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O&R, City of Port Jervis Partner on New Biodiversity Approach to Enhancing D&H Tow Path Walkway

O&R and the City of Port Jervis have joined together to enhance the city’s D&H Canal tow path recreational walkway by employing an environmentally sound and innovative habitat management program O&R used to landscape its property adjacent to its newly expanded electric substation in the city on Clark St.

O&R currently uses the development of approximately 40 biodiverse habitats to enhance large swaths of ecologically fragile lands the company owns or leases throughout its service area.

That innovative approach fills the O&R sites with colorful fields, rich with acres of flowering native plants and grasses, chirping meadow birds and other native wildlife species.

O&R Senior Ecologist Casey M. Tompkins, one of the designers of the walkway project, said, “One of the many community advantages of native plant species is that they spend an extensive amount of time and energy in building their root masses. Some native species will spread their roots over six feet below grade. That development ultimately allows for better water infiltration and a reduction in water runoff, which would otherwise lead to soil erosion and particle-filled waterways.”

And, native vegetation, that isn’t regularly cut like a lawn, captures 500 percent more carbon from the atmosphere. These systems are quite actually carbon capture machines. Soil health is improved in the process of water infiltration, reduction in mowing, and capture of carbon. Then, of course, numerous wildlife species benefit from these native ecosystems as well.

Also, the program often substantially reduces property maintenance costs over time.

The planting plan developed by O&R and Port Jervis was implemented by crews from the company and the city Friday. The plan calls for the preparation of a bird-friendly habitat along 1.25 acres of the walkway. Crews spread 120 pounds of seed mixture that only contains regionally native grasses and flowers, and planted numerous trees, shrubs and assorted native flowering plants that are beneficial to woodland birds. Twelve different bird boxes, including one for a bird of prey, were installed throughout the development and five informational and awareness signs were placed at various locations along the walkway.

About O&R

Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies. O&R is a regulated utility that provides electric service to approximately 300,000 customers in southeastern New York State (where its franchise name is Orange and Rockland Utilities) and northern New Jersey (where it’s Rockland Electric Company), and natural gas service to approximately 140,000 customers in New York.