultural land, and private easements may be all considered open space.

Open space can provide a number of values for communities who choose to conserve it. Some benefits include maintaining air quality and mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change; maintaining water quality and quantity and mitigating flood damage; providing habitat for rare species and maintaining biodiversity. By providing these ecosystem services, open space provides communities with substantial economic values, reducing costs for public infrastructure and programs, lessening the need for property tax increases, and supporting regional economic growth [6].

By using this natural resources inventory and other resources referenced in this document, local leaders can become aware of the values that open spaces in their communities provide. Open spaces often provide more than one value. For example, a large, forested area containing a series of wetlands may provide benefits like water quality (wetland plants filter pollution and uptake excess nutrients), water quantity (groundwater recharge), air quality (forests filter pollution) and climate change mitigation (carbon sequestration), habitat, recreation (hunting), and economic benefits (forestry).

Dutchess County’s open space resources support diverse vegetation and wildlife communities, agricultural activities, outdoor recreation, and forest uses, and help store and replenish critical surface and groundwater supplies. They give much of Dutchess County its beauty and rural character. In urban and suburban communities, open spaces such as stream corridors and parks also help define community and neighborhood boundaries, serve as common meeting places and buffers between land uses, and offer relief from congestion and noise.

Numerous open spaces with valuable scenic, natural, or agricultural qualities have been converted to residential, commercial, or industrial uses. The qualities and ecosystem services provided by open spaces can be conserved by encouraging development in traditional settlement areas rather than in existing natural and agricultural areas.

Protected Land Totals

Category Acreage
Federal 6,058
State 16,857
County 1,133
Local 3,732
Privately-owned, publicly accessible 3,412
Conservation easements, not publicly accessible 48,884
Total protected lands in Dutchess County 80,076

Federally Owned

Name Location
Appalachian Trail National Scenic Trail East Fishkill, Beekman, Pawling, Dover
Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site Hyde Park
Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge Dover 
Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site Hyde Park
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site Hyde Park

State Owned

Name Location
Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve    Beacon, Fishkill 
James Baird State Park  LaGrange 
Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park  Hyde Park 
Ogden Mills & Ruth Livingston Mills Memorial State Park  Hyde Park 
Taconic State Park  North East 
lermont State Historic Site  Red Hook 
Clinton House State Historic Site  Poughkeepsie 
Staatsburgh State Historic Site  Hyde Park 
Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park  Poughkeepsie 
West Mountain State Forest  Beekman, Dover 
Depot Hill Multiple Use Area  Beekman, Pawling 
Lafayetteville Multiple Use Area  Milan 
Roeliff-Jansen Kill Multiple Use Area  Milan 
Stissing Mountain Multiple Use Area  Milan, Pine Plains, Stanford 
Taconic-Hereford Multiple Use Area  Pleasant Valley, LaGrange 
Wassaic Multiple Use Area  Amenia 

County Owned

Name Location
Bowdoin Park  Poughkeepsie 
Dutchess Stadium  Fishkill 
Harlem Valley Rail Trail  Amenia, North East, Millerton 
Quiet Cove Riverfront Park  Poughkeepsie 
Wilcox Memorial Park  Milan 
William R. Steinhaus Dutchess Rail Trail  Poughkeepsie, LaGrange, Wappinger, East Fishkill, Beekman, Pawling 
Critical Environmental Areas

Local agencies may designate specific areas within their boundaries as Critical Environmental Areas (CEAs); state agencies can also designate areas that they own, manage or regulate.  To be designated as a CEA, an area must have an exceptional or unique character in one of the following ways:

  • A benefit or threat to human health;
  • A natural setting (such as fish and wildlife habitat, forest and vegetation, open space and areas of important aesthetic or scenic quality);
  • Agricultural, social, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational, or educational values; or
  • An inherent ecological, geological or hydrological sensitivity to change that may be adversely affected by any change (NYS DEC, 2010).

Once an area is designated a CEA, the potential impact of any Type I or Unlisted Action on its environmental characteristics is a relevant area of environmental concern and must be evaluated in the determination of significance prepared pursuant to Section 617.7 of SEQR.

There are currently 31 CEAs in Dutchess County.  These include inactive landfill sites, unique hamlets, aquifer protection areas, historic sites, and areas with sensitive wildlife (Table 7) [7].

