Open space in the mid-Hudson saves residents nearly $3.5 billion annually by providing water, supporting pollinators, and reducing infrastructure costs, carbon emissions, climate change and ecosystem instability like flooding.
That’s the conclusion of a new report, “Adding Value: Open Space Conservation in the Mid-Hudson Valley,” by SUNY New Paltz and the Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit urban research and advocacy organization.
The report covers Orange, Dutchess, Ulster and Putnam counties.
In addition, local visitor spending, with open space as one draw, totaled $492 million in Orange County, $587 million in Ulster County and $450 million in Sullivan County in 2017, according to Oxford Economics tourism figures.
“This study quantifies what we in the business of land conversation already know,” said Jim Delaune, executive director of the Orange County Land Trust, a nonprofit conservation organization.
“There’s a real economic and quality of life value in protecting open space, farmland and biodiversity.”