About

The Hudson River Estuary Biodiversity Program was formed in 1997 as a major joint initiative of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program and Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources. The Biodiversity Program is working to protect, maintain, and restore the health and resiliency of the estuary watershed through biodiversity and landscape conservation. We engage conservation partners at local and regional levels to address threats to species, habitats, and ecosystems. Our biodiversity monitoring program that began in 2006 provides scientifically sound data necessary for effective prioritization of multi-scale conservation actions. Our biodiversity outreach and technical assistance program has operated since 2001 to raise the capacity of local governments, landowners, and non-profit partners to reduce habitat loss and fragmentation, and protect important ecosystems in the estuary watershed.

Our People

  • Patrick Sullivan

    Principal Investigator | Contact
    Patrick Sullivan has been the Principal Investigator for this project since 2008. Professor Sullivan’s research objective is to understand what drives the spatial and temporal dynamics of natural populations and communities and how they respond to anthropogenic influences, by focusing on patterns that can be used to tease out and identify important factors and processes that define these systems.

  • Karen Strong

    Biodiversity Program Coordinator | Contact
    Karen Strong has been the Biodiversity Program Coordinator since 2013, working on action plan development, project management, stakeholder involvement, tracking and reporting, and financial administration for the program. Karen was a Biodiversity Outreach Coordinator from 2001-2012, working with municipal and regional partners to integrate biodiversity and habitat protection into conservation plans and smart growth strategies. Karen is an Extension Support Specialist in the Department of Natural Resources and earned her Master of Science degree in Biodiversity, Conservation and Policy at the University at Albany.

  • Laura Heady

    Conservation and Land Use Coordinator | Contact
    Laura Heady joined the project in 2006. As Conservation and Land Use Coordinator, she engages municipal and regional partners to build capacity for more effective conservation of natural areas and habitat in the Hudson River estuary watershed. Laura develops extension programs and tools for local land-use decision makers and provides technical assistance to communities in mid and lower Hudson Valley counties. Her work with local leaders on conservation and land-use planning in the Hudson Valley started in 2002 at Hudsonia Ltd., where she taught the Biodiversity Assessment Training program for four years. Laura is an Extension Support Specialist for the Department of Natural Resources and has a Master of Science degree in biology with an emphasis in ecology from Idaho State University.

  • Ingrid Haeckel

    Conservation and Land Use Specialist | Contact
    Ingrid Haeckel joined the project in 2013, and works with municipal and regional partners to integrate biodiversity and habitat protection into conservation plans and smart growth strategies. In addition to developing extension programs and tools, she provides technical assistance to communities in the upper Hudson Valley counties of Albany, Rensselaer, Greene and Columbia. Ingrid worked as a biologist and Biodiversity Mapping Coordinator at Hudsonia Ltd. before becoming an Extension Support Specialist in the Department of Natural Resources. Ingrid earned her Master degree in Geography with an emphasis in ethnobotany and conservation science at the University of Texas at Austin.

  • Suzanne Beyeler

    Research Associate | Contact
    Dr. Suzanne Beyeler has coordinated the biodiversity monitoring program since 2009. The monitoring and research effort focuses on the status and distribution of important wildlife populations, data collection and survey techniques, and threats to biodiversity. Suzanne earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and has authored or co-authored several reports and papers on the topics of ecological scale, biodiversity conservation, and landscape planning and prioritization. Her dissertation topic was “Factors Affecting Songbird Richness, Density, and Nest Survival in Riparian Forests in a Midwestern Agricultural Landscape.”

  • Magdeline Laba

    Research Associate | Contact
    Dr. Magdeline Laba has worked for the project since 2012. Her research has focused on climate change and spatial relationships between landscape patterns and ecological processes within the the Hudson River estuary. Dr. Laba is an associate editor of the Journal of Hydrology, has edited one book on environmental monitoring and has 18 peer-reviewed publications relating to image analysis, the modifiable areal unit problem, climate change, monitoring tidal wetland plant communities, spatial analyses and sampling techniques. She earned her Ph.D. in Remote Sensing from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University. Her dissertation work focused on climate change and invasive plant species within the tidal wetland plant communities of the Hudson River Estuary.

 Our Partners

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