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Rensselaer Plateau Regional Conservation Plan


The Rensselaer Plateau is a unique natural, cultural, and economic resource in our backyards. Conserving and sustaining the natural and community values of the Plateau will require active collaboration, engagement, and planning, as we believe outside threats to these resources are very real. It is intended that the Regional Conservation Plan will provide information that can be used to guide decision-making by landowners, municipalities, and organizations or agencies that have an interest in the Plateau. Development of the Regional Conservation Plan included several opportunities for community involvement, including three public workshops and several stakeholder meetings.



  • Elevate the broad public understanding of the Plateau as a unique and culturally valuable county, state and regional resource

  • Identify the most significant ecological, economic, and community values

  • Identify conservation and stewardship needs for those areas

  • Create a toolbox the stakeholders of the Rensselaer Plateu region can use to ensure the long term viability of most significant ecological, economic, and community values

Photo by Nate Simms

Download the Conservation Plan

and your relevant Guide

Funding Provided By:

Additional Conservation Plan Materials

Maps (Appendix A)



Economic Study (Appendix B)

The Towns of Nassau and Sand Lake and the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance were awarded a grant from the Hudson River Valley Greenway to fund an Economic Study. The Economic Study included two research studies: (1) Impacts of Economic Activities which estimated the direct and indirect economic contributions to the region resulting from various industries on the Plateau; and (2) Value of Ecosystem Services (Non-market/Unpriced Benefits) which estimated the values of benefits derived from ecosystem services such as clean water for drinking, storm water handling and clean air.



Ecological Assessment (Appendix C coming soon)

Collection and mapping of ecological data for the Plateau was led by Dr. David Hunt, a resident Ecologist who has studied the Plateau's natural areas for more than 20 years.  He combined intensive field work, detailed air photo delineation, compilation of existing information, and consultation with experts to identify the most important natural areas on the Plateau.  This data was compiled, analyzed and turned into an extensive set of maps and GIS datasets, as well as the development of a full Ecological Report (coming soon).


Other Results and Data Gathered

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Community Values

Two Community Values workshops were held to gather input from the community about what they love about the Plateau. Community members worked in groups to delineate areas on large paper maps that showed places on the Plateau that they valued for various reasons, such as recreational, aesthetic or historic values.


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