New rain garden dedicated on rail trail in Millerton

Tuesday, June 30, 2015




Left to right: Steve Waite, Trustee, Village of Millerton; Dick Hermans, Chairman, Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association; Jenny Hansell, Executive Director, North East Community Center [blue shirt]; Dave Sherman, Trustee, Village of Millerton; Erin O'Neill, Grants Officer, New York State Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, Taconic Region; Steve Olsen, Director, Dutchess County Parks; Peter Greenough, Planning Board, Village of Millerton; John Merwyn, Supervisor, Town of Northeast; Ralph Fedele, President, Friends of Irondale Schoolhouse; Brigitte Harney, Harney & Sons Teas; Mark K. Morrison, Landscape Architect [designer of Millerton Rain Garden]; Tonia Shoumatoff, Housatonic Valley Association New York Watershed Manager; [kneeling] Lynn Werner, HVA Executive Director, and Blake Morrison, Project Designer, MKM Landscape Architecture.


by Tonia Shoumatoff

June 2015


The public and sponsors of the new Millerton rain garden turned out for its dedication hosted by the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) on June 22.


Lynn Werner HVA Executive Director, said, “This garden is a perfect example of how natural plants can filter pollutants.”


The rain garden prevents pollution from reaching streams. It will help landowners, town leaders and developers and encourage planning boards and highway superintendants to implement this technique.


In addressing the crowd, Steve Olson, Director, Dutchess County Parks, said, “This will be the first rain garden specifically designed as a teaching and demonstration tool in eastern Dutchess County and the county is proud to accept this generous project that will help keep this section of the trail from flooding. Anyone who has walked the trail over the past several years can attest, this area has been severely affected by runoff from heavy rains many times in the past. That will not be a problem anymore.”


He thanked the many volunteers, sponsors and grantors who were responsible for completing the project.


Tonia Shoumatoff, HVA New York watershed Manager, said, “It is a small step toward improving the water quality of the Webatuck Creek, an important tributary of the Tenmile River Watershed, which flows along the rail trail. Everyone already loves coming to Millerton, and hopefully this adds to that.”


The garden was designed and installed by Mark K. Morrison, Ltd., landscape architecture, and funded by the S.L. Gimbel Foundation Fund and the Community Response Fund of the Community Foundation of Dutchess County and Harney & Sons Fine Teas based in Millerton.


Morrison said, “Projects like this, at the end of the day, save money without the need for extensive mechanics and materials.”


Supportive partners include the Harlem Valley Rail Trail and the Northeast Community Center.  Millerton Village Deputy Mayor Christine Bates and Village Planning Board member Peter Greenough have provided supportive maintenance for the garden. Steve Olsen, Director of Dutchess County Parks and Linda Cooper, Taconic Region Regional Director of New York State Parks facilitated the permitting of the project which is on New York State parkland.


Twin Brooks Gardens, Millerton Nursery, Beardsley Gardens and Paley’s Nursery donated plants. Peter Greenough and Christine Bates provided support for the interpretive sign that explains the rain garden to visitors.


Founded in 1941, HVA is uniquely dedicated to protecting the entire Housatonic River Watershed.  The watershed includes about 2,000 square miles of land stretching from western Massachusetts through western Connecticut and eastern New York to Long Island Sound. HVA’s offices are in Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut; South Lee, Massachusetts and Wassaic, New York. More info is available at



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