The boardwalk at Lewis A. Swyer Preserve is now open to the public! The structure was completely rebuilt along its entire, half-mile length, and designed in such a way that it will withstand the moderate to severe flooding the area sometimes experiences.
A freshwater tidal swamp is formed only rarely, requiring a river bed close to sea level for a long distance from the mouth of the river. At the Lewis A. Swyer Preserve, 120 miles up the Hudson River, the daily tides change the fresh water level in Mill Creek by more than four feet. Frequent flooding of the adjacent flat land has created the freshwater tidal swamp that is one of only five in New York State.
Why We Selected This Site
The Nature Conservancy acquired this site from Conrail in 1989 because it contains a rare freshwater tidal swamp, one of only five in New York State. Mill Creek, a tributary of the Hudson River that is affected by daily tide changes, feeds fresh water into the swamp and floods often. It covers the swamp with nutrients and renews rich habitats for an unusual variety of plants and wildlife.
What We Do Here
The Nature Conservancy has added a half-mile-long boardwalk for visitors to traverse the wet ground without damaging plant life. Four interpretive signs explain the uniqueness of the preserve. Since the initial acquisition in 1989, The Nature Conservancy has acquired conservation easements on more than 500 acres nearby to provide added protection to the rare freshwater tidal swamp.
A half-mile boardwalk on the preserve reveals three natural communities to visitors: a freshwater tidal swamp, a freshwater tidal marsh and freshwater intertidal mudflats. Ever-shifting tides reveal different secrets of the preserve with each passing season, and diverse species flourish in and around the swamp's waters.
This 95-acre preserve is located in Stuyvesant, Columbia County, New York. Download a preserve map to plan your visit to the Lewis A. Swyer Preserve.
Find Green ash, black ash, red maple, slippery elm and white oak trees. Look for shrubs such as spicebush, arrowwood, buttonbush and silky dogwood, and groundcover like sensitive fern, rice cutgrass, swamp milkweed and skunk cabbage. In the creek, you'll see pickerelweed and arrow arum.
Look for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, breeding birds including green-backed heron, ducks and passerine birds. Bald eagles nest along the river and kingfishers have been spotted on the creek. Fish in the shallow waters include white perch, minnows, killifish and bluegills.