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New York

Adirondacks: Champlain Valley


Why We Selected This Site

The Champlain Valley presents a rare opportunity to conserve a spectrum of large landscapes in the Northeast, from unbroken wetlands, to thriving rare plant communities, to working family farms and wildlife corridors.

This ecologically rich valley lies within an area known as the St. Lawrence-Champlain Valley ecoregion. Approximately 24 percent of this lowland ecoregion is in New York, 66 percent in Canada, and 10 percent in Vermont. The Nature Conservancy works to preserve the ecoregion's characteristic natural communities, including clayplain forests, lake-sand beaches, sandplains and numerous wetland and aquatic communities.

Plants

The Champlain Valley represents the northernmost reaches of many southern tree species, such as shag bark hickory, red and white oak, and hop hornbeam.  Wildflowers include blue cohosh, bloodroot, Dutchman's breeches, wood anemone and more. The valley's sandstone pavement barrens, which are globally rare, provide habitat for jack pine and low-lying heath, such as huckleberry.

Animals

The Champlain Valley provides habitat for bobcats, eastern timber rattlesnakes, coyotes, black bears, fishers, white-tailed deer and more. Of the 193 birds that breed in the Adirondacks, 155 of them are found in the Champlain Valley. On the lake itself, you might see common loons, snow geese, ring-necked ducks, buffleheads, mergansers and a variety of gulls. Inland, you might see yellow-bellied sapsuckers, least flycatchers, American kestrels, great horned owls, bobolinks, eastern meadowlarks, peregrine falcons and a variety of hawks.

Threats
  • Land conversion
  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Invasive species
  • Altered hydrologic systems
  • Byproducts of agricultural practices (chemicals, nutrients and sediments)
Our Conservation Strategy 
  • Preserve the biological diversity of the valley, from old-growth floodplain forests to globally rare sandstone pavement barrens. 
  • Provide educational opportunities for people to learn more about the valley's natural wonders.
  • Secure scenic landscapes to enhance tourism and inspire pride and curiosity in visitors and residents.
  • Collaborate with local farmers and landowners to promote sustainable agricultural and forestry practices, while helping local communities to strengthen their economies and cultural heritages.
  • Conserve streams, lakeshores and Lake Champlain to protect water quality.
What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

The Nature Conservancy and the Adirondack Land Trust (ALT), partners in conservation, have protected more than 13,000 acres in the Champlain Valley region, including 13 working farms. ALT helped to establish Adirondack Harvest and the first local farmer’s market, recognizing that protecting agricultural lands and creating markets for produce go hand-in-hand. On the ecological side of things, we teamed up with our colleagues in Vermont to issue a report that represents one of the first efforts in North America to assess climate change on a watershed scale and offer adaptation strategies. The Conservancy has also teamed up with partners like the Wildlife Conservation Society to research the low hills of the western Champlain Valley—the findings of which have opened our eyes to new natural community types and conservation opportunities.

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