CEA Name Designating Agency Reason for Designation
Hyde Park Landfill Site Dutchess County Inactive landfill, toxic pollutants present
Town of North East Landfill Dutchess County Inactive landfill, toxic pollutants present
Schatz Federal Bearing Dutchess County Inactive landfill, toxic pollutants present
Dutchess Airport Landfill Site Dutchess County Inactive landfill, toxic pollutants present
Jones Sanitation Sludge Disposable Dutchess County Inactive disposal area, toxic pollutants present
Page Industrial Park Dutchess County Inactive dump, toxic pollutants present
F.I.C.A. Landfill Site Dutchess County Inactive landfill, toxic pollutants present
Sarney Site Dutchess County Inactive landfill, toxic pollutants present
Dutchess Co. Airport Balefill Dutchess County Inactive landfill, toxic pollutants present
MICA Products (inactive) landfill Dutchess County Inactive landfill, toxic pollutants present
Great Swamp Dutchess County Benefit to human health
Hamlet of Frost Mills Town of Clinton Exceptional or unique character
Hamlet of Pleasant Plains Town of Clinton Exceptional or unique character
Hamlet of Clinton Corners Town of Clinton Exceptional or unique character
Hamlet of Old Bulls Head Town of Clinton Exceptional or unique character
Hamlet of Clinton Hollow Town of Clinton Exceptional or unique character
Hamlet of Schultzville Town of Clinton Exceptional or unique character
Hamlet of Hibernia Town of Clinton Exceptional or unique character
Deuel Hollow Area Town of Dover Protect water source & natural area
Aquifer Protection Areas Town of Fishkill Protect public water supply
Little Whaley Lake and Watershed Town of Pawling Unpolluted drinking water source
Quaker Lake/Deuel Hollow Areas Town of Pawling Unpolluted drinking water source
Hurd's Corner Town of Pawling Significant historical features
Stissing Mountain Town of Pine Plains Exceptional or unique character
Buttercup Farm Sanctuary Town of Stanford Preserve farmland, wetland & mountain habitat
Ryder Pond and Cagney Marsh Town of Stanford Protection of waterfowl
Bontecou Lake Town of Stanford Protect migratory & nesting birds
Millbrook Meadow and Associated Wetlands Town of Stanford Protect wetland
Snake Hill Town of Stanford Protect rare plants and animal communities
Upper Wappinger Town of Stanford Protect hydrology and water quality, biological and geological uniqueness, and scenic views
Wappinger Lake Town of Wappinger Protection of natural resource
Hogback Hill Town of Hyde Park Sensitivity to change & habitat and species protection
Indian Kill Town of Hyde Park Sensitivity to change & habitat and species protection
Maritje Kill Town of Hyde Park Sensitivity to change & habitat and species protection
Vanderburgh Cove Town of Hyde Park Sensitivity to change & habitat and species protection
National Natural Landmarks

Designated in 1973, Thompson Pond in Pine Plains is the only National Natural Landmark in Dutchess County. Thompson Pond’s sharply defined and well-developed ecosystems show great ecological diversity within a small area (National Natural Landmarks Program, 2009). The primary goals of the National Natural Landmark program are to recognize landmark resources and support their conservation. There is no formal protection, but NNL program staff will assist owners to obtain grant funding to protect resources and educate the public about the country’s natural history.

Significant Biodiversity Areas

Significant biodiversity areas (SBAs) carry no regulatory designation. Instead, it is hoped that recognition of these distinct landscapes will serve as a basis for their voluntary conservation. Significant biodiversity areas are part of the Hudson River Estuary Program’s Wildlife and Habitat Conservation Framework, describes the key plants, animals, habitats, and landscape features of the Hudson River Estuary region and strategies for their conservation [8]. SBAs are discussed in more detail in the Habitats & Biodiversity section of this NRI.

Recreational resources like parks and trails are often some of the most beloved parts of a community and can play a vital role in fostering community wellbeing by promoting physical activity, social interaction, and mental health. These resources provide spaces for relaxation, exercise, and community events, contributing to a sense of belonging and an improved overall quality of life. Additionally, such resources enhance environmental sustainability and can boost local economies through increased tourism and property values.

In Dutchess County alone, there are nearly 200 parks across thousands of acres of open space and almost 400 miles of public trails, ranging from National Historic Sites to municipal recreation areas. In an effort to catalog all of these assets, in 2019 the County launched Dutchess County Parks & Trails, an interactive website for residents, tourists and others to find information about parks and trails within the County. It was envisioned by the County’s departments of Planning and Behavioral & Community Health, with development support from the County’s Office of Central & Information Systems (OCIS), along with project assistance from many additional partners.

National & State Parks

Dutchess County is home to four national historic sites and 11 state parks and multi-use areas that each offer recreational opportunities. Highlights include Vanderbilt Mansion and the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historical Sites, the southern portion of the Taconic State Park, Mills-Norie State Park, James Baird State Park, the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, and the northwest portion of the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve.

Rail Trails

Dutchess County is home to four rail/multi-purpose trails. The Northside Line in the City of Poughkeepsie offers a half mile paved multi-use trail that connects to the Dutchess Rail Trail. The Dutchess Rail Trail (DRT) is the former rail bed of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad and offers 13.4 miles of paved trail for biking and hiking. The DRT connects to an additional 15 miles of paved trail called the Maybrook Trailway, which brings users to the Dutchess-Putnum border. Lastly, the Harlem Valley Trail, which was originally part of the tracks of the New York and Harlem Railroad, starts at the Wassaic Metro-North Station (MTA Harlem Valley Line to NYC) and continues north through the Village of Millerton into Columbia County, with over 23 miles in Dutchess County.

Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park

What was once one of the busiest crossings of the Hudson River, the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge linked east and west on the Maybrook Line of the New Haven Railroad. Built in 1889, it was an engineering marvel at 6,768 feet in length and 212 feet in height and was proposed as an “Eighth Wonder of the World”. Now a very popular State Park, it offers stunning views of much of Ulster and Dutchess Counties, and the length of the Hudson River Valley.

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (or simply the A.T.) is an approximately 2,200-mile trail from Georgia to Maine. First established as an idea in 1924, it was finally completed in 2014. New York hosts 90 miles of the A.T., with 38 of those miles in the Dutchess County towns of East Fishkill, Beekman, Pawling, and Dover. The trail is well maintained by the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference. In Dutchess County, there are many access points at intersecting roads; however, check to see where parking is available. In addition, there is a specific A.T. railroad stop, on the Harlem Valley Line of the Metro North Railroad, just to the north of the Village of Pawling. From this stop, there is also connecting bus service on Dutchess County Public Transit. And, close to the railroad stop is a unique feature of the A.T., a boardwalk, as the trail meanders through the Great Swamp.

