A new local blog is up and running, acting as an online petition and press room for some local Ithaca citizens concerned about a proposed development running into Sapsucker Woods. If you’re a birdwatcher and haven’t heard of Sapsucker Woods, you should have: it’s the home of the famed Cornell Lab of Ornithology, one of the most well-known centers for ornthiological and ecological research in the United States, if not the world.
And I mention it now, because I only recently heard about the proposed development, and also because today they put up really nice nature essay that’s worth a read.
Updated info below…
According to the Save Sapsucker Woods blog, the land in question is part of the same woodland corridor that includes the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and is adjacent to the CLO, but privately-owned lab. Further, the developers are preposing to donate 25 acres of this land to the CLO, while razing and developing on 18 acres. This sort of tradeoff might appease people, or it might not.
Other problems with the deal, as I’ve read about it:
1) This land was designated a “Unique Natural Area” by the Tompkins County Environmental Management Council. For the UNA brochure, click here. Unfortunately this doesn’t appear to afford the area legal protection from developers though.
2) “[Save Sapsucker Woods] believe[s] that the loss of 18 other acres of woodland, in an area already burdened by suburban sprawl, would significantly impair the remaining woods’ and wetland’s ability to sustain diverse wildlife.”
3) And also, residential development in this Northeast area of Ithaca has in recent years been dominated by ugly, modular homes. There’s something to be said for affordable housing, but I for one depressing to think how such a housing development would mar these woods – and I don’t even live in that part of Ithaca.
Number (2) seems to be of the greatest concern to me though – and I quoted it directly from the Q & A section. The problem is that this appears to be a vague statement – I’m sure it’s true, but I would have thought that Cornell’s Department of Natural Resources (a strong department hereabouts) would have some hard data supporting such assertions. I’d like to see that data.