MIANUS RIVER GORGE INC

Bedford, NY   |  www.mianus.org

Mission

To preserve, protect and promote appreciation of the natural heritage of the Mianus River Gorge and the quality of its watershed

Ruling year info

1993

Executive Director

Rod Christie

Main address

167 Mianus River Rd.

Bedford, NY 10506 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-3523329

NTEE code info

Wildlife Sanctuary/Refuge (D34)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The 935-acre Mianus River Gorge Preserve and adjacent wild lands comprise a 1200+ acre island of old-growth forest with many trees over 400 years old in suburban New York. Surrounded by 172 private landowners, it is facing escalating threats from development of surrounding lands, the introduction of non-native invasive species, and ecological imbalances that threaten its long-term viability. Eastern hemlock trees (Tsuga canadensis) are some of the largest and oldest trees in the Mianus River Gorge. These majestic trees are the principal component of the 100 acres of old-growth forest and were the major inspiration for the protection of that first parcel of land in the Gorge by our founders. The old-growth forest is under attack from a non-native insect called the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae). Without intervention, these 400-year-old hemlocks will almost certainly be gone in the next few years and the natural community they support will vanish along with them.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Wildlife Technician Program

The Wildlife Technician Program (WTP) is a competitive internship program offering high school students the opportunity to undertake a three-year research project in the natural sciences. Our innovative and far reaching program is the first of its kind in the New York Metropolitan area offering an extra-curricular high school program in ecological research. Our students conduct hands-on field experiments, learn first-hand about the complexities of natural systems and receive expert guidance from Mianus River Gorge staff, graduate students, and professional partners to produce high-level research studies with significant applications to natural resource management. The WTP program has been designed to complement the State University of New York Science Research in the High School (SRHS) curriculum and accompanies our Research Assistantship Program (RAP) which provides grants to graduate-level students studying applied suburban ecology.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

The College Internship in Suburban Ecology Program (CISE) offers summer or semester internships to college students and recent graduates who are interested in learning about the unique challenges facing urban/suburban natural resource managers. Through a variety of research and land management projects, interns are trained in the skills needed to pursue a successful career in the environmental sciences.

Population(s) Served
Young adults

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Protecting biodiversity is a thread that runs through the collective work of Mianus River Gorge staff, student researchers, and volunteers. Much of the work to preserve and protect the Mianus River Watershed focuses on restoration projects to ensure the diversity of myriad species within the ecosystems that comprise the Gorge and the entire region.

Currently, Mianus River Gorge is working to restore and enhance native biodiversity and protect the unique old-growth forest at the heart of Mianus River Gorge Preserve and other important habitats on MRG property, MRG aims to prevent invasion by non-native species and enhance biodiversity at three levels: the meadow; the forest edge; and the younger, post-agricultural forest. Overall, the fields, wetlands, and younger post-agricultural forest act to buffer the older interior forest. Improving the health of these habitats will contribute to the overall protection of the interior forest going forward.

At the same time, MRG is engaged in a campaign to save the hemlocks from the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive pest that is killing the Eastern hemlocks in forests throughout the northeast. MRG completed treatment of over 2,000 hemlocks and is working to restore the understory vegetation that keeps the ground moist and is critical to the health of the hemlocks, especially their roots and the mycorrhizal fungi in the soil they depend on.
MRG has been monitoring the health of the hemlocks and is optimistic that the treatment is working. MRG is planning to repeat treatment beginning in 2022 while at the same time working with scientists at the NYS Hemlock Initiative to replace spraying regimen with a safe, effective biocontrol.

The Mianus River and its tributaries form a riparian corridor that is vital for wildlife and whose health and function contribute to a clean drinking water supply for over one hundred thousand. MRG aims to repair and improve the functional ability of this riparian buffer to filter and prevent water contamination by removing detrimental invasive species and replacing them with native herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees.

To stem the recent accelerated decline and to save our hemlocks now, MRG has begun a long-term regimen recommended by scientists at Cornell Cooperative Extension. This intervention program is being undertaken only after careful consideration and with thorough vetting of the methodology for safety and scientific appropriateness. It has been implemented with significant success in similarly threatened southeastern forests. MRG will use a technique known as basal bark spraying, as opposed to root drenching or injections, which prevents runoff and soil contamination by staying within the tree to target adelgids without killing beneficial predators. At the same time, and to ultimately replace the spraying regimen, the Gorge will monitor the development and availability of new biological control agents for hemlock woolly adelgid and hemlock scale.

Mianus River Gorge staff have a wealth of relevant experience that demonstrates the organization's capabilities for meeting our goals. MRG’s wildlife biologists conduct applied ecology research and work collaboratively on regional initiatives that impact the health and sustainability of our shared natural resources. Their research informs important land management decisions, such as how to safely and effectively control non-native invasive plants or keep our critical wetlands healthy and functional.

In the last 35 years, MRG has submitted expert testimony on over 300 development projects totaling hundreds of acres in the Mianus River Watershed, working with town governments to limit the impact of developments on the health of the Mianus River and the quality of its water. Mianus River Gorge also partners with a number of like-minded organizations, such as the Hudson to Housatonic Regional Conservation Partnership (H2H RCP), a consortium of organizations throughout New York and Connecticut working together on regional land protection and stewardship for the benefit of people and nature.

In August 2010, the Mianus River Gorge Preserve was awarded Land Trust Accreditation Status by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission of the Land Trust Alliance. This distinction signifies that the Gorge met national quality standards in nonprofit management and land conservation and that the Gorge has systems in place to keep its promise of permanent land protection. The award culminated an extensive and external multi-year review of the Gorge’s mission, land stewardship, governance and internal controls. Mianus River Gorge successfully renewed its accreditation in 2015 and re-apply in 2020 (pending).

Land protection has been the focus of Mianus River Gorge (MRG) for over 67 years, starting with 60 acres in 1953 and now totaling over 2,000 acres protected throughout the Mianus Watershed. Wetlands, stream buffers, steep slopes, and alluvial plains are all key components of a healthy ecological system. With outright purchase, donations, conservation easements, or as part of complicated protection projects with multiple partners, MRG continues to target parcels critical to assuring the longevity of our shared natural resources.

Drawing on its scientific tradition, MRG has developed three innovative, interrelated research-based education programs to address real-world conservation problems brought on by urbanization. Students engaged in these programs work together to create a rich scientific learning community tasked with developing a better understanding of our local ecology through multi-year collaborative studies. MRG provides three-year grants for graduate students to perform and stimulate new research in applied ecology; a summer internship in suburban ecology program for college students; and a three-year natural science studies program for high school researchers.

The success of Mianus River Gorge’s research and education programs has been assessed in real-world accomplishments: awards and degrees received, published research papers, subsequent post-graduate endeavors of former students, and on-the-ground contributions to better management of preserves like the Mianus River Gorge Preserve.

Financials

MIANUS RIVER GORGE INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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MIANUS RIVER GORGE INC

Board of directors
as of 4/12/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Timothy Evnin

N/A

Timothy Evnin

Chairman

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/12/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/12/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.