Dutchess County has a varied landscape whose scenic mountains and valleys can be viewed from many locations. The opportunity to enjoy these views greatly enhances the daily experiences of those who live and work in or visit the county. The Hudson River is one major landscape feature that visually unites Dutchess County with the rest of the Hudson Valley. The valley is the county’s chief visual reference point, and includes several noted areas, including the Estates District SASS. The Catskill Mountains to the west provide a beautiful backdrop to the river valley. Mountains of the Hudson Highlands and the Taconic Range visually define the county’s borders to the south and east. With these major features in the background, alternating patterns of uplands, lowlands, lakes, open land, farms, forests, and settlements provide beauty and visual diversity throughout the county.

Hudson River National Historic Landmark District (NHLD)

The Hudson River NHLD covers a 32-square mile area roughly identical to the area included in the Estates District SASS. Designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in 1990, The Hudson River NHLD is recognized for its unique position in the settlement history of the nation and noted for the preservation of its estates and mansions. The NHLD designation acknowledges that historic resources in the district are “of the highest national significance” [9].

Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance

Scenic landscapes in New York State that meet the criteria for determining aesthetic significance by the Department of State Division of Coastal Resources are designated as Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance (SASS). Two are found in Dutchess County: The Estates District SASS and the Hudson Highlands SASS. (There are another two SASS districts immediately across the Hudson River in Ulster County, and within the viewshed of Dutchess County: The Ulster-North SASS and the Esopus-Lloyd SASS.)

The Estates District SASS includes the Hudson River and land along its eastern shore in Columbia County and Dutchess County. This includes parts of the Towns of Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Hyde Park and the Villages of Tivoli and Rhinebeck. The Estates District SASS extends 27 miles from north to south, with the Hudson River as its western boundary and Route 9 and Route 9G as its eastern boundary. This area is aesthetically significant due to its numerous historic estates, landscape character, and scenic views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. There is a rich cultural history within the natural landscape, which is unique, publicly accessibly, and publicly recognized [10].

The Estates District SASS is divided into 29 subunits, 28 of which are in Dutchess County. From north to south, these subunits are: Clermont/Tivoli Estate Farmland, Tivoli, Montgomery Place/Blithewood, Tivoli Bays, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, Barrytown, Astor Point, Astor Cove, River Road, Mount Rutsen, Rhinebeck Center, Rhinecliff Road, Rhinecliff, Rhinecliff Woods, Mill Road Meadows, Vanderburgh Cove, Dinsmore Golf Course, Mills State Park, Staatsburg, Norrie Heights, Norrie State Park, Vanderbilt Mansion, Hyde Park Center, Franklin D. Roosevelt Home Estate Entrance, and Franklin D. Roosevelt Home National Historic Site. The Hudson Highlands Scenic Area of Statewide Significance (SASS) encompasses a twenty-mile stretch of the Hudson River and its shorelands and varies in width from approximately 1 to 6 miles. It includes a significant portion of the Town of Fishkill, as well as part of the City Beacon, and extends south of Dutchess County into Putnam and Westchester Counties, and across the Hudson River into Ulster, Orange, and Rockland Counties. The Hudson Highlands SASS is a highly scenic and valued region of the Hudson River Valley, rich in natural beauty, cultural and historical features [10].

The Hudson Highlands SASS is divided into 28 subunits, 2 of which are in Dutchess County (Hudson Highlands State Park and Dutchess Junction Subunits). Specific information on each of these subunits and properties can be found at the NYS Coastal Resources Website.

Scenic Byways

The NYS Scenic Byways Program identifies roads that have regional or statewide significance. The New York State Legislature established the Scenic Byways program in 1992, and it is administered by NYS Department of Transportation. Scenic Roads that had been previously designated by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Parkways that exhibit statewide scenic, recreational, cultural, natural, historic or archaeological significance were automatically included in the program.

In 2004 the Hudson River Valley Greenway completed a Hudson River Valley Scenic Byways Outreach Project designed to identify roads in the region that could quality as State or National Scenic Byways. The final report includes a list and a map of roads in each county that merit additional consideration. Suggestions in Dutchess County include a Riverfront Scenic Byway near the Hudson River and a Farm to Market Scenic Byway of local roads that were and are used to bring farm products to markets in Poughkeepsie.

Dutchess County Historic Resource Survey

A historic resource survey was conducted in the 1980s, resulting in a set of maps, photos, and detailed documentation of the location of historic resources such as buildings, structures, landscapes, and objects. Compiled by Stephanie Mauri from the Dutchess County Historical Society, John Clarke from the Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development, and other architectural historians, the survey was the product of a comprehensive field assessment of almost every road in the County. Voluminous in detail, quaint in description, and beautifully colored, the original maps included many subjective notes about the structures and natural features observed. In addition, an extensive architectural inventory included photographs and formal descriptions of each resource. The County's Historic Resource Survey differs from the Federal and State historic registers and represents a unique, point-in-time look at the County's historic resources as the HRS is not updated with new listings.

Human health and safety are directly impacted by our environment; from the air we breathe, the water that we depend upon, and the risks that we take when interacting with our natural environment.

Air pollution is a mix of hazardous substances from both human-made and natural sources. Human-made air pollution primarily results from vehicle emissions, fuel oils, natural gas, manufacturing and power generation by-products, and chemical production fumes. Such as smoke from wildfires, ash and gases from volcanic eruptions, and gases like methane from decomposing organic matter are examples of natural air pollutants. Air pollution increases the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer, and more severely affects people who are already ill. People's health risks from air pollution vary widely depending on age, location, underlying health, and other factors.

