KEENE VALLEY, NEW YORK – The Mountaineer, in partnership with Patagonia, Inc., today made a $1,000 donation to The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter to support the nonprofit organization’s work with state and local transportation agencies to upgrade bridges and culverts with structures that simulate natural stream conditions. Replacing substandard culverts with properly sized, fish-friendly structures provides ecological, economic, recreational, and social benefits.
Specifically, the funding will help the Conservancy with GIS mapping work integral to assessing and prioritizing culverts for replacement or upgrade in the Ausable River watershed. When culverts are too small or are poorly designed in relation to the streams they carry, both human communities, infrastructure, and aquatic ecosystems may be at risk. As many communities saw in the wake of Hurricane Irene, undersized and misaligned culverts are more likely to blow out during floods, creating safety hazards, damaging roads, structures and property, and requiring replacement. These failures are expensive: in addition to the hard costs associated with infrastructure repair, there is a cascade of other costs to local communities and businesses in terms of lost revenues when roads are impassable or rivers can no longer support species like brook trout, which provide a draw for tourism.
Two generations of McClellands, representing the family that owns the Mountaineer outdoor gear shop in Keene Valley, presented the check to the Conservancy. Sophie McClelland, who recently joined the Conservancy’s fundraising staff, espoused, “Our family and Mountaineer employees are happy to support this important initiative with funds provided through Patagonia’s environmental benefits program. With climate change, we are witnessing more severe, more frequent storms, and resulting flooding. This creates erosion and sedimentation problems for our brooks, streams and rivers, which are among our most valuable natural assets.”
“We are grateful to the Mountaineer, the McClelland family, and Patagonia for supporting this work,” said Conservancy scientist Michelle Brown. “The key to success is working with people who know the highways best, like county and town road supervisors, as well as partners who understand the relationships between healthy aquatic ecosystems and community well-being. Together, we are mapping culverts and working to upgrade ones that make sense for people, roads and fish,” Brown added.
This work dovetails with Governor Cuomo’s New York Rising Communities Reconstruction Program to facilitate community redevelopment planning and bolster community resilience to storms.