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Watershed Protection of the St. Lawrence River Watershed
with Special Consideration to Large Wetlands and Large Landownership

Part One: The St. Regis River Basin


Prepared by

Sunita Halasz, Project Coordinator
R. P. Curran, D. M. Spada, K. M. Roy, J. W. Barge
New York State Adirondack Park Agency, Ray Brook, NY

E. B. Allen and G. K. Gruendling
State University of New York at Plattsburgh

W. A. Kretser and C. C. Cheeseman
Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation, Ray Brook, NY

For the

State Wetlands Protection Program
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Grant No. CD992441-01-0



List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Appendices
Study Area

Literature Survey

Sub-watershed Mapping
Watershed Mapping of Large Peatlands
Wetlands Mapping
Landowner Outreach
Results of Sub-watershed Mapping
Results of Watershed Mapping of Large Peatlands
Results of Wetlands Mapping
Results of Landowner Outreach

Discussion and Recommendations
Trends Analysis
Outreach and Education
Internet Data Delivery
References Cited


Figure 1. Location of Adirondack State Park in New York State
Figure 2. Major watersheds in Adirondack Park
Figure 3. Orthoimage of Osgood River wetland complex
Figure 4. Sub-watersheds of the St. Regis River Basin
Figure 5. USGS-SCS 11-digit watershed units
Figure 6. Wetlands of the St. Regis River Basin
Figure 7. Land Classification in the St. Regis Watershed
Figure 8. Elevation of Windfall Pond property
Figure 9. Digital orthophotos of Windfall Pond property
Figure 10. Slope Map of Windfall Pond property
Figure 11. Soil erosion potential map of Windfall Pond property
Figure 12. Predicted nitrogen deposition in Adirondack Park
Figure 13. Sub-watersheds in the vicinity of Windfall Pond


Table 1. Large wetland complexes of the St. Lawrence watershed
Table 2. Description of thematic maps provided to landowners
Table 3. Peat mat and watershed areas for four largest wetlands
Table 4. Major wetland cover types of the St. Regis River Basin
Table 5. Area of Class1 and Class2 wetland labels
Table 6. Number of polygons for Class1 and Class2 wetland labels
Table 7. Wetland cover type distribution based on Class1 or Class2 label
Table 8. Area of wetlands with various water regime modifiers
Table 9. Area of wetlands and open water with 'Beaver' special modifier
Table 10. NRCS slope potentials/limitations ratings
Table 11. Strategies for conservation and restoration of wetlands


APPENDIX 1: List of Quadrangles
APPENDIX 2: Legend for Adirondack Park Wetlands Mapping Project
APPENDIX 3: Wetlands Data Table - organized alphabetically by NWI label
APPENDIX 4: Wetlands Data Table - organized in order of decreasing area
APPENDIX 5: Sub-watersheds Metadata
APPENDIX 6: Wetlands Metadata
APPENDIX 7: Metadata for Watersheds of Large Wetland Complexes
APPENDIX 8: ArcInfo AML for assigning watershed flow direction
APPENDIX 9: ArcInfo AML for creating regions in sub-watershed map


The St. Lawrence River Basin Study, Part One, is the third in a series of Adirondack Park watershed studies funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, State Wetlands Protection Program. This study focused on a sub-watershed of the St. Lawrence, the St. Regis River basin. The St. Regis River basin is unique in that it contains almost all of the Adirondack Park's low elevation boreal biome and is largely privately owned by relatively few large landowners. The objectives of this study were to produce detailed digital sub-watershed (of lakes) and wetlands maps of the St. Regis Watershed, delineate watersheds of the four largest peatland complexes in the river basin, conduct a literature search of existing data on large wetland complexes, and share the results of the wetland and watershed mapping with large landowners in the St. Regis River Basin, in partnership with the Adirondack Nature Conservancy and Land Trust.

The methods used to map watersheds and wetlands were similar to those used in previous Adirondack Park watershed studies. A total of 266 lake sub-watersheds were mapped in the 138,392-ha St. Regis Watershed. Wetlands mapping revealed ten major wetland cover types covering 21,395 hectares of the St. Regis River Basin, excluding 1806 ha not mapped on the Carry Falls Reservoir quadrangle, thus 15.4% of the watershed was found to be occupied by wetlands.

A literature search of the largest wetland complexes in the Park found that the St. Regis River Basin offered three sites containing useful data as a basis for further study: Spring Pond Bog, Bay Pond Bog and Madawaska Wetland. Spring Pond Bog and Bay Pond Bog were found to support globally unique peatland species.

The four largest peatlands in the watershed, ranging from 50 to 200 hectares in area were examined for watershed attributes. The ratio of watershed area to associated peat mat area was calculated for Madawaska Wetland, Spring Pond Bog, Waverly Bog, and Osgood River Muskeg. The ratios ranged from 1.9 to 9.6. The characteristics of the peatland watersheds are expected to help predict the capacity of the wetlands to withstand varying environmental factors. More detailed measurements of watershed characteristics is recommended.

The landowner outreach portion of this study allowed for interchange between the public and private sectors. Wetland and sub-watershed data and other data, such as soils, slope, and digital orthoimagery were shared in paper map form with three landowners, who were pleased to receive the data and learn more about Geographic Information Systems technology as a landscape management tool. The Adirondack Park Agency, in turn, learned a great deal from the landowner meetings including issues of importance to large landowners. The maps of greatest interest to landowners were the map layers that either offered the most detail (e.g. the wetlands maps) or offered a new perspective of the land parcel nested in its regional landscape (e.g. the atmospheric nitrogen deposition map). This exercise offered tangible insights on how future landowner outreach efforts, based on GIS mapping and Internet map accessibility, could be developed.


This project was funded by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Wetlands Protection, State Development Grant No. CD992441-01-0, and was completed in cooperation with the Adirondack Nature Conservancy and Land Trust, the Remote Sensing Lab at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, and the New York State Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation.

Special thanks to Todd Dunham, Bill Brown, and Rich MacDonald of the Adirondack Nature Conservancy and Land Trust (ANCLT). ANCLT selected the landowners to whom this study was directed, provided assistance in data creation, including digitizing available parcel boundaries for Franklin County, and participated in the landowner meetings. Their knowledge of Park resources and GIS, and their experience in landowner outreach were key to the success of this project.

At the Remote Sensing Lab at SUNY Plattsburgh, thanks go to Dr. Don Bogucki, Kyriel Taylor, Michael Sundberg, Adrienne Pike, and Lisa Walsh. At the Adirondack Park Agency our gratitude is extended to the entire staff, especially Brian Grisi, Judy Smith, and Dan Fitts. Thanks also go to Dr. Avram Primack. We are especially grateful to the three landowners who participated in this study.

Although the research described in this report has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under assistance agreement #CD992441-01-0 to the New York State Adirondack Park Agency, it has not been subjected to the Environmental Protection Agency's peer and administrative review and therefore may not necessarily reflect the views of the EPA and no official endorsement should be inferred.

Continue to next section of St. Regis report: Background, Study Area, and Objectives

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