Humans are also at risk from various diseases transmitted by animals and insects in our natural environment. A zoonotic disease is any disease that can be passed between animals and people.  Dutchess County Behavioral & Community Health estimates that 60% of infectious diseases are zoonotic. These diseases include tick-borne and mosquito-borne diseases that have and will continue to cause serious public health impacts on Dutchess County.

Air Quality & Pollution  

The major air pollutants in Dutchess County are ground-level ozone, particulate matter and acid deposition.  Because some of these pollutants are transported across state and county lines, the federal Clean Air Act was enacted to control these pollutants at the state and federal geographic scale.  It’s important to remember that some pollutants measured in Dutchess County are not emitted here.  Likewise, some pollutants emitted in Dutchess County affect downwind areas outside of Dutchess County.

The principle statutory authority for controlling air pollution at the Federal and State level is contained in the Clean Air Act (CAA), which was enacted by Congress and signed into law in 1970.  Although subsequently amended, the core provisions of the 1970 Clean Air Act are still in effect.In Section 109 of the law, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is directed to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six specific criteria pollutants:

  1. Carbon Monoxide
  2. Lead
  3. Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
  4. Ozone (or smog)
  5. Particulate Matter
  6. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

For each of the six criteria pollutants, NAAQs are set by EPA at a level designed to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety. One set of limits, the primary standard, protects health.  Another set of limits, the secondary standard, is intended to prevent environmental and property damage [11].

Under section 110 of the Clean Air Act, each state is required to submit a “State Implementation Plan,” commonly known as the “SIP” to the EPA, which details how the state will implement, maintain, and enforce the primary and secondary NAAQS in each air quality control region within the State [12]. As the regulatory authority for New York State, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), working with local authorities, drafts the SIPs for submission to the EPA to meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act in New York State.

Upon passage of the CAA Amendments of 1990, several changes were put in place, including new designation of areas of the country not meeting the NAAQS for each criteria pollutant, also known as Areas of Non-Attainment.  Under the CAA, a geographic area that meets or does better than the primary standard is called an Attainment Area; areas that do not meet the primary standard are called Non-Attainment Areas [13].  For areas that are in Non-Attainment for any one of the six NAAQS for criteria pollutants, Title 1 of the 1990 CAA Amendments imposes deadlines for meeting the NAAQS that vary with the severity of pollution problems, and requires states to submit revised SIPs – which require that the states make “measurable progress” in meeting the NAAQS.  


One of the most critical criteria pollutants, ground level ozone, is the main harmful component of smog.  It is a highly reactive gas that consists of 3 oxygen atoms.  Ozone is not emitted directly but is formed through chemical reactions between precursor emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) in the presence of sunlight.  These reactions are stimulated by sunlight and high temperature, which is why peak ozone levels occur during summer and the warmest period of the day.  The VOC and NOx precursors to ozone are produced by the combination of pollutants from many sources, including smokestacks, cars, paints, and solvents. According to the EPA, when a car burns gasoline, releasing exhaust fumes, or a painter paints a house, smog-forming pollutants rise into the sky [14].

The initial NAAQS for ozone was a maximum 1-hour average not to exceed 0.12 parts per million (ppm) [15]. In 1997, the EPA established a new NAAQS for ozone. To attain this standard, the 3-year average of the fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour average ozone concentrations measured at each monitor within an area over each year must not exceed 0.08 ppm.  In May 2008, that standard was lowered from 0.08 ppm to 0.075 ppm.  Most recently, the NAAQS were revised in 2015 and were retained in 2020. The existing standards are 0.070 ppm, as the fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour concentration, averaged across three consecutive years [16]. Standards are periodically changed because the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to review and revise standards as new information develops about public health, safety, and environmental and property effects of criteria pollutants.    

The United States EPA and New York State DEC maintain a network of air quality monitoring for the United States and New York State, respectively.  According to EPA, the EPA’s ambient air quality monitoring program is carried out by State and local agencies [17]. The New York State DEC measures air pollutants at more than 80 sites across the state, using continuous and/or manual instrumentation, as part of the federally-mandated National Air Monitoring Stations Network [18]. Continuous air quality monitoring of DEC’s Region 3 - the Hudson Valley - occurs at several sites, including White Plains in Westchester County, Mt. Ninham in Putnam County, Valley Central in Orange County, and a site in Rockland County.  The only monitoring station in Dutchess County is site #132801, which is maintained at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY.  The DEC’s Division of Air Resources maintains accurate hourly, daily, monthly and yearly air quality data and forecasting, and information is available from the NYS DEC website. According to the DEC, in 2022, compliance with the existing NAAQS for ozone was met at the Millbrook station in Dutchess County (Table 8).

Table 8: 4th Highest Daily Maximum 8-Hour Average (not to exceed an avg of 0.070 ppm during the last 3 years) 
Site  2020  2021  2022  Mean 4th Max  Exceeds the NAAQS 
Millbrook 0.059 0.061 0.063 0.061 No.
Valley Central 0.059 0.059 0.053 0.057 No
White Plains 0.067 0.071 0.066 0.068 No
Mt Ninham 0.058 0.063 0.064 0.062 No
Rockland 0.061 0.064 0.062 0.062 No
  Particulate Matter  

Particulate Matter (PM) includes dust, dirt, soot, smoke and liquid droplets.  It can be formed by condensation or transformation of gases.  There are two size classifications for particulates: 10 microns (PM10), which are particles that are less than 10 microns in size and 2.5 microns (PM2.5), which are particles that are less than 2.5 microns in size.  The PM2.5 size class causes decreased lung function that can have serious effects on individuals with asthma, bronchitis or other airway diseases. PM2.5 is most commonly the result of combustion, including fossil fuel burning, and transformation of gases such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds. The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for PM2.5 include a 24-hour average and annual average, which are not to exceed 35 and 15 µg/m3, respectively.

