The conservation and preservation practice of our firm is the proactive aspect of our environmental practice area. At Rodenhausen Chale we are committed to using our experience and expertise to help maintain a sustainable and resilient environment in the Hudson Valley and eastern New York in this time of climate change.
Our attorneys are involved in a wide variety of projects that affect our environment in positive and proactive ways, not just in representation of clients but also in speaking engagements, volunteer service on municipal and foundation boards and active involvement in community groups. Following are examples of the kinds of work we do in this practice area:
Conservation Easements: Our attorneys advise land trusts and property owners on the negotiation, amendment and enforcement of conservation easements. One of our attorneys co-chaired the first continuing legal education seminar in New York on conservation easements, held four times throughout the state over two years. We have lectured on conservation easements for the NYS Bar Association, the Land Conservation Summit and the Hudson River Watershed Alliance.
Threatened and Endangered Species: Our attorneys are involved in preservation of threatened and endangered species on a continuous basis in advice and representation for property owners, citizen groups, developers and planning and zoning boards. Our attorneys are knowledgeable about the “incidental” take provisions of both the federal Endangered Species Act and Section 11-0535 of the Environmental Conservation Law and their implementing regulations.
Examples of work in this practice area include an effort to work with DEC to protect the habitat of the rare sedge wren and to work with developers to protect habitat of the Blanding’s turtle and Bog turtle.
Historic Preservation: Our attorneys have drafted historic preservation laws for local governments, drafted demolition laws designed to protect historic structures and drafted zoning provisions to identify and protect historic districts and sites. We have coordinated historic and prehistoric coordination agreements with the State Historic Preservation Officer and the National Council on Historic Preservation. We have served on the volunteer boards of directors of historic sites in the Hudson Valley and represented historic sites in the effort to protect historic features of the site. One of our attorneys co-chaired the committee drafting the long-term comprehensive plan for the Olana State Historic Site.
Other Conservation Measures: Our attorneys have lectured on green infrastructure and stormwater controls. As a major part of our practice we participated in the negotiation of the New York City Watershed Memorandum of Agreement to protect the drinking water of New York City and the economies of the upstate communities supplying the water.
More recently, we assisted nineteen municipalities east of the Hudson River to form the East of Hudson Watershed Corporation, which has been funded by New York City and Putnam and Westchester Counties to construct “stormwater retrofits” designed to reduce the phosphorus discharges to the New York City reservoirs.
We successfully defended the right of the Town of Middlefield, in one of the first two decisions in the state, to ban fracking for natural gas in the town through the use of its zoning law.
We successfully defended the right of the Town of New Paltz to regulate its wetlands and vernal pools in the face of a constitutional and SEQRA challenge. This decision established that towns do not have to accurately map each wetland before enacting a wetlands law, nor do they have to forego regulating vernal pools, though they may exist for only two months a year.
At Rodenhausen Chale we are committed in all of our practice areas to doing what we can to ensure a sustainable and resilient future for the communities and clients we serve in the Hudson Valley and eastern New York. If you would like to speak to one of our attorneys about your concerns with land conservation, threatened or endangered species protection, biodiversity, historic preservation or other conservation issues, please contact us.