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Learn More about Habitats

The Hudson River estuary watershed contains a rich diversity of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, both tidal and non-tidal. With support from the Hudson River Estuary Program, partners have developed the following online resources and printed publications about natural communities and habitats.

winter view of a vernal pool covered by ice
Vernal pools are described in the NYNHP Conservation Guides. Photo by L. Heady

Conservation Guides for Ecological Communities

The New York Natural Heritage Program’s (NYNHP) online conservation guides are designed to help land managers, decision-makers, planners, scientists, consultants, and the interested public better understand the rare species and ecological communities found in New York. There are guides for 151 ecological communities, with detail on conservation status, distribution, threats, research and management needs, and identification tips. Initial development of the guides was funded by the Estuary Program. (Additional information on the ecological communities of New York State can be found in Edinger et al. 2014.)

Autumn view of an emergent marsh with fall foliage in the background
Emergent marsh is one of 38 habitats described in the Biodiversity Assessment Manual. Photo by L. Heady

Biodiversity Assessment Manual for the Hudson River Estuary Corridor

The Biodiversity Assessment Manual was written by Hudsonia Ltd. and published by the DEC in 2001 to help local agencies, citizens, developers, and others identify and protect ecologically-sensitive habitats in the Hudson River estuary watershed. The 508-page, loose-leaf volume describes 38 different habitats of conservation concern and the available maps and data sets that can be used to predict the location of critical habitats. Contact Hudsonia to learn how to obtain a copy. (Note that Hudsonia and the American Museum of Natural History also developed a Biodiversity Assessment Handbook for New York City, which is available here for download.)

Fact Sheets on Natural Areas and Habitats

Our team is developing two-page fact sheets on some of the priority natural areas that occur in the watershed. The first in the series on wetlands is available; check back for upcoming fact sheets on forests and streams. 

Hudsonia’s fact sheet series summarizes the characteristics of a subset of habitats identified in its mapping program. Along with general habitat descriptions, they list associated species, common threats, and conservation recommendations. While greater detail and more habitats are included in the Biodiversity Assessment Manual and Hudsonia’s habitat reports, the fact sheets are ideal for easy sharing with landowners and decision-makers. Created with assistance from the Hudson River Estuary Program.

Helpful Links

Recorded webinar on Habitats of the Hudson Valley from 2019

NYNHP Conservation Guides

Fact Sheet on Wetland Conservation

Hudsonia Habitat Fact Sheet Series