PM2.5 is not currently monitored in Dutchess County.  The closest monitoring sites are Newburgh and Albany. From 2020 through 2022, the three-year average of annual means for fine inhalable particulates was 6.1, in compliance with primary and secondary NAAQS [18]. Although Dutchess County is currently within compliance for PM2.5, development and vehicular travel should be controlled to ensure that it remains in compliance.

Particulate matter pollution represents a main component of wildfire smoke and is the main public health threat when experiencing the effects of wildfires. During a wildfire or other combustion-related activities, particle pollution can be visible to the human eye because concentrations of particles are substantially increased in the air. There is evidence of an increase in the risk of both cardiovascular and respiratory-related effects in response to wildfire smoke exposure, particularly as the intensity of wildfire smoke increases [19]. Dutchess County experienced this throughout June of 2023 as smoke was carried by winds from Canadian wildfires. Air quality reached unhealthy levels, and residents were advised to stay indoors and limit rigorous activities outdoors.

Air Quality Index 

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an index that illustrates the level of each of the criteria pollutants.  For Dutchess County, AQI’s for ozone and PM2.5 are forecast on a daily basis by the NYS DEC.  The AQI was created as an easy way to correlate levels of different pollutants to one scale; the higher the AQI value, the greater the health concern. When levels of ozone and/or PM2.5 are forecast to exceed an AQI value of 100, an Air Quality Health Advisory is issued alerting sensitive groups to take the necessary precautions. AQI alerts are reported via media outlets and weather forecasting facilities. See the additional resources section for real-time air quality data and forecasts for the Hudson Valley.  

Acid Precipitation  

Acid precipitation refers to rain, snow or ice that is more acidic than what is normal for a given area.  In the northeastern United States, normal precipitation pH is about 5.2.  The pH scale is a measure of acidity ranging from 0 to 14, with pH 7 being neutral, pH less than 7 is acidic, and pH greater than 7 is basic.  The pH scale is logarithmic, which means that each pH unit is 10 times that of its neighbor. A solution with pH 4 is 10 times more acidity than a solution with pH 5.

Acid precipitation most commonly forms from sulfur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).  Most SO2 is emitted by coal burning power plants while NOx most commonly comes from car exhaust and other industrial processes as well as coal burning.  In the atmosphere, the SO2 and NOx transform to sulfate (SO42-) and nitrate (NO3-) which combine with hydrogen ions (H+) to form sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and nitric acid (HNO3).  Acid precipitation is more correctly called acid deposition.  There are 2 forms of acid deposition: wet deposition, which is deposition in the form of rain, snow or ice, and dry deposition, which is deposition in the form of gases or particles.  By far, most acid deposition falls as wet deposition.  H2SO4 is the most important component of acid deposition although HNO3 is also important.  Because the prevailing wind direction for Dutchess County is southwest, as it is for most of the northeastern US, we are upwind of the midsection of the country where many coal burning power plants are. Our air and precipitation largely originate in areas with high emissions of the acid deposition precursor SO2.

Acid deposition and other pollutants harm natural ecosystems and threaten biological diversity.  Acid deposition acidifies soils, lakes and streams and enhances the process that makes toxic mercury (another pollutant emitted during the burning of coal) available to organisms.  Acid deposition also enhances the mobilization of toxic aluminum from soils to tree roots, increases leaching of sulfate and nitrate to soils and surface waters and promotes the loss of important buffering nutrients from soils.  Globally, most water bodies became increasingly acidic from the 1970s until early this century [20]. In aquatic systems, aluminum can kill fish and other aquatic organisms, reducing fish species richness.  The increased acidity in lakes and other surface waters can reduce ecosystem productivity.

Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) mandates requirements for the control of acid deposition.  The CAAA set a goal of reducing annual SO2 emissions by 10 million tons below 1980 levels. To achieve these reductions, the law required a two-phase tightening of the restrictions placed on the highest emitting fossil fuel-fired power plants.  Phase I began in 1995 and Phase II began in the year 2000.  The Act also called for a 2-million-ton reduction in NOx emissions by the year 2000.  Since the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990, hydrogen deposition has decreased dramatically in New York State and elsewhere, and pH has increased, demonstrating the success of environmental regulation targeted at sources of acid rain [21].

Water Quality & Pollution 

The rich hydrology of Dutchess County has historically provided adequate water to meet community needs. However, human interactions with the land introduce threats to all of the county’s water resources through changes in surface water runoff, the reduction of groundwater infiltration, water contamination, and soil erosion. In many ways, climate change is exacerbating these threats and creating new stresses.

Surface Water

As human demands for water increase or groundwater recharge decreases, there is the potential for inadequate flow of water in streams during dry periods. Low flows can lead to high water temperatures, inadequate dissolved oxygen levels, and restrictions on movements of fish and other aquatic organisms. Efforts to establish minimal environmental flows have developed procedures to determine how much water must be left in a channel to ensure good habitat value and ecological functioning.


