Harlem Valley Rail Trail

Spanning the Environmental Spectrum Along the Harlem Valley Rail Trail

The Harlem Valley Rail Trail (HVRT) extends north from the hamlet of Wassaic to Copake Falls, New York – 26 miles of paved trail running through rural Dutchess and Columbia County. Since 1996, the trail has continued to grow, with much of it repurposing abandoned rail bed sections. LaBella’s Permitting and Compliance Group has had the pleasure of working on the HVRT with many organizations.


Services Provided by LaBella

Delineation & Permitting

Working with the Taconic Region of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYS OPRHP), LaBella delineated 17,500 linear feet of rail trail for federal and state wetlands between Fado Road and Route 22 in Hillsdale, Columbia County.

LaBella prepared a summary report describing the delineation and mapping illustrating the delineated wetlands for the portion between Fado Road and Anthony Street Extension. Our team also completed delineation, a delineation report, and Approved Jurisdictional Determination for an isolated wetland for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the portion between Anthony Street Extension and Route 22.

For this southern portion, LaBella also completed federal and state permitting for impacts to federal wetlands and waters, as well as a peer review/quality control review of wetlands delineated by NYS OPRHP on agricultural lands on the east side of Route 22 north of the Taconic Region State Park Building.

Aquatic Resource Assessment

In collaboration with the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association, LaBella completed a wetland and stream assessment for a five-mile-long portion of the proposed rail trail from Chatham south through Philmont to Preusser Road in Columbia County.

We also prepared base mapping illustrating the proposed rail trail on aerial photographs overlain with regulatory wetlands and streams mapping. A field walk was completed to assess the accuracy of the resource mapping, and to identify portions of the route without wetlands or streams, with limited aquatic resources, and with more significant wetland impacts in order to assist the Rail Trail with planning efforts. This assessment was summarized in a report.

Ecological Monitoring for Construction

For the Dutchess County Department of Public Works, LaBella oversaw ecological compliance monitoring for an eight-mile section of the HVRT under construction. This included contractor education encounter training for bog turtle and timber rattlesnakes, daily monitoring of construction exclusion fencing, and relocation of bog turtles and timber rattlesnakes encountered in the construction limits.