It is the goal of the Town of Yorktown to ensure that there is no overall net loss of the Town's remaining wetland resources, including wetland buffer areas. Additionally, it is the long term goal of the Town to increase the quantity and quality of the Town's wetlands resources in terms of type, functions, geographic location and setting and size.
In their natural state, wetlands serve a myriad of valuable ecological functions important to the public welfare. These functions include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Protecting water resources by providing sources of surface water, recharging groundwater and aquifers, serving as chemical and biological oxidation basins and/or functioning as settling basins for naturally occurring sedimentation;
• Controlling flooding and stormwater runoff by storing or regulating natural flows;
• Providing unique nesting, migratory and wintering habitats for diverse wildlife species, including many on the New York State and Federal Endangered Species lists;
• Supporting unique vegetative associations specifically adapted for survival in low-oxygen environments;
• Providing areas of unusually high plant productivity which support significant wildlife diversity and abundance;
• Providing breeding and spawning grounds, nursery habitat and food for various species of fish;
• Serving as nutrient traps for nitrogen and phosphorus and filters for surface water pollutants;
• Helping to maintain biospheric stability by supporting particularly efficient photosynthesizers capable of producing significant amounts of oxygen and supporting bacteria which process excess nitrates and nitrogenous pollutants and return them to the atmosphere as inert nitrogen gas;
• Providing open space and visual relief from intense development in rapidly growing areas;
• Serving as outdoor laboratories a5nd living classrooms for the study and appreciation of natural history, ecology and biology and serving generally, as an education and research resource;
• Providing recreation areas for hunting, fishing, boating, hiking, bird watching, photography, camping and other uses; and
• Controlling erosion by serving as sedimentation areas and filter basins, absorbing silt and organic matter.
A significant amount of the town's wetland base has been lost or impaired by draining, dredging, filling, excavating, building, polluting and other acts inconsistent with the natural uses of such areas. The remaining wetlands are in jeopardy of being lost in a similar fashion.
As stated in the Freshwater Wetlands and Watercourse Protection Law (chapter 178 of the Code of the Town of Yorktown) it is the intent of the Town to control, protect, preserve, conserve and regulate the use of wetlands within the Town to ensure that the above-stated benefits provided by wetlands will not be lost. Activities in and around wetlands and watercourses must conform with all applicable building codes and land use regulations Such activities shall not threaten the natural environment or cause nuisances by, without limitation, the following:
• Impeding flood flows, reducing flood storage areas or destroying storm barriers, thereby resulting in increased flood heights, frequencies or velocities on other lands;
• Increasing water pollution through location of domestic waste disposal systems in wet soils;
• Inappropriate siting of stormwater control facilities, improper and careless application and/or disposal of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and algaecides in a wetland or shore area; disposal of solid wastes at inappropriate sites; creation of unstabilized fills; or the destruction of wetland soils and vegetation serving pollution and sediment control functions;
• Increasing erosion;
• Decreasing breeding, nesting and feeding areas for species of waterfowl, shorebirds, fish and other forms of wildlife, including those rare and endangered to the extent that local population levels are affected;
• Interfering with the exchange of nutrients needed by fish and other forms of wildlife to maintain healthy, viable local populations;
• Adversely altering the recharge or discharge functions of wetlands thereby impacting groundwater or surface water supplies;
• Significantly altering the wetland hydroperiod and thereby causing either short- or long-term changes in vegetational composition, soils characteristics, nutrient recycling or water chemistry;
• Destroying sites needed for education and scientific research, such as outdoor biophysical laboratories, living classrooms and training areas;
• Interfering with public rights in navigable waters and the recreation opportunities provided by wetlands for fishing, boating, hiking, bird-watching, photography, camping and other passive uses; or
• Destroying or damaging aesthetic values, including significant public viewsheds and open space.
Bruce Barber, Wetlands Consultant
1770 Central Street
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Contact: Louise at (914) 962-5722 ext. 220