Non-point source contaminant sources pose a new challenge to communities and regulators. Where wells and septic systems are in use, well water quality can suffer if not buffered by adequate recharge. The recharge rates presented in Dutchess County Aquifer Recharge Rates & Sustainable Septic System Density study have been used to recommend minimum average parcel sizes for homes using individual wells and septic systems. Analysis of the 250 domestic well water samples discussed above suggests that nitrate concentrations detected in groundwater wells show a greater incidence of higher levels when near clusters of septic systems.

Sodium and chloride concentrations recorded in the 250 domestic well samples also can be higher more often; mostly likely due to the proximity of the parcels to roads. USGS analysis of sewered and unsewered watersheds in Putnam and Westchester Counties verified that there were few differences in sodium chloride concentrations in groundwater between watersheds with or without septic systems, suggesting that road salt rather than water softener discharges to septic systems are the dominant source of salt in groundwater.

Dutchess County’s aquifers are vulnerable to contamination from sources other than septic systems and roads, including a host of regulated and some remaining unregulated land-use practices. Traditional sources of recognized groundwater contamination such as landfills, leaking petroleum or chemical storage tanks, both accidental and intentional illegal discharges, and heavy uses of fertilizers continue to contribute to the risk of aquifer contamination.

Other sanitary waste components such as pharmaceutical residues and personal care chemicals may also be present in groundwater near septic systems. Recommended parcel sizes, based on hydrologic soil group and aquifer recharge ensure a greater measure of dilution of such discharges from surrounding unimpacted groundwater but desirable contaminant dilution ratios have not been developed since no human health or aquatic health standards are available.

Many cases of groundwater pollution have appeared in recent years. The most common pollutants fall into distinct categories:

  • road de-icing salts (sodium chloride) particularly at bottoms of hills or ends of cul-de-sacs where salt residues can accumulate as a result of heavy application or plowing or within settlement areas where road networks are particularly dense
  • organic solvents (trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, or carbon tetrachloride) from illegal dump sites, industrial sites, and sometimes from household products
  • fertilizers
  • petroleum products (gasoline and heating fuel) from spills, leaking tanks, and pavement runoff
  • septic system discharges

As development pressures increase, corresponding pressures to fill, drain, or build in wetlands also increase. Wetlands are not suitable locations for landfills, basements, septic systems, or other structures and uses that function poorly in wet soils or destroy natural wetland functions.

Concern about the destruction of wetland resources led to the passage of the New York State Freshwater Wetlands Act in 1975. This act requires permits for all non-agricultural activities that could change the quality of wetlands 12.4 acres or larger and smaller wetlands of unusual local importance. It also requires the State Department of Environmental Conservation to inventory and evaluate the wetlands of the state. The act applies to 4.4 percent of Dutchess County and approximately 70 percent of the county’s total wetland acreage.

Water and Climate Change

A changing climate is predicted to affect the quantity, quality, and habitat suitability of surface water. The intensity of annual precipitation is expected to increase in the coming years, with implications for water resources. More detailed information can be found in the Climate Change section of the NRI.

Flooding hazards are predicted to increase as climate conditions continue to change. Areas indicated in the Dutchess County Environmental Mapper. as 100-year floodplains will be in particular risk, but other areas may be affected as flooding in any area will depend on the intensity and timing of precipitation events. Historically, large floods in the county have been known to damage infrastructure, destroy crops and wash away agricultural soils, carry pollutants and large volumes of sediments into streams. Much of the water volume from these large events will run off quickly into streams and be unavailable for recharging groundwater.

Flood dynamics play a large role in determining the shape, or morphology, of stream channels and the hazards associated with land uses on the banks and in the floodplain. For example, applications for stream disturbance permits (from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC)) typically increase following floods as landowners and municipalities attempt to repair damage caused by flooding.

More extended and more frequent droughts are also predicted, and are likely to affect public water supplies, private drinking water wells, and farm ponds for watering livestock, as well as streams, other natural habitats, and native plants and animals. More extreme floods and droughts, as well as increases in water temperatures, are likely to adversely impact populations of trout and other sensitive stream organisms that rely on cool, clear streams and unsilted stream substrates.

Animal to Human Diseases 

Tick-borne Diseases 

Tick-borne diseases are transmitted to humans by tick bites. Diseases transmitted by ticks can include Lyme disease, anaplasmosis/ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, Powassan disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tick paralysis. The symptoms of these diseases vary from mild to severe infections and in some cases require hospitalization. Different species of ticks can transmit different pathogens, so identifying the species of tick that bit you is important. Below is more information about which tick vectors which disease, paired with fact sheets with more information about each illness.

Lyme disease

A bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected deer tick.

