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Mayor Kathy Sheehan Announces Improvements to Tivoli Lake Preserve

October 25, 2017

Date: October 25, 2017
Contact: Brian Shea

For Immediate Release

ALBANY, NY – Today the City of Albany announced the continued revitalization of the Tivoli Lake Preserve.  In addition to housing 15 sheep that are tasked with eating phragmites to reduce invasive species, the City of Albany’s Department of Water & Water Supply and Department of Planning & Development will undertake a partial daylighting of the Patroon Creek, and will also release a request for proposals to install an improved, accessible trail system.

“The current and future improvements to the Tivoli Lake Preserve will help make this landmark outdoor recreational outlet in the West Hill Neighborhood more environmentally sustainable and accessible to residents and visitors alike,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “Thank you to Governor Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos for their tireless commitment to improving the Capital City’s parks and natural resources.”

“The restoration of Tivoli Lake Preserve is a great example of how New York’s Environmental Protection Fund supports innovative projects to transform underutilized properties into valuable community assets and connect area residents and visitors to nature,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “I applaud Mayor Sheehan and all of the partners on their efforts to complete this project, which is also a fitting tribute to the legacy of late Brother Yusuf Burgess, who spent a lifetime nurturing nature in this community.”

“The Albany Water Board is very grateful to receive grant support from New York State Department of Conservation ($1 million WQIP grant) and the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation ( $1.1 million GIGP grant) for the Tivoli Lake Preserve Stream Daylighting Project,” said City of Albany Water & Water Supply Deputy Commissioner William Simcoe. “This project will mitigate erosion, stabilize critical infrastructure within the Preserve and use natural resources to provide additional downstream flood protection. It is an important element of the Visioning Plan for the Preserve."

"The City of Albany and the Planning Department are appreciative of our partners at the Department of Environmental Conservation for their support of the various improvement projects at Tivoli Lake Preserve,” said City of Albany Director of Planning Christopher Spencer. “This project, utilizing sheep to remove invasive plants, demonstrates our commitment to pursuing sustainable approaches to land management throughout the City."

The Tivoli Lake Preserve is more than 70-acres of upland forest, grassy field, and wetlands.

In Spring 2017, the Tivoli Lake Preserve added 15 new resident sheep (9 adults and 6 babies). Melissa Parade, shepherd and manager of the Tivoli Preserve Community Farm, leads a small group of volunteers by building infrastructure for the animals’ care, implementing a community compost system, and introducing surrounding residents to the project.  The sheep are there as part of the Targeted Grazing Plan authored by Gary Kleppel of Longfield Farm and Professor from SUNY, University at Albany. The sheep are targeting phragmites, an invasive plant species.  Removing the phragmites helps both the ecosystem and restoration of Tivoli Lake, which has been reduced to 50% of its original size by invasive species.  

The targeted grazing is part of the implementation of the 2014 Visioning Plan for the Tivoli Preserve that engaged stakeholders, students, and the community to transform this hidden gem into a place for the community to learn and grow.  The Tivoli Preserve Visioning Plan honors Brother Yusuf’s vision of “using the power of nature to transform urban youth.”

Implementation of this vision was made possible in December 2015 with an annual $250,000 grant awarded to the City of Albany from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation through the New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund.  

Additionally, the Albany Water Board will be doing a partial daylighting of the Patroon Creek, that will include converting the creek into an open stream channel.  This will address critical issues with the current culvert which does not have sufficient capacity to carry the stormwater flow it receives from upstream. The plan provides additional terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and increased aerated flow to Tivoli Lake. 

The City of Albany and the Albany Water Board will continue to work with the Tivoli Lake Preserve Community Farm and the Friends of Tivoli Lake Preserve to restore the preserve and enhance educational opportunities. Additionally, a request for proposals will be released in the coming weeks to implement an improved trail system with an accessible trail, so that more of our community members can enjoy this natural habitat in the heart of the City of Albany.  

A continued effort from the community, the City Of Albany, and the State of New York to implement the Tivoli Preserve Visioning Plan will maximize the potential of the preserve as a community and regional resource. 

Residents can learn more about the project and how they can contribute by visiting the websites:, and visiting the Friends of Tivoli Lake Preserve page on Facebook.