Nature lovers enjoy spending time in the Great Swamp. Its majestic beauty leaves hikers, paddlers, and birdwatchers in awe. But there’s more to the story of the Great Swamp. It’s truly amazing in all that it brings to the Hudson Valley.
Improved Water Quality
Instead of rushing straight into a lake or river, the runoff from the watersheds of the Great Swamp flow into a wide wetland. As the water spreads, it slows down, and the specialized wetland plants filter out pollutants, while sediments have time to fall to the bottom of the swamp and out of the water supply.
The wide, fairly flat part of the Great Swamp (widest in Patterson, NY) is called a floodplain. Here, the wetland acts like a giant sponge to absorb water and reduce what might otherwise be destructive flooding during rain events.
The Great Swamp offers recreational opportunities in every season, from birding and fishing to hiking, kayaking, and canoeing. Access to the Great Swamp with a boat can most easily be done at specific places.
Keeping large tracts of the Great Swamp undeveloped and unbroken provides beautiful views and enhanced quality of life for people in Putnam and Dutchess Counties.
A wide variety of habitats and animals have been discovered in the Great Swamp, including rare and endangered ones. Several species of concern as well as endangered species of plants, reptiles, and insects have been documented in the Great Swamp watershed.
The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, and James Utter, PhD (Associate Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies and Biology, State University of New York, Purchase College) have documented the following wildlife:
- 20 species of mammals, including bear, beaver, otter, fisher, muskrat;
- 185 species of birds, 10 listed as rare; 100 nest in the swamp;
- 36 species of amphibians and reptiles, 8 listed as rare;
- 64 species of butterflies;
- 58 species of dragonflies and damselflies;
- 29 species of fish;
- 12 species of crayfish
In addition, the Great Swamp:
- Provides a rest stop for migrating birds, other animals, and thousands of migrating waterfowl and songbirds use the Great Swamp during their journeys north or south. Wood ducks, teal, and mallards are just a few of the birds that use it as a migratory flyway.
- Supplies food for many animals.
- Furnishes a nursery for many animals.
- Provides a safe corridor of continuous free movement of animals to find food, mates, and shelter.