Ticks & Lyme Disease Color Brochure La Garrapata La Enfermedad de Lyme Lyme Disease Fact Sheet (tick-borne borreliosis, Lyme arthritis) Anaplasmosis and Erhlichioisis Tick-borne diseases caused by two different bacteria transmitted by the bite of a tick. The lone star tick causes erhlichiosis and the deer tick causes anaplasmosis. Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis Anaplasmosis ( Ehrlichiosis ( Babesiosis A rare, disease caused by various types of microscopic parasites from the bite of an infected deer tick. Babesiosis Babesiosis ( Powassan virus disease A rare, but often serious disease caused by a virus that is spread by the bite of infected ticks Powassan Virus (POW) Powassan Virus (CDC) Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever A rare disease caused by the bite of an infected American dog tick. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (tick-borne typhus fever) Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever ( On a statewide and national level, Dutchess County is a consistent leader in Lyme disease rates. From 2002 to 2006, Dutchess County led the nation in reported Lyme cases [22]. While the county has fallen in statewide ranking in more recent years, it is believed that the total cases reported by the CSC are an underrepresentation of the true amount of Lyme cases due to reporting estimates and misdiagnosis of the disease. Experts believe that the best way to avoid tickborne illness is to prevent tick bites. Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health advises that wooded areas or forests support higher densities of ticks than more open areas like lawns. Deciduous forests with ground cover also support higher densities than coniferous forests. More fragmented forests have also been found to have higher densities than larger, continuous forest [23] Residential areas also support ticks, as they have the potential to include several different microhabitats, like wooded areas, unmaintained edges of wooded areas, ornamental gardens, and lawns. Lawns are least likely to have high densities of ticks. In addition to avoiding the places where ticks are commonly found, measures can be taken to reduce the risk of tick bites. Using an EPA-registered insect repellent, treating shoes and outdoor clothing with permethrin, frequently checking your body for ticks, and drying clothing on high heat for 30 minutes when returning from the outdoors are all strategies recommended by the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health [24]. Studies have shown that climate change has contributed to the expansion of ticks’ range, as the life cycle of ticks is strongly dependent on temperature. As the temperatures warm, the range of suitable tick habitats increases. Ticks are also much more active when temperatures are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit with at least 85% humidity [25].   Mosquito-borne Diseases  There are several diseases that can be transmitted by mosquitoes, like West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Those who travel to other countries risk other mosquito-borne illnesses like Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, Malaria, and Zika [26]. Symptoms of these diseases can range from mild to severe. More serious infections can require hospitalization and could result in death. Preventing bites by minimizing exposure and taking steps to protect yourself is the best defense against mosquito-borne diseases. Using insect repellent that contains DEET or picaridin, wearing long pants, sleeves, socks, and shoes when outdoors or when mosquitoes are active, and maintaining properties to eliminate stagnant water are all measures that you can take to prevent mosquito bites [26]. Similar to ticks, warmer temperatures caused by a changing climate can accelerate the rate of bites, the development, and incubation of disease for mosquitos. Climate change also impacts the timing of bird migration and breeding patterns, which may also contribute to the movement of viruses long-range [27]. Rabies & Other Zoonotics Rabies is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system. It is transmitted from infected mammals to other mammals and humans and is invariably fatal once symptoms appear.  Fortunately, only a few human cases are reported each year in the United States. Rabies is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes, but any mammal can be infected with rabies. Pets and livestock can get rabies if they are not vaccinated to protect them against infection. Among domestic animals, cats are most frequently diagnosed with rabies in New York State [28]. Some animals almost never get rabies. These include rabbits and small rodents such as squirrels, chipmunks, rats, mice, guinea pigs, gerbils and hamsters. It is possible for these animals to get rabies, but only in rare circumstances, such as if they are attacked but not killed by a rabid animal. Reptiles (such as lizards and snakes), amphibians (like frogs), birds, fish and insects do not get or carry rabies. People usually get exposed to the rabies virus when an infected animal bites them. Exposure may also occur if saliva from a rabid animal enters an open cut or mucous membrane (eyes, nose, or mouth). Anyone who may have had an exposure to rabies should wash any wounds thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. All animal bites, even if minor, should be reported to the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health.

[1] Dewitz, J., and U.S. Geological Survey, 2021, National Land Cover Database (NLCD) 2019 Products (ver. 2.0, June 2021): U.S. Geological Survey data release.

[2] Dutchess County Eight-Year Agricultural District Review, 2023

[3] Dutchess County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan, 2015

[4] Agricultural Markets Law, Article 25-AA, 2017

[5] New York State Open Space Conservation Plan, 2016

[6] Lee, A.C., et al. Value of urban green spaces in promoting healthy living and wellbeing: prospects for planning. Risk Management and Healthcare Policy. 2015.

[7] Critical Environmental Areas (CEAs), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

[8] Penhollow, M. E., P. G. Jensen, and L.A. Zucker. 2006. Wildlife and Habitat Conservation Framework: An Approach for Conserving Biodiversity in the Hudson River Estuary Corridor. New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Cornell University and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Hudson River Estuary Program, Ithaca, NY.

[9] The Landmark District, Hudson River Heritage.

[10] Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance for the Town of Rhinebeck Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. New York State Department of State – Division of Coastal Resources and Waterfront Revitalization, 2004.

[11] United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), Reviewing National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS): Scientific and Technical Information. Last Updated October 17, 2023.  

[12] United States Code of Federal Regulations (US CFR). 2006. 40 C.F.R 50.9 

[13] United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), NAAQS Designation Process, Last updated on November 29, 2022.  

[14] US EPA, 2023 Ground-level Ozone Basics  

[15] United States Code of Federal Regulations (US CFR). 2006. 40 C.F.R. 50.10. 

[16] United States Environmental Protection Agency, Fact Sheet: Final Decision Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards, 2023 

[17] United States Code of Federal Regulations (US CFR). 2006. 40 C.F.R 81.333  

[18] New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Air Quality Surveillance Division of Air Resources, Ambient Air Quality Report 2022, New York State Ambient Air Monitoring Program, accessed 2023. 

[19] Wettstein ZS, Hoshiko S, Fahimi J, Harrison RJ, Cascio WE, Rappold AG. Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Emergency Department Visits Associated With Wildfire Smoke Exposure in California in 2015. J Am Heart Assoc. 2018 Apr 11;7(8):e007492. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.117.007492. PMID: 29643111; PMCID: PMC6015400. 

[20] Sullivan, T. J., Driscoll, C.T., Beier, C.M., Burtraw, D., Fernandez, I.J., Galloway, J.N., Gay, D.A., Goodale, C.L., Likens, G.E., Lovett, G.M., Watmouhj, S.A. 2018. Air pollution success stories in the United States: The value of long-term observations. Environmental Science and Policy. Envsci.2018.02.016 

[21] The State of the Hudson 2020. The Hudson River Estuary Program, NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program and the NEIWPCC. New York. 

[22] Pfieffer, Mary Beth. The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Sciences, “Lyme disease: Dutchess leads the nation in cases” August 17, 2012.  

[23] Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health, Tick-Borne Disease Prevention FAQ Series 1 TICK BITE AVOIDANCE 

[24] Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health,About Tick-borne diseases”, accessed 2023. 

[25] United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Climate Change Indicators: Lyme Disease” November 1, 2023

[26] Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health,  Mosquitoes , accessed 2023.  

[27] United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Climate Change Indicators: West Nile Virus”, October 13, 2023.  

[28] Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health, Rabies & Other Zoonotics, accessed 2023.  


Acid precipitation: Rain, snow or ice that is more acidic than what is normal for a given area. Air pollution: a mix of hazardous substances from both human-made and natural sources.

Barren land: Areas of bedrock, desert pavement, scarps, talus, slides, volcanic material, glacial debris, sand dunes, strip mines, gravel pits and other accumulations of earthen material. Generally, vegetation accounts for less than 15% of total cover.

Clean Air Act: The comprehensive federal law that regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources.

Cultivated crops: Areas used for the production of annual crops, such as corn, soybeans, vegetables, tobacco, and cotton, and also perennial woody crops such as orchards and vineyards. Crop vegetation accounts for greater than 20% of total vegetation. This class also inclu

Deciduous forest: Areas dominated by trees generally greater than 5 meters tall, and greater than 20% of total vegetation cover. More than 75% of the tree species shed foliage simultaneously in response to seasonal change.

Developed, open space: Areas with a mixture of some constructed materials, but mostly vegetation in the form of lawn grasses. Impervious surfaces account for less than 20% of total cover. These areas most commonly include large-lot single-family housing units, parks, golf courses, and vegetation planted in developed settings for recreation, erosion control, or aesthetic purposes.

Developed, low intensity: Areas with a mixture of constructed materials and vegetation. Impervious surfaces account for 20% to 49% percent of total cover. These areas most commonly include single-family housing units.

Developed, medium intensity: Areas with a mixture of constructed materials and vegetation. Impervious surfaces account for 50% to 79% of the total cover. These areas most commonly include single-family housing units.

Developed, high intensity: Highly developed areas where people reside or work in high numbers. Examples include apartment complexes, row houses and commercial/industrial. Impervious surfaces account for 80% to 100% of the total cover.

Emergent herbaceous wetlands (marsh): Areas where perennial herbaceous vegetation accounts for greater than 80% of vegetative cover and the soil or substrate is periodically saturated with or covered with water.

Evergreen (coniferous) forest: Areas dominated by trees generally greater than 5 meters tall, and greater than 20% of total vegetation cover. More than 75% of the tree species shed foliage simultaneously in response to seasonal change.

Ground level ozone: A harmful air pollutant made up of three oxygen molecules that is the main component of smog.

Hay/pasture: Areas of grasses, legumes, or grass-legume mixtures planted for livestock grazing or the production of seed or hay crops, typically on a perennial cycle. Pasture/hay vegetation accounts for greater than 20% of total vegetation.

Herbaceous: Areas dominated by graminoid or herbaceous vegetation, generally greater than 80% of total vegetation. These areas are not subject to intensive management such as tilling but can be utilized for grazing.

Land cover: The vegetative characteristics or manmade constructions on the land’s surface.

Land use: Involves an element of human activity and reflects human decisions about how land will be used.

Mixed forest: Areas dominated by trees generally greater than 5 meters tall, and greater than 20% of total vegetation cover. Neither deciduous nor evergreen species are greater than 75% of total tree cover.

Open water: Areas of open water, generally with less than 25% cover of vegetation or soil.

Particulate atter: The term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air.

Primary standards: National ambient air quality standards designed to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety.

Purchase of Development Rights (PDR): An incentive based, voluntary program with the intent of permanently protecting productive, sensitive, or aesthetic landscapes, yet retaining private ownership and management. In this program, a landowner sells the development rights of a parcel of land to a public agency, land trust or unit of government. A conservation easement is recorded on the title of the property that limits development permanently.

Secondary standards: National ambient air quality standards designed to protect the public welfare from adverse effects, including those related to the impacts on soil, water, crops, vegetation, anthropogenic (man-made) materials, animals, wildlife, weather, visibility, and climate; damage to property, transportation hazards, economic values, and personal comfort and well-being.

Shrub/scrub: Areas dominated by shrubs; less than 5 meters tall with shrub canopy typically greater than 20% of total vegetation. This class includes true shrubs, young trees in an early successional stage or trees stunted from environmental conditions.

Woody wetlands (swamp): Areas where forest or shrubland vegetation accounts for greater than 20% of vegetative cover and the soil or substrate is periodically saturated with or covered with water.

Zoonotic disease: Any disease that can be passed between animals and people.